Start of Student Legal Assitance Programs

When the Student Union Building opened at the University of British Columbia in 1969, students from the law school began offering regular legal advice sessions out of the new office space. Originally, Carey Linde, Stuart Rush, and Dave Robertson served students from the broader UBC community, but they were soon joined by other law students. That summer, students operated Vancouver Inner-City Services, reaching a far greater number of Vancouverites without the means to otherwise access legal services.

Over the following years, the program expanded to include weekly operations at clinic sites across the city during the school year. Law students volunteered their time to interview clients, research legal issues, and provide relevant legal information. One of the first off-campus locations was the Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House in East Vancouver.

1978, the low-income clinic initiatives were incorporated as the Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society, and the clinics renamed The Law Students Legal Advice Program ("LSLAP"). The goal of the non-profit was to provide free legal advice and representation to those who cannot afford it. The program receives funding from the Law Society of British Columbia, as well as from the governments of British Columbia and Canada.

Student volunteers are overseen by supervising lawyers, many of whom are volunteering practitioners who assist at court appearances, while others have helped the program in a staff role. Brian Higgins was the staff supervising lawyer of the LSLAP for many years, and was an influence and mentor to countless students. During it's lifetime, the program has also benefited from the dedication of supervising lawyers Leslie Ann Wall, Chris Heslinga, and Andrew Bonfield. In the 2010s, nearly 200 students volunteer with the program every year.

Read about the largest award to an LSLAP client.