Highlights from Day 4 of Access to Justice Week on Rural and Remote Access to Justice

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By  the student leaders of the College of Law’s “Small Urban and Rural Initiatives Committee”, Jessica Kelly, Allison Graham, Liam Fitz-Gerald, Brady Knight and Darcy Dumont

a2jphoto9As was mentioned in a previous Access to Justice Week post highlighting Rural and Remote Access to Justice, the “Small Urban and Rural Initiatives Committee” (SURC) are interested in promoting legal careers across Saskatchewan and as such each year organize a trip for a group of students to visit a community outside of Saskatoon. On Friday, October 20, twenty-three College of Law students went on a community visit to North Battleford and Battleford.

Here are some reflections students had about the trip in general, and on the topic of access to justice in small urban, rural, and remote communities.

Interviewee 1:  Ally Sparks, 2L student

  1. How did you like the trip to North Battleford?

“I really enjoyed it. I was actually really impressed. When I went I didn’t think I’d work or want to work in North Battleford, I was thinking of applying in Prince Albert and Moose Jaw and I thought going on the rural trip would give me insight into other rural centres and after leaving I thought it seemed cool.”

  1. What do you think of these areas being underserviced and these smaller areas in regard to access to justice?

“I think it is a problem. I don’t know the numbers. You have a hard time enticing professionals, things like lawyers, doctors, psychologists, teachers, to go to rural communities and I think part of that is to get that education, you have to go to a bigger center and then there’s such a culture of needing to stay in the big center to be successful. That leads to this feeling of “if I go to a small centre, that means I’m not successful as a lawyer” and I think that’s untrue.”

“I think quality of life and contentment with career is one thing but for a lot of people it’s making a difference or advancing in their career or being successful in their career is a separate goal that they have that they think they can’t achieve in a small center but I think they can, especially if your goal is the feeling of a good lawyer. I think you’ll get that experience more quickly in a smaller center then in a larger center.”

 

Interviewee 2:  Owen Stewart, 1L student

  1. How did you like the trip to North Battleford?

“I had a fantastic time. I’m not from the province and it was a good opportunity to get out of the campus residence bubble and to see a smaller town, and anything outside Saskatoon and to actually see the prairies for the first time in my life. I didn’t get an opportunity before this to get to go to a smaller firm so I’m thankful for that experience because it shows the other side of the coin for potential work experience going forward. Also the different work the smaller firms deal with and the different issues these smaller communities have that these smaller firms try to address and the closer relationship you have with the smaller community.”

  1. What do you think of these areas being underserviced and these smaller areas in regard to access to justice?

“It clearly is an issue. To spin it one way, it’s an opportunity for a young future lawyer like myself. You talk to all these people in law school stressed about finding work and it was fantastic to hear that there is work available if you’re looking to come here. In terms of other access to justice issues, when you go to a smaller town and if it’s where I’m from and you no longer have a resource economy and you have people unemployed and not on the right side of the law they need representation.”

 

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