Exec Feature #4: VP Events, Ashley Brown

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Behind all the well-executed events are two of Pre-Law’s hardworking VP Events. Today, we are happy to feature our first VP Events, Ashley Brown!

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As a fourth year student at UBC, Ashley is majoring in International Relations with the goal of attending law school in the fall of 2017. Since she was a child, Ashley has always wanted to follow her dad’s footsteps and become a lawyer. This past summer she had an internship at one of Canada’s leading personal injury firms, Slater Vecchio, where she assisted lawyers in preparing for trials and mediations, among other things. Along with being the VP Events for the UBC Pre-Law Society, Ashley is the VP Membership of her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, as well as a volunteer coach for Special Olympics BC and an assistant math teacher for Down Syndrome Research Foundation.

We asked Ashley some questions about her journey and plans with UBC and law:

 

Q: What inspired you to want to pursue law school?

A: My dad has always been an extremely important role model in my life. He is a lawyer and for as long as I can remember I’ve been a daddy’s girl and wanted to follow his footsteps. Going through life with a physical disability he has continuously proved his doubters wrong, and has faced all challenges with determination and perseverance.  I look up to him for everything in my life, and hope to be just half the person he is. Because of this it has alway just seemed right to pursue a career in law.

 

Q: What do you like best about the UBC Pre-Law Society?
A: What I most like about the UBC Pre-Law Society is the ability to network with fellow undergrads who have the same ideals and goals that I do. I always love seeing fellow members connect with one another, but also wanting to connect with and join our Executive Team. UBC is a big community to be a part of – it can be intimidating, but also lonely. I love that within our society we are able to provide an environment for like-minded people to connect, but also inspire students to follow their dreams.

 

Q: What does your ideal journey to becoming a lawyer look like?
A: After I graduate with my BA in International Relations, I hope to take a few months to travel Europe. This is something I want to get done before the rush of law school and articling takes over. I would love to attend Allard School of Law, as that is where my dad went, but I am pretty much open to any of the Canadian Law Schools (although I am terrified of the winters of Eastern Canada). Last year I met someone that had clerked for a judge within the Canadian court system and that sparked an interest for me. So, it would be ideal to clerk for some time. I do want to pursue a career in law, most likely within a corporate field. That being said, my last two internships have been at Personal Injury firms, which is also a big interest for me. Articling, and ultimately being hired, at an international corporate firm is my goal. And from there, who knows… maybe some day I will have the title of “The Honourable Madame Justice” hehe!

Q: What are some of your favourite places at UBC to hang out and study?
A: Ridington Room (Harry Potter Room) will always be my study sanctuary.

 

Ashley adopts an ambitious and generous mindset with her goal of becoming a partner at a top international firm that improves the lives of those living with physical and intellectual disabilities. She also enjoys staying active by playing tennis and soccer. A fun fact about her is that she has been to 30+ concerts in her lifetime and is a huge Classic Rock fan! 
Ashley is looking forward to a year full of engaging events and can’t wait to network with all the other motivated members of the society! Be sure to catch her at Life of a Law Student on Nov 17th!

Pre-Law Society has had an amazing semester so far – what about you?

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Hey Pre-Lawyers! Want to hear something crazy? IT’S ALREADY NOVEMBER. Can you believe it? With that, Pre-Law Society has had an exciting time so far hosting a series of awesome events that many of you came out to. In particular, we hosted two major events – Admissions Night, and Challenges from Abroad by Kerry Sheppard (check out the links for an overview!). For those of you who couldn’t make it, we’ve taken the opportunity to gather some interesting things we learned from those events and post it up on our blog for you to read:

Sept 30th: Admissions Night

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Pre-Law’s Admissions Night was an evening where representatives of Law Schools in Canada came together to answer students’ questions about the various standards of getting into each individual law school. Like all years past, this year was a success yet again! We had over 150 attendees, and our representatives came from law schools from both Canada and the United States. Law schools included:

    • University of British Columbia
    • University of Victoria
    • University of Calgary
    • Dalhousie University
    • Washington State University
    • University of Toronto, and
    • Western University

Each representative gave brief overviews of their respective application processes, and what they are looking for in candidates. Here are some things we learned (credits to our Executive Assistant, Isabella P., for taking these notes!)

  • Many of the Canadian universities hold heavy weight towards an applicant’s GPA and LSAT score, and use the extracurricular sections of individuals less onerously.
  • With regard to the University of British Columbia, the student’s cumulative GPA and LSAT score are weighted, “50/50”, suggesting the ability of a student with a lower GPA to be admitted with an excellent score on the LSAT. This was echoed across the panel, and representatives stressed the importance of both aspects towards the application.
  • With regard to the personal profile of applicants, all panelists implored that individuals not simply regurgitate their resume, but take the time to let the admissions committee learn about yourself.
  • The biggest pet peeve of the Western representative’s personal statements is when applicants copy paste their statement from other schools, and don’t write the name of the correct institution!
  • Other pet peeves included bad grammar, not being genuine with your statement’s application, and trying to exceed the limit by decreasing font size.
  • Following the Question and Answer period, students were able to meet with the panelists and receive materials from the respective schools, including hand-outs, pens, notebooks, and sunglasses!

Oct 29th: Challenges from Abroad with Kerry Sheppard

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Challenges from Abroad features an afternoon led by Kerry Sheppard, a lawyer at DLA Piper Canada, who came in to provide valuable information to students regarding bringing a law degree from overseas back to Canada.

Kerry Sheppard went to the University of Victoria for his undergraduate studies as well as law school, and has over 30 years of experience in the law business doing litigation, solicitation, in-house counsel, government, and in both big and small private firms. He is currently the director of student programs at DLA Piper Canada, recruiting and training articled students as well as recruiting second year law students to become summer students.

Kerry’s talk focused mostly on BC, but is generally applicable to most of Canada as well.

Here are some interesting things we learned from him (credits to our VP Events, Ashley B., for taking notes!):

  • If a student is looking to practice in BC, then it would be to their advantage to focus on going to school in BC.
  • The Law Society of BC has rules that make becoming a lawyer more complex for out-of-country law students.
  • The Law Society of BC’s process of becoming a lawyer:
    • Get your (ideally Canadian) JD from a Law School.
      • Note: An out-of-country JD has additional steps to follow!
    • Complete Articles:
      • In BC, a student must complete an articling term (1 year) with a lawyer in practice
      • An articling period consists of 9 months of working in a law firm under guidance/ supervision of lawyers. The rest of the year (3 months) is completed by enrolling in and passing the Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) administered by the Law Society.
    • Get called to to the bar.
  • In securing an articling term, Canadian law schools are, on average, more attractive from a BC law firm’s perspective. But why is this so?
    • Because BC law firms are more familiar with local law programs and understand what programs they offer, their strengths, the quality of the program, etc.
  • Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that out-of-country applications are completely invalid! It just means that they are not as familiar with the school and may or may not know its program’s strengths and qualities.
  • If you want to practice in Vancouver, there is tremendous advantage by going to UBC Law (Allard School of Law). The professors who teach the course tend to come from the local legal community and it becomes easier to build a good network of connections in the city.
  • When Kerry looks at resumes, he looks for:
    • Interpersonal communication skills
    • Listening skills
    • Interest/ Motivation
    • Volunteer + work experience
    • Transcripts
  • On average, there are about 100 applications per 1 articling position available. In other words, it gets pretty competitive!
  • So… what if you DO choose to study abroad and bring your degree back to Canada?
    • You must go through the accreditation process through the NCA (more information here).
    • Note that the NCA is fairly resource-consuming – the entire process takes about a year on average and costs a few thousand dollars.

It’s been an exciting month at Pre-Law Society, but the awesome events aren’t over yet. Check out Life of a Law Student coming up on November 17th and get your questions answered about attending law school at the Allard School of Law (UBC), and keep counting down the days to our end-of-year signature event: Wine and Cheese 2016!

We hope you’ve been having as awesome of a semester as we have!