Peter A Allard School of Law

Gaining confidence through Allard Law’s legal clinics and externships

Jul 7, 2023

Three students in a collage
From left to right: Hannah Goodridge, Audrey Huang and Kelvin Kim.

The prospect of making the jump from the classroom to the law office  or the courtroom – can be daunting.

Allard Law’s clinic and externship programs give law students the chance to apply what they’ve learned and gain new professional skills in a supportive environment, all before graduation and before beginning articling.

We spoke with Allard Law students – and a new grad – about what they took away from their time at three of our Clinic and Externships programs: Rise Women’s Legal Clinic, the International Justice and Human Rights Clinic, and the Corporate Counsel Externship program.


Hannah Goodridge
Allard Law grad Hannah Goodridge.


Becoming an effective advocate at Rise Women's Legal Centre

Rise Women’s Legal Centre provides bono legal services to women and gender diverse people all over BC who wouldn’t otherwise have access to legal help.

Allard Law grad Hannah Goodridge completed her externship at Rise during her final year of law school. She says the instructors at Rise “always created space to talk through challenging moments”  and that the experience helped her become a more effective advocate for her clients.

What made you decide to apply for an externship at Rise?

I applied to Rise because it presented an invaluable opportunity to help women in need of legal guidance navigate the legal system. Also, I was excited to gain experience applying the law outside of the classroom in a supportive learning environment.

Rise was everything I expected and more. I was able to work with my clients while also receiving expert mentorship and guidance from my supervising lawyers. 

What was your favourite part about working at Rise?

Working with my clients was definitely my favourite part about Rise. The three months I spent helping them with their family law matters went by quickly, and yet I was able to connect with them, learn from my experiences with them, and make a difference in their lives.

I’ll always remember a phone call I had with one of my clients. I was relaying the good news of her divorce being granted by the Supreme Court. In tears, she expressed her fervent gratitude for all that Rise had done for her. She said that Rise made her feel as though she wasn’t alone, and she could not have undergone divorce proceedings without the support of the clinicians who helped her over the years. 

What did you learn from working with clients?

I learned that effective advocacy and effective communication go hand in hand. Our supervising lawyers made clear that as our client’s lawyer, our role was not to make choices for them, but to make sure they were as informed as possible so they could make the choice that was right for them. That required a thorough understanding of the law affecting our clients, but also the ability to communicate the state of the law to them effectively, whether by phone, email or more formal mechanisms, like a memorandum. Working as a clinician at Rise took my oral and written communication skills to new heights. 

In the classroom we learn a lot about the ‘law’ side of practice, but not the ‘people’ side. Rise really teaches its clinicians how to develop a working relationship with clients. This requires developing a relationship of trust, making them feel heard, and placing them in the driver’s seat of their file. 


Audrey Huang
Allard Law third-year law student Audrey Huang with her dog Totoro.

Taking on global issues at the International Justice and Human Rights Clinic

The International Justice and Human Rights Clinic at Allard Law gives upper-year law students and LLM students the opportunity to work on pressing human rights and global justice concerns through hands-on work on international cases and projects.

Audrey Huang is a third-year law student at Allard Law. She applied to the International Justice and Human Rights Clinic to “take advantage of what law school can offer that no time after graduation can” – getting experience in a wide variety of legal fields.

Tell us about one of the projects you worked on while at the International Justice and Human Rights Clinic.

While there are many projects I took on during my time at the Clinic, one that stands out to me the most was the opportunity to travel to Ottawa with Professor Nicole Barrett and my teammates. As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Slavery, we were able to attend their Annual General Meeting, where we presented our insights into current legislative actions, such as the recent passing of Bill S-211, aiming to counteract forced labour and child labour in supply chains and issues to Canadian MPs and senators.

This was easily one of the most memorable experiences I had with the Clinic, as it was an opportunity to present our work and meet the people who make the decisions we study at school.

How has working with the Clinic shaped how you see your future role as a lawyer?

Working with the Clinic has made me more aware of the impact I can have as a lawyer on not only my direct line of work but on all global issues. While I may not continue into international human rights law right away, knowing what possible roads are open to me down the road has ensured that I will keep an open mind to it. In the meantime, as a lawyer, I will be more aware of the possible consequences of my actions and do my best to make ethical choices and avoid negative impacts.

What would you say to students who are thinking about applying to the Clinic?

Please don’t hesitate to apply if you have any remote interest in the Clinic and international justice and human rights law!

As the Clinic has four teams, you will likely find at least one that suits your interests or aligns with what you’d like to learn. The Clinic offers incredible connections and work opportunities that do not come easily to any other students, and working under Professor Barrett’s guidance and other professionals provides a once-in-a-lifetime chance you will not regret and will remember for the remainder of your legal career. I always had something new and exciting to learn and talk about during my time with the Clinic, and I now can apply my Clinic experience and knowledge to any global issue.


Kelvin Kim
Third-year Allard Law student Kelvin Kim.

Developing hands-on skills and making connections through the Corporate Counsel Externship program

Through the Corporate Counsel Externship, Allard Law students are placed in a business’s legal department where they learn directly from experienced corporate counsel.

Third-year law student Kelvin Kim was placed with the in-house counsel team at BestBuy, which he says both helped developed his legal skills and opened an entirely new path of law than he otherwise may have considered.

What inspired you to apply for the Corporate Counsel Externship Program?

I applied to the Externship program because it’s one of the most unique experiential learning opportunities in Canada for students with a keen interest in business law. Even before beginning my studies at Allard, I was intrigued by the program's potential to provide practical legal skills. And as it turns out, my externship presented the ideal platform for me to cultivate a solid foundation in corporate law practice.

How has this externship shaped how you see your future role as a lawyer?

During my externship, I gained insight into the day-to-day realities of being an in-house counsel lawyer. I discovered that the role extended beyond providing answers to legal questions to include the creative pursuit of tangible solutions.

One invaluable piece of advice bestowed upon me was to refrain from simply saying "no" to the business team's ideas. Instead, we strived to explore alternatives and find ways to navigate challenges, while aligning legal strategies with the company's goals. This experience shaped my understanding of how exceptional lawyers understand their clients’ needs and offer innovative ideas to achieve their objectives.

What would you say to students who are thinking about applying for the Corporate Counsel Externship?

I would encourage anyone interested in business law to apply! Besides gaining practical work experience, this externship allows you to work on-site at a company and integrate with a team. This experience is truly unique and provides you with an opportunity to not only develop your legal skills, but to make connections with real lawyers and non-legal professionals that may last a lifetime.

The Corporate Counsel Externship Program was definitely the highlight of my legal education at Allard Law and I would highly recommend it to everyone.

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