Politics

B.C. Attorney General opens his office to all law students in British Columbia

It’s an invitation David Eby extends to every law student he meets: come down to the legislature and see what I do. As the province’s Attorney General, Eby serves as B.C.’s top lawyer and sees huge value in students experiencing that firsthand.

“A key role I believe I have as Attorney General is a role in connection with the legal profession. Law students, representing the future of our profession, are an incredibly important group,” Eby said.

Eby says most students haven’t taken him up on the offer. He is not sure exactly how many students have showed up but he described those that have as “keeners.”

One of the Attorney General’s big reasons for becoming the first to put forward the offer is because he has had an unconventional legal career including time as the head of the B.C.. Civil Liberties Association.

Eby wants future lawyers to use his career path as a sign that a lot is possible in the field of law.

“I have had a pretty non-traditional legal career and I would hope that students that may not follow a typical path in terms of legal careers would have an opportunity to think about other ways of following the law,” Eby said. “Despite offering it quite widely, it is a select group of students that take me up on it.”

But it doesn’t surprise him that his door isn’t being knocked down by law students because he is not sure he would have taken the Attorney General up on the offer when he was in law school.

“I would like to think that if an Attorney General came to my law school class, I would like to think I would take her up on the offer. But I’m not sure I would have because I was just trying to get through the day,” Eby said.

University of Victoria’s Tom Force is one of the students that has met with Eby. He says it was a no-brainer to take him up on the opportunity.

“I didn’t see any downside from meeting with him. It’s pretty rare,” said Force. “It’s incredibly important because you need to be motivated to get through law school. It’s an incredibly long process.”

While some are drawn in by the proposition, others are drawn in by Eby himself. The minister has been given a huge amount of responsibility by Premier John Horgan. He has been tasked with fixing ICBC, getting to the bottom of money laundering in the province, bringing in a human rights commission, and was in charge of laying out the province’s electoral reform referendum.

“It my opinion, this Attorney General is someone special. He is doing some pretty remarkable things for British Columbians. So I just wanted to jump at the chance to just sit down with him and figure out what he thinks on certain issues,” University of Victoria law student Malcolm Brown said.

Another one of Eby’s reasons for inviting law students to his office is to change the perception many have of the B.C. legislature and politicians.

“I think these offices seem far too inaccessible to too many people. And politicians too. And politics in general,” Eby said. “Law is the language of what we do here at the legislature. For law students I think it’s important to see the laws they are studying are written by people through a  legislative process.”

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