The Allard High Experience

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Author: Tahsin Najam

Why, hello there dear incoming law student. Welcome to the beginning of the rest of your life. What’s that? Perhaps you haven’t obtained admission into the hallowed halls of Allard Hall? It’s quite all right – this guide will be just as pertinent to your inquisitive and curious self.

Allard Hall. A rather glorious building nestled in one of the far-reaching corners of the never-ending UBC campus. Don’t fret, there’s a reason why this building is so illogically placed. Seclusion and pretension are instrumental in creating an air of hauteur within the law school atmosphere. Implictly understood is that if university campuses were divided into a class-system, the law students would be consorting with each other at the very top with a mutual disdain for those lowly undergrads.

There are a variety of main and side entrances to Allard, but it doesn’t matter. The second that you, a student not currently within law school, enters, we know. You will be met with looks of contempt and superiority. Has this person written the LSAT? Sociology, calculus, and psychology – please. Until you have composed 1000 words on why your trip to Africa made you yearn for a legal career to put right those ghastly wrongs in the world, you are an outsider. Hope, social justice and activism? While you use them to get into law school, the faculty sneers at such things. They spend every moment of three years extracting such ideals from your mind. They won’t stop until you can rationalize global corporations killing baby pandas for the sake of laying down mile-wide oil pipelines, and maybe a dog-fighting casino (sponsored by Michael Vick). That doesn’t make sense? Doesn’t matter, you’ll justify it.

Upon entering, you must go to the front desk to declare your presence. As stated before, we know you shouldn’t be here. If you’re able to make it past the accusing glares and gain admission into the prestigious elite, the front desk allows you to put a red sticker on your student card succinctly stating, OK.” This red sticker signifies that you are a law student and that you are indeed, okay. Anything else would be intolerable, and such imposters are stamped and put in a line, subsequently being slowly trudged out of the building as the law students pelt them with old statutes and gavels. Though one history student died of traumatic head injuries upon being flattened by the Criminal Code, there have never been any other casualties.

The Law Students:

Ahhh, the law students. If you are lucky enough, then one day you too can join the ranks of these neurotic and perverse souls. There are three types of law students – one for each year they attend the educational quagmire that is law. The longer they have attended, the more likely it is that they have completed their transformation to jaded and narcissistic suits.

First Years (Or otherwise known as, the 1Ls): If you ever gain admission into law school, you will be able to experience the peculiar life of a confused first-year law student. Often described by practicing lawyers as the most difficult year of their lives, fresh-faced individuals from all walks of life come together to undergo a torpid yearlong roller-coaster ride. This isn’t the plot of a movie, it’s an actual phenomenon, and Roger Ebert just gave it a post-humous two thumbs up. Faced with an onslaught of hundreds of pages of readings, one hundred percent finals, and a brand new way of thinking, these students look up to their upper year mentors and choose the only sensible option available – drinking their sorrows away. Indeed, besides the other required courses they take, law students gain an introduction to their inevitable descent into alcoholism.

Travelling in packs around the building wishing to avoid any contact from those outside their year, 1L’s often tremble and sweat profusely if addressed directly. Used to having been in the top of their classes, they come to understand that they are dreadfully average in law school and that there’s no better wave to ride than the class curve. Many events and social functions are offered to first-years to continue their legal education and serve as an opportunity for them to meet the socially inept people that they too will become in just a few years. This culminates with a final end of the year party after which they try and cleanse themselves of that feeling of contamination that just won’t go away. Fear not 1Ls, that feeling is there for the rest of your lives.

2L: By this time, students have become accustomed to the grind of the law school life. Besides their search for a job (a process so inhumane, one breaks several Geneva Convention standards simply by alluding to it), second-years have realized that their best opportunity to not remain alone for the rest of their cat-loving lives comes from the students around them. Equally awkward and motivated, students begin to pair off in increasing numbers in a Discovery Channel-esque mating ritual. Always beginning with an inebriated fling and resulting in a contractual relationship rather than breakfast the next morning, they tolerate one another and take solace in the fact that they aren’t that other law school couple. As a wise man once said, “if you ain’t no punk, holla we want pre-nup.”

3L: By their final year of law school, students have given up all pretense of being interested in their academic pursuits. Having usually figured out which desk at what firm they are going to be spending the rest of their lives performing menial tasks at, students simply drink and live. 3L, don’t care indeed.

The Premises:

Upon gaining access to Allard, there are several areas in which you can luxuriate in your newfound status. The first is the law cafeteria, or as the Faculty pompously calls it, the Hong Kong Alumni Student Lounge. This speaks to a maxim that you must take to heart for your career in law. Why state anything concisely when you can add half-a-dozen more words and a more impressive noun? Though primarily used to confuse non-legal folk into paying lawyers for inane work, there is also a precedent to put law students through excruciating pain by reading decisions and statutes hundreds of pages too long simply because the judges and lawyers themselves had to do such things. See that sentence? It could have been half as long and just as effective.

Moving back to the cafeteria however, it is a central location in which students sit amongst each other and discuss pretentious things that they all know nothing about. Meanwhile, the large-screen TV inundates the students        with news of global politics and disasters to which they throw an occasional glance as they wait for their turn to speak. While law students take pleasure in the sounds of their own voices, they eat from the over-priced and very bland café. It operates much in the manner of any campus cafeteria, serving slop on rice and other baked and somewhat healthy goods. The difference? This nutrition is worldly; that’s not just beef stew on rice – it’s Mongolian beef with Venezuelan baby carrots. Every day, law students eat the same slop while taking pride in their cultural acceptance.

Next are the lockers downstairs. Law school is not simply an illusion of high school, it is a deliberate recreation of the best times of some of these student’s lives. As students gather around their lockers partaking in the latest gossip, or mock-complaining about their time in law school, they are secretly assessing each other’s social value whilst trying to evaluate who they must befriend or dispatch from their inner circle. Once you make it past the lockers, you see that there are card-access showers where law students fornicate with one other in an attempt to never leave the building. Or washrooms where cardigan-wearing men ogle at themselves in the mirror whilst their female counterparts do the same in a variety of outfits ranging from outlandish to severe business professional.

Finally, you can retreat to the law library where a sullen despair reigns throughout the year. There is no happiness to be found within these three floors of study spaces and stacks. As students pore over volumes of confounding legal nonsense, they, as a unit, pull out their packs of highlighters and multi-coloured tabs. As they attempt to outdo each other by making the most beautiful flowcharts, case summaries, and lecture outlines, this twisted dance can only be interrupted by one thing. SNAILS. No, I’m not speaking about terrestrial pulmonate gastropod molluscs, but the presence of non-law students. You see, it is a privilege to be able to study in this tortured space; so much so that they have coined a term for the intruders. Students not actually in law school, or SNAILS. If any such person attempts to cram their much-less complicated material on these desks, law students will stare daggers at them, and occasionally unsheathe their actual daggers in a menacing manner. These SNAILS are only spared when the monitoring library staff asks to see their stickered student card. Upon coming up empty, the SNAILS are marched out while law students shower them with salt only to return to their studies with a vindictive silence.

The Professors:

The professors are like a cast of a frenzied musical – each playing their own role, each peculiar in their own way. Whether through illegible scribbling, unintelligible barking or whispered murmurs, these professors communicate the secrets of law as students hurriedly and peevishly take down every word coming from their hallowed mouths. Never actually found in their offices, the professors are often away on exotic trips to distant parts of the world, or just found in the faculty lounge where they drunkenly swap stories of old courtroom battles just like the grizzled veterans in your favorite forlorn pub. If you do manage to get some time with a professor to ask class-related questions, they will often take that time to distract you and regale you with stories of past students and their favourite refrain – “You’re going to be all right. Everything is going to be all right.” Whilst also acting as a cover to mask their forgotten knowledge surrounding their class material, this constant expression is used to build a façade to anesthetize law students into believing that they are indeed going to be all right, or put more plainly, make the exorbitant amounts of money that they came to school for.

Unfortunately for law students however, not everyone is going to be all right. Faced with suffocating debt, this is where career services play a role. A legendary branch of law school, these three women glow so bright that students have mistaken them for Greek gods sent to help students navigate through the mire that is trying to obtain a legal career. As they bring offerings for pieces of advice, students are funneled into corporate openings as firms test potential hires by first intoxicating them and subsequently asking them to complete complex legal problems while concurrently perfecting the weekly crossword. The students who fail this standard test are tossed aside only to be seen during commercials of your favorite legal drama offering their own legal services in exchange for just about anything.

Conclusion:

Finally, back to you, a potential Allard Hall student. Have you been swayed by the grandeur of law school? Fear not, if you do one day decide to attend law school, you will be welcomed with pasty open arms and clenched hearts. Despite being a breeding ground for Patrick Bateman types, the legal community is just that – a community. All it will cost you is a piece of your soul, impending alcoholism, and a skewed sense of right and wrong. Welcome to Allard High.

The Diary of Allard Girl: Pages 1-3.

Page 1:

Law School Party in 2012.

Law School Party in 2012.

Something very strange is happening at law parties, and it doesn’t add up. Are Allard High students truly responsible for the atrocious things that have happened at recent ‘animalistic’ law parties? An independent task force (Andreea Frasier with a magnifying glass and her sleuth dog Banks) has looked into the matter and has come up with startling findings – students from Saudr Skool of Stocks and Bonds (“Saudr”) have been getting their suits tailored-up to look like real law students, and appearing at all of our events to crash the party.

Let me recap for you the horror, caused by these rogues at the museum party: Employees were running back and forth with mops, using their bodies as human shields for the precious “exhibits” (a few toy boats and some wooden blocks), propping the crumbling rafters up with broom handles, and shutting down what was left of the dance floor, which had completely fallen away to expose a bottomless abyss. As the apocalypse raged on around them, one museum employee dropped to their knees, screaming “Whyyyyyyyyyy??? Why is there a pitchfork stuck in the ceiling????”. When interviewed, Kaytln Cowarrd summed the atrocities up perfectly, saying “You know what? You’re the best. Seriously though – I love you. You’re great. I love everyone here,” before hugging every person at the party. Roslyn Chann, a Saudr grad, was witnessed grimacing from the shadows, hissing “excellent, my pretties….excellent…”.

Geez, you’d think that would be enough, but no. I’m afraid it gets worse. When two people love each other, sometimes they do puzzling things. Sometimes those things happen on an artifact in a museum. What better way to declare your romantic love for someone, than on a stationary boat, in a public function, in a museum? Of course, this has happened multiple times on moving boats in the law school’s history… but that’s different.

In a disappointing turn of events, the Illegal Beavers rugby team were surprisingly calm, sober, and well behaved, as they bravely manned the beer tubs amidst the chaos. Branden MacLowd had this to say “Some people just like to watch the world burn. Others like to make money off of beer sales while it’s happening.”

The museum is not the only thing that Saudr students have left in complete and utter shambles. From the original boat cruise boat (may it rest in English Bay), to the ruins of Hycroft House (anyone want some reclaimed mahogany?), law parties have run rampant over Vancouver. Initially, the Channing regime tried blaming all of the atrocities on the fact that law students get ridiculously stoked, causing them to do inexplicable things. This obscures the truth. We do, from time to time, get stoked, but the task force has made a vital finding of fact: the Saudr rogue group is a bunch of ‘stoking-experts’. With Chann’s help, they are capable of going ‘incognito’ at any private function, and getting so stoked that the group hosting the event actually gets banned. Then, on they go to their next victim.

This threat must be addressed, and the moles among us must be exposed, so that we’re not relegated to partying in barns like they do in Winnipeg (though at least this would be an appropriate venue to bring a pitchfork). On the whole, it’s just so relieving to find out that law students would never ever do anything like that, ever. Phew.

-Allard Girl xoxoxo


Page 2:

A new sporting craze has taken Allard High by storm. Since its introduction in September, Spikeball has gained an almost cult-like popularity. Played with a green oversized dog toy and what appears to be a trampoline for 3 year olds situated on the ground, Spikeball is played by two teams of two, who alternate hitting said dog toy off of said baby-trampoline until one team fails to do so. It’s all very important and epic. Yay sports.

Tal Letourno-Shesaff, the owner of a pretentious hyphenated name and incredible Spikeball skills, is the undisputed MVP of the Allard High spikeball league. Bill Skinnr, the grand-daddy of spikeball at UBC, says of Letourno-Shesaf: “I’ve never seen anyone with such direct access to the net. Even when he’s fully standing up, he’s no more than three feet away from it. That’s a big…..errr….significant advantage.”

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in spikeball-land though. Will Skinnr is not happy with the game’s reputation as a “glamour sport”.

“We’re tired of being objectified as ‘those shirtless guys on the front lawn’” said Skinnr. “If you can see past the manly chest-hair, the rippling biceps, and the chiselled buttocks, we’re actually extremely skilled players.”

At press time, Blaire McRadoo and Letourno-Shesaf were showing off the results of their summer cut, Will Skinner was exhibiting his voluptuous chest-bush, and Corey Segall was tending to his pristine quaff. Jamie Hoops was also there.

The UBC Spikeball team, in a rare, fully-clothed picture.

The UBC Spikeball team, in a rare, fully-clothed picture.

-Allard Girl xoxoxo


Page 3:

We Allardians love hearing about the latest hook-ups, break-ups and make-ups amoung our peers. In fact, nothing gets us more excited than some good old-fashioned relationship drama. Nothing, that is, except for bromances a-brewing among the Allard bros and let me tell you, the boys have been drama-licious this year. Here’s what you need to know about the brouples and blossoming bromances at Allard High so far this year.

By now, Dawid Kempp and John Brawn’s sit-com-esque, 1 gay, 1 straight, bromance turned roomie-ship is old news but there’s a new duo trying to steal their obnoxiously charming thunder. Rumour has it Wilsin Scot and Kevan Hennissey took the plunge and became roomies this summer and their apartment is as hilarious and awkward as we all imagine. We get it, you’re so 2014. Sources tell us Wilsin was spotted at the Exchange Information Session, could there be trouble in paradise?

The gym has proven to be a bromance breeding ground this year. Sources say Waine Fernandess and Cryley O’Rien have been seen “chalking each other up” on more than one occasion, if you know what I mean. “Just last week, I heard Cryley sensuously whisper to Waine that he’d take him to ‘Thighland’ to get some nice spicy ‘thigh’ food – I don’t even want to know what that means,” said gym frequenter Daweed Csysyslsuhdfk. Daweed has also been spotted broupled up in da gym with Babs Zargarianne, but the two refuse to comment on their own bro-lationship status, stating that they “Keep it professional” when they’re “pumping”.

Even the new kids are getting in on the bro love. We’ve all seen 1Ls Jamess Strutters and Meesha Smokin gallivanting around Allard showing off their Bro ‘Mos and skinny jeans but our sources tell us the two have taken their bromance to the next level. “They’ve even given themselves a brouple name, they call themselves ‘Jasha’ and I heard they got a joint account, tinder account.” said fellow 1L Jenn Hortin when asked about her friends’ bro-lationship status.

Perhaps most scandalously, there are rumours that Tye Dergosouph has been seen bromantically engaging with a Non-L. That’s right people, Tye is rumoured to be bro-ing out with his J Crew Salesman. Tye refused to comment but the proof is in the well-dressed, preppy pudding if you ask me.

Jasha <3

Jasha ❤

-Allard Girl xoxoxo

The Confusing Road to Allard Hall: One Step at a Time

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Seems like a 45 degree angle to me.

Warning: this article contains personal opinions about stepping-stones based on actual facts.

Written By: Dawid Cieloszczyk, 2L.

Do you ever feel like you’re taking steps in the wrong direction? Does the path to your destination seem like a nonsensical winding, side-ways, unevenly spaced, awkward series of motions? Because this, is precisely what the new steps leading to Allard Hall feel like.

Just look at them. I am doubtful that Allard changed its admissions standards to invite individuals with extraordinarily long legs, or who are generally comfortable walking sideways, AND have a high LSAT/GPA. With TRU and a possible TWU looming about, this scenario becomes frightfully more realistic.

Here’s the thing about ‘funny’ architecture. It’s just not very humorous at all. As a functional thing, ordinary people usually take pathways cutting through fields in order to save some time; effort is presumably reduced. “Yes, but we are absurd beings though”, says the existential architect. “We must embrace the futility of progress, and that straight, evenly spaced steps are simply le mainstream”. Can we rid ourselves of our fragile mental shackles and embrace the awkward path before us? For these steps are more than just slabs of rock, my dear friends. They are the burning in the loins, because you usually find yourself overextending to avoid taking 100 baby steps and mud on your shoes.

Could you imagine how complacent students would get walking straight to class, without navigating their footing oh so fanatically? It would be like Groundhog Day: every day is exactly the same. We can only shudder at such a reality.

There’s a popular theological argument called “Paley’s Ontological Argument”, in which a person walking by the beach discovers a watch, knowing nothing about it or where it came from. He/she can only be led to the conclusion that a watchmaker or intelligent designer was responsible for the complex gadget, and draws an analogy to an intelligent designer for the universe. When I look at these steps, my mind goes blank, because I only see the design part. Well.. yeah, at least they were designed.

Surely Allard Hall isn’t all about the schadenfreude, as a progressive institution of learning with all of these egalitarian values. Could this have really been done to watch your tortured friends attempt to shimmy across the field awkwardly? I guess we’ll never know..

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Just look at those failed footprints.

Why your goals may be haunting you

 

Goals

BY DAWID CIELOSZCZYK, LAW I

The satisfying life, the ideal overshadowing our ordinary human lives dwells within purposiveness; the human need for discernable goals is quite apparent. What state do you devolve to when you have absolutely no goal overarching your life at any given moment? You are in theoretical limbo: a frightening state of affairs that very few humans generally experience, at least maybe not since the age of 10. Your limbs move, but you know not why! I do not speak of fantastical life goals either, but just any kind that signifies something to you, even if it’s something as humble as “getting by comfortably” or falling in love.

 

Human life continues in such a goal-less state, but it stagnates like a wounded animal. It is ultimately fascinating that you could live your whole life wrapped up in completing one step, followed by yet another: graduating school, looking for a job, making friends, and becoming a master-chef. Where, you ask, in all of this, is there a moment to pause and wonder, to reflect. Have you done something for its own sake lately, or does a hierarchy of implanted stepping-stones, whereby you will leap from one goal to the next, dominate your life? Are your next five years basically determined, or contingencies put in place in case something changes?

 

This tunnel-visioned goal-orientedness marks the other extreme of life, in which we often fail to appreciate that our existence isn’t truly goal-oriented – although I suppose if you’re theistic, this could be a different story. There is no final objective or award for finishing: maybe a rainy forecast. But the fact that we tend to pass our lives without stopping and looking around, or breathing in fresh air, just because, is concerning. This is likely a symptom of western society and the malleable human mind, in which one is propelled into systems one does not understand as a child, with decisions one could not possibly make. We are taught to live and breathe these goals until they are so ingrained that we don’t even question why we have them: “I need a house; I need a degree; I need a shirt that looks good at the bar”.

 

In this context, the perspective that we can glean from a retired person is of great interest. It is typical of our western society to shun the sages who walk around not in robes, but ordinary garments. This is truly sad indeed, because these time defying warriors hold one of the most estimable nuggets of wisdom known to humankind: the secret of balance in the struggle I’m speaking of. That is, the retired has no real need for the stepping-stone hierarchy of goals or purposes that breathes purpose into the ‘career-self’s’ life for the time being; the retiree simply does what she wants, when she wants, and lives on the daily, finding value in simpler and more fundamental things, such as a walk in the park, or extensive tea time.

 

There is no magical formula which can guarantee you the balance between the incessant goal-leaping without pause for the present, and the devolution of human worth into what would be a goal-less boredom or oblivion. However, just knowing that a healthy relationship can exist between your present and future self is a start. This may sound puzzling, but your future self is currently residing with you, telling you which decisions will be pleasing to it at a later date. That future self told you what career to pursue, what city to move to, and so on. The key to genuine and lasting satisfaction will however be to not only live according to the dictates of the future self, but to engage that present self that often takes the back seat in our career-oriented lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A rough road leads to the stars: peer tutoring at UBC Law

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BY KEVIN TJIA, LAW II

Per aspera ad astra—A rough road leads to the stars.

I want to go into space. And I’m going to do it one day. But before I do it, I’d like to help you succeed academically at law school.

The UBC Law Peer Tutoring program is a pretty cool service run by Kaila Mikkelsen, Dana-Lyn Mackenzie, and a happy-go-lucky ragtag squad of 2Ls and 3Ls. We do exactly what it says on the label. We’re your peers. And we tutor you.

There is no stigma involved in signing up for a peer tutor. This isn’t a program for bad students. It’s a program for students who care about their academic performance. You can request a specific peer tutor if you’ve met one of us and found that there was a good match in personalities, or you can simply email Ms. Mikkelsen with a short bio and a list of your academic concerns. Ms. Mikkelsen will do a bang-up job of matching you up to your ideal tutor, based on personality, study-style, and interests.

You can meet us only once. Or you can meet us as many times as we allow you to.

Your peer tutor will assist and guide you, sharing their successful study and learning strategies, and providing tips on how to most efficiently tackle the challenging study of law. We won’t provide proofreading assistance, or re-teach you your course materials. But we’re happy to discuss the material with you to facilitate your understanding.

We’re also happy to just chat about opportunities at law school or career goals.

I look forward to meeting you, tutee.

Confessions of a Facebook Fugitive

Facebook Like

 

BY ANGELA LEE, LAW II

 

For one reason or another, people are often surprised to find out that I don’t use Facebook (anymore). Usually, this surprise stems from the fact that people fundamentally misunderstand my conscious decision to stay off “the Book”. Of course, there are many valid motives for deactivating a Facebook account. For example, you may notice your friend count mysteriously thinning out around exam time, only to flourish again once the end-of-term party has occurred – after all, everyone wants to get up on tagging all those pics and swapping holiday stories. However, my motives are slightly more complicated than a complete lack of impulse control coupled with a heavy tendency towards procrastination (although I suffer from that as well).

I’m a relapsed and rehabilitated ex-Facebooker in that I kicked the habit once in 2011 and returned in 2012, only to kick the habit again in 2013. In this day and age, quitting Facebook cold turkey is not by any means an easy thing to do. Internet addiction is an actual phenomenon, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook addiction doesn’t soon become one as well, if it’s not considered one already. In the depths of my struggle, I would reactivate my account at off-peak hours, quickly catch myself up on the comings and goings of my various friends, acquaintances, and enemies, and then quietly deactivate again after 10 minutes of frenzied creeping. Rinse and repeat.

Eventually I managed to wean myself off of the monolith of social networking for good. I stayed off of it for over a year, and was pleased with my successful recovery from Facebookaholism – until I went on an extended travelling stint. Meeting people from all corners of the globe under short-term conditions unavoidably makes staying in touch a bit of a challenge, and Facebook suddenly became something of a necessary evil. So I was back, but not quite with a vengeance. I limited my friends list only to those people who I didn’t have a legitimate, alternative means of contact with, set my privacy settings to tin-foil hat mode, and would sign on only intermittently. Then I started law school, and as you are probably well aware, the snowballing Facebook friend explosion is practically a rite of passage during the initial excitement of orientation and the weeks beyond. For some, deleting Facebook is seen as akin to committing social suicide – after all, there is seemingly no better way to stay dialled in. So why did I do it? I have a few reasons (of which I will only touch on a few, for brevity’s sake).

For one, Facebook promotes a very particular kind of communication, and one that I don’t necessarily sanction. I’m old-school in that I still write pen and paper letters and/or maintain email correspondence with my friends in faraway places. In these messages, featuring actual sentences and paragraphs, I ask them about their jobs, and their families, and their significant others. I update them on my life and they update me on theirs in return. We swap stories. There are a handful of people that I care enough to do this with, and they represent only a tiny fraction of the amount of Facebook “friends” I had accumulated at my peak. Ultimately, I got tired of trading quality for quantity.

Relatedly, Facebook makes it a lot easier to be harassed, and I speak from experience. Blocking someone is a hopelessly ineffective technique, because despite Facebook’s prohibition against creating multiple accounts, it is way too easy to neatly evade this supposed rule. Facebook is the communicative medium of choice for a lot of people, and given that I’m very selective about who I give my contact information to, it was essentially the easiest way to get in touch with me for a lot of people who I didn’t want to be in touch with, even after I had made that latter fact explicitly clear. Not only could these people get in touch with me, they could keep getting in touch with me, far past my limit of wanting to deal with them. See: modern-day cyber-bullying as another, far more vivid illustration of this point.

Finally, I have serious concerns about Facebook’s use of my personal data. Things didn’t always used to be so shady, but in recent years, Facebook has been rolling out a lot of various changes to their privacy policies that are highly troubling. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think twice about what you say or do on Facebook. I’d wager that at least one message thread, picture, or tag of you on “the Book” could possibly be incriminating or, at the very least, highly damaging to your personal and/or professional reputation. It’s unnerving to think that messages between individual users or photos uploaded and set to be viewed by “my friends only”, for example, are potentially not as confidential as you think they are, but that’s a reality you should be prepared to face (unless you’re staunchly in the “ignorance is bliss” camp).

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has recently begun an inquiry into whether Facebook has violated a regulation whereby they were required to get the explicit consent of users before exposing their private information to new audiences. In both Canada and the United States, Facebook has been the defendant in class action suits brought by users who are upset by the fact that their names and photos were used without their consent by advertisers to endorse products in Facebook ads circulated to their friends. With these class action suits, the stakes are high – as they always are when dealing with large groups of people and huge amounts of settlement money – but somehow it seems even more significant when privacy and civil liberties, which are arguably beyond price, are also on the line.

Given the ubiquitous nature of Facebook in modern life, it’s kind of crazy to think that all of us once lived in a world before Facebook – a world where we didn’t have instant access to what the vast majority of our “social network” was doing at any given time. A world where our fingers didn’t immediately poise themselves over the f-a-c-e keys (and the rest left to autofinish) as soon as we opened our internet browsers. A world where we didn’t have to worry so much about the ominous implications of what corporations are doing with some of our most personal data.

Further, studies about the effects of Facebook usage have already started to crop up, and in the coming years, will undoubtedly multiply not only in number, but also in scope. Go to Google Scholar and type in “facebook” as a query – you’ll get some very interesting results, some positive, and some not so much. For example, there has been a demonstrated correlation between Facebooking and narcissism – surprise, surprise. Facebook has also been connected to increasing levels of dissatisfaction with one’s own life. After all, when you’re only seeing the highlight reel of other people’s lives, the fact that you’re sitting at home in sweatpants eating a microwaved meal while skimming through pictures of a group of your friends jumping on the beach in Maui suddenly seems way more depressing than it actually is on any objective level (although that’s perhaps a bad example, because that actually sounds really depressing).

I hasten to concede that Facebook is not entirely a bad thing, and that it essentially does a bang-up job of what it’s supposed to do – allow you to “connect with friends and the world around you”.  But if it’s true that nothing in life is free, at what price does that connection come?

The Courage to Love: Fear and Unconditional Love

Fear and Unconditional Love
BY KEVIN TJIA, LAW II

What is the nature of man? John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.” This is some heavy stuff. Basically, John is just cribbing from when Michael Jackson sang, “You are not alone / I am here with you / Though we’re far apart / You’re always in my heart / But you are not alone / ‘Lone, ‘lone / Why, ‘lone.”

Thanks for that, Michael.

Law school can sometimes feel like an exercise in fear and loathing. And you will be somewhere around the topic of estoppel on the edge of sanity when the coffee finally begins to take hold of your addled brain. You’ll remember saying something like, “I feel the distinction between using estoppel as a sword and a shield is making me lightheaded; maybe you should explain again…” And suddenly there will be a terrible roar all around you and the sky will be full of what looks like a flock of robed judiciary, all swooping and screeching and diving around your seat. Okay. That’s enough.

It’s important to love people unconditionally. This is hard, though. Especially when you’re frantically competing against these same people to be ranked on a metric of, here’s a fact pattern riddled with grammatical errors and logical inconsistencies and you have 3 hours to justify your million-dollar legal career that potentially hangs in the balance. But the alternative is even more horrible—letting an island-woman drift aimlessly in the deep blue sea of law school without a friendly face to get her through the day.

Reach out and say hi to someone you wouldn’t normally have thought to talk to. Be kind. Don’t be quick to judge them. Learn to be comfortable in your skin. Speak up in class! Listen to what others have to say and try to relate to them and understand why they might have come to hold their position instead of jumping to quick antagonist conclusions. The more you can put yourself into a positive mental headspace by loving and accepting unconditionally the people around you, the better you’ll feel about every other aspect of your life. I’m being real and chill as heck here. Just ease up on yourself and others.

Meanness stems from insecurity and fear. So throw away your insecurities and your fears at the door of Allard Hall. The unconditional love that you can summon up the courage to give to the world will be repaid tenfold (if not by the world, then by me).

Brandon McCartney, alias Lil B (look up the etymology of alias), put it succinctly when he wrote, “We have a chance to build a world filled with Positive / Love / Possibility / Freedom, and / Self-acceptance.” He also wrote, “We all did weird stuff. Let it go.”

That stuck with me.

Solution: Law Students

Pro Bono


BY BEVERLY MA, LAW II

Executive Director of Access Pro Bono Jamie Maclaren held a talk on August 30, 2013, about the value of pro bono work, at the Pro Bono Students Canada annual Lunch Launch. Importantly, he highlighted the access to justice crisis in Canada, and in our province. With fixed annual contributions from the Law Foundation, there are ever-increasing tradeoffs to budget allocations that inevitably limit access to lawyers for low and middle-income individuals with legal issues. Law students represent an invaluable resource and a partial solution, in my opinion, as they themselves have access to tools that can help some of those that fall outside of the current pro bono net. Not only do law students give, in return they receive invaluable experience to develop themselves in their legal careers even before they start working for a firm. I greatly enjoyed Andrew’s post here in the Legal Eye last year on this topic.

While law students like getting involved, there is often a dilemma. I once heard the remark that law school itself is a huge commitment, and any additional commitments become over-commitments. It is not surprising that law students hesitate to commit more time to legal endeavors when faced with so many additional commitments and a desire to maintain a life outside of law school. Volunteering as a law student is a commitment, but it is often as much of a commitment as you make it to be. Programs like Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) have a limited commitment of 3-5 hours per week, and the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) is infamously flexible (you can take as many [or as few] files as you want, pretty much!).

Now is the time of year when law students are applying for programs such as those I have mentioned above (the PBSC deadline is September 19, 2013, and although the LSLAP application deadline of September 9, 2013, has just past, an email to one of the LSLAP execs may still be able to find you a spot). If you are a law student at UBC (or elsewhere), I encourage you to take the plunge and get involved with one or both of these programs, whether you are motivated by the access to justice crisis or the prospect of adding more to your resume. Do not discount the value of the assistance offered by a law student to client and public interest organizations.