Saskatchewan government announces money for law students in rural public service

Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre attends a joint funding announcement between the provincial government, University of Saskatchewan and Legal Aid Saskatchewan at the College of Law in Saskatoon, Sask. on Monday, April 1, 2024.

Michael Joel-Hansen

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The provincial government announced financial support for the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in an effort to get law students to consider a careers in the public sector.

Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre on Monday announced the commitment of $100,000 to support students who accept work placements with a range of provincial agencies.

“These will be placement opportunities with the Ministry of Justice, Public Prosecutions and Legal Aid in rural Saskatchewan,” she said.

The money is to support students who accept work placements in communities away from Saskatoon during their education. Eyre said the province hopes the initiative will lead to law students considering article placements in the public sector while also helping to improve access to justice in rural areas.

The province was also was motivated to step up because the College of Law is looking to expand the number of learning placements available for students, she added.

“It’s very good timing.”

The money is committed on a yearly basis; Eyre said the province hopes it will grow into other legal areas, like family services and civil law.

“It will be a commitment annually and we hope to expand it.”

U of S College of Law Dean Martin Phillipson noted the college recognizes the importance of graduates getting hands-on experience and works with multiple partners, including criminal lawyers in Saskatoon.

“We already do a good deal, but we need to do more; we need to provide a range of opportunities.”

Phillipson said it’s also important for the college to work with the provincial government to improve access to justice in smaller communities. He recently traveled to Estevan and Weyburn to visit with law school alumni and talk about getting young lawyers out to practise in smaller communities, he said.

“They are really interested in recruiting young and new lawyers into their communities.”