THE ADVOCATE 747
VOL. 78 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
PETER A. ALLARD
SCHOOL OF LAW
By Catherine Dauvergne, Q.C.*
ALLARD LAW LAUNCHES PILOT DEBT RELIEF PROGRAM
The Allard School of Law is pleased to launch its Post-Graduation Debt
Relief Pilot Program for the graduating class of 2020. Although we did not
design this program to coincide with a global pandemic, current conditions
for graduating students make this initiative extremely timely.
Post-graduation debt relief adds an important new dimension to our
ongoing work to make legal education financially accessible. There are several
dimensions to financial aid for law students. The traditional approach
has been to direct as much funding as possible to students during their law
school years, to mitigate the amount of debt that they may need to incur to
complete a law degree. But as the cost of legal education has increased over
the years, this approach has led to three problems.
The first problem is that the Allard School of Law does not have enough
funding to meet our students’ financial needs. Although we annually devote
approximately $1.2 million dollars to student bursaries, this amount falls
persistently about $1 million short of aggregated student need. Furthermore,
this calculation of need is based on provincially standardized measures.
It is certainly not extravagant, and for some, it will be not nearly
Taking on debt to complete a legal education is not in and of itself a bad
thing. A legal education is valuable—a good investment. And it is absolutely
reasonable to expect students to contribute to the cost of their education,
especially in a profession where median remuneration puts most lawyers
comfortably among the middle class. Indeed, more than eighty per cent of
our students have paid off all of their student debt within five years of grad-
* Catherine Dauvergne, Q.C., is the dean of the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC.