Brandon Forbes of Campbell Lea law firm in Charlottetown spoke at a three-day Community Youth Justice Camp in August for youth ages 12 to 15.
Community Legal Information Association of PEI (CLIA) hosted the event, where 20 campers gathered in Charlottetown to play games, go on tours, and hear presentations from lawyers, the MCPEI Indigenous Justice Program, and the PEI Human Rights Commission.
Brandon has been a lawyer for 10 years. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from UPEI. Then he made a career decision. “My roommate was studying for the LSAT (the standard law school entrance exam) and I was inspired by him to consider law as a career,” he says. “Also, several people who I looked up to told me I should go to law school.”
He earned his law degree at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Brandon’s specialties are civil litigation, criminal law, and property law.
Choosing a career in law
“This camp was an excellent opportunity for youth to learn about the law profession,” says Brandon. “Anyone interested in a career in law should go to court and sit in the public gallery. By watching a trial in progress, you’ll see if law is a good fit for you.”
The camp included participation in a mock Indigenous sentencing circle and tours of the police station and the courthouse in Charlottetown. The youth even held a mock trial at the courthouse.
“The mock trial went really well. The participants prepared for it throughout the camp,” says Eliza MacLauchlan of CLIA. “Everyone took on a role in the court as theCrown and defence lawyers, witnesses, court services officer, member of the press or the court clerk.”
The law profession on PEI
The Law Society of PEI’s statistics from 2015 on the law profession on PEI:
- Number of practicing lawyers: 236
- Total number of lawyers: 324 (includes non-practicing or retired)
- Number of male: 180
- Number of female: 144
- Law firms: 40 (21 percent of lawyers work in small firms having 1 to 4 lawyers and 55 percent work in larger firms)
Lawyers begin by earning an undergraduate university degree, followed by attendance at a school of law to earn a law degree.
This is followed by 12 months as an Articled Clerk for an established lawyer (much like an apprenticeship).
After the student has passed the Bar Admissions examination, they are admitted to the Bar as a Practicing Member of the Law Society and can work as a lawyer in the province.