East Preston legal workshop headed by community role models

Corporate lawyer Candace Thomas, who's originally from East Preston, gave a legal workshop in that community and was pleased to see so many young people show up.

Land titles, criminal law, estate planning and parental rights discussed at East Preston event

Candace Thomas is a corporate lawyer at Stewart McKelvey. She is originally from East Preston and was helped host a session there meant to inspire would-be lawyers. (Steve Berry/CBC)

A lawyer from East Preston says she sees budding legal minds in the young people from her community.

Candace Thomas is one of five lawyers who recently hosted an information session on the legal system in East Preston. She says she was glad to see so many young faces in the crowd.

"We were quite pleased, we had no way of knowing if we'd get five people or two people, but we had between 35 and 40 people show up. We had to get out a few extra chairs," said Thomas, a corporate lawyer with Stewart McKelvey who gave a presentation on Business Law 101.

Influencing younger generations

The session was called You and the Law and it was held at the East Preston Recreation Centre as part of the East Preston Empowerment Academy.

Thomas's firm sponsored the event that was also a chance for the lawyers to do some recruiting in the community.

Dozens of residents turned out for a legal workshop held in East Preston recently. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Thomas says she and the other lawyers offered mentorship opportunities to interested young people.

"Now they now know who I am, and who these other lawyers are. When they require legal services, they know where to go. Also, as importantly for the younger people who attended, and there were quite a few in the audience that day, that they can see themselves as lawyers."

A needed session

Thomas says this session was much needed in the community since people there can have difficulty accessing legal services and sometimes feel like they have nowhere to turn.

"So how do we get more lawyers from our communities? This is one way," said Thomas.

The meeting was a chance for people to question the lawyers about everything, from land titles and criminal law to estate planning and parental rights.

Real people as role models

The fact that the session was so well attended encourages Thomas, but she says there's still lots of work to do when it comes to improving opportunities for youth in East Preston.

"I think the more that we impact the younger people, and give them real people as their role models, [it] might help the situation."

The East Preston Empowerment Academy plans to have more sessions on other aspects of the law in the coming months.