Sept. 17, 2021
It all started with 'Take your kid to work day'
Paige Thomas recalls two events that ignited her desire to go to law school. The first was when a member of her family, who is a lawyer, brought her to the firm’s “Take your kid to work day” event. The second was a conversation with her high school social studies teacher who told her that a career in law would be a good fit.
Through Thomas’s education, family experiences and work, she saw how appropriate representation for socially disadvantaged groups can make a difference. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work from UCalgary in 2019, and has worked as an intern with Alberta Children’s Services as well as a registered social worker with the Women in Need Society in their Family Resource Centre, where she regularly worked with clients who were interacting with the judicial system.
“I kept being confronted with legislation and needing to understand how to work within the law, and I really enjoyed it,” explains Thomas. “Then when I was an intern with Children’s Services, I had to help clients work through different legal documents and attend court. I figured if I was working in the area I might as well apply to law school.”
In my lifetime, I want to contribute to making a difference of the inequality within our country.
Starting law school with an open mind, keen to learn as much as possible
A member of Metis Nation of Alberta Region 3, Thomas is wrapping up her role as an Indigenous student support adviser with UCalgary’s Student Wellness Services, where she has worked for the past year helping students on campus with their wellness. But despite her breadth of experience in social work and human justice, she’s not sure what area of law she intends to practice once she graduates in 2024.
"I'm going into law school with the same mindset that I did when I started my education in social work, and that’s to learn as much as I can and be open to all different kinds of opportunities,” she says. “I learned through different work experiences that there are different skills that I didn't know that I had until I was in that environment.”
“I think, naturally I would gravitate to family law. But I want to open myself up to explore different avenues and see what fits.”
Thomas wins inaugural scholarship
As a result of her educational and work experiences, Thomas is the inaugural winner of the new Inter Pipeline Award for Indigenous Law Students, worth $10,000. The award aims to support diversity within Calgary’s legal community, thus better reflecting the community it serves.
“It’s exciting to see Inter Pipeline committing to diversifying the field of law, and how the profession is changing,” says Thomas. “I’m so appreciative of this opportunity and the financial support. I have a young child and not having to worry about the financial burden and focus on my studies is wonderful.”