Joseph Arvay Legacy Fund created to support law students into public interest legal work

Arvay died at 71, in December of 2020

Joseph Arvay Legacy Fund created to support law students into public interest legal work
Image credit: Arvay Finlay LLP

The University of Victoria Faculty of Law has created a legacy fund to honour and recognize Joseph Arvay’s exceptional accomplishments during his legal career.

“Joe was widely recognized as one of the most brilliant and successful constitutional and civil liberties lawyers of his time, and his passion and commitment to social justice through the practice of public law is unparalleled,” Robin Gage, managing partner at Arvay Finlay LLP, said in a news release. “We still feel his loss deeply but are trying to honour him and his legacy the best way we know how - by continuing this important work and by looking for ways to support others in doing the same.”

The Joseph Arvay Legacy Fund will be used to encourage and support law students who are interested in following the visionary work of Arvay in pursuing public law activities and have showed aptitude and talent for public interest law.

The fund, through the establishment of the Joseph Arvay Public Interest Internship, will give law students the opportunity to work with not-for-profit and public-interest organizations. Sponsoring organizations will be selected on an annual basis, based on their ability to provide meaningful work experience to students, with a preference given to organizations that align with Arvay’s career and passion.

The inaugural internship will take place in summer 2022 with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). Arvay represented the BCCLA on a pro bono basis for three decades in many ground-breaking cases that made Canadian legal history. He appeared on behalf of the BCCLA to challenge the constitutionality of prolonged, indefinite solitary confinement in federal prisons.  He also fought to achieve full equality for the LGBTQ+ community and established the constitutional right to physician-assisted dying for the seriously ill.

“Joe is remembered as a hero to the BCCLA. The BCCLA is honored to be chosen to host the inaugural fellowship for the Joseph Arvay Legacy Fund,” BCCLA Litigation Director Grace Pastine said in the release.

“We are proud to continue Joe’s incredible legacy by helping to develop the lawyers who will follow in Joe’s footsteps.”

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