Skip to content

Want to be a lawyer? Port Coquitlam teen hosts legal conference at UBC for high school students

There is no cost for youth to register for the legal conference, which takes place at UBC on March 26.

High school and post–secondary students looking to pursue a career in law are tuning in from around the world for a regional conference organized in part by a Port Coquitlam teenager.

Young people from across Canada, the United States, India and China are registered for the Youth Leaders in Law (YLL) event that will take place in person at the University of B.C., and online.

Mason Mattu, a Grade 11 student in the International Baccalaureate program at Port Moody Secondary, who is YLL’s B.C. branch president, said the in-person gathering is now full; however, registration for the virtual broadcast is still available, with about 300 attendees on board so far.

Olivia Chen, a senior at Coquitlam’s Dr. Charles Best Secondary, is also on the branch team.

Mattu, 16, said the March 26 conference will feature an array of legal professionals who will focus in on such topics as Indigenous, criminal, corporate, environmental and immigration law.

The branch was able to secure speakers and a venue with the help of the UBC Peter A. Allard School of Law, as well as a $5,000 grant from UBC and sponsorship from Capilano University.

The aim of the regional conference is to encourage young people to get into the legal field and promote “equality and acceptance in the next generation of lawyers in Canada,” said Mattu, who plans to study criminal or family law after grad.

“It’s just amazing the speakers we have brought in and I’m hoping the participants have the same passion for law and justice as our team does.”

Law school admissions staff will also be on site to speak to future post–secondary students.

Mattu joined YLL during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 after reading its poster pinned up at his high school.

The following year, he was named the new B.C. branch’s director of outreach.

“It catered to my interests,” he said, “and it really opened my eyes to the legal profession. I’ve always been interested in politics and law so the group inspired me to learn more.”

Last month, YLL held a national convention online that heard from speakers about the Emergencies Act, language rights and R. vs Sharma — a 2022 case concerning the over-incarceration of Indigenous women; participants beamed in from across the country, Mattu said.

“Our conferences are an amazing opportunity to learn about law in Canada and support youth.”

There is no cost to register for the B.C. YLL conference. To learn more about YLL, go online to or visit its Instagram channel using the handle @youthleadersinlawbc.