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Monday, 06 June 2011 10:35

Pro bono, 15 years strong

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The “germ” has caught on.
University of Toronto Faculty of Law dean Mayo Moran was referring to the growth of the pro bono movement in Canada since the inception of Pro Bono Students Canada in 1996.
She praised the organization for its work after telling the audience at PBSC’s 15th anniversary celebration last week that “the justice system in this country is fragile.”
The country’s lack of legal aid was a common theme throughout the night.
Keynote speaker Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella talked about access to justice and asked, “Why do we still resolve civil disputes the way we did centuries ago?
“Justice may be blind, but the public is not,” she said.
Recent Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law graduate Gillian Scarlett says she agrees with Abella, “I think the legal system is quite archaic in a lot of senses.”
However, she’s optimistic about the future. “I think pro bono is at the forefront of changing the legal system in a positive way.”
As a law student, Scarlett says she did a lot of volunteer work but wasn’t sure what her niche was. She chose to join PBSC because it offered programming for many different interests. “It was the most well-developed social justice program at law school,” she says.
Founded by Ron Daniels — then dean of law at U of T and now president of John Hopkins University — PBSC has a chapter at every law school in Canada.
Although not every law firm supports pro bono work, organizers and students are hopeful that it’s slowly catching on.
“It will be tough in certain law firms, particularly when the billable hour is the No. 1 driver of legal work,” says Scarlett, PBSC’s national co-ordinator for 2010-11, “but I definitely think that’s why young people need to tackle the legal world en masse and bring pro bono values to their firms.”
Scarlett will be articling with Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP in Calgary in July where she plans to continue to a part of PBSC. She also hopes to eventually start a pro bono group within her firm.
Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella. Photo: Heather Gardiner
Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella. Photo: Heather Gardiner
The “germ” has caught on.
Monday, 30 May 2011 11:08

Iranian law students, lawyers come together

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Behrouz Amouzgar, Atoosa Mahdavian, and Babak Nahiddi at last week’s gathering of Persian lawyers and students. Photo: Robert Todd
Behrouz Amouzgar, Atoosa Mahdavian, and Babak Nahiddi at last week’s gathering of Persian lawyers and students. Photo: Robert Todd
Iranian lawyers and law students got together last week for a networking event in downtown Toronto, demonstrating the growing influence of their community within Canada’s legal community.
Monday, 23 May 2011 12:59

Manitoba law school adopts JD

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Robson Hall Faculty of Law has officially adopted the JD law degree designation.
Robson Hall Faculty of Law has officially adopted the JD law degree designation.
Robson Hall Faculty of Law has officially hopped on the JD bandwagon, announcing last week the University of Manitoba senate has approved the change of its law degree name away from the traditional LLB.
Monday, 23 May 2011 12:56

Bidding adieu to articling

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Photo: Comstock
Photo: Comstock
For most Ontario students who started their articling year in August 2010, the end is finally near. After 10 months of what one can only describe as slogging, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. While some have started to make summer travel plans, most of us are walking around these days with barely containable nervousness. The proverbial elephant in the room is now more of a lion in the Serengeti hungry for its next unsuspecting articling student.
Monday, 16 May 2011 10:49

Dal law school fees going up 6%

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Law dean Kim Brooks says they were expecting only a three-per-cent hike.
Law dean Kim Brooks says they were expecting only a three-per-cent hike.
Law students will be paying extra when they return to school in September. Dalhousie University will increase tuition for the Schulich School of Law by six per cent for the 2011-12 school year. Combined with a $500 auxiliary fee approved by the law school, students could be paying up to $3,200 in additional fees.
Carrie Moffatt has just completed her first year of law school at the University of Victoria.
Carrie Moffatt has just completed her first year of law school at the University of Victoria.
While Carrie Moffatt is just finishing up her first year of law at the University of Victoria, she’s already winning accolades. Her instructors are hailing her as a sort of paragon of the field; a complete natural who speaks legalese like it’s her mother tongue.
Monday, 02 May 2011 10:01

Victory in Vienna

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Front row (l to r): Jonathan O'Hara, Marc McLaren-Caux. Back row: Etai Hilzenrat, Aida Setrakian (former U of O Vis participant), Eric Bergsten (Vis Moot founder), Professor Anthony Daimsis, John Siwiec, Diane Laranja, and Sherif Foda.
Front row (l to r): Jonathan O'Hara, Marc McLaren-Caux. Back row: Etai Hilzenrat, Aida Setrakian (former U of O Vis participant), Eric Bergsten (Vis Moot founder), Professor Anthony Daimsis, John Siwiec, Diane Laranja, and Sherif Foda.
This past academic year I had the opportunity to help coach the University of Ottawa’s Willem C. Vis international commercial arbitration moot team. The team recently returned from the 18th annual moot in Vienna, Austria as world champions. Held every year in the week before Easter, the Vis moot attracts more than 250 universities from 65-plus countries and is intended to be an educational experience for students centring around issues of arbitral procedure and an international business dispute.
Last week, benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada voted to participate in the National Standards Project, which aims to synchronize the licensing processes among all law societies nationwide.
The Law Commission of Ontario has recently begun an initiative that is rather different from its usual projects. It is being funded by the Ontario Women’s Directorate to develop law school curriculum modules around violence (particularly domestic violence) against women. “Women” are identified as the focus of the initiative because they are still the vast majority of victims of domestic violence.
Monday, 18 April 2011 09:43

Western finally gets a law review

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(Left to right) Suzie Chiodo, Eugene Polevoy, Elba Bendo, Rajeeve Thakur, Lisa Di Valentino, and Justin Anisman from the Western Journal of Legal Studies.
(Left to right) Suzie Chiodo, Eugene Polevoy, Elba Bendo, Rajeeve Thakur, Lisa Di Valentino, and Justin Anisman from the Western Journal of Legal Studies.
The University of Western Ontario’s law school has finally secured the right to publish its own student-run law review. Called the Western Journal of Legal Studies, the first issue should be published online in December and is reportedly set to be stuffed full of articles by students, as well as national and international colleagues, with a few award-winning articles thrown in the mix.
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