I am proud to see that my alma mater, Queen’s University, has been ranked #1 in Canada and #5 in the world, based on Times Higher Education 2021 Impact Rankings. I attended Queen’s University from 2005 to 2007 for my law degree (LL.B, converted to J.D.) and I had a great experience. Located in Kingston, Ontario, the town has a strong campus culture and it is conveniently located between Ottawa and Toronto. While I was in law school, for example, we were able to make multiple trips to the Supreme Court of Canada and meet the justices on Canada’s top court. Down the highway in the other direction, it was easy to spend weekends in Toronto and Queen’s has a strong connection with Bay Street firms.
I hope you don’t mind if I take a trip down memory lane. I owe my practice and my firm, in part, due to the top level of education at Queen’s. My professors include Sharry Aiken, Barbara Jackman, Geri Sadoway, Paul Paton and FCA Justice David Stratas. Each one of these professors helped me find my passion for immigration and refugee law. During presentations at the University of Winnipeg and at BCIT, I have talked at length about the Singh decision at the SCC and the importance of this decision on all refugee claimants – even in 2021. My presentation would not have been nearing as interesting without the conversations that I had with Barb while I was at Queen’s.
My Blank Key
When I was in my small section at Queen’s, Professor Pardy gave each of us a blank key as a symbol of our law degree. He passed along a didactic story, which I will not repeat here, with the point that it is a privilege to go through law school. We learned how legal systems work. We learned how to read and interpret legalese. I remember a line from Rake where he was talking about how lawyers stopped using Latin. To paraphrase, lawyers were able to make English so cryptic and incomprehensible, they no longer needed to use Latin. Indeed.
Not All Roses and Puppies
I love talking to students about going to law school. This should not be an easy decision. If you or someone you know is thinking about going to law school, they need to understand the good… and the bad. In 2007, I graduated from Queen’s with around 160 other law students. Since then, 4 of my classmates have lost their lives. These deaths are tragic on different levels. Anyone who is considering a career in law should be aware of the high stress & anxiety. I have not checked recently but lawyers are generally at the top of the list for drug and alcohol abuse. Not surprisingly. (If you’re wondering, I meditate and I have a strong support network. I also take self-care very seriously.)
I want to wish all Queen’s grads an amazing 2021. Congratulations on getting #1 in Canada. Great school.