First Impressions

Camille Cameron, Dean and Weldon Professor of Law
My first year at the Schulich School of Law has been a lot of fun. When I joined the law school in September 2015, my immediate priorities were to get to know faculty, staff and students and to begin to meet our many graduates throughout the country. I have been doing that, and here are some first impressions.

ClassroomThe many students with whom I have spoken identify the sense of community that exists at the law school as one of our greatest strengths. Our students come from and return to cities and towns all over the country, from Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia to the Northwest Territories, and all points in between.

What do they find here? A strong community, friendships that will last a lifetime, faculty who are dedicated to quality teaching and research, and administrative staff committed to ensuring a positive learning experience for every student.

I marvel at the number of activities in which our students are involved that add so much to the law school experience, and sometimes I wonder how they find the time to be the excellent students they are while still being so active in extracurricular activities.

I have also been using my first year as Dean to meet our many graduates and friends in Nova Scotia and throughout Canada. As someone who practiced law in Halifax for 10 years at the beginning of my career, it has been a pleasure to renew acquaintances with many former colleagues and friends. It is clear that the law school, the profession and the judiciary share strong ties.

One of my very first impressions was of the remarkably high degree of participation by judges and lawyers at every stage of our Orientation Week in September. Subsequently, I have learned just how many practitioners contribute to teaching and to our guest speaker events. We are planning an ambitious schedule of alumni visits in the Atlantic region, nationally and internationally, and I am looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible. It really is one of the delights of the job.

The alumni and their stories featured in this edition of Hearsay attest to our identity as “Canada’s national law school.” They also speak to the varieties of careers in which our graduates work and excel—in private practice, in business, as entrepreneurs, in politics, as government lawyers, as human rights advocates, as filmmakers. What great examples they are for our current students!

That same excellence, professionalism and scope are evident with our Schulich School of Law faculty. Our faculty members are committed to active scholarship and good teaching. They share their subject expertise with the public in media interviews and public lectures; they build local, national and international networks with other researchers; and they contribute as good citizens to the governance of the law school, the university and the community. Their activities described in this edition attest to their excellence and their achievements. They are supported in these activities by the commitment of many talented administrative staff members.

There is a consistent buzz of activity at the Schulich School of Law. Here is just a small sample of the kinds of activities I have had the pleasure to be involved with in the past few months:

  • A conference organized entirely by law students, IDEALaw: Access to Justice, with excellent speakers from across the country, including a keynote speech by Justice Thomas Cromwell held at the new Halifax public library.
  • Mini Law School public lectures given by our faculty for members of the community on a variety of topics, from climate change to freedom of religion to the nuts and bolts of making a will. (You can find many of them on our YouTube channel: youtube.com/schulichlaw.)
  • The annual event hosted by Minister of Justice Diana Whalen to celebrate our Indigenous Blacks and Mi’kmaq Initiative, attended by current and former graduates of the program, its many supporters in the community and members of the legislature. It was a great celebration of a great initiative.
  • Meeting with the students who have applied for court clerkships across the country and being so impressed with what they have achieved academically and as people committed to giving back to their law school, university and wider communities.
  • Attending our weekly research seminars and enjoying the scope and the breadth of the research that is being done by our faculty members.
  • Our recent professional development day for faculty, where we discussed the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report and how we, as a law school, can most effectively and meaningfully respond to them, especially Call to Action 28 and its focus on Canadian law school curricula.

To our alumni and alumnae, thank you for the credit your accomplishments bring to our law school and university, and thank you for your generosity in contributing your time, resources and expertise to ensuring that we can continue to offer a first-class experience for our students.

Sincerely,

Dean Camille Cameron

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