Calgary lawyer encourages Western Canadian law students to experience Quebec culture


Bryan Haynes, BA’90, LLB’93, wants other students from outside Quebec to have the same opportunity he had to study law in a bilingual environment.

Haynes spent his formative years in British Columbia, but that didn’t stop him from moving to Montreal as a law student – where he immersed himself in the city’s rich mixture of French and English traditions while studying at McGill’s Faculty of Law. Today, Haynes is a partner at the Calgary office of Bennett Jones LLP. He leads the commercial transactions practice group, and works extensively in cross-border transactions between Canada and the US. But Haynes remains committed to bilingualism and credits McGill’s Faculty of Law with helping him grasp early on the importance of thinking beyond jurisdictional boundaries.

As a tribute to his alma mater, Haynes generously donated $25,000 to the Quebec Research Centre of Private & Comparative Law, based at McGill’s Faculty of Law. The money will enable students from outside Quebec to work on the Centre’s main initiative – the bilingual Dictionnaires de droit privé / Private Law Dictionaries.

The Dictionaries Project has the mammoth task of maintaining and updating the volumes, which serve to outline Quebec’s private law system in civilian terms. The volumes are published in both French and English, and are considered essential to understanding Quebec’s civil law.

“The mix of cultures and languages make Montreal and McGill so special,” said Haynes. “I am honoured to have been able to take my McGill education back to Alberta, and I would love for other young people from outside of Quebec to have the opportunity to experience the same kind of richness.”

McGill Law Professor Lionel Smith – currently the Director of the Centre, and who taught law in Edmonton before coming to McGill – said the QRCPCL is extremely grateful for Haynes’ generosity.

“Students are the lifeblood of the Dictionaries Project,” said Smith. “And because these dictionaries have become an essential tool for Quebec jurists, legal translators and scholars working in comparative law, the young people involved in the project are actually improving access to justice, while being immersed in a deep and scholarly way in the bilingual reality of Quebec civil law.”

Students hired through the fund will be known as Bryan Haynes Researchers. Law students from outside of Quebec will be eligible for these summer research positions, but preference will be given to people from Western Canada.

For more information, please visit the Quebec Research Centre of Private & Comparative Law’s web site.

Contact Information

Toby Rachel Moneit
Development Director, Faculty of Law
toby.moneit [at]
Office Phone: