Rosalie Jukier: Varying paths
“… the principles they learn about process, transparency, analytical reasoning, equal treatment, and the rule of law, will also serve them quite well in non-law related endeavours.”
Rosalie Jukier has been teaching in McGill’s Faculty of Law since 1985. Her teaching and research interests focus particularly on contractual obligations and remedies. Rosalie’s teaching was recognized in 2004 with a John W. Durnford Teaching Excellence Award, awarded by the McGill Law Students' Association, and in 2010 with McGill’s Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
In addition to teaching and researching, Rosalie has been Dean of Students at McGill (1995-2001) and Senior Advisor to the National Juridical Institute in Ottawa (2005-2007), where she was involved in the development and delivery of legal education programmes for judges. She currently is Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) at the Faculty.
What notable professional experiences inform your teaching?
I’ve had a somewhat less traditional trajectory over my 26 years of teaching than perhaps other law professors. For various reasons, my teaching career has taken several interesting virages – or turns. And reflecting on some of these, I realize that they have fundamentally changed my approach to teaching. For example, in 1995 I left the Faculty of Law and spent six years as Dean of Students, which was an instructive experience in how useful legal education can be outside the legal field. Consequently, I often tell my students that the principles they learn about process, transparency, analytical reasoning, equal treatment, and the rule of law, will also serve them quite well in non-law related endeavours.
The many issues I encountered as Dean of Students provided me with a rich perspective on legal matters, particularly in the disciplinary area. When I returned to full-time teaching I brought some of these experiences into the classroom, but with a different perspective. For instance, I teach a poignant Supreme Court of Canada case about judicial accountability and whether you can ask a judge to step down for a crime he committed at the age of 19, even though he was pardoned for it. This leads to very animated discussions and debates about how everything you do in life informs who you are and may have unforeseen consequences down the road.
I have also taught a wide array of audiences including judges (during my time at the National Judicial Institute), Chinese law students, lay audiences (through Mini-Law) and practising lawyers (through Continuing Legal Education). These diverse pedagogical experiences have changed, in a very positive way, how I teach at McGill.
Taking familiar material and “repackaging” it for these various audiences has enabled me to view what I already know through radically different lenses. And this is appropriately in line with our transsystemic approach at McGill – learning to view law and the world through a pluralistic lens. We teach our students that there is no one answer to a legal problem – that law is just a series of hypotheses as to how to solve common problems. These experiences have helped me teach that.