Mock trial
McGill Law students during a mock trial before Dean Jutras and retired Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps, LLM’83.

Training lawyers for a globalized world

As the world becomes smaller and more interconnected, the skills and knowledge demanded of lawyers have become greater and more complex. McGill’s Faculty of Law is uniquely well-placed to meet these new demands of the globalized world – it is one of the few law faculties anywhere in which bilingualism and transsystemic education is built into its very DNA.

That breadth of outlook is reflected in the diversity of the Faculty’s community. Ali Martin-Mayer, BSc’98, BCL’02, LLB’02, the Faculty’s Assistant Dean (Admissions & Recruitment), notes that a significant proportion of McGill’s law students either are international students, or have work and life experience abroad. “This diversity is an essential component of our intellectual project for a legal education rested upon a dialog amongst various legal traditions that span the globe,” she says.

Philanthropy is key to that diversity, and thanks to the generosity of donors, the Faculty has been able to reach out to both students and scholars by establishing a variety of new scholarships and fellowships.

The Eric J.C. Arsenault Fellowships, for instance, have been used to support the research of Master’s, Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows at the Institute for Air and Space Law. The funding, established in 2008 by the Arsenault Family Foundation, has already brought seven accomplished scholars to McGill from countries over the world, including India, Ghana and Georgia.

A similar initiative is the Student International Program, which allows students to learn lessons that just aren’t possible to gain in a lecture hall. Created through a gift by Joseph Schull, BA’82, MA’85, and Anna Yang, BCL’88, LLB’88, the program funds extended international study and research projects, including internships, volunteer opportunities, workshops and field study courses.

Thanks to a gift from the Lederman Foundation, McGill will hold a Jewish Law Moot Court in – the first initiative of a wider project to study Jewish law and its relevance in an innovative teaching and learning environment. Participating McGill students will explore the sources, structures and scholarship of Jewish law with the guidance of Rabbi Michael Whitman, a learned scholar of Jewish Law.

Norton Rose Group Canada (formerly Ogilvy Renault LLP), meanwhile, partnered with its lawyers, agents and retired partners to create the Norton Rose Faculty Scholarships in Arbitration and Commercial Law, which support faculty members in the field of international arbitration and commercial law.

Martin-Mayer says that the Faculty counts on its philanthropic supporters to add to its strengths at all levels of study. The effect, she says, “is a direct intellectual input by the students into the legal education they collectively receive, as well as increased awareness of global issues and broadened career possibilities.”