Scholars at the Research Centre

Assistant Director

Mariana Romanello JacobMariana Romanello Jacob

mariana.romanellojacob [at] (Mariana Romanello Jacob) became the Assistant Director of the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law in February 2024. Prior to taking on this role, she worked there as Researcher-Project Coordinator. She completed her studies in Law in Brazil at the Faculty of Law of the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas. Throughout her course, she won two awards in undergraduate legal research to undertake studies in private international law as well as two honorary distinctions for her research results presented at conferences of the American Association of Private International Law (2014/2015). She was also a judicial intern at the Chambers of Judge Carlos Ortiz Gomes at the Court of Justice of the State of São Paulo (Brazil) during the 2012-2014 academic years.

After successfully completing the Brazilian Bar in 2015, Mariana worked as an associate attorney at the law firm Carvalho, Machado e Timm Advogados from 2016 to 2019. She was part of the civil law advisory team, with a focus on commercial contracts. As part of her experience as a contract lawyer, she had the opportunity to temporarily assist in-house legal teams inside multinational companies, obtaining a unique vision from the legal practice inside and outside large corporations.

In parallel to her legal practice, Mariana continued to chart her path in legal research, becoming a member of the “Direito, Globalização e Cidadania” [Law, Globalization, and Citizenship] Study and Research Group in Brazil, where she engaged in relevant studies in private and public international law. As a result, she has published and co-authored articles and book chapters on these subjects, especially in Latin America. She was the President of the Diversity Committee of this Research Group from 2020 to 2023. Mariana is also a member of the American Association of Private International Law (ASADIP) and of the International Civil Procedure Network (Rede-PCI).

In 2023, Mariana completed her master's degree in law (LLM-thesis) at the Faculty of Law of McGill University. She focused her thesis on the proximity principle in the jurisdictional aspect of cross-border disputes, undertaking comparative research between Canada and Brazil. During her studies at McGill University, she worked as a research assistant for Prof. Geneviève Saumier (2021-2023), conducting legal research on various facets of private international law. She was also engaged in different student activities, such as serving as Vice-President Finance of the Graduate Law Students Association during the 2020/2021 academic year and integrating the McGill Graduate Law Students Association Research Series editorial board in 2022 as a peer-reviewer.

Mariana has a strong interest in comparative law, which is at the cœur of the domain of private international law, the legal branch she has been researching for the past years. She is especially fascinated by the bilingual and bijuridical context of Quebec and is honoured to be a part of the research team of the Crépeau Centre.


Valérine Pinel

valerine.pinel [at] (Valérine Pinel) is the Researcher-Project Coordinator at the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law. Trained in civil law in France, Valérine has a bachelor’s degree in private law and a master’s degree in criminal law from Toulouse Capitole University. Alongside her studies and numerous student jobs, she worked at the Genepi student association for four years. As a volunteer, Valérine taught incarcerated women, hosted a radio program, and participated in civil society awareness events on prison issues.

She discovered bijuralism in Quebec in 2018 thanks to a double degree between Laval University and Toulouse Capitole University, allowing her to obtain two master’s degrees in law from each country. Her research essay focused on the repercussions of preventive detention on fundamental rights.

Thanks to her experience in Quebec, Valérine developed a love for research, which pushed her to work as a research assistant at Laval University, in criminal and civil law with several professors from the Faculty of Law. She coordinated the Louis-Philippe-Pigeon Chair in Legal Writing for a year, before returning to France during the pandemic. During this transition period in France, Valérine worked for the Ministry of Justice as a probation officer. She also worked as a schoolteacher for a few months before returning to Quebec.

From 2022 to January 2024, Valérine was the coordinator of the Antoine-Turmel Research Chair at Laval University. Her research work has mainly focused on gender and age biases during the sentencing trial concerning older women, as well as on end-of-life care in Quebec.

Armenouhie VartanianArmenouhie Vartanian

In 2006, armenouhie.vartanian [at] (Armenouhie Vartanian) graduated in French and Lebanese civil law from Saint Joseph University in Lebanon. She obtained her Bachelor of Laws from the Faculty of Law of the Université de Montréal in June 2017 and a Master's degree in notarial law from the Faculty of Law of the Université de Montréal in 2018. During her studies in law, Armenouhie worked as teaching assistant and a research assistant  for several professors. From September 2017 to August 2018, she also acted as coordinator of the Clinique de Médiation of the Faculty of Law of the Université de Montréal.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, she was an academic coach for students in the program of Master's degree in notarial law at the Université de Montréal.

Armenouhie is passionate about law and has been sharing her interest with the college students in paralegal technology since 2019. She continues to teach with the same enthusiasm as a lecturer in notarial law at O'Sullivan College in Montreal. A practicing notary and member of the Chambre des notaires du Québec since April 2019, she practices private law, particularly in family law and real estate law.

Armenouhie has been a member of the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law since 2022 and works as a researcher for the Dictionary “Persons” and other related mandates.

Étienne Cossette-Lefebvre is a researcher at the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law since September 2021.

After completing with “First Class Distinction” a multidisciplinary program leading to an integrated diploma in Science, Literature and Art at Jean-de-Brébeuf College in Montreal, etienne.cossette-lefebvre [at] (Étienne Cossette-Lefebvre) earned a B.C.L./LL.B. (Honours) at the Faculty of Law of McGill University in May 2014. He won numerous awards and distinctions while at McGill (J.W. McConnell Scholarship, Wilson & Lafleur Prize, Wainwright Essay Prize, Selma and Jak Almaleh Prize) and his name is mentioned on the Dean’s Honour List. He was also awarded the First Prize in the undergraduate category of the Comparative Law Contest 2013/2014 of the Quebec Association of Comparative Law. In 2020, Étienne earned an LL.M. at the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto.

During his studies in law, Étienne worked for many professors as a teaching assistant and a research assistant in the fields of intellectual property law and the law of property (civil law, common law). He was also a student intern for Justice Nicholas Kasirer at the Court of Appeal of Quebec during the 2012/2013 academic year. After successfully completing the Quebec Bar and earning the second-highest grade point average of all 1092 Quebec Bar School’s students for the 2014/2015 academic year, Étienne worked as a research associate at the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law. From June 2015 to June 2017, he worked as a law clerk for Justice Robert M. Mainville at the Court of Appeal of Quebec. In June 2017, he was granted an exceptional one-year contract extension at the Court of Appeal of Quebec, which gave him the opportunity to work with many different Justices of the Court. In 2018-2019, he clerked for Justice Russell Brown at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Étienne has a strong interest in the law of property and the law of persons, in private law generally and in comparative law. He is a course lecturer at the Faculty of Law of McGill University (Administration of the Property of Another and Trusts (PRV4 548 – 3 credits)). Étienne is currently enrolled in the doctor of juridical science (SJD) program at the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto. He feels privileged to be a Junior Fellow at Massey College.



Charlotte Ruffo 

Charlotte Ruffo1. What prompted you to become a researcher at the Centre Crépeau? 

When you study law, you learn a new language. As I've always loved words, writing and reading, I must admit that this year, more than ever, I've discovered their power. I wanted to work at the Centre because I think that the work being done here is essential. Legal dictionaries are invaluable tools that enable a dialogue between French and English within the same legal tradition. I believe that this project contributes to dismantling certain barriers that language creates for law students, jurists and citizens. 

2. How does bilingualism influence your approach and understanding of the law and its issues? 

The issues of translation and linguistics touch me deeply as a Francophone who doesn't want to witness French disappear from the McGill community, and who certainly does not want to see English-speaking colleagues hindered in their study of Quebec civil law due to a lack of sources in English. In this sense, bilingualism is a real advantage in my eyes. It is very rewarding to work in a team made up of people whose mother tongue is either French or English. The Centre's researchers are always helping each other out, which I think encourages wonderful exchanges! I learn tremendously from my colleagues. 

Olivia Mappin-Kasirer 

Olivia Mappin-Kasirer 1. What in your past experiences or achievements marked your choice to pursue a career in law? 

A year spent volunteering for the Youth Division of the Court of Quebec was a meaningful experience that enabled me to discover the law's ability to protect vulnerable people. It was in the courtroom that I realized that there was a place for me in law.  

2. What prompted you to become a researcher at the Centre Crépeau? 

My background in literature and translation opened my eyes to the importance of the choice of words, of the expressive quality of words and more broadly of form, in legal discourse. These concerns are at the heart of the Centre's work in jurilinguistics. 

3. In your opinion, what is the quintessence of Quebec private law? 

I like the images of the "mixing” of sources and and the "métissage" of social influences to describe the essence of Quebec civil law. 

4. What are the qualities or shortcomings of a good legal researcher? 

Quality? Knowledge and appreciation of the Nahum Gelber library. Weakness? The ability to get lost in thought in the shelves of the Nahum Gelber! 

Mario Michas 

Mario Michas 1. What prompted you to become a researcher at the Centre Crépeau? 

I heard about the Centre from my mentor, Professor Janda, during my first year of law school at McGill. I then read up on Professor Crépeau's work. I immediately developed a great admiration for this jurist who gave his heart and soul to Quebec civil law. As I was myself passionate about civil law, I decided that the Centre was the ideal place to work during my studies. 

2. How would you describe the Centre Crépeau community? 

Something that stands out for me at the Centre is the community spirit. People often say that we are a small family. I am also impressed by the fact that former researchers still have strong ties with the Centre. It is as if they have been " stung " by the Centre! There is indeed something very special about this sense of belonging. I think that this is because you learn a lot, you improve as a lawyer and you develop a good network while having fun. 

3. Is there a ruling that inspires you, and why? 

There are two decisions that inspire me. The first is the decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of London in Edwards v. Canada, which, under the pen of Viscount Sankey, overturned the decision of the Supreme Court and recognized the eligibility of women to sit in the Senate. The other decision was the Supreme Court's ruling in Roncarelli v. Duplessis, in particular, Justice Rand's opinion. In my opinion, these two cases illustrate the importance of the judiciary in the fight against arbitrariness and injustice. 

Alexandrine Lahaie 

1. How would you describe the Centre Crépeau community?  

The Crépeau Centre's community is very welcoming. The team includes people with diverse profiles, such as bachelors, masters and doctoral law students, as well as lawyers and notaries. This melting pot of diverse experiences sparks exciting exchanges and opportunities for mutual support and mentoring. 

2. What are the qualities (or faults) of a good legal researcher? 

A good legal researcher must first master research tools and have strong writing skills. The researcher must be able to conduct research that is effective and thorough. She must also be able to summarize the fruit of her research and express her ideas clearly. Intellectual curiosity, an analytical mind and an eye for detail are also important qualities for the legal researcher. Finally, particularly at the Crépeau Centre, bilingualism is essential to the researcher's work. 

3. What is the strength of law? Its weakness? 

One of the strengths of law is its ability to bring about positive social change. The law can thus bring about reforms in a variety of areas, pay equity laws being a notable example. However, law can also be slow to evolve at the same pace as society, conveying values and symbols that maintain structures of oppression. The law is a discourse that can both help and hinder the advancement of certain causes. 

4. Is there a jurist that inspires you, and why? 

Having worked on equality rights and intersectional discrimination for my Master's degree, I was greatly inspired by former Supreme Court Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé's dissent on this subject (see, in particular, Egan v. Canada, [1995] 2 SCR 513). The first woman appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal, this incredible jurist's career and her commitment to women's rights are a source of inspiration for me. 

The Crépeau Centre thanks the Chambre des notaires du Québec and the Department of Justice Canada for their financial support.



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