McGill Law community comes together to welcome newest cohort

October 2020

The Integration Week and Workshop form a mandatory course which introduces students to basic legal research and writing methods, familiarizes them with the curriculum’s core legal traditions, and lays out the key concepts needed to start a legal education (including, this year, topics related to racial injustice). In light of public health directives, Integration Week was offered through a mix of virtual plenary sessions and small group activities, as well as a limited number in-person small-group sessions.

By Mtre Jakub Adamski, Faculty Lecturer

Zooming in – An engaging Integration Week

Screenshot of video lecture.

Wainwright Senior Fellow Priya Gupta giving a presentation on critical race theory.

Screenshot of video lecture.

Professor Rosalie Jukier lays down the basic notions of Common Law and Civil Law.

Screenshot of video lecture.

Liaison Librarian Katarina Daniels lecturing on how to use the McGill Cite Guide.

Screenshot of video lecture.

Joseph Flowers, who is based in Nunavut, shared his thoughts on legal education and his career path with first-year students.

Saam Mashad, who recently moved to California to head a start-up, had some tips on how to “survive the first year.”

Once again this year, Integration Week engaged with some of the most pressing social issues and questions of the day. To underscore the Faculty’s commitment to integrating Indigenous law into its curriculum, and to introduce 1L students to the new Indigenous Legal Traditions course, Professors Aaron Mills, Kirsten Anker, and Kerry Sloan held two sessions with the full group.

Professor Adelle Blackett, Ad. E., F.R.S.C., captured and held the students’ attention from the moment an 8-minute-and-46-second silence ended with a profoundly moving monologue entitled Black Lives in Law. Wainwright Senior Fellow Priya Gupta also shared a presentation on critical race theory.

Professor Allison Christians, for her part, introduced students to some of the profound policy choices underlying tax law, especially given the current fiscal situation.

To make sense of the framework in which these decisions are made, Professors Vrinda Narain, Johanne Poirier and Colleen Sheppard, who each teach a section of the first-year constitutional course, introduced our students to the Canadian constitutional structure.

Our upper-year students also joined in reflecting on some of the most important issues facing our legal system and profession. Staff members of the McGill Legal Information Clinic and the chapter members from the McGill Pro Bono Students Canada joined together to offer a presentation on the access to justice.

De plus, les étudiant.e.s ont profité d’une séance d’introduction sur le système judiciaire canadien et le vocabulaire juridique. Les étudiant.e.s ont échangé avec le juge en chef de la Cour fédérale, l’honorable Paul Crampton, qui leur a fait part de l’impact des développements technologiques sur les opérations judiciaires et les tribunaux, ainsi que des changements effectués par la Cour fédérale en réponse à la pandémie.

Professor Rosalie Jukier, Professor Lionel Smith, and Dean Robert Leckey introduced students to different aspects of private law traditions, with a particular attention to the civil law. Professor Jukier gave her invariably lucid presentation on the common law and civil law systems, while Professor Smith introduced the students to the concept of an obligation. He also introduced them to the work of Paul-André Crépeau, and the various dictionary projects the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law has produced with the assistance of its numerous student researchers over the years. Finally, Dean Leckey introduced the students to the architecture underpinning the Quebec Civil Code.

Mtre Katarina Daniels from the Gelber Law Library deftly switched to teaching legal research online – an even more vital skill in the universe of primarily remote teaching.

Enfin, la semaine d’intégration s’est terminée avec une indispensable réflexion sur le professionnalisme et l’éthique dans la profession juridique menée par Marc Barbeau, BCL’84, LLB’84, président du conseil de Stikeman Elliott, et un ami de longue date de la Faculté. Two other alumni, Joseph Murdoch-Flowers, BCL/LLB’12, and Saam Mashhad, BCL/LLB’17, also recorded videos with some advice for the incoming students to help them find their way through law school.

Wrapping up a successful first week of small group sessions

The small group sessions in the Integration Workshop represent one of the Faculty’s key initiatives to ensure that this year’s incoming students have the opportunity to enjoy in-person learning under safe conditions. Of equal importance, the sessions allow students to benefit pedagogically from interactions with a smaller group of peers.

This year’s iteration of the Integration Workshop marked a notable shift away from active faculty participation with the small groups, with a stellar team of 12 upper-year Tutorial Leaders taking on greater teaching and leadership roles in the professors’ stead. Professor Sébastien Jodoin kindly stepped in to help Tutorial Leaders build their skills and to mentor the group.

Le succès des sessions de tutorat mérite d’autant plus de louanges cette année, à la lumière des circonstances actuelles. Je remercie sincèrement ceux et celles ceux qui n’ont épargné aucun effort afin de rendre cette nouvelle expérience un succès, tant parmi nos étudiant.e.s, notre Faculté et notre personnel.

 


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