Dear law students, alumni, and friends of our Faculty,
We were thrilled to host an afternoon Q&A session with the Honourable Mahmud Jamal of the Supreme Court of Canada on February 17, 2023. This unforgettable experience brought together our law school community and provided a unique opportunity for students to engage with one of the country's most esteemed jurists.
The collaboration between seven student associations at Ottawa Law made this event truly special. Our students were able to ask the Honourable Mahmud Jamal a wide range of questions, covering everything from his time on the bench to his thoughts on the future of the Canadian legal system. His wisdom, humor, and candour made for a truly captivating conversation.
As we continue to return to in-person learning following the pandemic, fostering a sense of community and collaboration is more important than ever. The Q&A session was a testament to our commitment to supporting one another and fostering an inclusive and supportive environment at the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Program.
We were honored to have Dean Kristen Boon (Common Law) and Dean Marie-Eve Sylvestre (Civil Law) attend the event, making the afternoon event even more special. As Dean Boon mentioned in her opening remarks, not only did the event theme fit perfectly with the values that are at the heart of our law program here at the University of Ottawa, but so is the career path of our guest of honour: “Justice Jamal’s commitment to the different legal traditions in Canada, to bilingualism, and to service has been so moving for people who perhaps haven’t previously seen themselves on the bench.” We are grateful for her help and support in the organizing process and look forward to many more opportunities to collaborate with her in the future.
“Justice Jamal’s commitment to the different legal traditions in Canada, to bilingualism, and to public service has been so moving for people who haven’t previously seen themselves on the bench.”
— Susan & Perry Dellelce Dean, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section
One of the highlights of the Q&A session was the Honourable Mahmud Jamal’s advice for future lawyers. He emphasized the importance of staying curious, learning from those around you, and being open to new experiences. He also spoke about the need for lawyers to be empathetic and to understand the perspectives of their clients. His words will undoubtedly inspire many of our students as they embark on their careers in the legal profession.
Other highlights of his discussion were:
Early Life Influences: We are all a product of our early life influences, and the people we surround ourselves with inculcate certain values in us. Growing up in East Africa, and being the first in his family to attend university, gave him a deep sense of personal responsibility to use his education to serve others.
Legal Scholarship: Engaging in legal scholarship is a lifelong pursuit that begins in law school and carries on into one’s legal career. Reflecting on his own experience as a student editor of the McGill Law Journal, Justice Jamal appreciated the opportunity to gain concrete legal experience through reference-checking, drafting, and editing, while also cultivating meaningful relationships with like-minded colleagues.
Reflecting on our Place in Society: Being a member of the legal profession comes with the responsibility of bridging the gap in access to justice and inclusion. Even as a law student, Justice Jamal knew that he was privileged to have a legal education and that he could use his voice to help others.
As we reflect on the afternoon with Justice Jamal, we are proud of the progress we have made in fostering in-person ties and community-building at Ottawa Law. The Q&A session was a great example of the kind of events we hope to continue to host, bringing together students, faculty, alumni, and guests to engage in meaningful and thought-provoking conversations.
This event was a reminder of the importance of collaboration. When student associations work together, they can achieve great things and create truly memorable experiences. We encourage all students to build relationships with each other, based on mutual understanding and respect. Afterall, collaboration is only possible when we have established a foundation of understanding with each other.
Many people were involved with making the event a success, and the organizing committee wants to give a special acknowledgement to a few students and staff at Ottawa Law who went above and beyond to make this event possible: Faculty of Law staff Dean Kristen Boon, Laurent Lavallée, Véronique Larose, and Chantal Sabourin, and law students Arjun Gupta, Raji Gandhi, Humna Shaikh, Matthew Tai, Michelle Liu, Bhargavi Patel, and Maneet Kahlon. Thank you for all your behind-the-scenes efforts leading up to the event and on event day itself.
The Q&A session with Justice Jamal was a truly memorable experience. We are grateful for the opportunity to host such a remarkable individual and for the collaboration between our student associations that made the event possible. We look forward to many more events like this in the future and to continuing to build a supportive and inclusive community at Ottawa Law.
Best wishes to all for the rest of Winter Semester!
The Organizing Committee
Event Leadership Team
Arjun Gupta, President, JD-MBA Students’ Association
Raji Gandhi & Humna Shaikh, Co-Presidents, South Asian Law Students’ Association
Matthew Tai, Editor-in-Chief, Administration, Ottawa Law Review
Michelle Liu, President, Common Law Student Society (AÉCLSS)
Mallory Gitzel, Coordinator, Pro Bono Students Canada, University of Ottawa Chapter
Ziyad Zeidan, President, Tax Law Society
Haneen Faisal, President, International Commercial Trade Law Students’ Association
Anvesh Jain, Artem Sushko, Bhargavi Patel, Birpal Benipal, Crystal Shum, Daphné Laflèche, Emily Naveenan, Juvraj Thind, Maneet Kahlon, Meena Shanmuganathan, Rija Chaudhary, Samuel LeBlanc, Spencer Hewson