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Law

Making competitive moot points count

By Nancy Dorrance, Senior Development Writer

Thinking on their feet, improvising under pressure and working as a team – these important skills enabled law students Emily Evangelista, Law’15, and Ben Snow, Law’14, to help their Queen’s teams capture first place at two key mooting competitions this spring.

Now, as the result of a $100,000 gift from Toronto litigation firm Lenczner Slaght, Queen’s will be able to further expand and deepen the range of mooting opportunities it can offer its students, giving them the chance to hone their courtroom skills in a real-life environment.

[Moot court competition]Law students hone their courtroom skills by preparing for moot competitions. A $100,000 gift by Toronto litigation firm Lenczner Slaght will allow the Faculty of Law to deepen the range of mooting opportunities it can offer students.

“Experiential learning has long been an integral part of our students’ legal education,” says Faculty of Law Dean Bill Flanagan. “Our Competitive Moot Court Program allows upper-year students to develop essential legal research and written and oral advocacy skills. With the generous support of our alumni and friends at Lenzcner Slaght, we will continue to provide a first-class range of mooting opportunites for our students.”

Each year, teams from Queen’s compete in up to 20 national and international mooting competitions in a wide range of legal areas including constitutional law, Aboriginal law, criminal law, international law, tax, securities law, environmental law, trade law, commercial arbitration, IP, labour arbitration, trial advocacy and client counselling. At least one-third of all law graduates participate in a competitive moot during their time at Queen’s: among the highest participation rates of any law school in Canada.

“Lenczner Slaght is committed to the development of our advocates of tomorrow,” says Peter Griffin, Law ’77, the firm’s Managing Partner, past president of The Advocates’ Society and member of the Dean’s Council. “We are delighted to be a strong supporter of the Queen’s Moot Court Program.”

Mooting forced me to take principles that I’d spent hours reading and hearing about, and learn how to communicate them with persuasive precision.

– Ben Snow (Law'14)

For Ms. Evangelista and Mr. Snow, the opportunity to develop their own unique advocacy skills at competitive moots has proved invaluable. “The best way to learn how to do anything is by practicing, and mooting is the best advocacy practice you can get,” says Ms. Evangelista, whose Queen’s team recently won the Canadian rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition – the largest and most competitive moot in the world. (See page 3 of the Gazette newspaper for more details).

“There's no other course in law school like it,” she adds. “And employers also take note of moot participation: every interviewer I've had has asked about my experience on the Jessup team.”

“Mooting forced me to take principles that I’d spent hours reading and hearing about, and learn how to communicate them with persuasive precision,” says Mr. Snow, a member of the Queen’s team that brought home the 2014 Arnup Cup for trial advocacy. “The program connected me with experienced coaches who provided essential guidance and mentorship. Most importantly, mooting created an unparalleled, fail-safe opportunity to take risks, receive constructive feedback and build confidence as I developed these skills.”

The Initiative Campaign is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history. The goal is to raise half a billion dollars to ensure Queen’s future as a destination for exceptional people. The campaign will nurture a supportive campus community, enhance the student learning experience, and secure a global reputation in discovery and inquiry.
 

SGPS president set to advocate for grad students

By Hollie Knapp-Fisher, Communications Intern

After winning a gruelling, tightly contested election, Kevin Wiener (Law’15) is happy to move on and focus on his duties and responsibilities as president of Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS).

[Kevin Wiener, SGPS president]As SGPS president, one of Kevin Wiener's goals is to work with Senate to develop a policy addressing the academic harassment of graduate students.

“This was a very different SGPS election than the past. Usually they are very low key but this year was a big event,” he says. “Now I am really looking forward to working alongside my new team.”

Even before officially taking over from Iain Reeve on May 1, Mr. Wiener had started doing a lot of work. “I needed to make sure I was up to date with all that had gone on in the past so I could properly proceed into the future.”

Mr. Wiener plans to focus on some key issues during his term as president. First, he aims to develop an online municipal voter registration system for Queen’s students. That effort is in line with his work last year challenging Kingston city council’s decision to adopt new electoral boundaries that did not count the postsecondary student population. Mr. Wiener and his co-appellants, the Alma Mater Society and the Sydenham District Association, won the Ontario Municipal Board appeal and city council’s decision was nullified.

Additionally, he wants to work with Senate to develop a policy addressing the academic harassment of graduate students.

“These are both issues I am passionate about because I believe they meet the needs of our students,” says Mr. Wiener. “My door and inbox are always open to talk about the important issues happening around campus. I want next year to be the absolute best it can be for the SGPS.”

Although his studies and his new position demands a lot of his time, Mr. Wiener remains active in both the Queen’s and Kingston community volunteering his time to a number of different organizations. When he finds a spare moment, he enjoys engaging with peers on social media as well as the occasional video game.

 

Law firm gift expands legal ethics instruction

By Nancy Dorrance, Senior Development Writer

Queen’s law students will have more opportunities to learn about legal ethics and professionalism thanks to philanthropic support from Canadian law firm McCarthy Tétrault.

[Law students in class]Upper-year law students will be required to take a course in legal ethics and professionalism. They will also learn from legal experts in the field thanks to the support from Canadian law firm McCarthy Tétrault.

Beginning in September 2014, all upper-year law students will be required to take a course in legal ethics and professionalism. The new mandatory course, to be offered in both fall and winter terms, is part of a broader initiative that will help place Queen’s on the forefront of research and teaching in this important field.

“This program demonstrates the law school’s commitment to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism, instilling them in our students from the beginning of their time at Queen’s,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “The generous gift from McCarthy Tétrault will deepen and enrich our students’ experience, and provide an opportunity for legal experts to share their professional insights and experiences with the Queen’s community.”

The total cost of the three-year initiative is $105,000. Other components of the program include:

• A presentation to first-year students by an expert panel from private practice, the bench and the Law Society of Upper Canada;
• An annual public lecture series;
• A new fellowship program involving research and teaching; and,
• A course prize.

“We are proud to support the Initiative Campaign, investing in the next generation of professionals in their pursuit of excellence,” says Paul Steep, Law’80, partner at McCarthy Tétrault and a member of the Dean’s Council. “We recognize the significant contribution Queen’s Law makes in attracting the best and brightest talent, and are pleased to call many Queen’s alumni our colleagues.”

Dean Flanagan recently announced the appointment of Tom Harrison (Artsci’89, Ed’92, Law’01) as the first McCarthy Tétrault LLP Fellow in Legal Ethics and Professionalism. Mr. Harrison is currently a PhD candidate in Queen’s Law focused on professionalism issues for judges and lawyers. The former Crown counsel has taught a legal ethics course at Queen’s the past two years. He will take the lead on implementing the new program.

The Initiative Campaign is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history. The goal is to raise half a billion dollars to ensure Queen’s future as a destination for exceptional people. The campaign will nurture a supportive campus community, enhance the student learning experience, and secure a global reputation in discovery and inquiry.
 

Jeffrey Simpson to receive alumni award

By Andrea Gunn, Manager, Alumni Marketing and Communications

Jeffrey Simpson (Arts’71, LLD’05) will receive the 2014 Agnes Benidickson Award from the Ottawa Branch of the Queen’s University Alumni Association on March 26, in recognition of his distinguished work as a journalist, and his volunteer contributions to both Queen’s and the Ottawa community.

[Jeffrey Simpson]Jeffrey SImpson (Arts'71, LLD'05), the Globe and Mail's national affairs columnist, got his start in journalism at CFRC Radio.

The national affairs columnist of The Globe and Mail and author of eight books, Mr. Simpson's interests in politics and journalism were honed at Queen’s, both inside the classroom and out. A student of political science and history, he was also active in campus activities, including the Debating Club.

Knowing he wanted to pursue journalism as a career, Mr. Simpson approached The Queen’s Journal in first year to volunteer. He was rebuffed.

“I was deemed not good enough for The Queen’s Journal,” he laughs. “[At the time], the Journal was under the control of something called the Free Socialist Movement, a group of Marxist-oriented students…. And I didn’t fit the mold, as it were, so I was actively discouraged from continuing my association. So, I marched down to the CFRC studio in the basement of Carruthers Hall, waltzed in, and introduced myself.”

Thus began four years as an on-air broadcaster for CFRC Radio. Mr. Simpson co-hosted a weekly news show on international and national affairs and then started calling the Gaels football games, making a name for himself as “The Voice of the Golden Gaels.”

He also got involved in campus governance, becoming one of the first elected student representatives on University Senate. As an alumnus, Mr. Simpson continued to contribute to Queen’s governance, sitting first on University Council, then on the Board of Trustees. His other contribution was his work, in 1993, to find Queen’s next principal. He was recruited by Chancellor Agnes Benidickson for a working group of the Board of Trustees that selected Bill Leggett.

I marched down to the CFRC studio in the basement of Carruthers Hall, waltzed in, and introduced myself.

Mr. Simpson began writing for The Globe and Mail in 1974, first covering the city hall beat in Toronto, then moving on to Quebec politics. In 1977, he became a member of the paper’s Ottawa bureau. Still based in Ottawa, he has been the newspaper’s national affairs columnist since 1984.

More information about the 2014 Agnes Benidickson Award Reception can be found on the Alumni Relations website. (A longer version of this story appears on the Alumni Relations news site).
 

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