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See Yourself Here: Law encourages potential scholars

Sixth annual event draws record crowd, waitlist

Student volunteers Aman Gebru, Joan Kasozi (Co-Chair of Black Law Students Association) and Osasenaga Obazee (photo by Cary Ferguson)

More than 150 high school students, undergraduates and adults from diverse communities visited the University of Toronto recently to get a glimpse into the life of a lawyer—and how to become one.

The Faculty of Law’s sixth annual See Yourself Here open house, sponsored by TD Bank, has grown dramatically since it began as a student outreach event launched by the Black Law Students Association in 2008. This year, representatives from both the Black Law Students Association and the Aboriginal Law Students' Association welcomed prospective students from Turkish, Ethiopian, Métis, Afghani, Bangladeshi, Caribbean, Iranian, West Indian, Russian, Sri Lankan, Ukrainian, Pakistani, Croatian and Hispanic backgrounds.  

Ethiopian-born Canadian activist Samule Getachew wrote about the event in his blog for The Huffington Post Canada.

Speakers included Clint Davis, an Inuk who is vice-president Aboriginal affairs at the TD Bank Group, Andrew Alleyne, the director of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, and Jean Teillet, an Aboriginal rights advocate and great-grandniece of Louis Riel. Mitch Frazer, a former member of the Ontario government's post-secondary education advisory committee on first generation students, and Eunice Machado, co-founder of the Portuguese Canadian Lawyers Association.

Attendees also heard from Anusha Aruliah, a Justice Canada lawyer specializing in Aboriginal law, CBC Television lawyer Gave Lindo, and Julian K. Roy, who was part of Maher Arar's legal team, as well as Crown Counsel for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General Emile Carrington and Sara Zborvoski. More than 30 student volunteers helped with the event, mingling with attendees throughout the day and presenting their own insight into legal education.

New this year was a mock law class, taught by one of the Faculty of Law’s most popular professors, Anthony Niblett, (pictured at right) who spoke with U of T News about the event.

Tell us a bit about your work.
I teach first year Contracts at the Faculty of Law. I’m very lucky: I teach two great small group classes this year.

I research law and economics. My work uses economic analysis – both theoretical and empirical – to study judicial behaviour, courts, contracts, and regulation.
 
Describe the mock class at See Yourself Here
The mock class was designed to be a fun introduction to offers of rewards and advertisements. We looked at a case between Pepsi and a business student. Here, Pepsi was not required to supply the student with a Harrier Jet that Pepsi had advertised in a television commercial. Pepsi’s “offer” was never intended to be taken seriously. We then applied the principles from that case to a recent dispute between Donald Trump and Bill Maher. 

I normally only teach 15 students at a time, so lecturing to 150 students was a little different. Having said that, even in the large lecture there was a lot of interaction and students debated the legal arguments vociferously and in good humour. It was a lot of fun.

What prompted you to take part?
It’s always great to talk with undergraduate students who are interested in law. The students were so eager and enthusiastic about being in a law class.

See Yourself Here is a tremendous program. The students who ran the event did an incredible job. The program plays an important role in allowing students from a wide variety of cultural and social backgrounds to understand the benefits they would reap from law school. The program does a great job of promoting diversity here at U of T.
 
Why did you choose U of T?
I came to U of T a couple of years ago. I had no connection to Canada prior to 2011. I chose U of T because the law faculty here is tremendously strong. I work with a number of great colleagues who do research in law and economics. It’s a great place to work.