Students encouraged to get involved
By Victoria Leenders-Cheng
Faculty Dean Daniel Jutras welcomed First Year students Monday (Aug. 30), offering them words of advice that covered everything from the cultural consequences of studying law to the feasibility of using the study of law in a pickup line.
During a good-humoured, hour-long session in the Faculty’s historic Maxwell-Cohen Moot Court, Jutras, along with Assistant Dean of Admissions and Recruitment, Ali Martin-Mayer, and Law Students’ Association President Stefan Hoffman spoke to a full house of 170 incoming students about the McGill Law experience.
“Ça me fait plaisir de vous rencontrer enfin,” said Martin-Mayer, who headed the rigorous selection process that constructed the personality and character of the first year class. “If there is one thing I want you to remember, it is that you are very lucky,” she added, noting that many equally qualified candidates were not admitted because of a lack of space.
Hoffman proffered an insight that he says he wished he had been told three years ago when he was a new student: “It’s not going to be easy but everything is going to be okay.”
Listing over 30 student groups and a slew of volunteering opportunities, Hoffman urged students to take advantage of extra-curricular activities and to avoid spending too much time in the library, “at least until November.” Besides, he added to further laughter, “our exams are open-book anyway.”
The deliberately diverse composition of the class and the Faculty’s emphasis on learning outside the classroom are just two of the many things that differentiate McGill Law, Jutras said. “Parmi étudiants de première année, on compte douze langues maternelles. Pas langues parlées; maternelles.”
“We chose you because you are different and because we are different, too,” he continued. “This institution aspires not just to be great but to be unique.” From the way that French and English are spoken interchangeably to the side-by-side study of common and civil law traditions, the Faculty takes an approach to Law that sees it as an interpretative discipline and a social calling.
“Law is about empowering others and about studying those wise restraints that make Men free.”Orientation events continue through the week of August 30 and include a soccer game pitting new students against Faculty members and upper year classmates and a speech by human rights lawyer Pearl Eliadis.