Meet Jessica Magonet, Caroline Belair, John Zelenbaba and Jérémy Boulanger-Bonnelly, McGill’s newest additions to the roster of clerks at the Supreme Court of Canada for 2016-2017.

Former SCC clerks among our faculty members

Wendy Adams (J. Iacobucci), 1998-1999
Frédéric Bachand (J. La Forest), 1995-1996
Angela Campbell (J. Iacobucci), 2000-2001
Fabien Gélinas (J. Gonthier), 1989-1990
Richard Gold (J. Cory), 1990-1991
Richard Janda (J. Le Dain & J. Cory), 1988-1989
Daniel Jutras (J. Lamer), 1983-1984
Alana Klein (J. Arbour), 2002-2003
Hoi Kong (J. Deschamps & J. L’Heureux‐Dubé), 2002‐2003
David Lametti (J. Cory), 1989-1990
Paul B. Miller (J. Binnie), 2007-2008
Robert Leckey (J. Bastarache), 2002-2003
Tina Piper (Chief J. McLachlin), 2004-2005
René Provost (J. L’Heureux-Dubé), 1989-1990
Geneviève Saumier (J. Sopinka), 1995-1996
Colleen Sheppard (Chief J. Dickson), 1985-1986
Lionel Smith (J. Sopinka) 1990-1991
Stephen Smith (Chief J. Dickson), 1989-1990
Shauna Van Praagh (Chief J. Dickson), 1989-1990

Their interests span as large a range as their heights – they include two sustainable development advocates (Belair and Magonet), a six-foot six-inch former varsity hockey player (Zelenbaba), and a past Quid Novi editor and student clerk at the Quebec Court of Appeal (Boulanger-Bonnelly).

Both Belair and Magonet have acted as editors of the McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy (JSDLP), while Zelenbaba was a student advocate at the Legal Information Clinic and Boulanger-Bonnelly has been actively involved with the Jeune Conseil de Montréal since 2012, most recently as president of the executive committee.

Magonet, who worked on the Northern Gateway pipeline file as a summer student at Ecojustice and who is completing a minor in cognitive science while obtaining her BCL/LLB, applied for a position at the Supreme Court to add to her understanding of the law. “I am eager to learn how judges struggle with the burden of judgment and develop their practical wisdom,” she said. “I look forward to assisting in the creative – and ethically and intellectually demanding – process of crafting a judgment.”

Zelenbaba hopes to bring his background on international capital markets research as well as the breadth of his academic training – acquired by way of an undergraduate degree in political science and economics at the University of Waterloo – to bear on his contributions to the Court. “The profile of the work at the Supreme Court of Canada and the resulting privilege of legal perspective cannot be matched,” he noted.

Belair a obtenu un baccalauréat en science à McGill et puis une maîtrise en environnement et développement durable à La Sorbonne. Elle a aussi agi comme chargée de projets à Conservation de la nature Canada et comme assistante de programme au Programme des Nations Unies sur l’environnement. C’est en participant à l’élaboration de politiques internationales pour la Convention sur la diversité biologique en 2010 qu’elle a découvert un intérêt pour le droit. Belair, who is fluent in French, English and Spanish, sees her time at the Court as an opportunity to contribute to the legal community and also to benefit from “a collaborative environment where young jurists work alongside experienced legal thinkers, including a supervising judge and accomplished peers.”

Comme recherchiste étudiant à la Cour d’appel du Québec, Boulanger-Bonnelly a mené la préparation de plusieurs dossiers dans des domaines de droit variés. Il est aussi sensible aux traditions autochtones, qu’il a étudié dans le cadre de sa thèse de fin de programme sur le pluralisme juridique et le droit autochtone. Aussi à l’aise en anglais, qu’en français  et en espagnol, Boulanger-Bonnelly espère apporter des perspectives critiques sur l’ensemble du système juridique.

“J’espère pouvoir servir la Cour suprême, laquelle incarne parfaitement les marques distinctives de mon éducation juridique – bilingue, multijuridique et critique,” remarque-t-il.

Professor Paul Miller oversaw the clerkship application process, the outcome of which has matched Bélair with Madam Justice Rosalie Abella, Boulanger-Bonnelly with Mr. Justice Clément Gascon, Magonet with Madam Justice Andromache Karakatsanis and Zelenbaba with Madam Justice Suzanne Côté.

Photo a courtesy of Catherine Ménard.