Loran Scholars show extraordinary leadership in their industries, and in law there is no exception. With more than forty alumni working in law or drawing on a legal background, their contributions are vast—spanning such issues as environmental conservation, criminal justice reform, online speech, privacy rights, and immigration.
We are delighted to celebrate two Loran Scholars, just beginning their legal careers, who have been selected for clerkships at the Supreme Court of Canada for the year 2021-2022. Joanne Cave (’09) will clerk with Chief Justice Richard Wagner, and Marie-Hélène Lyonnais (’16) with Justice Nicholas Kasirer. There are only 36 clerkships offered annually.
“I feel extremely honoured,” says Joanne. “The Supreme Court makes very significant decisions that affect Canadians in all aspects of their lives, and I am really looking forward to bringing my policy expertise to that role. The Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Carter v Canada (the medical assistance in dying case) was one of the key motivators for me to go to law school—to think about not only the policy implications of emerging issues such as that one, but also how they affect Canadian’s rights and freedoms.”
Marie-Hélène adds, “Pour moi, être auxiliaire à la Cour suprême signifie que j’aurai le privilège de contribuer activement au travail d’une institution qui a un rôle clé dans la protection de la primauté du droit et dans l’amélioration de l’accès à la justice. Je suis également très enthousiaste à l’idée de travailler avec une équipe de clercs qui ont des expériences et des vécus très différents du mien.”
A Supreme Court clerkship is considered one of the most educational and auspicious experiences for early career lawyers, inviting them to deepen their understanding of Canada’s judicial process and both observe and work closely with the Justices on influential issues.
“Law clerkships at the Supreme Court of Canada, like those at the Supreme Court of the United States and other top courts around the world, bring together the jurisdiction’s top young legal minds to serve and support the very important work done by these institutions,” said François Tanguay-Renaud (’98), who was the first Loran alumnus chosen to clerk at the Supreme Court in 2003-2004. “The selection is highly competitive, and I am not surprised that, over the years, many Loran Scholars have been chosen to fulfill this role.” A law professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and co-director of the Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, François has mentored a number of law students who have themselves gone on to become Supreme Court law clerks.
“Working as a clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada was a foundational experience in my career,” says Kelly Doctor (’99), a partner at Goldblatt Partners LLP, who credits her clerkship with laying the groundwork for a career of fighting for her clients’ rights in the workplace and beyond. “I had the privilege of working on significant cases that have had a lasting impact for Canadians. My former co-clerks remain great friends and are some of the most interesting people I know. They are now professors, partners in private practice (like myself), prosecutors, public servants and one of them is even a screenwriter! Clerking provides an unparalleled opportunity to witness excellent advocacy, and a rare chance to see the inner workings of an appellate court. It has helped me become a better advocate for my clients.”
Following his clerkship, Jérémy Boulanger-Bonnelly (’11) was inspired to pursue doctoral studies in law, researching the role of public participation in improving access to justice: “Mon année en tant qu’auxiliaire juridique m’a permis de me pencher sur des questions juridiques complexes et d’en discuter avec une cohorte stimulante d’autres auxiliaires, en plus de pouvoir apprendre de l’intérieur comment fonctionne la Cour. C’est aussi pendant mon année à la Cour que j’ai pris pleinement conscience de l’ampleur de la crise d’accès à la justice. C’est entre autres cette expérience qui m’a mené à poursuivre des études doctorales sur cette question.”
Wherever they go, Loran Scholars take on tremendous challenges and learning opportunities to seek out ways to create positive and meaningful change. For Joanne and Marie-Hélène, a year spent at Canada’s highest court will provide a remarkable vantage point with invaluable insights on effective advocacy and the judicial system — a perspective shared by other scholars before them. They join the company of six Loran alumni who have clerked with Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada:
- Jérémy Boulanger-Bonnelly (’11)
- Adela Gotz (’03)
- Annamaria Enenajor (’02)
- Kelly Doctor (’99)
- François Tanguay-Renaud (’98)
- David Sandomierski (’97)