Trials of an Event Law-aison

The trials of a second-year law student at the University of Alberta.

Judge Shadowing

Nadya Ogloff - Thursday, February 24, 2011

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity a to follow a justice of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench (Alberta's court of superior jurisdiction) around for a day as part of their judge shadowing program. It was fun to talk to members of the judiciary outside the context of a courtroom and get some candid comments from them about their work as well as some career advice. Sometimes, especially as a first year law student, with all the judgments you read and the formalities of the courtroom you forget that judges are real people too. For the shadowing group that I was in the judge personally made us tea and coffee! As we walked along the corridors we recognized some of the names on the bronze nameplates next to the judges' offices from the cases we read. It was also a rare opportunity to hear stories about their own careers and explanations of various aspects of the justice system that I have not seen in any of our textbooks. We sat in on some trials and other proceedings and were treated to a soup and sandwich lunch. At the end of the day we got a tour of the courthouse, but many of us have been there before for Student Legal Services.

Our criminal law prof also hosted his class at his downtown law firm with food and drinks. The office was not what I expected because it reminded me of a really neat art gallery with original paintings of abstract art hanging from the walls. It was a good time. Earlier that week, we studied the Marty McSorley case (remember that?), which was interesting to me because even though there was video evidence of the slash, that in itself was not necessarily indicative of an assault. There was a very detailed play-by-play (paragraphs 26-59) of the incident in the judgment, and paragraphs 108-109 were especially memorable.

Many of my classmates have been job hunting for the upcoming summer. I suppose this is a good time for those resume and cover letter writing skills to start kicking in. These skills are always useful no matter what field you are in. Networking is very useful too and I think SBN is a good place to start because the mentors expect to make connections with SBN members (whether for career advice or actual job openings), so at least it's easier to get your foot in the door.

On a side note, I played in the world's largest dodgeball game! It made me 10 minutes late for contracts class, but it was worth it.


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