Disorientation Handbook 2014 (McGill University)


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Disorientation Handbook 2014 (McGill University)




Montreal, Quebec



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This handbook was compiled by Stephanie Hewson, Kate Forrest, and Charlotte-Anne
Malischewski on behalf of Radlaw. Many thanks are due to our editors: Garrett Zehr, Cee
Strauss,TaliaJoundi, JamesMcCarthy,and SuzanneZaccour. We encourageyou to sharethis
handbook with friends. However,pleasedo not reproduceany of the articleswithout permission of the author, which can be sought by contacting Radlaw at radlaw.mcgill@gmail.com.




This list wasoriginally compiled by an unidentified author for a 2006 Radlaw publication, was updated in 2013 by Katica Spillane, and was further
updated by KateForrest in 2014. Most of the definitions come from" Definitions for the Revolution" (available at: http ://www.coloursofresistance.
org/definitions-for-the-revolution), Colours of Resistance (a now-defunct
grassro ots network of people who worked to develo p anti-racist, multi racial politics in the movement against global capitalism), and the "Gender
Glo ssary" compiled by Qwo-Li Driskell of Dragonfly Press(http ://dragonflyrisin g.wearetheones.info/GenderGlossaryDragonfly.pdf).

The state of being open to meaningful participation by all people, in particular people whose
participation is usually limited by oppression of
some kind. Accessibility in general means being
free of barriers(which can be placed by the group
inadvertently or advertently) and free of limits to
participation once present (e.g.a university with
a Eurocentriccurriculum is not accessibleto Native students even if there is funding for them to
get there). Sometimes the term "accessibility"is
used with specific referenceto the needs of people with disabilities. A space cannot be deemed
"accessible"in this sense if the atmosphere is
ableist,even if measuresare in place.

(As applied to white people) An anti-racist is a
person who makes a conscious choice to act to
challenge some aspect of the white supremacy
system,including her/his own wh ite privilege, as
well as some form of oppression against people
of color. (Asapplied to people of color): some use
the term anti-racist.Others usesynonymssuch as
freedom fighter, activist, warrior, liberation fight er, political prisoner,prisoner of war, sister,brother, etc. In practice, it is difficult for an activist of
color not to be an anti-racist activist, since the
struggle against racial oppression intersectswith
every issueaffecting people of color.

Refersto the ideological belief that people deserve the privilege or oppression of their class
basedon their"merit': "socialstatus':level of education, job, work ethic, etc. Classismalso refersto
the social dynamic of privilege, or elitism. Access
to knowledge or to education are examples of
elitism embedded in classprivilege.


Are people who are employed based on the
needs of the employer, without any job security
or long-term commitments. Includes part-time
workers,temporary and contract workers,and, in
some cases,self-employed workers and independent contractors.

Isa conviction that economic policies must result
in benefits that are distributed equally acrossincome and racial lines; that jobs created by state
and local tax incentives must go to local people
and taxpayers; and that the health, natural resources,and the culture of the community must
be protected.

and sexuality as contrary to "acceptable"heterosexual,gender dichotomous constructions.

A term used to refer to the expansion of economies beyond national borders, in particular,
the expansion of production by a firm to many
countries around the world. This has weakened
nations' ability to control corporate practices,set
regulations, or manage domestic economic policy. It has also weakened the ability of workers to
fight for better wages and working conditions
from fear that employers may relocate to other


Is about equal and fair accessto a healthy environment; equal enforcement of environmental
regulations;and a movement to protect communities of colour and poor communities from environmental hazards.

The belief in the inherent superiority of heterosexuality and thereby its rights to dominance.
This term describes an ideological system and
patterns of institutionalized oppression which
deny, denigrate, and stigmatize any non-heterosexualform of behavior, identity, relationship, or




Refersto racial discrimination in environmental
policy-making and the enforcement of regulations and laws; the deliberate targeting of communities of colour for toxic waste facilities; the
official sanctioning of the life threatening presence of poisons and pollutants in our communities; and the history of excluding people of colour
from the leadership of the environmental movement.

The fear and persecution of queer people. Rooted in a desireto maintain the heterosexualsocial
order, which relies on oppressivegender roles.


1.The poison of racismseeping into the psyches
of people of color, until people of color believe
about themselves what whites believe about
them -- that they are inferior to whites;
2. The behavior of one person of color toward
another that stems from this psychic poisoning.
Often called "inter-racial hostility;" and
3.Theacceptanceby personsof color of Eurocentric values.

Characteristics of masculinity and femininity
learned or chosen. A person'sassigned sex does
not always match their gender and most people
display traits of more than one gender.

Someone who "queers" gender. Someone who
doesn't identify as either a man or a woman, but
a different gender entirely; who identifies asboth
a man and a woman; or who creates their own
gender outside of binary concepts. Also, someone who identifies both their gender identity

The use of power to cause harm (ie. violation of
human rights) and to enforce structural oppression.


Refersto the "internalization" of gender role socialization and sexism.


A law collective is a non-hierarchicalorganization
which provides legal servicesto a community or
communities in need. These servicescan range
from traditional criminal defense or advocacy
to legal support or law-related workshops. Contemporary law collectives are usually non-lawyer-centered,run along anarchist principles, and
work as part of the movement for socialjustice.

A strategy that usesgroup decision-making and
action to protect people being held in the legal
system. Jails and courts are designed to make
some participants feel powerless while empowering others. By using solidarity tactics - making
legal decisions as a group, acting in unity with
each other, and making a commitment to safeguarding every arrestee'sinterests - participants
can gain more control over what happens in
jails and courts. Legal solidarity has been used
effectively for decades in the civil rights, peace,
environmental, and anti-corporate globalization
movements,among others.

Oppression refers to the power and effects of
domination. There are many forms of (often) interlocking oppressions:racism,sexism,classism,
heterosexism, anti-Semitism, ableism, ageism,
etc. Illegitimate institutionalized power allows
certain 'groups' to confer illegitimate dominance
over other 'groups; and this dominance is maintained and perpetuated at an institutional level.

Is a method of education that begins by processing people's lived experiences,collectively and
critically evaluates that experience, draws connections to root causesof problems, and develops solutions. Distinct from education that views
participants as"blank pages"and teachersas"experts:·

1. Power is control of, or accessto, those institutions sanctioned by the state.
2. Poweris the ability to define reality and to con-

vince other people that it is their definition.
3. Power is ownership and control of the major
resourcesof a state; and the capacity to make
and enforce decisions based on this ownership
and control.
4. Power is the capacity of a group of people to
decide what they want and to act in an organized
way to get it.
5. In terms of an individual, power is the capacity
to act.

Unearned social power accorded by the formal
and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group (e.g. white privilege,
male privilege, etc.). Privilege is usually invisible
to those who have it becausewe're taught not to
seeit, but it neverthelessputs them at an advantage over those who do not have it.

A term used in a number of different ways;as an
'umbrella' term for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex,genderqueerand other nonheterosexualidentities. It is also used as a way of reclaiming and co-opting a once negative term; to
removequeer asa term of abuse.The term queer
also alludes to a fluidity of gender and sexuality
and a rejection of socially imposed categories.

A speciousclassificationof human beings which
assigns human worth and social status using
'white' (usually) as the model of humanity and
the height of human achievement for the purpose of establishing and maintaining privilege
and power.

Racism is race prejudice plus power. Racism is
not primarily a set of negative attitudes or behaviours on the part of individual whites. These
negative attitudes and behaviours are grievous
and sometimes fatal, but they are in fact symptoms of a systemwhose purpose is not merely to
make people of colour feel badly but to maintain
white power and control.


A term created and used by white people to deny their white privilege. Those
in denial use the term reverse racism
to refer to hostile behavior by people
of color toward whites, and to affirmative action policieswhich allegedly give
'preferential treatment'to people of color over whites.There is no such thing as

Termcreatedto deny sexism.Failsto acknowledge that the word sexismexists
becausewe live in a patriarchal society
where men are privileged simply becausethey are men.

Perpetuates a system of patriarchy
where men hold power and privilege
and women are subordinate to men.

Presence without meaningful participation. For example, a superficial invitation for participation without ongoing dialogue and support, handpicked
representatives who are expected to
speakfor the whole (sociallyoppressed)
group. Tokenism is often used as a
band-aid solution to help the group improve its image.

The fear and persecution of transgender/transexual persons. Rooted in a
desire to maintain the gender binary
(i.e. the categories 'male' and 'female'),
which obscuresthe reality of the fluidity of gender and makesinvisible the experience of personswho do not identify with either category.

Labour that is not fully utilized; encompassesindividuals working below the
level for which they have been trained,

or individuals working fewer hours a day than they would
prefer.Also includes the working poor whose long hours
of labour generate inadequate income for basic subsistence.

e (asin"white
The term 'white: referring to people, was created by Virginia slaveowners and colonial rulers in the 17th century.
It replacedterms like Christianand "Englishman"to distinguish European colonists from Africans and indigenous
peoples.The creation of 'white' meant giving privileges to
some,whi le denying them to others with the justification
of biological and social inferiority.

White privilege is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated systemof:
1. Preferentialprejudice for and treatment of white people basedsolely on their skin color and/or ancestralorigin
from Europe;and
2.Exemptionfrom racial and/or national oppressionbased
on skin color and/or ancestralorigin from Africa, Asia,the
Americasand the Arab world.

White supremacy is a historically based, institutionally
perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of
continents, nations, and peoples of color by white groups
and nations; for the purpose of maintaining and defending a systemof wealth, power, and privilege.



Artwork by Distelfliege, reproduced under creative commons license.




a 1ca ID aw

Keep a life outside law schoo l
Playmusic,eat yummy food, make
art, go to shows,visit family, readfiction
or trashy novels,dance,play in the park,
hike on the mountain, go to the theatre,
explore the city by bike, discover new
neighbourhoods, go to manifs, meditate or pray, dine, learn a language,
party, take in free museums,make love,
watch trashy TV or inspiring documentaries, go on daytrips, go on weektrips
(it is okay to skip a week of class!)etc,
etc. In summary: do lots of non-law


Custo mi ze yo ur expe rience
Figure out for yourself what you
need to do to keep your racinessintact.
One example: perhaps you will want
to try to resist law school indoctrination by skipping a lot of class (that is
A-OK!)or avoiding law school readings.
Some rad folk do lessthan 5% of readings while others read closer to 100%.
There is not one rad solution to getting
through and you know your rad self

Take on t he beast
There will be lots about our dear
Facultythat will upset you: the curriculum, underpaid faculty work, LSA politics, systemicinequalities,the emphasis
on law firm careers... the list goes on.
The good news is that there is probably
another person (and likely many) who
shares your frustrations! So band together and fight for change.Takeover
an issue of the Quid, pass rad motions
at the GA, run a kick-ass referendum,
or occupy the Dean's office. Change
in the Faculty tends to come from the
students and the progressive and rad
voice has had considerable successes
over the years.



Pick yo ur batt les
This follows closely to #3. You will
burn out trying to challenge everything
that's fucked up in law school. Don't
tire yourself out by feeling the burden
to call out every unjust legal concept
you learn about in classor the students
who always want to play "devil's advocate:' Do so when you have the energy and always support your allies, but
don't get overwhelmed.



The personal is political


Drop o ut! Don't rul e t hi s out.

Be rad in the ways you interact with
your classmates.Generouslyshare your class
notes,summariesand study tools, don't dwell
on grades (it is really NOTworth it), and try
to be someone who reducesrather than contributes to the overall cesspoolof stressin the

Rememberthat most legal work maintains hierarchies and systems of oppression and that law
school is a very conservative training that will take
much work to undo. A number of rad folks realized
law school wasn't for them and left after a couple of
months, a year or even into their second year. Much



Stay health y

You are lessuse to the revolution if you
are sick or burnt out. Just as importantly, we
care about your well-being! This includes
both mental and physicalhealth. So take care
of yourself and get the resourcesyou need.


Go to conferences,join rad law clubs (or start
a new one), organize panels, movie nights and conferencesand get involved with rad campus and community groups. Most importantly, stay connected
and involved with socialjustice struggles,especially
in waysthat do not involve the law.

Remember it gets better! (well,
somew hat)

1Lis like high school: lockers, cliques, a common schedule,and no optional courses (and
those you have are mostly private law). But
in upper years you will have more freedom
to take courses that interest you and set
your own schedule (maybe classjust 2 daysa
week!). Youwill get to do things like take cool
law courses at UQAM or non-law courses (a
language maybe?),write a rad paper,propose
and organize a student-initiated seminar,go
on exchange,work in a cool legal clinic...


Surrou nd yourse lf wit h all things rad

Don't run around making friends

Well,do make some. But resistthe pressure that you need to become buddies with
all your classmatesbecause"we're all in this
together:' Bullshit. We are not. Find your allies and stick with them.

Written by Garrett Zehr,
law student at McGill.


Ilearned Don't try to keep up with others.Do what works best for you
Listen first. Listen well. Ask
questions.Speaklater.That the law is a very, very narrow tool for solving a very, very
narrow set of problems in the
world - and it usually solves
those problems for wealthy
white people.

Move to Quebec one year before starting so you can pay the
in-province tuition rate.
Youdon't haveto read it all, buy
it all, print it all. Get involved!
What you will seein LawSchool
is the tip of the iceberg of what
is possible for you. Don't let
sponsored coffeehouse lead
you astray.
If you start to feel yourself
drowning emotionally, do
*something*. Whatever it is to
start getting your head above
water - take some time off, see
a counsellor, talk to someone
elseyou trust, etc.

and don't worry if someone
else spends more time in the
library, does more unpaid internships, etc.

youto stayin
Knowing that so many people
think of law (asa profession)as
inherently greedy and selfish
when there are so many good
things we can do with our skills.

rhetoric that reflects and constitutes a community.

I remembered to get exercise,
built strong friendships, didn't
compare myself to others, and
listened to other perspectives
with an open mind.
Having a life outside of law
school: friends, social gatherings, community involvement,
etc.that had nothing to do with
good ol' ChancellorDay Hall.

I really do find the material
interesting and intellectually

Working as a researchassistant
in fields that really light me up!

The opportunities are enormous, and there are lots of
great projects to get involved

Creating relationships with
great people who sharemy values. And seeing a counsellor
once a week. Seriously.

It'sa community of people who
are willing to start projects or
jump in on other projects.

I've found strong teammates
who understand what it means
to be loyal, to fight, and know
when not to compromise; I
found Radlaw, and projects I
could put my heart into; I isolated myself because sometimes
it takes solitude to put priorities straight, to remember what
you want to contribute, and to
take the right decisions.

Justice-seekers and fighters,
people with endless compassion. Also, reality - every day
problems, tragedies,and struggles; constant reminders that
there is work to be done.
Discovering that law is rhetoric and thinking about law as


Midnight Kitchen
- Repasvegans,par donation, 12h30 tous les midis dans leatiment du SSMU


- Student-run organization that conducts research,education, and action on environmental and socialjustice issuesat McGill
- Student-run radio show on CKUT(90.3FM) that dealswith legal issues
The Flat BikeCollective
- Un atelier de reparation de velos cooperatif visant
partage des connaissanceset des outils

a encourager le cyclisme par le

McGill Farmer'sMarket
- Weeklyfarmer's market in front of the SSMUbuilding
- The SexualAssaultCentre of the McGill Students'Society
Queer McGill
- A group that aims to create safespaceand community for queer studen
Union for GenderEmpowerment
- A trans-positive feminist serviceof SSMU
McGill Daily
- Independent student-run newspaperat McGill
Le Delit
- Unjournal independant francophone produit par les etudiants de McGill





. , C•..

t t..

-A community organization that provides legal information, advocacy,and referrals
to people facing housing problems or having difficulty accessing basic income security, healthcareor other government services.Project Genesis also works to fight
poverty and improve housing conditions through its community organizing work.
- A collectively-run direct-correspondence program for gay, lesbian, - transsexual, transgender,gendervariant, two -spirit, intersex, bisexual, and queer inmates in
Canadaand the United States,linking these inmates with people who are part of
these samecommunities outside of prison. Seewww.prisonercorrespondenceproject.com.
Centrefor GenderAdvocacy
- Offers peer support and advocacy,safer sex resources,and trans health resources free of charge.The Centre also campaigns to demand justice for missing and
murdered indigenous women and to advocatefor improved accessto reproductive
and trans health services.Seegenderadvocacy.org.
Associationpour une solidarite syndicaleetudiante (ASSE)
- Un syndicat etudiant national qui incarne une vision combative du syndicalisme
etudiant et met !'information et la mobilisation de ses membres au cceur de son
plan d'action. L'ASSE
combat pour une plus grande accessibilitea!'education postsecondaire. Voir asse-solidarite.qc.ca.
ConcordiaCo-op Bookstore
- A not-for-profit bookstore located on Concordia'sdowntown campus. Offers both
new and used books, and boasts Montreal's largest selection of sex and gender
studies t it les.Seewww.co-opbookstore.ca.
Le FrigoVert
-A collectively run food store on Concordia's campus where you can buy organic
bulk food, alternative health products, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies,
snacks, coffee,and more. Seelefrigovert.com.



Le Collectif Oppose la Brutalite Policiere (COBP)
- Le COBPa pour but de denoncer les harcelements,violences et abus de pouvoirs
policiers, d'informer les gens sur leurs droits face ala police, et de soutenir les viet imes en les aidant aporter plainte. Voir cobp.resist.ca.


' ~~










Head and Hands
- Offers medical, social, and legal servicesfor Montreal youth aged 12 to 25, with a
non-judgmental, harm-reductive, inclusive, and empowerment-focused approach.See
Action refugies Montreal
- Provideslegal information to asylum seekersin detention, offers a twinning program
to support and welcome refugees,and advocateson behalf of refugees.Seewww.actionr.org.
- Un organisme communautaire de prevention des infections transmissiblessexuellement et par le sang, actif dans le centre-ville de Montreal. Cactusoffre des serviceset
activites de prevention, de sensibilisationet d'education.Voir cactusmontreal.org.
Solidarity AcrossBorders
- A migrant justice network based in Montreal comprised of migrants and allies. SAB
engages in popular education, support work, and political mobilizations, including
demonstrations,pickets,delegations,and direct actions. Seewww.solidarityacrossborders.org.
Le Mouvement Action-Ch6mage
- Un groupe de defensedes droits des sans-emploi.II informe et defend les gens tout
en visant la sauvegardeet !'amelioration du regime d'assurance-ch6mage.Voir macmtl.qc.ca.
Action Santetravesti-e-s et transexuel-le-s du Quebec (ASTT(e)Q)
- ASTT(e)Qaims to promote the health and well-being of trans people through peer
support and advocacy,education and outreach, and community empowerment and
mobilization. Seewww.astteq.org.
Ste-Emilie Skillshare
- A community art collective that sharesskills and resourcesto create art in the spirit
of self-representation and revolution. The collective works within an anti-oppression
framework toward social and economic transformation. Seesteemilieskillshare.org.
Santropol roulant
- Santropol Roulant usesfood as a vehicle to break social and economic isolation between generations and cultures. Programsinclude mealson wheels,urban agriculture,
and a bike repair shop. Seesantropolroulant.org.




Associationdesjuristes progressistes(AJP)
- Un rassemblementd'avocatEs,d'etudiantEset de travailleurs/travailleusesvoues
la defensedes droits et determines mettre le juridique au servicede la lutte pour
la justice socialeet la fin des inegalites.Voir ajpquebec.org.



La clinique juridique du Mile-End
- Un reseaud'avocatset d'etudiants en droit dedies rendre la justice plus accessible aux citoyens.Voir justicemontreal.org.


Law Union of Ontario
- A coalition of progressive lawyers,law students, and legal workers that aims to
demystify legal procedures, attack discriminatory and oppressive legislation, argue progressivenew applications of the law, and democratize legal practice. See
National Associationof Women and the Law (NAWL)
- A feminist organization that promotes the equality rights of Canadianwomen
through legal education, research,and law reform advocacy.Also check out their
Genderand the Law Manual, available on line. Seenawl.ca.
National LawyersGuild (U.S.)
- An associationof progressivelawyersand law students that seeksto maintain and
protect civil rights and liberties and to safeguardand extend the rights of marginalized groups.Seenlg.org.

Compiled by Kate Forrest,
law student at McGill.




• • •
on un
out comme l'indique Dean Spade: «
Law school is like a language immersion program, but one in which the
language you are learning is the language of rationalizing white supremacy, settler
colonialism, patriarchy and capitalism».
Mais ton peril est encore plus serieux que le
suggere Spade : ta formation en droit McGill
risque,en plus, par le recoursfrequent a des concepts tel celui des « droits fondamentaux », de
reussir a te convaincre que le droit est progressiste de sa nature meme.Tu apprendrasen detail
en analysant l'arret Roncarelli que, pour que la
justice soit rendue, meme contre les tout-puissants tel Maurice Duplessis, les individus opprimes n'ont qu'a presenter leurs plaintes a la
Cour supreme. On te suggerera-implicitement,
mais continuellement-par ailleurs, que cette
Cour est un veritable guerrier de la gauche, qui
reussita dejouer Stephen Harpera tousles coups.


C'est peu probable, par contre, qu'on mentionne dans tes cours le regime canadien de
certificats de securite qui etait en causedans l'affaire Harkat. Celui-ci autorise des proces secrets,
lors desquels la defenderessen'est aucunement


autorisee a prendre connaissancede la preuve
secrete presenteepour l'incriminer. Ce meme regime a ete affirme par la Cour supreme, et cible
presqu'a l'unanimite des personnes racisees,
d'origine arabe.
On ne discutera non plus du reglement municipal P-6,en vertu duquel le Servicede police
de la ville de Montreal a effectue des arrestations
en massede plus de mille militantes et militants
de gauche depuis la greve etudiante de 2012,
tout en refusant d'appliquer ce meme reglement lors des celebrations du Canadien ou lorsqu'une manifestation des policiers et policieres
eux-memes n'a pas ete conforme a ses dispositions. En fait, les profs auxquelsje l'ai mentionne
n'avaientjamais entendu parler de ce reglement
dont !'abrogation a ete revendiquee a maintes
reprises par les mouvements sociaux, et qui est
souvent mentionne dans les medias de masse,
maisqui demeure apparemment toujours obscur
dans la faculte de droit.
On ne discutera surement pas du taux sans
precedent d'emprisonnement au Canada,particulierement de personnes racisees,meme si ceci
resulte du travail du systemejudiciaire. L'enque-


teur correctionnel independant a d'ailleurs constate en novembre que « You cannot reasonably
claim to have a just society with incarceration
rateslike these».

haient contester la perpetuation du pouvoir et
des privileges par les milieux academiqueset juridiques. Bon courage dans la revendication d'un
milieu juridique plus juste !

Une vraie formation, un sens moral plus profond, une connaissancedu monde qui depasse
les zones de privileges qui englobent l'universite McGill et la faculte de droit, necessitentforcement plut6t de s'impliquer dans lesmouvements
sociaux au-dela du milieu academique, et qui
abondent a Montreal. En meme temps, ii vaut la
peine de connecter avec les autres etudiant-e-s
qui se questionnent eux et elles aussiet qui sou-

Written by Mark Phillips,
law student at McGill .

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hen I started law school, I had no
idea what I was getting myself into.
Two yearslater,with most of the required courses and some practical
experience in refugee, immigration, family, and
criminal law under my belt, I am starting to realize that some of what I have learned, I want to

I am troubled by how careful my classmates
and I feel we need to be about the image we project and the politics we promote, fearing either
could hinder our employment prospects.

There is no doubt that law school has taught
me hugely useful skills and analytic techniques;
the experience has facilitated my meeting, befriending, and collaborating with interesting and
engaged young people. There is also no doubt
that the tremendous resourcesoffered by the faculty and the professioncan enable and empower
students to meaningfully engage each other and
our broader community.

But most of all, I am troubled by how law
school has changed me in ways I still struggle to

Yet,as I frequent our faculty atop the hill, removed from lower campus, following our own
calendar and grading scheme, I find myself immersedin the privileged world of law school,and
I am troubled.
I am troubled by the conformity that permeates the law school experience,from sartorial decisionsto study techniques.
I am troubled by how often superficial politenessand interest in eachother is actually self-motivated in the name of "career"and "networking:'

I am troubled by the way utmost importance
is more often afforded to persuasivenessthan
the nature of the arguments being made.

I get a nagging feeling that I need to justify
not doing law school readings or studying when
I carve out time to spend with friends and family,
I read casesfor the ratios, opting not to take
time to consider compelling extra-legal details
that might better allow me to empathize with the
people whose lives will be affected by the outcomes of the judgments I read.
I have reconceivedwhat it meansto be a student sothat when I opt to do the minimal amount
of readingwith the maximum useof summaries,I
still call it an intellectual pursuit.
I havedeveloped a blindnessto the variety of
non-legal ways people deal with problems and
disputes by letting myself be all-consumed by
reported court decisionswith insufficient regard


for the realitiesthat make legal recoursesimpossible for many and impractical for most.




, ...- -

:,.... r-,:;J


I have bought into an image of the law as
complex and foreign-an image that validates
the need for a profession of legal experts. As a
result, I have started to seeworking in the public
interest as being about demystifying law rather
than about challenging the very structures that
make law incomprehensible to so many.
This is my experience,and though it may or
may not be yours, I know I am not alone. If we go
through law school without warning each other,
without reaching out to each other, and without
encouraging each other, we will be missing out
on our greatest opportunity to makethe most of
this experience.
So,asI enter my lastyearof law school,I make
three resolutions.
I resolveto spend every opportunity afforded
to me in clinics,courtrooms and prisons.
I resolve to challenge myself to listen and
learn from those affected by laws and those outside the legal field.
I resolve to find ways to weave my interests
and skills outside the law into my legal studies.
Whether this is your first year in law school or
your last, I invite you to join me.
Written by Charlotte-Anne
Malischewski,law student at McGill.







• •

IOI ui e to er un





.. \ .


his is a historically working-class
neighbourhood in Montreal that
is among the city's most underprivileged. Like many other ar~
eas of the city, Verdun is seeing
lots of gentrification. So far, it's retained
its very bilingual nature and t rue neighbourhood feel with a mix of residents of
every age and many vocations. I lived
there for two years and truly loved living
among Montreal families living their normal lives and going about their normal
businesses- which makesit a great place
==- ~1.___i
to visit when you want a break from the
student-saturateddowntown or Plateau!
! ' '\




-' :rii=:;~,

I }I \\

By bike
- It's a beautiful trip: you can take the bike
path along the LachineCanal most of the
way. About 25 min from McGill Law to
By metro
- Hop on the green line and get off at de
l'Eglise, which will put you right in the
centre of the action on Wellington Street
By bus
- If you are already at the law faculty, hop
on the 107 as it goes by the library on
Peel, and get off 20 minutes later at the
corner of Verdun and de l'Eglise.Walk to wards the river for about 5-1O minutes
and you'll find yourself in central Verdun.

By car.
- Driving downtown will not be the best
part of your day. Once you get to Verdun,
free parking is everywhere and easy to
find on most side streets.

Free andNotFree
- A beautiful cycling path follows the
St-Laurent westward all the way to the
town of Lachine, a trip of about 12 km
each way from Verdun.
The park (St-Laurent)
- Bring your picnic and your petanque set
- Verdun'sbeautiful park along the St-Laurent is nicer, bigger, cleaner,and way less
crowded than PareLafontaine.There is a
public outdoor pool open in summer and
a dock near it where you can jump into
the river to cool off. In winter, you can
The park (LachineCanal/Atwater Market
- Smaller,busier park with tons of bikes,
but it creates minimal distance between
buying your picnic at the market and eating it.
- The best park for this in Montreal is Marguerite-Bourgeoys at the corner of Wellington and Charlevoix.It's only a 15-min
walk from metro Charlevoix and nobody
will ever kick you out.


Whitewater kayaking or Stand-Up Paddleboarding at the LachineRapids
- A 15-min bus ride west from metro de l'Eglise
and you can take a kayaking or SUPlesson in
the Lachine Rapids- a great way to feel miles
away from the city.
Flatwater kayaking and paddleboating on the
- H20Adventuresrents simple kayaksand paddleboats so you can float around by Atwater
Volunteering with Pathways to Education /
Passeportpour ma reussite
- Pathwaysto Education / Passeportpour ma
reussiteis a program run in several cities across
Canadathat aims to prevent high school students in "at-risk" areas from dropping out of
school. So far, it's had huge successin raising
graduation rates in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. In Verdun, the program is run through
the organization Toujours Ensemble.You can
volunteer to help students with their homework at once-weeklytutoring sessions.

($ is under $15,$$ is $15-25,$$$ is $25 and up)
Atwater Market for lots of picnic choices!
Tripes& Caviar($$$)is not for vegetarians and
does not fall into the "cheapeats"category,but
rather does its part for sustainability by serving almost exclusivelythe parts of animalsthat
the dominant-culture Canadian diet typically
avoids, like tripe and pig's head. On Sundays,
they also have quite possibly the only great
brunch of Montreal with no line up!!!
Su($$$) is an establishedrestaurantworth visiting for its delicious traditional Turkish food
and to support Fisun Ercan,who, as a woman

chef-owner,representsa group still far underrepresentedin the world of cooking-food-fora-living.
CafeNuArt ($) isVerdun'slocal and established
Plateau-styleartsy cafe that does everything
in its power to avoid being Plateau-style:it
has no wifi, no espressomachine, it closes at
3pm every day and closes"exceptionally"on a
somewhat regular basis,it's cashonly, and the
middle-aged couple that runs the place is not
alwaysthat nice to you. But still, I go back:the
breakfastand lunch is nothing innovative, but
it's reliably good and reasonabypriced. It was
also there first. And when you go in, you often get the impression that patrons are actually using the cafe to meet with friends, enjoy
homemade food, and talk.
LaTazza($) is like the kitchen of a very sweet
rural quebecoise grandma. She makes her
own very homestyle cakes,quiches, and delicious gelatos in summer and sellslots of gourmet food items.
Station W ($) for lots of study-friendly space
where there is always an empty chair for you,
a warm vibe from the youthful, local owners, the cheapest good quality cappuccino
in Montreal ($2.75)and a delicious breakfast
sandwich on a Montreal bagel. Also, gourmet
grilled cheesesandwiches.
($) Local coffee roasterCafeSt-Henriand local
bakery Sweet Lee's,who both started out with
one shop each in the St-Henrineighbourhood,
sharea spaceon Wellington and it is complete
and utter genius.
FromagerieCoppette for more picnic supplies
like Quebec cheeses and charcuteries and
bread brought in from Arhoma Bakeryin Hochelaga-Maisonneuve,voted Montreal's top


bakery for a very good reason.
($$) Blackstrap BBQ for southern-style pulled

pork, brisket, chicken, homemade fries and
baked beans,coleslaw that is actually not gross,
and locally-madebeer.
La Branche d'Olivier is your local grocery for organic, fair trade, gluten-free, bulk and Middle

Written by Erin Moores,
law student at McGil l.

Photosby MelissaGiguerefor Station W.

Personswith disabilities have a right to be accommodated at law school, under
human rights legislation, It may be obvious that students with mobility related impairments should not be kept out of our law schools becausethe school refusedto
build ramps and elevatorsthat are accessiblefor wheelchairs and scooters where
other students can use stairs to accessclassrooms,libraries,the cafeteria, lounges
or other facilities. However,disabilities can range from mobility and sensory related, to psychiatric,and cognitive; the accommodationsneededto accessa legal education range accordingly. For example,students with learning disabilities,chronic
illnessesor psychiatricdisabilities may be eligible for extended time on exams,
extensionson papers,note takersor recorded lectures.In the intensely competitive
environment at law school, students receiving accommodations for non-evident
disabilities may even feel that their classmatesresent the fact that they have more
time to write an exam, In fact, many students with psychiatric disabilities remain
closeted throughout their entire education, no doubt becauseof the stigma, It is
surely assignthat the prejudice against personswith disability has been left unaddressedin the minds of the "best and the brightest''.Accommodation is a complex
concept to many.They are not a hand-up; they level the playing field so that students are treated fairly and equally.
Excerptfrom a piece written by Peter Forgeron,Amy War,and Anonymous,Law Union of Ontario.


J... .•


• •
he law faculty currently offers a variety of opportunities
for law students to
'get involved' in advocacywork
outside of the faculty, most notably through projects such as
Pro-BonoMcGill and legal clinic
course placements.What these
programs typically offer is an
opportunity for students to
take skills and knowledge they
haveacquired in law school and
apply these in a non-academic setting. Many students who
come to law school to pursue
commitments to social justice
seek out these opportunities not only to gain experience in
the kinds of work they want to
do after graduation, but also,
and perhaps more importantly,
as a source of motivation and
inspiration to help them get
through a law school largely
devoid of radical analysis.
Nevertheless, we should
think critically about the model of legal work these opportu nities provide. The majority of
these placements propagate

the traditional legal model of
superimposing legal expertise
as an adjunct to some other
project, be it individual cases,
issue-based research projects,
or broader social movements.
They propagate the model of
bringing in a legal expert to
single out and deal with the 'legal' aspectsof a given problem.
Moreover, these approaches
- the Pro-Bono program in particular - propagate the volunteerism model or ethic of charity premised on accepting one's
privilege and donating a small
amount of one's(precious)time
to help those 'less privileged'
rather than challenging the
structures that underlie social
Lawstudents who are in - or
want to join! - the fight for social
justice need to participate in
ways that challenge their privilege and the systemsof oppression on which society is based.
To do this, law students should
take a step beyond Pro-Bono
by fully engaging in grassroots
social movements and commu-

nity organizing initiatives.
The traditional placements
offered by law schoolspromote
orthodox hierarchy whereby
legal experts find themselves
in a position that is both privileged and detached. The very
idea that law students, as such,
can just be sprinkled around in
any number of situations and
be effective and beneficial (i.e.
'pro bono') is premised on the
presumption that legal expertise need not be rooted in the
subject matter to which it is
applied. Suchan approach promotes an image of the lawyer
as atomistic super-hero and
obviates the need for meaningful links between lawyers
and those they work with. Thus,
this approach strengthens and
entrenches the privilege of
lawyers and the corresponding disempowerment of their
counterparts. This professional
hierarchy must itself be undermined if we hope to move towards a more egalitarian world.
Just like other members of


the community, when law students participate fully in grassroots social justice organizing,
they can and should act as but
one, equal, member of a collective. Thus, traditional lawyer-client relationships are rejected,
and in their place relationships
based on solidarity and mutual assistance can develop. The
lawyer thus neither isolates
an individual case, nor works
alone while the client passively waits. Instead, she participates in a collaborative process
whereby the legal strategy is
only one, supporting, aspect
of the broader organizing efforts. Only then can legal work
effectively intersect with other
efforts, as those invo lved and
most directly affected see fit.
We must put ourselves in
situations where we unlearn
legal orthodoxy and challenge
the hierarchy on which the legal profession itself is premised.
This means engaging in social
justice work as a person who
happens to have legal know ledge, rather than as a legal
expert helicoptered in to solve
the 'legal' aspects of a particular
social prob lem. This sub-classification and individualization
of social problems serves only
to perpetuate myths about the
sustainability or inevitability of
the status quo. In refusing to
dig deeper, this method fails to
confront structures underlying
social problems that manifest

in an infinite variety of legal
It is also important to engage fully with the social movements or community organiz ing initiatives with which we
associate ourselves because it
is only in that way that we can
develop a full understanding
of the role that legal work can
and should play in the organiz ing effort. The role and nature
of the legal work to be done
- like all the organizing strategies - can then be determined
by the group as a whole , allow ing for primacy to be given to
the exper ience of those directly
affected by the oppression the
group is fighting . In contrast,
perpetually playing the role of
the expert-outsider not only
deprives the legal worker of a
fu ll understanding of the prop er role of her work, but also deprives the collective of an inte grated approach to its goals.
This means that law students who want to 'get involved' and put their skills to
practical use need to join organizing efforts in their full
capacity as people, and not
simply in their capacity as law
students. Don't mimic 'lawyers':
don't act as a consultant, don't
'advise' and don't just 'provide
legal information'. Organize,
debate , plan, do your share of
the menia l work! It is crucial to
share the struggle, to make it

our own, and to act in solidarity with those with whom we
work. Otherwise, the potential
for legal work to contribute to
social movements (if it exists at
all) will not be realized.
Law students who are concerned about social justice
have to think beyond Pro-Bono and 'clinic' placements, and
instead fully engage in social
movements on the same level as others organizing in such
movements. If we fail to do
this, we risk merely perpetuat ing the professional hierarchy
and individua lism that indeed
contribute to the oppression
that we should be struggling

Written by Jordan Topp
and Jared Will,
McGill law alumni.



entered law school feeling quite sure I
knew who I was. I didn't know what I wanted to be, necessarily,and that is of course
still the case.But through a combination of
past success,a joyous outlook on life, and
perhapsa jot of entitlement, I cameto McGill believing I could make it.
I am not a proud person. My certainty was
never something I expressedout loud. I just believed ...deep down ... that life would work out
for the best and that God had a plan for me.This
belief saw me through many difficult moments,
helped me to overcome many hurdles,and was a
secret reservoir of optimism I drew on whenever
the going got tough.
Believe in yourself. But why I am I writing to
you about cliches, something you have heard a
thousand times before, and perhaps, given your
successfulentranceto law school,something you
havealready mastered?
BecauseI don't want you to ever stop.
I am today much more insecure than I have
ever been. A nagging doubt has crept in and
cast a long shadow over the certainty I once had
about the future. I wish I could pinpoint what it
is about the last two yearsof law school that has
made fighting self-doubt my daily battle, but I
know it's real. I feel it acutely.And I see it daily in
the faces of my brilliant, thoughtfu l, and unique

colleagueswho regularly expressto me with sadnessthat their dreamsnow feel so uncertain.
The opening days are difficult. I found first
year classesboring, devoid of the passionor politics or soul searching I had come to expect of education. I started to slide from front seat to back,
falling silent while others spokeout asthe semester ticked on. But that slide backwardswasn'tjust
physical, it was also mental. I stopped believing
I could "get it"-get law, get law school- and I
stopped trying.
The competition for speaking time, positions, and jobs combined with the conversations
about crises in articling, crisesin the job market,
interviews, career search,career suits, and career
moves, is overwhelming- especially when you
don't see yourself doing or enjoying any of the
options presentedto you.
The B curve encouraged my complacency.
What was the point of trying? It seemed you had
to give up an arm and a leg to get an A. But if you
didn't get the grades,you didn't get the clerkship,
the job, the success.Shit, right?
Believing in myself went out the window and
uncertainty sank in. I bombed job interviews. I
couldn't speakabout my accomplishmentswhen
I didn't feel accomplished.How could I articulate
my many goals and dreams when they now felt
so far-fetched and unrealistic? I spent days in


bed, crying, watching TV, or in escape cooking,
writing, visiting home. And I know I am not the
only one.
The next few days and yearswill be hard not
becauselaw is hard but because law school culture is. Your belief in yourself will be challenged.
The strength of your dreams (if it isn't corporate
law) will be tested. Don't give in to the insecurity and uncertainty. Develop a catch phrase.I am
good at X. I want to be A, B, and C- and repeat
it to yourself the moment you catch yourself in
The insecurity seepsinto the air around exam
time, career days, and recruitment. You can feel
it. A hundred people fearing they're not good
enough. There will be those who show no chink
in their armour. Their confidence will smother
you. But remember that true confidence doesn't
need to compete and that being kind is contagious. Believe.You will lift yourself up as well as
your friends.
You may be among the brilliant few who
crack the mystery that is law school. I am entering third year and I still haven't got a clue. If you
find yourself lost at moments, remember who
you are today here at the beginning. Remember
the talents you possess.Maybe you're a writer, a
dancer,a chef. Legalth inking is only one way of
contributing to th is world. I've come to the conclusion that it will not be my forte, but using it in
combination with my other strengths might be.
Finally,when the self-doubt hits, look to the
sun. I've fallen in love with th is quote from Nelson Mandela:"Part of being optimistic is keeping
one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet
moving forward:' Literally,when you doubt yourself, get up out of your chair in class,go outside,
and look at the sun. And remember that though
it may not be this day, one day you're going to

And find the good people. They see you
through .
Written by an anonymous
McGill law student.

your styearo
hen I first arrived at law school in
20121alreadyhad one degreeand
several years of work experience
under my belt. I had come to law
school eager to get the practical
legal tools and experience I needed in order to
go back to my previous work and catalyze even
greater change.However,upon entering the Faculty's doors I was quickly informed that I would
be unable to engage in any legal work until second year.I glumly swallowed this information for
the first semester and waited it out. But by second semester,I realizedthat th is was a myth, and
that if you look hard enough, there are clear opportun ities to 'get your hands dirty' and engage


in practical legal work from the moment you
walk in the Faculty'sdoor.

Project Genesisis a local community legal
clinic in C6te-des-Neigesspecializing in housing law,welfare,pensions,and family allowances.First-yearstudents are MOREthan welcome
to volunteer. Youdo not have to volunteer via
ProBonoMcgill but can contact and organize
it with the Project Genesis(PG)directly. However,you can only receiveacademiccredit for
volunteering at PGvia the legal clinic coursein
third year. I have been volunteering here for
the past two years and it is an incredible practical legal work experience. After completing
30 hours of training, law student volunteers
get weekly four-hour shifts at 'the storefront; a
walk-in clinic where clients drop in with pressing legal queries. Eachvolunteer helps provide legal information to individual clients in
person. At all times there are two members of
the staff to supervise and confirm your actions
on each case. From helping a woman who has
been threatened with eviction by drafting a
letter informing the landlord of the illegality
of his actions, to communicating with welfare
to establish that a beneficiary has not actually been working the past three months and
shouldn't have a debt to welfare, the work is
extremely practical, life-changing and rewarding. Checkout http:/ /genese.qc.ca/

InnocenceMcGillis astudent-run legal clinic dedicated to assistingincarceratedindividualswho believethat they have been wrongfully convicted. Through research, investigation
and legal work, students make a tangib le impact on the livesof many wrongfully convicted
individuals. Again,while students only receive

academiccredit for director positions with InnocenceMcGill in third yearvia the legal clinic
course, first-years are more than welcome to
help out with the practical legal work. The first
year positions are competitive so apply early!
Students are supervisedby a Quebec criminal
defence lawyer who guides and mentors students in their work. Students don't represent
the individual or give legal advice, but engage
in researchto help the individual's claim. For
more information check out: https://www.
mcgi 11.ca/i
nnoceneel mcgi11-i nnocence-proj ect

Pro-Bono McGill helps to organize a large
number of volunteer placements with local
NGOsand community organizations around
Montreal. Organizations include PINAY
, Centre for Research-Actionon RaceRelations, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Head
and Hands,among many others. Some of the
placementsare more'legal'in nature than others. While in some placements a law student
may be tasked with creating a brochure in
simple language on the law of wills or labour
rights, in other placements students may do
legal researchto help an ongoing court case
or assist in drafting legal memos.Researchthe
positions before applying to make sure that
the type of work and organization is something that you feel comfortable and passionate doing. More info on Pro-Bono can be
found here: https://www.mcgi ll.ca/probono/

Solidarity Across Borders is a local community organization dedicated to social justice, decolonization and status for all, among
other issues.They are known acrossMontreal


as a place where all are welcome and there
is support for everyone. One of their critical
projects is assistancewith H&C applications
(Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds
Applications). When an individual or family's
application for refugee status has been rejected and they cannot gain status via other
means,an H&C application is often their last
bastion of hope to remain in Canada.McGill
Law students have been helping SABout with
H&Capplications over the last year.After being trained in how to complete them (which
involves not only paperwork but interviews
with the family, teachers, relatives, etc.), students are paired with local families or individuals who need help completing their H&C
application. This is an incredible project to
tangibly help individuals, while also gaining
practical legal experience and exposure to
Canada'simmigration system. For more information contact 3L student Lillian Boctor at
lillianboctor@gmail.comand checkout http://

The Immigrant Workers Centre defends
the rights of immigrant workers in Montreal
and fights for dignity, respect and j ustice.The
Centre is dedicated to protecting the human
rights of everyone from newly arrived immigrants to temporary foreign workers and
workers without status. One key campaign is
the creation of the Temporary ForeignWorkers Association,which aimsto help temporary
foreign workers to defend their own rights
and fight for the right to unionize. The Centre
is always looking for law students to conduct
legal researchon social protection and labour
and immigration issues.For more information
on volunteering with IWC check out http://
iwc-cti.ca and contact volunteer coordinator

Eric at ericshragge@gmail.com,or with the
TFWA,Joey at jcalugay@gmail.com 2L student RenzGrospewould be happy to answer
any questions too on IWC or TFWAat renzgrospe@yahoc.ca
If anyone has any questions on these opportunities or more you can always contact
me at Martha.chertkow@mail.mcgill.caand I'll
try my best to help you find the practical legal
experiencethat you are looking for!

Written by Martha Chertkow,
law student at McGill.






Imagesfrom Solidarity AcrossBorders.


• J ~:\.,.




• :::


oici une liste non-exhaustive de privileges de race, de genre, d'orientation sexuelle, de classe,de cisgenrisme et de validite s'exprimant dans la faculte de droit.
lls illustrent des inegalites persistantes dans notre
societe,dans notre systemeeducatif, dans le milieu
juridique et aMcGill.
En prendre conscienceest une premiere etape
en vue de remettre en question notre merite, d'eviter les comportements oppressifs, de soutenir les
revendications des groupes historiquement discrimines et de critiquer les mecanismesd'exclusion
endossespar la faculte de droit.


Cette liste ne doit pas servir valider notre indifference ou nos comportements d'exclusion (« je
n'ai pas tous les privileges, done je ne suis pas responsable »), susciter une culpabilite sterile (« je
suis privilegie-e, done je suis une horrible personne!
») ou encore valider une connaissancereductrice
des phenomenes de pouvoir et d'exclusion («j'ai lu
cette liste, done je saistout»).




Elle se veut plut6t une invitation reconnaitre
notre participation individuelle aux systemescollectifs et systemiques qui maintiennent les inegalites
en place et s'eduquer pour mieux les identifier et
les deconstruire.


On ne choisit pas de na,tre privilegie-e,mais on
herite tout de meme d'une responsabilite,celle de
mettresesprivilegesau servicede l'egalite.

Alors,quels sont
mes privileges?


• Je n'ai jamais ete le/la seul-e represen tant -e de ma race dans un cours
• Je n'ai pas subi de harcelement sexuel
ou d'agression sexuelle sur le campus de
McGill ou lors d'evenements de vie etudi ante
• Les activites de vie etudiante, y compris
en presence d 'alcool, ne me font pas me
sentir en danger cause demon genre
• Les manifestations de la culture du viol
la faculte (Skit Night, Quid, cours ... ) me
laissent indifferent
• Je n'ai pas contracte de prets etudiants
• Mes parents paient mes frais de scolar ite
• J'ai participe
un stage non remunere
• J'ai passe ou je passerai une session
• Si j 'obtiens un stage tres contingente,
personne ne doutera de mes qualifica tions et supposera que je l'ai obtenu en
raison d'une politique de discrimination
• La majorite de mes professeurs sont de
la meme ethnie que moi
• Les bureaux de mes professeurs me
sont accessibles
• Meme si mes notes sont moyennes,
j 'aurai un meilleur salaire que mes cama rades d'un autre genre/ d'une autre eth .
• On ne m'a jamais demande si j 'avais ete
admis -e McGill grace une politique de
discrimination positive
• Je suis mes cours dans ma premiere ou
deuxieme langue
• Je peux entrer dans la faculte par n'im porte quelle entree
• Je n'ai jamais ete confondu -e par un -e
camarade ou un -e professeur -e avec
un -e autre etudiant -e simplement parce
que nous partageons la meme ethnie
• J'ai les moyens d 'acheter neufs les recueils requis pour mes cours
• Le harcelement sexuel dans le milieu ju ridique ne m'inquiete pas
• Le Barreau n'opere pas de discrimina -








tion mon egard en raison de ma sante
• Je peux esperer un environnement de
travail securitaire et adapte mes beso .
• On ne m'a jamais demande si le meti er d'avocat -e etait trop demandant pour
pouvoir avoir et elever des enfants
• Les mises en situation des examens
que j 'ai passes incluaient des person nages de mon genre et de mon orienta tion sexuelle
• Les toilettes et casiers non -mixtes ne
me posent pas de probleme
• Je connais des auteurs/trices de doc trine qui me ressemblent au niveau de
mes identites
• La majorite des textes juridiques que
j 'ai lus ont ete rediges par des represen tants demon genre
• Mes interventions en classe ne sont pas
considerees comme illustrant !'opinion
d 'un groupe dont je fais partie
• Mes interventions sont plus souvent
sollicitees, felicitees, citees et prises com me point de depart d 'une discussion par
mes professeur -e-s que celles des mem bres d 'un autre genre
• Je suis rarement interrompu -e lorsque
je m'exprime en classe
• Je n'ai pas eu peur que des prejuges
gachent mes chances d'etre admis -e
en droit suite aux entrevues des candi dat -e-s
• Je n'ai pas peur que la connaissance de
mon identite de genre ou de mon ori entation sexuelle reduise mes chances
d 'etre engage -e par un -e employeur/
• Je reconnais mon genre dans les textes
ou propos au masculin « inclusif »


Ecrit par SuzanneZaccour,
etudiante en droit McGill.



ntering law school, each student likely has unique
reasonsfor why they are there, aswell as different visionsof where they want to end up. Froman office job
on BayStreetto a position with the United Nations in
Ethiopia,each person likely hasa different image in their mind.

••• •

When I arrived in law school I had a spectrum of ideas of
where I wanted to end up two to three yearsafter graduation.
They ranged from rural Congo to Ottawa, and a million other
disparate placesin between, but nothing north of 60-it just
wasn't in my head.
I am writing this mini-piece to put the possibility of working in the Arctic on the table from the moment you walk into
law school. I believe that legal work in Nunavut, Nunavik and
the Northwest Territories is an incredible opportunity, and I
hope to briefly explain why.
I spent this summer working with Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik (Nunavut Legal Aid) in Iqaluit, Nunavut, through a human
rights internship with the Centre for Human Rights and Legal
Pluralism. Not only has this given me the most professional
development in my legal career so far, but also the lifestyle,
landscapeand culture in Nunavut are unbelievably humbling
and very rewarding, and have made me think more seriously
about the possibility of working up North.










......_, ..



.~·· '

,,,__• ._:I'"~




Image from t he Canadian Embassy
, under a creative commons license.


, arti
* I will refer to the Arctic generally,but my observationsare
basedonly from working in Nunavut

Nunavut is one of the only jurisdictions in
Canadathat allows law students to represent clients in court in criminal matters. This summer
working for legal aid, I had my own client files
for which I was responsible from A to Z. I argued
daily in Court-not only bail hearings, bail variations and adjournments, but also guilty pleas
for assault and other summary convictions. A
supervising lawyer always had to be present in
the court room for insurance purposes, but they
rarely intervened.
As an articling student, the opportunities and
range of work that you are allowed to engage in
are unparalleled in Canada.As a first-year lawyer,
the work opportunities continue to be vast becausethere are so few lawyers in Nunavut. While
ideally I believe all lawyers in Nunavut should be
Inuit or of local heritage, for the moment there
is a large gap in the legal field and a desperate
need for legal services,which needs addressing
in conjunction with local legal capacity building.
Becauseof the shortage of lawyers,the workload
can be heavy, but the diversity of the files provides a huge opportunity for learning and professional development.

The natural beauty and culture in Nunavut
are also incredible, and provide strong reasonsto
work in the Arctic. Inuit culture is something that
as a 'Southerner' I rarely interacted with before
heading north, but is incredibly rich, wise, and
an invaluable part of Canadian heritage. From

learning traditional Inuit stories, to participating
in Inuit cultural arts festivals, informal throat singing circles, and eating fresh 'country food: I discoveredthat living in the Arctic provides daily life
and cultural lessons which are incredibly humbling and which one would never experience
elsewhere in Canada.The intersections between
Inuit conceptions of justice, traditional views on
healing and restoration, and the formal legal system are also exciting and truly educational. The
landscape is also breathtaking- even in Iqaluit,
almost every house looks onto FrobisherBay,and
in five minutes one can run on the tundra and
catch fresh Arctic char after work. Further north,
in Pangnirtung and Pond Inlet, where I also had
the opportunity to work, the towns border magnificent mountains, and you can spot narwhal
from your kitchen. The closenessto nature, the
geological and geographical uniqueness of the
Arctic, and Inuit culture all provide further reasons to think more about heading North during
your legal career.
Working in the Arctic is not for everyonefrom 24-hour sunless days in the winter to 24
hours of daylight in the summer, as well as the
small-town vibe and mostly 'dry' (no alcohol)
communities. But I just wanted to put the option
on the table-as you walk into your first year of
law school- becausewho knows, it might just be
for you!

Written by Martha Chertkow,
law student at McGill.


• •

istorically, the legal profession was
the purview of the white Protestant
malesfrom the wealthy classes.While
the professionhas changed over time
to include a broader spectrum of practioners,
we should not rest on the laurelsof apparent colour-diversity within our law schools.
Differencesexist along many axes,and a genuine diversity includes the various intersectional
possibilities of identity: age, sex, gender, colour,
class,ethno-racial heritage, faith practice, sexual
preference, and family status-to name a few. It
is not sufficient to measure diversity by anyone
axis,such as raceor sex.
Despite the rainbow of colours you might
see represented in your incoming law school
class, pervasive barriers based on class, race,
gender, disability and body appearance,as well
as other power dynamics will come into clear focus as time passes.If the grade curve doesn't do
enough to map out the dominance of the "old
boy" tradition, then the race to career-branding
will. The white heterosexualmale lawyer continues to make the most money and hold the most
"high-powered" positions in the legal field (read:

Bay Street). Behind him is an array of white female associatesand associatesof colour. Of those
associates,most come from a class background
similar to those of their privileged colleagues.
The associatesof colour will not have accented
English,and will be attractive and thin by media
standards.By my own observation, class,accent,
and body sizeare the trump suits of marginalization in the legal profession.
While the numbers of femalesenrolled in law
school hassurpassedhalf the total students at virtually every law school in Canada,equality is far
from achieved.A recentToronto Stararticle titled
"The legal 'sticky floor (by TraceyTyler,Toronto
Star August 15, 2006, A9) indicates that only 25
percent of judges on provincial court benches are female. The article also quotes Supreme
Court of CanadaChief Justice BeverlyMclachlin
in discussingthe relegation of female lawyersto
low-profile "pink files" which involve less complexity and less contact with clients, instead of
"blue files" that are assignedto male colleagues.
The article is accompaniedby a photo of Mclachlin and two other female SupremeCourt justices;
they are all white.


Private firms are most representative of an
open-market ethos, while the interview process
involved with government positions and other
quasi-public employers are carefully measured
to focus on non-discriminatory matters of legal
substance and expertise. Some public and/or
public interest organizations will even indicate
that women, personsof colour, and personswith
disabilities are encouraged to apply.
At the end of the day, everyone wants a fair
shot at doing the work they're interested in and
garnering the rewards associated with it. The
legal language used to describe this is equality,
accessibility, and freedom from discrimination.
However,having a fair shot can be measured in
only the most superficial of manners. Perhaps
certain questions are off-limits, such as "where
are you from?" or "how many kids do you have?"
but so many prejudices pervade the decisions
that are made about our "suitability" for a particular position. Our skin colour is obvious, our
accent is audible, and our body shape is visible,
without being asked.We may and likely will be
judged by these things unfairly, and without our
consent. Having a "fair shot" is not enough, if that
meanssatisfactionwith formal equality; substantive equality will only come when we see a profession that is representative of the diversity in
our society at large. To achieve this we need to
continue to fight racism,classism,ablism and homophobia in the law school curriculum, branding, and recruiting while mobilizing to demand
appropriate accommodations for ourselves and
our classmatesin the law school process.

Written by Loretta Denning,
Law Union of Ontario.

ou don't need to know why you are
here. I don't really know why I am.
Many of you picked law school
with a grand plan in mind, clear career goals and the will to achievethem.
But some of us fell into law school, like Alice
down the rabbit hole.We picked the red pill. And
that's ok too. As long aswe are enjoying the ride.
My experience at New Chancellor Day Hall
hasn't always been enjoyable. Some days I raged
as I read the Civil Code,asking myself why, of all
the magnificent books in the world, I had chosen
to spend my time studying this dry, red brick.
But I have had classeshere that have sparked
something deep inside me. Ideasthat caught me
off guard. Moments of wonder.
Law school isn't a contract, it's a relationship.
If you are willing to invest time into the relationship, you can really make it your own. We are given (a degree of) latitude here to learn what we
want to. So take advantage of it!


My experience at law school certainly hasn't
been perfect. Yet I suspect it has been a bit atypical.
I want to tell you a bit about it, not because
I think it is the ideal experience,one that everyone should mimic. I want to tell you about it to
encourageyou to think seriously about the time
you are spending here.I want to inspireyou to do
what you can to makethis place inspire you.

Dareto spend your time here getting not just
an accreditation, but an education.

law student at McGill.

Here is a list of unexpectedly wonderful
things I have done at McGill that made this place
my home:
• I wrote 2 papers about law and Edward Burtynsky'sphotography
• I helped organize a conferenceon Arctic Law
• I did a minor in cognitive science
• I worked on a project as a researchassistanton
law and children'sbooks
• I participated in a Heideggerreading group with
a law prof and close friends
• I attended a spectacular conference that commemorated the scholarshipof Rod MacDonald
• As a researchassistant,I worked on the development of an iPhoneapp to help addressthe climate crisis
• I found legal scholars (including Linda Meyer,
Mariana Valverde and Michael Burger) whose
work kept me up reading late into the night
No one is forcing you to do the coursesaux
stagesand to take coursesthat will train you for
a bar exam.Theseare all choiceswe get to make,
and may be fine choicesaswell! But if they aren't
the right choicesfor you, don't make them!
I don't know if my time here will prepare me
to be a kick-asslitigator. It might not help me to
savethe United Nations.And it may not arm me
with the tools to help the city's most vulnerable
navigate the legal system. But it has often been
exactly what I was looking for: an exciting intellectual adventure!
Image from On the Commons, under a creative commonslicense.





'ii.,_., ~



. lliiii,,

sed for referencesand citations
A mark of academichonesty.





. .

Divergent,or "outside of the scope"
Potentially overlooked,
Potentially disregarded.

May also contain an explanation,
Similar to the fine print in advertisements.
An additional piece of information printed at the
bottom of the page.
Font Style: Regular; Font size: smaller than the

Marginalized,and excluded,
A textual feature that speaksto legal writing and thinking;
Reflective of what is thought and what is (not)

Additional, or maybejust

The before and after
The skin color of the accused


Dig for the roots.
Exposethe dirt,
Look at it, talk about it, feel it.
Takewhat was blatantly marginalized,
Deemed important, but lacking in "probative value"
And deem it substantive.
Font Style:Regular;Font size:just as big as the rest
The psychological harm
The subtle mechanismsof discrimination
The victim impact evidence
The circumstantial evidence
The historical evidence
Could we possibly unearth a juridical analysisthat is
Historical (not ahistorical)
Contextualized (not decontextualized)?
A dare:A thing that takes courageto do
Dig deeper.
Exposethe truth,
Lookat it, talk about it, feel it.

Photo by Talia Joundi.

The commanding economic doctrine
The lacking policies (far from "neutral" or "legitimate")
Are banishedto the bottom.
Foronly in a footnote dare the critical suggestionsbe made
The whispers of a captive court.
Relegatedfrom the body;
Named after the foot, after all,
Whereyou find the dirt
That no one wants to see.
A proposition: A thing to do

Takeresponsibility for yesterday
Denounceimperialism as one denounceswar
Question capitalist interests as one questions exploitative migration
Callfor the right to resist asforcefully as one callsfor the right
to defend.
A rejection of contrived silences
A promise not to overlook, but to face the facts
A sincerecommitment to honesty.
[Emphasisadded, footnotes omitted]

Written by TaliaJoundi,
law student at McGill.


Money is nice when you want to organize something rad that needs a little bit of money-o. Here
are a few ideas:
- LSA:A registered club has to do a budget
every semester and the LSAwill allow a certain
amount of money (depending on the activities
planned, number of members, etc.) Radlaw receivesa bit of money but other groups also fund
some rad conferences/activities/material (Human Rights Working Group, Feminist Collective,
Aboriginal Law Students' Association, Environmental Law McGill,Outlaw, etc.)
- Dean'sDiscretionary Fund (DDF):Le doyen
offre du financement particulier au debut des
sessions.II suffit de faire une demande,en groupe
ou individuelle. Parle passe,RadLaw a pu assister
ades conferencessanstrop de frais!
- CDO:A good place to go when you're organizing a little something (especiallycareer related stuff.We did a "RadicalLawyering Panel"in the
- QPIRG:QPIRGMcGill funds action-oriented
researchthat supports their mandate of social
justice and environmental activism.They provide
several avenues for securing funding and support, enabling a diversity of groups and actors
to participate: http:/ /qpirgmcgill.org/resources/
- SSMU:l.'.externedu SSMUnous a deja fourni en batons, cartons et crayons de couleur pour
realiser des affiches pour des manifs. Des etudiant-e-s ont aussi re~u du financement pour des
t-shirts fabriques en soutien aux employe-e-s de
soutien en greve a l'automne 2011.

- Approcher un-e professeur-e: Certain-e-s
profs travaillent sur des sujets progressisteset
sont ouvert-e-s a donner une conference ou a
fournir des ressources.

Ah la folie des coursepacks(recueils)trop cherset
trop lourds!Voici quelques astuces:
- D'abord, des etudiant-e-s de la fac se sont
penche-e-s sur la question du droit d'auteur et
du prix des recueilsau fameux bookstore de McGill: http://crackthecoursepack.tumblr.com
- Demander a des etudiant-e-s des annees
superieures.Certains coursepackssont tres similaires d'une annee a l'autre (surtout ceux des
cours obligatoires).Lookon the Notice Board,ask
around and pay a lower price.
- Buy the coursepackwith a bunch of people
and make copies.The library might also hold a
copy of the coursepackso you won't have to buy
it in the first place.We never told you that.
- The library has a lot of books and some are
available online (ex. Les obligations par Baudoin et Jobin). The Bibliotheque nationale (banq.
qc.ca) has a large selection of law books too (en
fran~aispour la plupart).
for a 25$ fee, you can become
a member of Coop-UQAM (and that's for life).
UQAM has a law bookstore where you can find/
order a bunch of law books.

Written by Dominique Boutin,
McGill law alumna.


"Coffee House: Habitus and Performance Among Law Students" by
Desmond Manderson and Sarah
"ForThoseConsidering Law School"
by Dean Spade
"Letter to a Student Interested in
SocialJustice"by William P Quigley
"Teaching Local 1330: Reflections
on Critical Legal Pedagogy"by Karl
"When the FirstQuail Calls:Multiple
Consciousness as Jurisprudential
Method" by Mari Matsuda
Seeing Like a State: How Certain
Schemesto Improvethe HumanConditionHaveFailedby JamesScott

"Law as Rhetoric, Rhetoric as Law:
The Arts of Cultural and Communal
Life"by JamesBoydWhite
Adil Charkaoui's poem in Undoing
BorderImperialismby HarshaWalia
"Confronting Power: Aboriginal
Women and Justice Reform"by Patricia Monture
"Safer Sex Work: The Case for Decriminalization" by RobynMaynard
"Alchemical Notes: Reconstructing
Ideals from Deconstructed Rights"
by PatriciaWilliams
Towarda FeministTheoryof theStateby

"The Courtroom and the Street:
Notes on Activist Encounters with
"On Some of the Affects of Capitalthe Law" by the Upping the Anti
ism"by Bruno Latour
Editorial Committee [Along with
a response rejecting it: "The Law's
RebelliousLawyering:One Chicano's Fundamentally Violent Character"
Visionof ProgressiveLaw Practiceby
by Irina eerie]
Gerald Lopez
"Decolonizing Together: Moving
Le Capitalau XXle siecle by Thomas Beyond a Politics of Solidarity ToPiketty
ward a Practice of Decolonization"
by HarshaWalia
The Justice of Mercy by Linda Ross


Le regroupement Radlaw a ete fonde en septembre 2001. II
desire inciter les etudiant-e-s collaborer avec les organisations montrealaisesafin de les encourager developper des
relations egalitaires avec la communaute au lieu de s'impliquer en tant qu'experts. Nous rejetons le discours juridique
liberal et nous remettons en question les normes admisespar
la theorie et la pratique juridiques dans la mesureou elles perpetuent et recreent des structures de domination et de subordination dans la societe.Dansle passe,nous avonsoffert notre
appui au personnel de soutien de McGill en greve, nous nous
sommesmobilise-e-s centre la haussedes frais de scolaritedu
gouvernement Charestet centre lajud iciarisationdu droit par
le gouvernement Harper.We embracemodes of socialorganization based on direct and participatory democracy that provide the meansfor self-determination and grassrootsempowerment. We organizeconferences,film screenings,workshops
and activism within the Faculty on migrant justice, labour
issues, queer struggles and issuesof race and class, among
other things. Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings
and to get involved in all events.Notre regroupement d'etudiant-e-s est ouvert tous les etudiant-e-s. Les etudiant-e-s
interesse-e-s a participer au regroupement doivent accepter
notre convention d'unite. Joignez-vous nous et partagezvos
idees,participez nos activites et prenez la rue avec nous de
temps en temps.






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