“The Power of Migrant Stories”

Click here to download audio.

On March 29, McGill’s Faculty of Law welcomed Historian and Professor from the University of Zayed, Sonia Cancian. Cancian spoke of how the life stories of migrants in Italy and Canada, much like those of refugees today, may emphatically shape and be shaped by migrant law. Cancian suggests that empathy is the language of the 21st century. It is a vehicle that can be used for social and political awareness and for the undoing and creation of policy for refugees across the globe today.

This talk is brought to you by LegalEase’s Emma Noradounkian.


March 2017–Divest and Resist

February 2017–Let’s Dump Trump

“You’re a Fixer, You Don’t Get Fixed:” McGill Law’s Mental Wellness Study Survey Calls for Greater Participation



(Photo credit: http://www.justicehaque.org/mental-health-rights-in-india/)

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It is no secret that lawyers suffer from far greater rates of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse than non-lawyers. Law students are no exception. In 2014, a study led by the McGill Law Student Well-being Committee revealed that approximately 40% of Law student participants had experienced depression and that more than 7 out of 10 students felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and anxious during their last year of Law school.

In collaboration with a team of organizational psychologists, McGill Law’s Healthy Legal Minds (HLM)– a student-born initiative that aims to destigmatize mental health in the legal profession– has launched its own scientific survey this Winter 2017 term. All McGill Law students are invited to take the anonymous French/English survey, which ends on February 17, 2017. If it reaches at least a 60% participation rate, HLM, the LSA, and members of the McGill Law administration will have the necessary data to make decisions on how to invest in the overall mental health of its students.

Please find the English (https://fr.surveymonkey.com/r/XG2GZCB) and French versions (https://fr.surveymonkey.com/r/XGV5GRK) of the survey.

LegalEase’s Emma Noradounkian sat down with HLM co-directors Shannon Snow and Benjamin Brunot, who discussed the creative process of the survey, why law students and legal professionals disproportionately experience mental health challenges, and how students can support their peers in times of distress.

Thank you to Shannon and Benjamin for having granted LegalEase this interview and to all others involved for heading the way towards student wellness at our Faculty.

Journeying Towards Universal Accessibility and Inclusivity

An Interview with McGill Law’s Universal Access Consultant Gift Tshuma


(Photo credit: https://cielo24.com/category/state-accessibility-law/)

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In the context of McGill’s Faculty of Law, accessibility is a concept that isn’t confined to the proverbial wheelchair. According to Gift Tshuma, the LSA’s summer Universal Design Coordinator and the current Universal Access Consultant, accessibility calls attention to the concerns of a variety of marginalized groups amongst its students and staff: from the less-abled, to the racialized, to the gendered, and to the overall stigmatized.

LegalEase’s Emma Noradounkian sat down with Mr. Tshuma to find out more about his accessibility report of our Faculty and Student Association, the LSA. He also discussed what accessibility means in the Faculty, how the Faculty is accessible in some ways but not in others, and how its students and staff can lead the way towards shedding the barriers to a more inclusive environment for all.

Thank you to Mr. Tshuma for his time and patience in agreeing to the interview and for kicking off the Faculty’s journey towards universal accessibility and inclusivity, alongside the LSA and Dean Leckey.

Episode January 2016–Accessibility, Name Changing, Slavery and the Law

Bienvenues à LegalEase, une émission consacrée au droit qui vise à
en rendre le jargon plus accessible tout en évaluant de manière
critique ses institutions.

LegalEase is a monthly show put together by a collective of former
and current law students at McGill that explores the law and its
institutions with a critical lens and at the same time makes the
jargon of the law more accessible.

First off, LegalEase’s Emma Noradounkian interviews the McGill
Faculty of Law’s Universal Access Consultant, Gift Tshuma, on his
accessibility report, which was released in the late Fall of 2016.
They discussed the details of the report and ways that students can get involved to make the Faculty more accessible and inclusive for all.

Next, we’ll hear from the McGill Legal Information Clinic on the current status of name changing in Quebec, brought to you by Alexa Franckzak.

The Legal Information Clinic is a non-profit,
student-run, bilingual and free information legal service. Their
mandate is to provide legal information, student advocacy services,
referral and community services to the McGill and Montreal
communities, with a continuing commitment to meeting the needs
of marginalized groups. The clinic is located in the SSMU building
on McTavish.

Finally, we’ll feature a talk which Professor Afua Cooper gave
during Professor Adelle Blackett’s “Slavery and the Law” seminar.

A scholar, historian, poet, and commentator– she currently is an
Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Social
Anthropology at Dalhousie University and founded a minor in
Black Canadian Studies. She discusses her research and the history
of slavery in Canada by pointing to individual narratives and the
cultural entrenchment of the practice in codes and statutes. She
completely demolishes the myth of a benign, slave-free Canada.

Vous écoutez LegalEase sur CKUT 90.3 FM à Montreal.



Episode December 2016–A Gift or a Curse?

Bienvenues à LegalEase, une émission consacrée au droit qui vise à
en rendre le jargon plus accessible tout en évaluant de manière
critique ses institutions.

LegalEase is a monthly show put together by a collective of former
and current law students at McGill that explores the law and its
institutions with a critical lens and at the same time makes the
jargon of the law more accessible.

LegalEase’s Lillian Boctor reports from the Standing Rock resistance encampments where water protectors have, for now, managed to halt construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline…more on that to come. We’ll also get an update on struggles against the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Ensuite, we’ll hear testimonies from members of the Non-Status Women’s Collective of Montreal, a collective of non-status women self-organizing for status for all here in Montreal, who took to the streets this past Saturday, to mark one year of collective struggle and continue their fight in denouncing the arbitrariness of Canada’s immigration system and its particularly violent impacts on women.

Finally, to add a little holiday flavour to our somber program we’ll get a brief law lesson from the Legal Information Clinic of McGill on the subject of gifts.

Vous écoutez LegalEase sur CKUT 90.3 F.M.

“When the Law is Broken:” Professor Val Napoleon Talks of the University of Victoria’s Proposed Dual Indigenous Law Program


(Photo credit: http://www.uvic.ca/law/about/indigenous/indigenouslawresearchunit/)

Click here to download audio.

After over a decade of planning and discussions, the University of Victoria’s (UVic’s) proposed joint Common Law and Indigenous Law degree program (the JID) is nearing fruition. Once approved by both the federal and provincial governments, Canada will see its first ever dual Indigenous law program, starting next Fall of 2017.

LegalEase’s Emma Noradounkian sat down with one of its architects, UVic Director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit and Research Chair, Val Napoleon. We discussed the details of the proposed program, its parallels to the McGill transsystemic model, as well as issues of Indigenous essentialization and reconciliation in creating such a program.

Thank you to Professor Napoleon for her time and patience in agreeing to the interview. Thank yous are also due to Professor Napoleon, as well as Professors Friedland, Anker, and Kong, for having taught first-year students to be brave, to engage with what we didn’t know, and to question what we thought we already knew about Indigenous laws this past Integration Week.

“We don’t owe you anything:” Women’s rights activist Julie Lalonde speaks up about her decade-long stalker


(Photo credit: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-stalking-cases-police-women-saftey-online-stalking-3074436/)

Click here to download audio.

Stalking is a term that legally translates to criminal harassment in the Canadian Criminal Code. It is a term that has been romanticized in novels and romantic-comedy movies and normalized in everyday romantic interactions, predominantly between men and women.

In Canada, 76% of victims of stalking are women, and 58% of these women are stalked by former partners.

LegalEase’s Emma Noradounkian sat down with Julie Lalonde. Julie is a women’s rights activist, the manager of Draw the Line, a campaign that encourages bystanders to intervene in instances of sexual violence, and the founder of the Ottawa chapter of Hollaback!, a movement dedicated to ending street harassment. She is also a victim of stalking.

Julie shared her story with her decade-long stalker and she shed some light on the many barriers imposed by the Canadian criminal law on victims of stalking.  She also shared her thoughts on Canada’s new federal strategy that aims to reduce gender-based cyber-harassment. A consultation process for this strategy is expected by early 2017.



A Look at the First Ever Legal Aid Lawyers Union in Ontario

The Quebec State Lawyers have been on strike for approximately two weeks as of today, with an unlimited mandate, waiting for their collective agreement to be renewed. A recent TAT decision has deemed certain services “essential,” to which lawyers reacted by saying that they should benefit from special negotiation procedure in light of that new categorization. In this show, we explore a different but related issue of the unionization of Lawyers, in the context of Ontario Legal Aid.

LegalEase’s Alice Mirlesse spoke with Garrett, a criminal defence lawyer, who is currently organizing the first ever Legal Aid Lawyers union.