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Myles Davis [J.D./18] won second place in the Insolvency Institute of Canada's annual Writing Awards Program

Law Student first Manitoban to win Insolvency Law research prize

Recent J.D. Grad says award influenced decision to pursue LL.M. program

August 31, 2018 — 

This summer, Myles Davis, [J.D./18] became the first University of Manitoba law student to win one of the prizes offered in the annual Insolvency Institute of Canada’s (IIC) Law Student Writing Awards Program. Taking part in the competition, he said, to some degree influenced his decision to continue on into the Faculty of Law’s graduate program, which he starts at Robson Hall this fall.

The IIC has sponsored this annual competition for full-time undergraduate Canadian law students for the past 14 years to get law students interested in researching corporate insolvency and restructuring issues, developing ideas and bringing proposals for reform to the attention of the business and legal community. First prize consists of $7,500 and an invitation to the IIC Conference in Charlottetown being held in PEI September 27 – 30, 2018; Second prize is $5,000, and Third prize is $2,500. Complete information about the Awards Program can be found on the IIC website.

Davis, who won the 2018 second-place prize, is the first University of Manitoba Law Student to have ever placed in the top three. The title of Davis’ paper is “CBCA Section 192: Canada’s Next Insolvency Regime.” Davis’ faculty sponsor for his competition entry was Dr. Virginia Torrie, who teaches bankruptcy and insolvency law at the faculty. According to Torrie, Davis’ research for his award-winning paper “also forms the basis for his LL.M. project, which uses socio-legal theory to analyze the growing use of the Canada Business Corporations Act for insolvent restructurings.” 

Davis credits Torrie for first giving him the idea to embark on a bankruptcy research project when she announced the opportunity to enter the annual competition in the bankruptcy class he took during the winter term of his second year of law school. “I was really interested in bankruptcy after I finished that class, and I decided to write an independent research paper the following year in winter, 2018 about a bankruptcy topic,” he said.

Because the independent research paper credit requires having a faculty supervisor, he asked Torrie to fulfill that role. She also provided a list of topics for him to choose from, and he settled on the section 192 thesis. He wrote the paper with the intention of submitting a version of it to the competition. The independent paper, however, was 10,000 words long, whereas the competition had a maximum word count of 3,000 words, thus, Davis spent all of May and the first part of June editing down the paper to make the submission.

After obtaining a “very good mark” (he said with a smile) on the independent paper, he sent in his whittled-down paper with confidence, and was very encouraged in his decision to pursue an LL.M. after having placed in the top three.

“Initially, I was more interested in going into practice,” he said regarding his earliest mindset upon starting law school, “and I didn’t know if I liked criminal practice or commercial practice or which practice I would go into.” Over the last 3 years, Davis determined that he definitely likes corporate law, and is especially pleased to be studying insolvency and bankruptcy law at a more in-depth level.

Davis encourages other law students to take the time to apply for similar awards and prizes, given that the pay-off can be career-defining, in addition to coming with monetary benefits. “I would suggest that if you’ve written a paper already for a perspective course or want to do an independent paper, students should look or ask someone to see if there is some sort of competition open for that kind of paper. The student essay contests are very specific and you have to be able to find one that matches what you’re doing,” he advised.

On starting the LL.M., Davis said, “I am looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be very different from law school, mostly because there’s a lot less classes and it’s a lot more research-based for your thesis.”

He’ll have to take three classes over the next year, but is a bit ahead of the game already knowing what his thesis topic will be with some research already started. “I’m pretty happy with the course selection,” he said. “If there was a bankruptcy II course, I would probably take it.”

Davis would recommend that more students consider a Master of Laws degree, since it doesn’t necessarily mean that one can never go back and practice law.  “You can still do an LL.M. and then go articling after that,” he said. As for himself, “I’m considering either going on to do a Ph.D. or articling and going into practice. I’m torn on that.”

Davis is glad that the IIC has been encouraging students with the awards program: “It’s specifically only for law students and it’s meaningful that they offer such high value cash prizes. The Insolvency Institute of Canada is doing a good job and I’d recommend that future Robson Hall students try out to win an award. Give it a try,” he said.

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