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CanU Law program kids with Judge Kusham Sharma after mini moot at law courts fall term 2023

CanU’s 2022 participants at a mini moot competition at the Winnipeg Law Courts Building with The Honourable Judge Kusham Sharma. Photo by MLSA CanU volunteers.

CanU: The Next Generation – of lawyers

Law students share university experiences with middle and high-school kids

March 3, 2023 — 

Each year, since at least 2017, law students at Robson Hall have run a CanU law school program for Winnipeg High School students. CanU is a Winnipeg-based charitable organization that coordinates programs designed and led by post-secondary student volunteers. CanU kids participate in a wide range of educational experiences on post-secondary campuses and develop their nutrition, health, academic, social, and leadership skills. Law students Xiyuan Feng (3L) and Mursal Ismael (2L) are running the program this year and will be promoting it at CanU’s Family Festival taking place on Thursday, March 9, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in the University of Manitoba’s University Centre Multipurpose room.

According to Feng and Ismael, about 30 to 40 high school students take part each semester. Last fall, Winnipeg students from grades 7 to 9 took part, and this winter, grades 5 and 6 are attending CanU law school.

Recently, Feng said students were learning the basic principles in various areas of law including criminal law and constitutional law as part of the academic, learning component. As a practical component, the law students introduce advocacy by having the kids try their hands at trial and negotiation.

Our lessons provide some ideas about what our legal system looks like and inspire students to explore [law] in the future. – Xiyuan Feng, 3L

“Students are very eager to know about law and law school,” said Feng. “We frequently receive questions like how to be a lawyer in the future, what is law school like. We definitely find many future lawyers.”

During the fall term, the CanU law school volunteers had participants practice their advocacy skills in a mini moot at the Winnipeg Law Courts building in front of a special guest speaker, The Honourable Judge Kusham Sharma. “When our guest speaker, Judge Sharma, joined us, students submitted their arguments confidently in front of her and discussed legal issues with her,” said Feng.

The CanU Family Festival and Learning Fair is a chance for CanU students to come and show their families what they did in different CanU programs, including CanU Law. There will be up to 500 students from Grades 5-12 from different CanU programs in attendance, and they will be accompanied by their parents, siblings and teachers.

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