UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
Faculty of Law
UM Today Network
headshots of four law students graduating class of 2022

Students from the Juris Doctor Class of 2022 (left to right): Michael Badejo, Hannah Taylor, Andrew Fenwick and Celyna Yu.

Faculty of Law Class of 2022

Some extraordinary individuals will soon join the legal profession

June 6, 2022 — 

The Faculty of Law is very proud of its Graduating Class of 2022 as a group of extraordinary law students who endured some unusual circumstances during much of their Juris Doctor experience. Despite their first-year final exams being interrupted by a global pandemic followed by two years of virtual learning, they persevered and made the most of their time both physically and virtually at Robson Hall. Four members of this remarkable group of future lawyers joined us in conversation to reflect on their chosen career paths and law school experiences.

 

headshot of Michael BadejoMichael Badejo: Communication is Key

President of the Manitoba Law Students’ Association, Michael Badejo came from a career in communications, and immediately jumped into an active law school life serving as Manitoba Bar Association student representative and putting his design and editorial skills to use as one of the student editors of the Manitoba Law Journal. Michael graduates as an award-winning student having received – even in his first year of law school, the Manitoba Bar Association’s President’s Award of Excellence, given to an MBA member for extraordinary contributions to the Association.

 

Q: What drew you to law school?

A: Though I had a career before I came to law school, law was always on my mind as a career – since high school, in fact.

I’ve always had an interest in using critical thinking, strategic messaging, and good old fashioned common sense to help those around me. Coming from a career in strategic communications, this seemed like the natural evolution to accomplish that goal on a bigger scale and with the ability to make a positive impact in our shared community by giving back. Law school has provided me the opportunity to do that and more, so I’m glad to report that the multitude of experiences that compose law school lived up to those aspirations and then some.

 

Q: What was your path to get to law school?

A: I came to Robson Hall after having a career in media relations and strategic, mostly corporate communications. My past experience includes being a strategic advisor and communications specialist (both as a self-employed contractor and a full-time employee) with numerous major local organizations like the Winnipeg Airports Authority, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Manitoba and Deer Lodge Centre Foundation. These roles deepened my understanding of our community, while also helping to shape my approach in law school – particularly in how the law manifests practically for everyday people. It really made me try to approach every fact set, every scenario, every hypothetical legal conflict in a manner that puts both pragmatism as well as “how will this work in real life” front and centre.

As for my educational background, I initially graduated with a joint degree/diploma from The University of Winnipeg and Red River College in my undergrad (which also included a short stint at the University of Manitoba when I had thoughts of pre-med).

 

Q: What was your favourite class and why?

A: I’ve got a few! If it counts, social psychology was just an intro course, but it underpins much of my past and current career, so much so that I’ve continued to stay current in academic research on that front.

In law school my two favorite courses have been intellectual property and evidence. Intellectual property is my favorite area of the law and along with a great professor/practitioner in Silvia de Sousa, just had striking content alongside the field’s central role in protecting the interests of art and artists.

Evidence was also a fantastic course as taught by Assistant Professor Brandon Trask. I hope to be a litigator in the future and Professor Trask made the complex rules of evidence that underpin our legal system extremely easy to understand, digest, and apply which has been very helpful as I hone my craft.

 

Q: What was your favourite law school memory?

A: Two law school memories stick out to me: the first is our orientation week lunch where we all got introduced to each other for one of the first times in 1L. there’s something about trial under fire and the beginning of the journey that always sticks out to me in situations like this because you can see the gradual reveal of unforgettable people and personalities that make up these formative years. It’s always rewarding and fun to look back on.

Of course, doing this right before the pandemic did cut some of our togetherness short but we adapted.

A return to safe events as we were eventually able to do was also a source of great memories because it allowed us to see our shared community come back together.

And lastly, being President of the Manitoba Law Students Association was extremely rewarding and something I will remember forever. My team of Alexis Alevizos, Narayan McRae, Kelsey Thain and I were able to give back to our community and students not only by setting up many new initiatives for this year, but also by building a foundation for the future with our major donation to student-facing spaces at the Faculty of Law. We know the next iteration of the MLSA will take the torch and build on all of the fantastic achievements our MLSA committees and representatives put in motion; there are too many to list and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished this year.

 

Q: What do you wish you knew before your first day of law school?

A: Something we can always use a reminder about but just to keep an open mind about is where your interests in law school lie. There are going to be many opportunities in front of you and you can take them all on but pushing at the edge of your comfort zone is a good thing and will lead you to growth in both skill and experience.

 

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to a new law student or person considering going to Robson Hall?

A: Make sure to build out a flexible routine that leaves time for selfcare. Law school will be a busy time in your life but with the right approach there is still lots of time to carve out for the people that you care about as well as the activities and restorative things that make you who you are. Those are just as important to your success as putting in the work. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got!

 

headshot of Hannah TaylorHannah Taylor: In Pursuit of Equality 

Hannah Taylor, Winnipeg homelessness advocate who founded the Ladybug Foundation at age eight, is graduating from law school. Having received an international humanitarian award for her work several years before starting law school, she continued to be active in advocacy causes throughout the past three years including helping to create a Trans ID Clinic, serving as president of Outlaws (Robson Hall’s 2SLGBTQ+ student group), and co-authoring a submission to the International Criminal Court to support the Tamil community. This year, she received the Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) – Manitoba Chapter’s Chief Justice Richard Wagner award given to outstanding PBSC volunteers who embody the organization’s core values of dignity, equity, and humility. Taylor was also one of the inaugural winners of the Royal Society of Canada’s Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella Prize, presented to one graduating law student in every law school in Canada “who represent[s] the values of equality and equity we need in our country as we move forward,” according to RSC President Dr. Jeremy N. McNeil.

 

Q: What drew you to law school?
A: I was drawn to law school because I want to build a career focused on human rights and service to the community. After wrapping up the work of The Ladybug Foundation – a non-profit I started to raise funds and awareness for people experiencing houselessness in Canada – in 2019 I felt that pursuing law would give me the opportunity to do that. 

 

Q: What was your favourite class and why?

 A: I had so many great classes at Robson. Advanced Advocacy, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Gender & The Law and Human Rights Law were a few of my favourites. 

 

 Q: What was your favourite law school memory?
A: My favourite law school memories come from being a part of Outlaws, Robson Hall’s 2SLGBTQ+ student group and projects through Pro Bono Students Canada such as the Trans ID Clinic. It was so meaningful to see hundreds of people come out to ‘Call Me By My Name’ – Outlaws’ drag show fundraiser, in my final year at Robson.  

 

Q: What do you wish you knew before your first day of law school?

A: As a student, I came to understand that legal learning doesn’t end in law school. I expect that I will learn something new in my career every day. 

 

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to a new law student or person considering going to Robson Hall?

A: I loved being a law student, but it is also difficult being a law student. If you are just starting out and you find that a certain class or involvement in a specific student group sparks your interest – follow the spark. 

 

headshot of Andrew FenwickAndrew Fenwick: Pacing yourself

 By the time the global pandemic shut down in-person classes at the University of Manitoba in March 2020, Andrew Fenwick had already overcome much adversity in life. A recipient of the Ken Tacium Memorial Scholarship (given to support students who have overcome significant obstacles in pursuit of their university studies), he overcame a brief case of imposter syndrome to graduate with high praise and a bright legal future. Andrew received the 2022 Susan Loadman Award this year, which is awarded annually to a law student who has demonstrated determination and perseverance in progressing in their Law studies despite significant obstacles.

 

Q: What drew you to law school?

A: I was drawn to law school by my interest in policy drafting and advancing peoples’ legal and human rights. I had a string of medical complications at an early age, and now I am a full-time wheelchair user. Through my experiences living with a disability, I have developed awareness and interest in disability justice and rights advocacy. Through my advocacy, I was able to work on both provincial and federal stand-alone accessibility legislation. In the final year of my undergraduate studies, I began working for the Public Interest Law Centre, researching ground-level effects of federal monetary policy. This research solidified my interest in policy drafting and interpreting laws while also presenting me with an intellectual challenge to apply my passion and knowledge. Law school felt like the perfect progression for me.

 

Q: What was your favourite class and why?

A: My favourite class was first-year Legal Methods because we were able to hear from many different guest lecturers about their expertise and areas of interest. As someone without family connections to the legal practice or even a lawyer, I found it eye-opening to hear about the different areas of practice. These speakers also allowed me to see the diverse interests and paths to and within the legal profession. In the second term, this course becomes judge shadowing, where students get to spend the day with Manitoba Court judges. It was great hanging out with judges and being treated like colleagues while experiencing the courts through this oftentimes unseen lens.

 

Q: What was your Favourite law school memory?

A:  My favourite memory was getting to know my classmates at the beginning of my first year. In the early fall of my first year, MLT Aikins hosted a wine & cheese networking event at their office and invited 1L students. It was my first networking event, and, at that point, I was more concerned with trying to get to know my classmates than chatting with lawyers about their practices. I spent most of the night just chatting with my classmate, who became one of my closest friends for the preceding three years, and likely years to come. After the event, many students went to Earls to debrief and hang out. I will never forget the acceptance and support I felt within Earls that night. That was the moment I knew I was where I wanted to be. Law school is quite hard, but the camaraderie and friendships that developed throughout law school helped me get through it. I consider the friends I made in law school to be some of my best friends.

 

Q: What do you wish you knew before your first day of law school?

A: Not to let good grades trick you into bad habits. At the beginning of law school, the realization that everyone is smart is apparent; however, we cannot all be the smartest, so we all received advice to not let our first C in law school derail our confidence. This was great advice, but it was a rallying cry to study hard for me. I did exceptionally well on my first exam. After this mark, I forgot about all the work that got me there, believing that my previous efforts would carry me. This was a false hope! I realized that law school is more a marathon than a sprint.

 

headshot of Celyna YuCelyna Yu: All that glitters

 University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law Gold Medalist Celyna Yu, did not hide in the (virtual) E.K. Williams Law Library with her nose in her law books for the past three years. On the contrary, she was active in student groups including the Diversity in Law Group, the Prairie Diversity Committee, the Robson Hall Debate Society (as president in her third year) and early in her law school career, was involved in the Pro Bono Students Canada Legal Help Centre externship. She was also a member of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition team this year. The Gold Medal for Law caps off a long list of academic honours for this remarkable student who, as an undergraduate, arrived at the Asper School of Business as a President’s Scholar, and was then a member of the Most Outstanding Business Student Association as selected by the Canadian Association of Business Students (2017 – 2018). Before arriving at Robson Hall, she received an Emerging Leader Award in 2018, won the Bronze Medal in Management and was on the Dean’s Honour List. Once at Robson Hall, she kept up her Dean’s Honour List tradition in addition to winning no less than four top marks prizes including The Honourable Justice Robyn Moglove Diamond Prize for Excellence in Family Law, Archie Micay, Q.C. Prize for Corporations I, and the R.R. Goodwin, Q.C. Prize for Property Law, and the MLT Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson Honourable Marshall Rothstein Prize (for Constitutional Law). Finally, she received the Dr. A.W. Hogg Undergraduate Scholarship, and the Lieutenant M.M. Soronow Scholarship.

 

Q: What was your path to get to law school? What drew you to law school?

A: I never imagined or predicted that I would go to law school. 15-year-old Celyna was adamant about pursuing a career in marketing – which is why I enrolled at the Asper School of Business after high school.

I went to the Asper School of Business from 2015-2019, and I had an incredible experience. I was part of the Commerce Students’ Association, I participated in several case competitions and conferences, and I double majored in Marketing and Supply Chain. Towards the end of my degree, I wanted to give myself some options in the off-chance I decided not to dive into a marketing career, and in essence, adulthood, right away. I took my LSAT, but I still didn’t consider law school seriously – I told myself that I would see my score and then decide.

There was no singular experience or event that occurred that made me decide to go to law school. It wasn’t like the movies where something clicks. Law school felt intimidating; I knew that as a visible minority and a woman, the cards were stacked against me. However, I think that over my final year of business school, I also realized I was capable of more than I gave myself credit for and that I was up for a challenge. In Fall 2019, I walked through the doors of Robson Hall, and I am so happy I did.

 

Q: What was your favourite class and why?

 A: My favourite class was Law and Popular Culture with Dr. Jennifer Schulz. From the outside, many people falsely assume it is an easy class where the homework is watching movies. From having taken the class, I can tell you it is much more than that – it is an introspection on society’s conception of the law and an examination of what the law “actually” is and/or should be. It was my favourite class because law students often focus on the milestones of writing the LSAT and getting into law school that we often forget to ask ourselves why we want to be lawyers and what kind of lawyers we want to be. Dr. Schulz pushed us to look at the law from different perspectives and I believe in doing so, she made us better law students and lawyers.

 

Q: What is your favourite law school memory?

A: Law school has been a wild ride – especially being online for over two years of it because of COVID. I have many favourite memories, but if I had to choose one, I would choose my mooting experience in 3L. Specifically, I would choose listening to the keynote address by [Supreme Court of Canada] Justice Mahmud Jamal. My teammates and I continue to talk about his story of the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. when he travelled for the same moot, and the bond we share because of his keynote is so special.

 

Q: What do you wish you knew before your first day of law school? What one piece of advice would you give to a new law student or person considering going to Robson Hall?

A: I wish I knew how fast time would fly by, because it still feels surreal to be done law school!

My one piece of advice for a new law student or person considering going to Robson Hall is to be kind. Our conception of lawyers is largely based on popular culture, like the TV show “Suits”, but lawyers aren’t and don’t need to be vicious in order to be successful. In my experience, the people I have met during my law school experience have been incredibly kind and generous. The academic learning curve of law school is difficult enough, so I would encourage new and prospective law students to be kind and open minded to one another and themselves.

, , , , , ,

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341

Top