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Photo of Juris Doctor Class of 2024 Valedictorian, Kali Faingold wearing a cap and gown and holding her degree in an official UM folder.

Kali Faingold, Juris Doctor Class of 2024 Valedictorian.

Faculty of Law JD Valedictorian Address 2024

Kali Faingold rises to "[t]he daunting task of capturing three tumultuous, yet rewarding, years of law school"

June 24, 2024 — 

The Valedictorian Address for the JD Class of 2024 was Kali Faingold. The text of her speech is below, and a video recording from the June 8th Manitoba Law Students’ Association Grad Gala can be viewed on the Faculty of Law’s Youtube channel.

Good evening everyone,

I am truly honoured to stand before you tonight representing the Robson Hall Class of 2024. When I was chosen as Valedictorian, I could not have been more thrilled – then I realized I actually had to write a speech. The daunting task of capturing three tumultuous, yet rewarding, years of law school in just a few minutes seemed impossible.

Naturally, I turned to a highly academic and respected source for inspiration – the movie Legally Blonde. For those who may not know, the story follows Elle Woods, a sorority girl who attends Harvard Law School. At first, Elle is a fish completely out of water, questioning her place among classmates who seem to have credentials much beyond her. This feeling resonates with many of us, bringing to mind the all-too-familiar term “imposter syndrome” – a phrase I have heard more in these past three years than in my entire life combined. “Am I supposed to be here? Am I as capable as my incredibly intelligent, charismatic, and driven peers?”

I wanted to share a personal story with you. Not many people know that after my first-year of law school, I faced significant mental health challenges and seriously considered not continuing with my studies. The weight of the workload, the constant self doubt, and the mounting pressure to measure up made me question whether I could continue in this profession. I vividly remember a conversation I had with Rosa about what it would look like to take some time off or even discontinue my studies altogether.

Standing here today, I cannot fully express how grateful I feel to have reached this milestone. I owe so much to the incredible people in this room who believed in me, even when I struggled to believe in myself. What makes this graduating class so special is our unwavering support for one another through both the good times and the bad. As we prepare to enter a challenging and demanding profession, it’s natural to feel hesitant about the uncertainties that lie ahead. However, if our time here has taught us anything, it’s that we are strong enough to overcome obstacles. So, to my fellow graduates, if you find yourself doubting, as I have, whether you belong here, remember this: you are resilient, capable, and deserving of every success that comes your way. Most importantly, you are never alone. Together, we are about to step into the world armed with more than just a degree, but with a wealth of  shared challenges and triumphs that have prepared us for whatever the future holds.

As we reflect on our journey from anxious first-year students to confident soon-to-be graduates, it’s amazing to see how much we’ve changed and grown. For all the graduates here, I encourage you to take a moment and think back to our first day, where torts were merely desserts and the bar was a place to be visited on a Saturday night. It’s September 3rd, 2021, and you’re sitting at your computer eagerly awaiting our online Zoom orientation. How overwhelmed we felt as we juggled syllabus after syllabus, met our professors, and yes, got our first assignment. We arrived as individuals with diverse aspirations and backgrounds, and we’ve become a cohesive group of skilled professionals.

Let me share some of the highlights that define our graduating class:

  • We navigated the challenges of both online and in-person learning. While confined to those little boxes on the Zoom screen, we mastered the art of muting and unmuting at just the right moments and making sure our top half looks impeccable while secretly wearing pajama pants. When we finally transitioned back to the classroom, it was a another adjustment – with the help of free coffee from the common room, we had to relearn how to engage face-to face and manage the dynamics of a physical classroom environment. This unique blend of experiences not only tested our adaptability, but also strengthened our resilience, preparing us to handle any professional challenge with flexibility and grace.
  • We didn’t just study; we excelled. Publishing legal articles, winning legal writing awards, and proving our tenacity and spirit in competitions, from negotiations to moot courts. Don’t just take it from me – Team Manitoba has literally won the “Spirit of the Laskin” award for two consecutive years. Not to mention, our law games team can now proudly add “Talent Cup Champions” to their resumes and the Robson Hall Jets hockey team has remained undefeated at the Cross Border Classic hockey tournament.
  • We wholeheartedly embraced opportunities to hone our practical skills through our dedicated involvement in clinics, externships, and clerkships. These invaluable experiences, such as assisting with the process of law creation and reform, working with judges in the courtroom, and representing real clients who might otherwise lack access to legal support, allowed us to step beyond the classroom and apply our knowledge in meaningful, impactful ways.
  • Under our leadership, clubs and committees at Robson Hall thrived. Our graduating class has spearheaded impactful conferences, planned extensive networking events, and organized social activities that further knitted our community together. The Social Committee did such a great job planning last years Carbolic Smoke Ball that the Forty Garry hotel might not let us back again! Thanks to the Business Law Group, Robson Hall now offers students the opportunity to participate in The Art Braid Business Law Case Competition, which has been a huge success for two years. The Communications Committee took on the daunting task of revamping our social media accounts and created an entirely new website. Members of our own Manitoba Indigenous Law Students Association have been elected to the National level, showcasing our leadership on a broader scale. These achievements are by no means exhaustive, but they reflect the dedication and collaborative spirit of our class, leaving a lasting legacy for future students at Robson Hall.
  • Above all, we’ve learned the importance of trusting ourselves. We’ve built confidence in our legal instincts and analytical skills, understanding that our worth extends far beyond the accolades we accumulate. The true measure of our value lies in the resilience we’ve developed and the integrity we bring to every challenge. While our achievements may open doors, it is our recognition that each person’s well-being is just as important as their professional growth that makes our class unique.

If I could highlight one final thing about the Robson Hall class of 2024, it is our commitment  to showing up. We’ve shown up to every Carbolic, Med-Law, bomber game, law banquet, wine and cheese; even during a global pandemic. We show up academically. I remember talking to lawyers who would be impressed that our cohort is “so involved”, which is just another word for major keeners.

Above all, we show up for each other. Our time at Robson Hall has been more than just lectures and exams; it’s been about forging lasting friendships, sharing both laughter and tears, and embracing every moment. Beyond simply being classmates, we’ve become a community of friends who support each other through difficult times and celebrate each others successes. This is what truly defines our graduating class – we stand together, ready to take on the world.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without a league of extraordinary people who have made this day a reality.

To our friends and family – you’ve listened to endless rants and talked us off many ledges. Your love, encouragement, and sacrifice have been the backbone of our law school experience. We owe you more thanks than can be covered by our future lawyer salaries, and we are forever grateful for your unwavering support. A mi familia, gracias y los quiero mucho.

Thank you to our esteemed faculty and staff. Your dedication has made us more knowledgeable, thoughtful, and yes, even more opinionated. Because of you, Robson Hall has been more than a school; it’s been our community. Here, professors are not just educators, they are mentors and advocates for our success. Robson Hall has prepared us to be excellent lawyers; but it has also taught us the value of hard work, of compassion, and of building something greater together.

And finally, to the extraordinary Class of 2024. What a ride it’s been! From our first Zoom call where we nervously adjusted our screens, to this moment. Whether our paths take us to the corridors of the Supreme Court, the boardrooms of major corporations, or even on a spaceship to Mars with Elon Musk, I am forever grateful to have shared this journey with you.

Although our time at Robson Hall is ending, I am confident that our impact on this profession is just beginning. Let’s embrace this new chapter and show the world the power of showing up — not just as lawyers, but as unwavering supporters and compassionate friends. Here’s to us and our future, may it be as bright and ambitious as the class that stands ready to embrace it. 

Thank you.



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