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Photo of three law students left to right Justin Papoff, Matthew London, Megan Simpson

Left to right: Justin Papoff, Matthew London, and Megan Simpson.

Law students present outstanding academic work at national conferences

March 24, 2024 — 

The high calibre of academic work being produced by Faculty of Law students this year has garnered several third-year Juris Doctor students at Robson Hall invitations to present papers at national conferences this month. No less than three students including Matthew London, Justin Papoff, and Megan Simpson, attended the Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues 17th Annual Canadian Law Student Conference, held March 14th and 15th, 2024 at the University of Windsor law school. Lou Lamari (3L) presented a paper at the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism’s Disability and Human Rights Student Colloquium, that took place March 22. The Faculty of Law is pleased to support students presenting at conferences and was able to assist those attending in-person.

The Canadian Law Student Conference, hosted by the Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues, offers law students the unique opportunity to present their work and receive feedback from faculty and peers. The Conference takes place over a two-day period in Windsor, Ontario and is attended by faculty, law students, practitioners, and judges from across Canada. This year’s Keynote Address was given by The Honourable Justice Malcolm Rowe of the Supreme Court of Canada, who visited Robson Hall on March 28.

Professor Jennifer Schulz, who is also the Associate Dean of the Juris Doctor program and an author of multiple books and other academic research publications herself, had encouraged all law students to consider submitting papers to the conference earlier this year.

London, who will be clerking with the Tax Court of Canada upon graduating, submitted a paper titled “The Regulated Wild West: Sports Betting and Dispute Resolution in Canada”. He wrote the paper for the Dispute Resolution course taught by Professor Jennifer Schulz. “I’d encourage others to apply for conferences, journals or paper awards, because there are a lot of opportunities available across the country,” said London.

Justin Papoff (3L) presents his paper written for Professor Michelle Gallant’s Dispute Resolution class.

Justin Papoff (3L) presents his paper written for Professor Michelle Gallant’s Dispute Resolution class.

Papoff, who will article at MLT Aikins LLP in Winnipeg upon graduation, presented his paper titled “Holding the Kids Hostage: What Family Lawyers Can Learn from Hostage Negotiators. The paper was written for Professor Michelle Gallant’s Dispute Resolution class during the Fall 2023 semester.  “I submitted the paper because I thought that my comparison of hostage negotiations and family disputes was a unique one that could lead to further research into the topic by others,” said Papoff. “By adopting skills used by hostage negotiators such as active listening, empathy, trust, and rapport, I believe lawyers can facilitate behavioral change and enhance cooperation in family disputes.”

After presenting, Papoff fielded questions from peers, and found this to be an important learning experience that gave him new ideas and opportunities for self-reflection. “I was also fortunate to learn about many interesting issues as they intersect with the law, including environmental racism, India’s caste system, and the digital privacy of children,” he said, noting some of the other impactful presentations he experienced.

Simpson presented on the topic of “Learning from Feminist Methodologies: A Way Forward for the Human Rights Approach to Disability-Based Persecution.” The paper was written for Dr. Amar Khoday’s Refugee Law class and discussed the types of harms that have been found by refugee decision makers to qualify as persecution based on disability for which refugee protection should be afforded. Simpson argued that these forms of harm are too anchored in traditional conceptions of harm that lead to the adoption of the Refugee Convention and are not responsive to the lived experiences of persons with disabilities nor the international human rights instruments that have been adopted to reflect unique positionalities of these persons. 

“[Professor Khoday] was very supportive and provided comprehensive feedback that helped me to develop the paper into something I wanted to share and that I hope to continue to develop, and this Conference was a great opportunity to get more feedback and hear about some work other students are doing in the topic,” said Simpson.

This Conference helped me to see how other students are taking their findings and making concrete and implementable recommendations based on them which has assisted me in improving my own paper.

– Megan Simpson (3L)

The panel Simpson presented on was entitled “Interdisciplinary Perspectives.” On the whole, the Conference showed Simpson how much there is to learn from other legal and non-legal disciplines. 

Lamari’s paper titled “Not Without Health: The Accessible Canada Act and Canada’s Failure to Implement the CRPD,” was written for the Human Rights Law course taught in the Fall term by Assistant Professor Nathan Derejko, Mauro Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice. “He recommended I try to publish it, so I will be looking into that after the conference,” said Lamari, who presented at 3:00 p.m. Winnipeg time via Zoom on March 22.

The McGill event is a hybrid bilingual student colloquium with students from across Canada presenting research on disability and human rights. The keynote speaker this year was Professor Stephanie Chipeur, Law and Disability Policy professor at the University of Calgary.

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