UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
Faculty of Law
UM Today Network
Manitoba Laskin moot competition team 2023 of Megan Filyk, Eric Gagnon, Eric App, Matt Reimer, and Bradley Légaré

Manitoba’s 2023 Laskin Moot Team left to right: Megan Filyk (3L), Eric Gagnon (2L), Eric Epp (2L), Matt Reimer (2L), and Bradley Légaré (2L).

Moot Report 2023: Capturing the Spirit of the Laskin

Manitoba team takes home Spirit of the Laskin award for fair competition, commitment to bilingualism, and professional camaraderie

March 3, 2023 — 

The University of Manitoba’s 2023 Laskin Moot team proudly took home the Spirit of the Laskin Award, and finished in the Top 6 for their factum after competing in the annual bilingual competition held February 23, 24, and 25 at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

According to supervising faculty member, Dr. Gerald Heckman, this year’s Manitoba team was distinct from most other anglophone law schools outside of Quebec, fielding two French-speaking mooters and two English-speaking mooter, rather than just one French-speaking mooter. Team members Bradley Légaré (2L), Eric Epp (2L), Matt Reimer(2L),  Eric Gagnon (2L),  and researcher Meghan Filyk (3L), were coached by lawyers Gabrielle Lisi [JD/2015] (Marr Finlayson Pollock) and Tanys Björnson (Manitoba Department of Justice).

Heckman noted that the recipient of the Spirit of the Laskin award is chosen by all the teams as best embodying the principles behind the Laskin based on qualities like congeniality, comradery, hard work, and commitment to bilingualism. The Manitoba team has won the Spirit of the Laskin Award three times since 2017, prompting the question: is there something in the water at Robson hall that makes our teams so congenial?

“Though appellate moots obviously have a competitive aspect to them,” he explained, “our Faculty advisors and coaches emphasize that moots are an opportunity for students to learn new skills and to create ties with fellow students, lawyers and judges from across the country. In my experience, our students compete in appellate moots with that attitude in mind and, of course, live up to our reputation as “friendly Manitobans”!”

Coach Tanys Björnson, a lawyer with the Manitoba Department of Justice had high praise for the team. “It was extremely rewarding for me to see the transformation from law students at the first oral practice to respected advocates arguing so ably before respected members of the legal community,” she said. “They conducted themselves with grace and dignity and made friends wherever they went. To be at their table at the final banquet (where they were awarded the Spirit of the Laskin Award) was so special.”

Many of the other participants made a point of coming to our table to congratulate them on their performance and congeniality. Many expressed that Team Manitoba was instrumental in helping to create such a wonderful experience for so many. Well done Team Manitoba! – Tanys Björnson, coach

Gabrielle Lisi, Coach and partner with Marr Finlayson Pollock LLP, shared that the team worked very hard preparing written submissions and perfecting oral advocacy skills, and was pleased to see that hard work pay off. “Each member of the team demonstrated their legal skill, hard work and professionalism throughout the competition,” she said. “The recognition that they have received from the Laskin is well-deserved.   I am very proud of their performance and of the opportunity I had to help them grow as advocates.”

We should also extend our thanks to the Manitoba legal community for taking part in many practice moots with the students and coaches this past month and for offering the students the chance to learn from experienced legal practitioners. – Gabrielle Lisi, coach

Team member Matt Reimer (2L), learned a lot through the experience, explaining, “The Laskin Moot was a fantastic way to practice my advocacy skills in a very collegial and genuine atmosphere. A major thing that I learned was that confidence goes a long way! We are often our own harshest critic.”

The judges, along with my coaches, and teammates were all very kind to me and had much more positive feedback to my oral arguments than I was prepared to give myself. So my takeaways would be to just be kind, respectful, go with the flow, take some chances, and have fun! That’s what mooting (and being a student) is all about! – Matt Reimer (2L)

Eric Gagnon and Bradley Légaré are both enrolled in the Faculty of Law’s Concentration in Access to Justice in French program, which was officially launched last term. This program, supported by Justice Canada, has significantly contributed to the increase in the number of students gaining confidence to compete in French language moot competitions this year.

“As a Franco-Manitoban, it was truly an honour to moot in French,” said Eric Gagnon (2L). “By broadening our linguistic capacities as law students, we are doing our part so that all may have access to justice in French here in Manitoba. Opportunities like the Laskin Moot are extremely important in this endeavor.”

For his own experience, Légaré said, “The Laskin moot was an incredible experience from the beginning. As a Franco-Manitoban who speaks French sparingly at home, the opportunity to improve my French legal skills and participate in an bilingual event was an amazing opportunity. I can’t thank our coaches enough for the amount of time they put into helping us improve our mooting and legal skills, their support was greatly appreciated. Thank you/merci to all of the other students who participated, I’m lucky to have gotten the opportunity to meet everyone!”

Légaré also obtained from the Laskin organizers, a few of the anonymous comments the other law schools made about the Manitoba Team in their nominations for the Spirit of the Laskin award, which share a delightful insight into the impact the Robson Hallers had on the other competitors:

  • “Les membres de leur équipe étaient fort sympathiques autant avant qu’après la plaidoirie. La discussion avec eux était facile et ils étaient intéressés à nous connaître.” (Tr. “The members of their team were incredibly friendly both before and after the competition. Speaking with them was easy and they were interested in getting to know us.”)
  • “They engaged us in genuine friendly conversations from the beginning. They demonstrated active interest in getting to know people on a human level and brought no pretention to any conversation. They were a welcome, frequent presence at all social events and would be a great choice to receive this year’s award.”
  • “The entire team was sociable, fun and kind. They worked hard and partied harder.”
  • “They were collegial and had an up-beat spirit throughout. We particularly appreciated their bilingualism.”
  • “Extremely friendly, outgoing, a great mix of anglophones and francophones.”

Congratulations, Laskin team!

, , , , , , , , ,

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

Emergency: 204-474-9341