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Brayden McDonald presents at a legal conference in 2018.

Brayden McDonald [JD/2019, LLM/2021] presents at a legal conference in 2018.

What makes you stronger

Master of Laws graduate overcame obstacles to find success

Not an immediate first-choice articling student for law firms, Brayden McDonald [JD/19] turned a sow’s ear of a situation into a silk purse, by returning to school for a Master of Laws degree at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law. Now about to tread the (virtual) boards to receive his LLM parchment on Monday, October 18 at 3:00 p.m. McDonald has his name on a number of published scholarly works and on a Charter challenge court case.

“Brayden was an excellent student, and we’re fortunate to have had him in the LLM program,” said McDonald’s thesis advisor, Dr. Richard Jochelson, Dean of Law. “In his time here, he was able to showcase his research and verbal presentation gifts, and engage in more clinical work.”

The Dean also observed, “This directly afforded him the opportunity to network with prospective employers and showcase his talents.”

McDonald wanted to study law from the start. Born in Winnipeg, he completed an undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Studies. “I always liked the big picture, real world stuff so social science like that was more my forte, though I had a lot of history courses too. I was always stronger in writing than in sciences, so it kind of flowed from my skill set,” he said.

After completing his JD, he quickly turned the setback of not getting offered an articling position into an opportunity. “I had already forged a strong relationship with Dean (still Professor, then) Jochelson by working as a summer student for him, so he was really the one who showed me this alternative path, the LLM.”

Still a student, McDonald was therefore able to volunteer at the University of Manitoba Community Law Centre, which led to his involvement in a Tobacco Tax Act Charter challenge that law students brought before the Manitoba Courts last March.

With guidance from a thesis advisor who taught courses on Criminal Law, and Charter Issues in Criminal Law, and another strong mentor in Jochelson’s research collaborator, Professor David Ireland, McDonald completed a thesis titled: “Expert Evidence or Expert Decisions? Measuring the Impact of Expert Evidence on Criminal Proceedings Outcomes in the Provincial Court of Manitoba.”

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