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Fireside Chat with Barbara Brown

Beatrice Rutayisire, BLSA Canada Communications Committee member and 2L at McGill, sat down with Barbara Brown who tuned in from Ghana to discuss her law studies, clerking at the appellate level, and the importance of building community within BLSA. Barbara is a law clerk to Justice Michael Tulloch at the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Q. So just to get started, I’ll have you introduce yourself by telling us about your law school and career journey, as well as any research or fun facts that you wanted to share.

Yeah, so law was not a path that I always saw for myself. But in my last year of my undergraduate degree - when I was studying criminology - I had a lot of strong feelings about the criminal justice system and a feeling that I was called to do work in that area, so I decided to go to law school.

I wasn't really sure how it was going to work out for me and I was really just trying to come out alive, with a law degree, on the other side. But I found that I really thrived in law school, and I had such a great community around me and so many great people supporting me -- particularly BLSA. That was the one group that really got me through the whole three years and encouraged me to become a more active part of the law school community. I don't think I would have done it without the support that I had from BLSA. Everything I have done since has been with that support and with the goal in mind of helping more people come after me and to have them come into a better space than I did. For instance, I was Equity Officer for BLSA my 2L year and then I was President in 3L. I got to do so many different things in the role like creating the Africa Summit where we were connecting internationally through Norton Rose Fulbright, which was a highlight of my time at BLSA.

Now, I’m at the Court of Appeal, like you mentioned, and it's been a real honor to see the justice system from this perspective.

I'm learning that things aren't as black and white as I thought, and that in order to really push the system forward, we have to be making strategic decisions and looking at things critically. I still have a lot more time here and I'm excited to learn more but that's pretty much me in a nutshell.