Our students talk about #excellencewithoutbarriers

Aman Gill, 2L (JD/MBA), Geoff Taber Memorial Award

Aman GillHometown: Brampton, Ontario

Undergraduate degree[s]: BSc Honours Life Sciences

Undergraduate institution[s]: McMaster University

As a multidisciplinary JD/MBA student with an undergrad in Life Sciences and extensive experience in politics, I believe that a law degree opens many doors. Becoming a lawyer would comprehensively support my diverse interests, while allowing me to contribute meaningfully to Canadian society.

University of Toronto Faculty of Law is very renowned for the strength of its faculty, for its robust career services, and its heavy emphasis on professional development. The graduating employment numbers are unparalleled and U of T allows students to explore multiple areas of practice through its clinical and internship opportunities. It offered me a perfect combined JD/MBA degree at an equally prestigious business school – the Rotman School of Management. University of Toronto also showed value for diversity and inclusion through its student services and comprehensive financial aid program. The financial program was designed solely on a needs-based system and it relieved the uncertainty around relying on a competitive merit-based system. I knew that based on my family household income and unmet need, the financial aid I would receive would be fair. 

I am absolutely loving law school. Looking back, I am glad I made the decision to attend law school and at University of Toronto. I was amazed by the strength of the Faculty of Law and the student services it offers. First year was intellectually stimulating and U of T provided ample opportunities for professional development. Coming in to law school with a science background, I was nervous about developing legal writing skills; but I found the legal research and writing class to be invaluable in helping overcome this hurdle. And when in need of extra help, guidance and advice, the faculty at U of T law were always accessible, including the Dean! U of T really strives to bring out the best in students by giving us opportunities to develop skills through the Dean’s Leadership Lunches and Leadership Skills Workshops.

As a JD/MBA student, I am propelled toward a career in corporate law. Aside from my career aspirations, I really do hope to get involved in the various diversity and inclusion initiatives in the field of law. These are values I’ve held close to me from a young age. When I was nine years old, I got involved in politics and have perpetually been involved since then. I was ten years old when I learned what the Charter was, and that it protected my right to wear a turban to school. It was powerful to me that the Charter is well beyond just words on paper; it protects us from having to choose between who we are and our career.  And equally important as protecting these rights is promoting equal opportunity. Promoting diversity and inclusion makes business sense: different perspectives from a range of backgrounds and experiences lead to better ideas. The legal profession in Canada has made great strides in recent years in promoting the values of diversity and inclusion. But I believe there is still much more work to be done.

The law school’s faculty are of extraordinary strength. It becomes evident when you get your first year criminal law class taught by Kent Roach, or first year contracts by Gillian Hadfield. The career services are also unparalleled. Both these provide students the necessary skills, guidance, and education to achieve excellence and flourish in the legal profession. However, supporting the world-class faculty and the wide range of student services comes with an inevitable and expensive price tag. And it is important that the student body that enters the legal profession reflects a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds because the profession is only as good as the people in it. To ensure that this price tag does not become a barrier for fostering a diverse student body to enter the legal profession, financial aid is indispensable.

The bursary, along with government loans and grants, alleviated much of the financial burden in attending law school. Knowing I will receive financial aid made it much easier for me to accept U of T law and to do so without hesitation. During my application process, I understood that coming from a middle-class family, with a sister also enrolled in post-secondary education, law school would undoubtedly be a heavy financial burden for my family and me. My dream was to attend U of T law, but I knew the decision to do so would be contingent on the financial aid I would receive. Without financial aid and U of T’s need-based financial aid program, perhaps my dream would have remained just a dream.

If I could speak with a donor now, I would thank them for their generosity and their ongoing commitment to help sustain the financial aid program, which allows students – like myself – to receive an education from a world-class law school. I would tell them the story of my father who came to Canada in the 1990s with just $20 dollars in his pocket. He had a simple dream that he would work hard and provide his kids an opportunity to grow and study at one of the finest educational institutions in the country – something that came with many barriers for him in his home country. And that their donation made it possible for me and others to attend one of the finest law schools in the world by alleviating financial barriers.

The University of Toronto’s alumni network is outstanding – with former Prime Ministers, Supreme Court Justices, and some of the world’s top academics. The impact of their contribution could help a student achieve their goals and dreams in joining this outstanding alumni network. A contribution, no matter the amount, goes a long way and can have a much broader impact on Canadian society. Their contribution could be to help that one student who later becomes a leading changemaker in Canadian society!