GPLLM graduate Cynthia Roberston

From the Fall-Winter 2012 issue of Nexus.

By Randi Chapnik Myers / Photography By Jeffery Kirk

Cynthia Roberston was enjoying breakfast one Saturday last June when her husband, Stanley Strug, noticed an ad in the Globe and Mail newspaper. It was for the University of Toronto law school’s new Global Professional Master of Laws—exactly the type of program the husband-and-wife business team had been seeking. Partners at Parkridge Properties Inc., a Toronto and Halifax-based consultancy that advises the public and private sectors on infrastructure projects, the couple had been on the hunt for some legal training with an international flavour.

“Our business had expanded to clients outside of Canada and we had set up strategic partnerships to take on more international work,” says Robertson, who along with Strug founded Parkridge in2002. Before that, she worked in various senior government and management roles in Nova Scotia, Ontario and abroad.

“My husband and I had both worked in other countries but we felt a lot was missing from our legal knowledge base. We had found one program open to non-lawyers in the UK but that meant uprooting and leaving our business behind.”

The GPLLM was ideal, Robertson says. She and Strug could continue to work while attending classes on Wednesday nights and weekends.

So the two made a deal: They would apply but only head back to school if they both got in.

Today, she is delighted to report on the result. “It was a journey we embarked on together with an interesting group of people with such dynamic backgrounds and skills.”

At 57, Robertson loved returning to academia at her stage of life. “There were younger participants typing away on their iPads and there were oldies like us, with hands up, asking questions, ”she says. “We were all so engaged.”

There is no doubt that learning about the legalities of international trade agreements and globalization has boosted business, even though Robertson has yet to print business cards with her new credentials.

“Everyone who knew we were enrolled in the GPLLM showed admiration, and a Canadian-based partner who heard recently
brought us new export opportunities,” she says.

Find out more about the GPLLM.