Wednesday, March 6, 2013

See Yourself Here 2013

By Lucianna Ciccocioppo and Adrienne Ho, 2L

More than 150 high school students, undergraduates and adults from diverse communities across the GTA visited the Faculty of Law March 1, 2013, eager to get a glimpse into the life of a lawyer—and how to become one—at the sixth annual See Yourself Here open house, sponsored by TD Bank.

Originally a student outreach event launched by the Black Law Students Association in 2008, See Yourself Here has since expanded to include students and participants from a broad range of equity-seeking communities. This year's attendees included high school, university and mature students from Turkish, Ethiopian, Métis, Afghani, Bangladeshi, Caribbean, Iranian, West Indian, Russian, Sri Lankan, Ukrainian, Pakistani, Croatian and Hispanic backgrounds.  

Ethiopian-born Canadian activist Samuel Getachew wrote about the event in his blog on The Huffington Post Canada.

"Everyone was friendly and open to discussions,” wrote one student as feedback. “The promotion of diversity showed me that law is a very changing field, and I look forward to seeing the progress in the future."

New this year was a mock law class, taught by one of the Faculty of Law’s most popular professors, Anthony Niblett. The witty, fun and interactive class energized the audience and provided “good understanding of and insight into law school," wrote one student.

In addition, See Yourself Here marked a new partnership between the Black Law Students Association and the Aboriginal Law Students' Association. For the first time, representatives from both groups were part of the welcoming remarks.

"I liked the diversity of the panelists. Their different backgrounds really helped shed some light on what it takes to get to law school," said a student.

The panels featured an impressive array of speakers, most of whom were participating in See Yourself Here for the first time. The morning panel included Clint Davis, an Inuk who is vice- president Aboriginal affairs at the TD Bank Group, Andrew Alleyne, the director of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, and Jean Teillet, an Aboriginal rights advocate and great- grandniece of Louis Riel. Mitch Frazer, a former member of the Ontario government's post-secondary education advisory committee on first generation students, and Eunice Machado, co-founder of the Portuguese Canadian Lawyers Association, also participated. Their "story telling was inspirational," noted a student.

After lunch, attendees heard from Anusha Aruliah, a Justice Canada lawyer specializing in Aboriginal law, CBC Television lawyer Gave Lindo, and Julian K. Roy, who was part of Maher Arar's legal team. Crown Counsel for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General Emile Carrington and Sara Zborvoski, who frequently advocates before all branches of Health Canada, joined them.

"I liked the diversity of the panelists. Their different backgrounds really helped shed some light on what it takes to get to law school," said a student.

More than 30 law-student volunteers helped with the event, mingling with attendees throughout the day and presenting their own insight into legal education.  "I like the part where law school students were actually sharing their experience at the law school which can help a lot of potential candidates to get more information about the program," said one student.

Planning is underway for See Yourself Here 2014. 

View the photo gallery here.

Q&A with Prof. Anthony Niblett about See Yourself Here, UofT News

Photos: Cary Ferguson

TD Bank