Exeter Law School
Group of students, staff and alumni gathered together, some seated some standing

Law students meet alumni in our first Canadian Career Development Programme

Posted by The Law School

9 February 2024

During the Autumn term we welcomed one of our Canadian Law alumni, Justin Kanji (LLB Law) back to campus to take part in a bespoke Canadian Law Employability Programme, held over three days.

Group of students, staff and alumni gathered together, some seated some standing
Top L to R – standing Professor Sue Prince – Matthea Libman, William Adams, Petya Ignatova, Jack Mackinnon, Ben Adams, Rachel Gaunt Botton L to R – seated Wesely Chan, Justin Kanji, Amanda Chaboryk, Alison Gordon, Susan Shirzad

This project was initiated by Professor Sue Prince, who applied for funding from the Annual Fund to support bringing across one of our law alumni to share their career insights after graduating from law in Exeter with our current cohort of Canadian students. The programme was originally set to take place in 2020 but had to be shelved due to the pandemic. We were delighted to be able to realise the exciting plans, in the Law School’s Centenary year.

Jenny Clark, Faculty Lead for Employability and Rachel Gaunt, Employability and Career Consultant for Law crafted a programme of activities over the three days, which Justin contributed to, sharing his experience of securing a training contract in the UK on graduating, and later experience of returning to Canada where he secured his current role in Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, a prestigious law firm in Toronto. The programme was split into three themed days:

Day 1 – Canadian Law graduates working in London.

This was a general employability day with CV tips and a focus on Canadians working in London.  We were joined on campus in the afternoon by alumna Amanda Chaboryk (LLB Law 2015) – Head of Legal, Data & Systems, PwC and alumnus Wesely Chan (LLB Law 2021), Paralegal, Clyde & Co. who shared their pathways and talked about visa requirements. In addition, Robert Brant, the Managing Partner of McCarthy Tetrault London office an international law recruiter spoke to the students about the international law employment market.

The day was topped off with a pizza social for the students, with the three visiting Canadian alumni.

Day 2 – Skills Dayapplying Canadian Law in practice.

Professor Sue Prince and Justin hosted a Canadian Negotiation workshop, based on a Canadian legal problem scenario. In the afternoon the students heard from a representative from the NCA about routes to qualifying in Canada.

Day 3 – Working in Canada Employability Day

Matthea Libman, President of The Canadian Law Society hosted a discussion with Justin on Working in Law Practice areas, followed by Q & A, a timeline for articling and interview tips.

This was followed by a virtual careers panel, where four of our LLB Law alumni working in Canada shared their career pathways and insights. Students heard from Kanon Clifford, Litigation lawyer, Bergeron Clifford Plc, Erin Uberig, General Counsel, Home Hardware Stores Ltd, Colton Riley, Associate, Dentons Canada LLP, and Victoria Hanton, Lawyer, HGR Graham Partners.

The day was rounded off with a ‘Devon’ Cream tea – and warm goodbyes to Justin before he set off on his travels.

Alumnus Justin Kanji with student Caleb Veisman

Feedback from students who participated in the programme showed they had gained a lot from the alumni’s input and the structure of the programme overall, saying:  

It was very helpful and insightful to hear from Exeter Law graduates.

I found the information regarding CV’s, applications and interviews to be the most helpful. It was great hearing what employers were looking for and how to stand out.

I feel more confident now knowing what potential next steps to take and the opportunities that are available.

The negotiation was most fun but the NCA chat was very helpful.

(Justin) was incredibly generous, insightful, and friendly. He provided great answers to all the questions asked and gave a truthful and honest look at the Canadian hiring practice.

(Q What aspects did you find most useful?) Being able to ask questions right then and there.

Student attendees

Matthea Libman, Canadian Law Society President, sums up the programme here:

The Canadian Law Employability Event surpassed all expectations, seamlessly bridging the legal landscapes of the UK and Canada. A diverse panel of speakers, hailing from both jurisdictions, offered invaluable insights into their own journeys and legal expertise. The highlight was having Justin (an Exeter alumni, working in Canada) attend in-person. This allowed attendees to forge a meaningful connection with a lawyer who has experience practicing in both London, UK and Toronto, Canada. These in-person sessions were a masterclass in practical skills, covering resume building, mock interview questions, and a negotiation competition. The hands-on approach truly set this event apart, equipping attendees with tangible tools for success.

The networking events, especially at the Topsham Brewery, provided a relaxed setting for meaningful conversations. As well, the inclusion of a cream tea added a touch of British charm to the whole affair. The event’s comprehensive blend of informative sessions and interactive workshops created an enriching atmosphere for aspiring legal professionals within a Canadian context. Without a doubt, this Canadian Law Employability Event was a must-attend, seamlessly merging educational content with enjoyable networking opportunities.’

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