Clinical learning provided foundation for Schulich School of Law alumna
By Mark Campbell
From personal relationships to human rights, the law influences every aspect of our lives. And that influence has always fascinated Emily MacDonald (BMus’13, JD’21). “It made me want to know more about it, see the mechanisms behind it, and explore the ways that I could have a role in the profession,” she says. “I saw entering the legal profession as an opportunity to serve my community.”
The Schulich School of Law became MacDonald’s first choice for several reasons. She had earned her undergraduate degree at Dalhousie and truly values the education she received. She also wanted to practice law in Nova Scotia. But the deciding factor was the Dalhousie Legal Aid Service. “The work the Service does in the community is invaluable,” she explains. “I think it is important to see the work they do first-hand because it gives you a better sense of the issues in your community,” she says, reflecting on her experience at the law clinic. Clinical and experiential learning is one of the areas where law students benefit from alumni contributions to the Dalhousie Fund.
MacDonald took a generalist approach to the Juris Doctor Program, exploring family law, corporate, and property courses. That desire to explore all aspects of the profession has served her well while articling at Patterson Law. “Typically, you have to choose a specific area, but I have been able to explore a variety of areas from corporate to family,” she says. “I feel fortunate that I am at a firm where this is fostered.”
Grateful for donor support
As doors begin to open for MacDonald in her career, she is grateful for scholarship support, and the support of donors, who helped her realize her dream. “It is a privilege to attend law school and it is something that feels unobtainable without that support,” MacDonald says.
Now, MacDonald is looking to make a difference in the profession, not just as a trusted advisor to someone buying their first home or starting a business but also to the next generation of lawyers. “I really appreciate the mentorship that I have received from Dalhousie and in my Articling year,” she says. “That is important for anyone starting out in this career and I definitely want to give back as I build my knowledge.”