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KUDOS! To Professor Lorraine Lafferty on her retirement
Professor Lorraine Lafferty began teaching at our law school in 2005 while serving as an Associate Director of the Health Law Institute. She has been teaching full-time since 2009 and over the years taught many courses, including Torts, Insurance, Judicial Remedies, and Civil Procedure. As she prepares to leave the school, she shared with us some thoughts about her years here.
How did your teaching style evolve over the years?
My teaching style has probably not changed much over the years. I’ve tried to facilitate class participation and ensure that every student has had an opportunity to contribute. Maybe I laugh a bit more now than in earlier years. I’ve definitely been having more fun.
How have the students changed?
I’d say more students these days have a desire to use their law degree outside the scope of traditional practice. Students don’t necessarily see themselves working at a law firm. They are open to exploring other ways of using their legal education and knowledge.
What are some of the lessons the students have taught you?
It’s the students who have taught me that teaching doesn’t have to be 100% serious all the time. I’ve also learned not to underestimate how capable our students are and how much they can accomplish in addition to carrying on with their studies. So many students take leadership roles in the various law school societies and associations, doing pro bono work and student advocacy work, and we even have a student a capella singing group.
What do you feel is the law school’s greatest strength?
The school has so many strengths. First and foremost, it has a great faculty of recognized scholars who are also dedicated to teaching. And there is the size of the school. With fewer than 500 students, faculty and students get to know each other and forge bonds that last for years. Also, Halifax is a city where out-of-town students can quickly feel comfortable. And we are fortunate there are so many alumni who contribute to the school.
Career-wise, what are you most proud of?
In my career at the law school, it was certainly a highlight and great pleasure this year to receive The Hanna and Harold Barnett Award for Teaching Excellence in First-Year Law. This is a student-nominated award, which makes it extra special.
What will you miss most?
In September, I’ll miss greeting a new class of energetic, apprehensive first-year students, and welcoming back 2Ls and 3Ls who always have great stories to share about how they spent their summer. It is music to my ears when students who have worked for the summer at a law firm tell me how grateful they were for the Civil Procedure course.
I have an arbitration and mediation practice that I expect will keep me busy, together with my work as a vice-chair of the Nova Scotia Labour Board. And I expect (and hope) there’ll be time for something completely new!
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