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First‑year students—and brothers!—Abel and Eyoab Begashaw discuss how they came to attend law school together

Posted by Jane Doucet on September 4, 2018 in News
Abel (left) and Eyoab Begashaw (Photo: Andrew Church)
Abel (left) and Eyoab Begashaw (Photo: Andrew Church)

Halifax brothers Eyoab and Abel Begashaw are about to have the experience of a lifetime as they start their first year of law school together. Eyoab, 27, and Abel, 25, shared with us what they think they’ll like about being classmates at Weldon and how their competitive natures will push them to do their best.

What brought both of you to the Schulich School of Law?

Eyoab: Last year we got on the topic of long-term goals. We were working full-time, but neither of us felt a passion for what we were doing. Law had been something I had thought about pursuing for a long time, so when Abel mentioned he was also thinking about it, we became excited about the idea of potentially attending law school together. 

Abel: After graduating from commerce at Dal and joining the workforce, I learned that I needed a career that would give me purpose, challenge me daily, and empower me to help my friends, family, and community. Law checked all the boxes. I mulled it over for months, but before I make a decision I have to say it out loud to somebody who will hold me accountable. When I told my brother that I was going to start studying for the LSAT and apply for law school, he hopped off the couch and said, “Bro, me too!”

Why did you decide to apply to the Schulich School of Law?

Eyoab: I completed a Bachelor of Management at Dal in 2014. I grew up playing pickup basketball at the Dalplex since junior high, and our mother has worked at Dal for over 17 years (and still does). I feel a strong connection to the university, and coupled with the Indigenous Blacks and Mi’kmaq Initiative and the reputation of the Schulich School of Law, it was my clear choice.

Abel: I did my undergraduate degree at Dal too. I had heard about the IB&M Initiative and the opportunity it offered. After doing some research on its mission, I knew that this law school was where I wanted to study.

What do you believe the advantages will be of having a brother in the same year at law school?

Eyoab: To be able to bounce ideas, practice arguments (which we’ve been doing for years!), and unload stress about the schoolwork to someone who is going through the same thing will be huge. We’ll also keep each other accountable. 

Abel: Having somebody I trust, who I can confide in, who has my best interests at heart and who is going through the same thing will be invaluable. Having somebody to compete with so I can prove to my mom who is smarter will drive me to be the best version of myself!

And the disadvantages? Be honest!

Eyoab: Like any siblings, we do bicker. We are both opinionated but don’t agree about everything. I can see this being a recurring issue throughout law school. There may also come a time where we’re competing for the same jobs or internships, and in the case that one gets the position over the other, it could be bittersweet.

Abel: We fight like brothers, especially the more time we spend with each other. This will put more stress on our relationship. I think we will have to work hard to make sure we don’t get too competitive.

Do you think you’ll be competitive? 

Eyoab: Without a doubt! We are both very competitive—we embraced competing as we grew up playing sports—and that has helped us get to where we are now. I look forward to competing with Abel throughout law school as I believe it is only going to push us to be our best.

Abel: Being younger, there is nobody I like to beat more than my older brother! We both know that our mom is going to ask how we’re doing, and one of us is going to have to explain why he isn’t doing as well. I don’t think it will be a problem because competition brings the best out in both of us.

Do you live together? 

Eyoab: We do, and this is something we discussed. Being around anyone too much can get annoying, let alone a sibling! We are very close but are also independent, so I’m not overly concerned about seeing Abel too much.

Abel: Seeing each other so much will be…interesting! I think that like anything in life it will take some time to get used to, and there will probably be some fights, but I think that we will find a system that works.

Do you have a sense yet of what you’d like to do after law school?

Eyoab: I’ve worked with the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, so I can see a future in employment law. My undergrad major was in entrepreneurship and innovation, and I follow the startup scene, so I could also see a path in patent and tech-related practice. I’m willing to consider any area of the law that may strike an interest. I want to make a positive impact on my community and will strive to end up in a practice where I can do that.

Abel: I’m also going in with an open mind. I’m looking for something that is intrinsically satisfying but will also pay the bills. Eyoab and I have been joking that we’ll open our own firm someday and call it Begashaw & Begashaw, or B&B for short. My name will come first, of course.