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Ryan Bernard (JD '18) wins national student paper competition

Posted by Jane Doucet on November 15, 2018 in Alumni & Friends, News, Marine & Environmental Law Institute, Awards

Congratulations to Ryan Bernard (JD ’18), who has won the Jim Davey Award (PhD Category) in the 2017–2018 Student Paper Competition from the Canadian Transportation Research Forum for his paper “Autonomous Shipping and Seaworthiness: How Emerging Technologies Will Affect the Carriage of Goods By Sea.”

“I’m honoured to receive the Jim Davey Award and excited to continue my career in the field,” says Bernard, who is articling at Bernard LLP, a maritime law firm in Vancouver.

Last winter Bernard was a student in Ella Dodson’s Schulich Law class Laws of International Trade and Shipping. It was a research course, and Dodson supervised Bernard’s paper. “Ryan added much to class discussions and wrote a terrific research paper discussing how the concept of seaworthiness might need to be redefined in connection with the use of autonomous ships,” says Dodson. “His paper was a real pleasure to read.”

I’m honoured to receive the Jim Davey Award and excited to continue my career in the field. — Ryan Bernard

Bernard prepared the paper for the class, then revised it to submit it for the prize. The paper he submitted to the competition was about 5,000 words, or 20 pages; the original version was closer to 26 pages. “I had worked on it from late February to April," he says. "Professor Dodson actually alerted me to the competition after the end of classes.”

Bernard wasn’t initially interested in maritime law and took more general classes such as Evidence, Administrative Law, and Tax in second year. “I have an uncle who was a well-known lawyer in Vancouver in the maritime law field who is now retired, so it was always somewhat on my radar, but I didn’t have any direct experience with the field until my third year,” he says. “I now appreciate that I’m following in a family member’s footsteps in many ways, as it’s a unique and interesting area of practice.”