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Meet the 2023‑2024 Purdy Crawford Fellows

Posted by Amanda Kirby-Sheppard on December 4, 2023 in News, Research
Marie-Louise Aren (left) and Opeyemi Bello
Marie-Louise Aren (left) and Opeyemi Bello

The Schulich School of Law welcomed Marie-Louise Aren and Opeyemi Bello earlier this year as Purdy Crawford Fellows in Business Law for the 2023-24 academic year.

Purdy Crawford Fellows contribute to teaching in the JD program, advancing their research, and participating in the intellectual life of the law school in a way that supports their development as scholars and teachers.

Get to know Marie-Louise Aren 

Marie-Louise Aren is completing her doctorate studies in International Tax Law at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her PhD research focuses on the weaknesses of salient provisions in the Global Model Tax Agreements and African Tax Agreements as instruments for tax avoidance, massive capital flights, and underdevelopment.

While at Schulich Law, she is teaching Contracts and Judicial Decision Making, and Sale of Goods Law.

Tell us about your academic and legal background.

I completed my LLB at Igbinedion University Okada in 2009, followed by the Nigerian Law School programme in 2010, after which I was called to the Nigerian Bar. I then earned my LLM degree (International Trade and Investment Law) from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 2019.

My academic background is in law - international economic/business law generally with a specialization in international trade and investment law and international tax law. I also have qualifications in corporate law, corporate governance, and corporate financial management.

My legal background is quite varied: litigation and advocacy, international development, alternative dispute resolutions, academia, legal and corporate advisory services but most of my legal work has been in law research and reforms, legislative drafting and policy-making in public service. I believe my varied legal background has been beneficial in the quality and depth of my outputs. 

What appealed to you about doing an academic teaching Fellowship at the Schulich School of Law?

I enjoy teaching, researching, and developing new ideas so there were a few different reasons that drew me to the Schulich School of Law.

Firstly, the law school’s reputation and the high quality of research output from its professors. For example, I have used materials from Professor Brooks in international tax law, and Professor Akinkugbe in international investment and trade law, for research and policy work over the years. Secondly, I was happy to get an opportunity to work with experienced Schulich Law professors and learn from their wealth of experience. Finally, I wanted a chance to teach in a reputable law school, bringing in my knowledge and experience while gaining more international experience.

What will you be working on while you’re here?

In addition to teaching, I am working on producing a couple of research outputs in international tax law and my lecture subject area(s). There is so much going on in the international tax sphere with the OECD Two-Pillar Solution and the vote for a new UN Tax Convention passed this month. Similarly, the push for a global investment court is mounting. There are also presentations and seminars in the pipeline as well. So far, it has been an exciting experience.

Get to know Opeyemi Bello

Opeymei Bello is a doctoral candidate at the Schulich School of Law. His PhD thesis focuses on the design of the global digital tax framework and its impacts on developing countries. He is also interested in making new reforms for international taxation in a manner that protects the competing interests of both developing and developed countries.

While at Schulich Law, he is teaching Contracts, Taxation, Introduction to Legal Ethics, and the Purdy Crawford Seminar.

Tell us about your academic and legal background.

I completed the law school programme in Nigeria in 2010 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2012. I then earned my LLM and MBA (Finance Specialization) degrees from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, in 2014 and 2018 respectively.

Before beginning the doctoral program, I worked with mid-sized and large law firms at different times in Nigeria practicing commercial and dispute resolution.

What appealed to you about doing an academic teaching Fellowship at the Schulich School of Law?

Firstly, I believe that knowledge is trust and the most efficient way to discharge the burden of trust is to share what you know with people who need it. Secondly, teaching provides opportunities to always learn more from the core task of the work and the teaching community (professors and students). Finally, the possibility of discovering legal and non-legal solutions during active engagements with students appealed to me.

I found the Schulich Law community to be the perfect place for me to continue to learn, share my ‘little knowledge’ with students, and look towards how my engagement with students can provide synergized solutions to addressing global problems.

What will you be working on while you’re here?

I am currently researching the process and governance structure of international tax cooperation on digital tax as my doctoral thesis. I will continue with this work while I fulfil my duty as a Purdy Crawford Fellow.