Grad Profile: Bridging law and community building

Samantha Addario, Schulich School of Law

- May 27, 2019

"I was surprised by how much more there is to do apart from just going to class and studying," says graduating law student Samantha Addario. (Provided photo)
"I was surprised by how much more there is to do apart from just going to class and studying," says graduating law student Samantha Addario. (Provided photo)

This article is part of a series focusing on the grads of the Dalhousie Class of 2019. Spring Convocation kicked off May 10 in Truro, with Halifax ceremonies from May 27 to June 1. Read all our profiles here, and for more information visit the Convocation website.

Samantha Addario is graduating from Dal's Schulich School of Law this May. We sat down for a conversation about her about her experience and what's next.

Why did you want to attend the Schulich School of Law?

What stood out to me about Schulich Law compared to many of the other schools to which I was accepted was the faculty. Most of my school-shopping research focused less on what I would be taught and more on who would be teaching me. I wanted a well-rounded experience, one that taught me as much about how to practice law with integrity as it did about the law itself. I placed my bets on Schulich Law for that, and I wasn’t disappointed.

What were your favourite classes and why?

I am in the fortunate position of having loved most of the courses I took. In first year, I really enjoyed Criminal and Public; their content naturally interested me. But I was also surprised to love Property and Contracts. Both of which I attribute to Section B having hit the professor jackpot when I was in 1L—great profs make all the difference. Since then, my favourites have been paper courses, including Animals and the Law, Criminal Law Problems, and Imprisonment and Penal Policy. I love being able to independently explore whatever topics interest me, and I learn a lot in the engaging environment that paper courses offer.

What surprised you most about your law school experience?

The range of opportunities that are available to students outside of the traditional classroom—moots, clinics, exchanges, directed studies, summer internships, and so on. I suppose I should have expected that there would be an enriching practical component to a professional program such as law, but I didn’t. I was surprised by how much more there is to do (for credit, no less) apart from just going to class and studying.

In what ways were you involved with the law school community?

The biggest way was through student groups and societies. I held executive positions in OUTLaw, DFLA, SALAD, and other societies. I have also been a member of the Runnymede Society, a DSAS advocate, an LSS board member, an upper-year buddy, and a Pro Bono Dalhousie @ Schulich Law student. I was on the planning team for the IDEALaw conference in 2018, and I’m currently working with Animal Justice and Schulich Law to plan Canada’s inaugural national animal law conference in October.

Off campus, I brought the Law Needs Feminism Because forum to Dal this year and was the planning committee’s lead for the event. I have served as a Schulich Law ambassador outside Weldon by taking on roles such as that of Halifax chapter co-ordinator for the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program and by creating and executing legal information workshops for sex workers at Stepping Stone in Halifax. They all offered opportunities for community-building and personal growth.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I’ll be starting my articles at a full-service firm in my home community of Niagara Falls, Ont., the first week of May. I also plan to do some travelling, return to my volunteer jobs back home—dog walking at the Humane Society, being a Big Brother Big Sisters sister, operating a drop-in centre for sex workers—and continue running my personal home business, #sidehustle.

What is your favourite law school memory?

Law Dogs! Enough said.

What will you miss most about Schulich Law?

Law Dogs! But also working with the student societies I mentioned above. And living in Halifax.

How will what you’ve learned about the Weldon Tradition influence your career?

I’ve learned a lot in my time here about practising law with integrity, tenacity, and heart. The faculty has set a positive example for me to be not only a good lawyer but also a good person who practises law. The Weldon Tradition will inform my day-to-day practice of law as well as the way I make, where necessary, difficult decisions in the course of my practice.

How will you stay connected to your law school community after graduation?

I plan to stay in touch with my friends and peers via social media, phone, and email. But I also intend to continue to follow the law school and its groups and societies on social media and come back for events that interest me.


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