Grad profile: Working for change in communities

Allison Hearns, Schulich School of Law

- May 24, 2022

Allison Hearns. (Provided photo)
Allison Hearns. (Provided photo)

This article is part of a series focusing on the grads of the Dalhousie Class of 2022. Spring Convocation runs from May 24 to June 3 in Halifax and Truro. Read all our profiles here as they are published, and for more information visit the Convocation website.

As part of its coverage of Spring Convocation 2022, the Schulich School of Law conducted Q&As with various graduating law students reflecting on their time at Dal. Below, learn more about grad Allison Hearns.

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

I chose the Schulich School of Law because of our long-standing commitment to public service — what I now know as the "Weldon Tradition". Coming to law school at all, for me, was about obtaining an education that would allow me to give back to the communities that raised me. Dean Weldon's vision of using law as a tool for social change is one that I share deeply, and being from Halifax, Schulich Law held the stepping stones for me to become an active and change-making member of my community.

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

During law school, I have been active with the Dalhousie Feminist Legal Association (DFLA) since 1L. I began as a Section Representative and worked my way up to Chair. I served as President of the Dalhousie Criminal Law Students' Association, and have been a Research Assistant since the end of 1L. I also did a semester at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service.

What is your favourite law school memory?

It is hard to choose a favourite memory out of the last three years. But, something I hold very dearly is my first day of 3L. It was the first day back to campus after the pandemic took us away, and my first time in Weldon in over a year. I was lucky enough to snag a seat in Professor Acharya's Alternative Dispute Resolution class. I remember, so clearly, the way that each student in that class began right where we left off: exchanging ideas, passions, and lessons. It was a stark reminder of why the classroom is where students belong, and with Professor Acharya's love for what she teaches, that feeling did not fade - even during exam season!

What will you miss most about Schulich Law?

I will miss my time as a Research Assistant most. I have had the utmost honour of working for Professor Iftene since the end of 1L, and through her, I have learned a passion for criminal law that I could not have previously imagined. She has taught me how to write better, research better, advocate better, and to truly believe in myself. So much of what I will do, and have done, is because of her guidance. I will miss collaborating with her on the most amazing Criminal Justice Coalition in the world (okay, we're biased, but it's definitely true), and learning from her. If there is one thing that I could tell every 1L, it is that the relationships that can be formed with the professors at Schulich Law are truly life-changing; Professor Iftene's commitment to her students is evidence of that. I feel so lucky to have met her.

What are your post-graduation plans?

My post-graduation plans are to stay in Halifax, the place I lovingly call home, and begin working with Nova Scotia Legal Aid in their Downtown Adult Criminal Office.


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