Ten Western Law students secure prestigious judicial clerkships

June 22, 2023

Supreme Court of Canada

Keeping pace with a new record set last year, 10 Western Law students have been selected for judicial clerkships. 

After graduating, Western Law students will be working with judges at the top courts in the country, including the Supreme Court of Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Alberta Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Tax Court. 

“We are so incredibly proud of our students’ success in obtaining clerkships this academic year,” said Professor Joanna Langille, co-director of Western Law’s clerkship program.  

“We are really excited about the wonderful intellectual and professional experiences these students will have in helping courts with their work,” added Professor Manish Oza, co-director of the program.  

Clerkships are among the most competitive and prestigious positions available to graduating law students. Clerks work closely with judges, helping them to review case files, prepare memorandums, conduct legal research, edit judgments and attend oral hearings.  

Emily VaillancourtEmily Vaillancourt, who will be working at the Ontario Court of Appeal, believes clerking will be an incredible way to see a wide range of legal issues in action before she begins practicing. With a strong interest in constitutional, human rights, labour and family law, she hopes to pursue a career in litigation after her time at the Court. 

“I am most looking forward to playing a role in the resolution of complex legal problems and learning from my fellow clerks and the judges of the court,” said Vaillancourt. “I have a strong desire to work in the public service and serve the interests of my community, which I believe I can accomplish through this important role in the administration of justice.” 

Mark PennerMark Penner is confident his clerkships at the Superior Court of Justice and the Supreme Court of Canada will help build a strong foundation for a career in regulatory litigation. 

“Clerking is a great opportunity to learn more about effective and persuasive advocacy,” said Penner. “I look forward to seeing up close the process by which a case moves through the justice system, both at the trial and then appellate level.” 

Penner adds he is proud to see Western represented at so many different levels of courts, within Ontario, at the Federal level, and across Canada. 

“Placing clerks at all levels of courts shows that Western Law produces graduates who have a firm grasp of the fundamentals, are effective legal writers and are well-rounded future lawyers,” Penner said. 

Ainsley LeguardAinsley Leguard will be articling at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP before starting her clerkship at the Federal Court of Appeal. As a summer student at the same firm, she enjoyed legal research writing and advocacy and feels that clerking will allow her to further develop these skills, rounding out her professional experience.  

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to support the important work of the Court while working closely with a judge on novel and complex legal issues,” said Leguard. “I’m interested in litigation, so I am also tremendously excited to have the opportunity to observe appellate advocacy during my clerkship.”

The full list of Western Law students who were hired as clerks can be found below. 

Supreme Court of Canada – Mark Penner 
Ontario Court of Appeal – Emily Vaillancourt 
Alberta Court of Appeal – Rheanna Geisel  
Federal Court of Appeal – Ainsley Leguard and Andrea Strathdee 
Tax Court of Canada – Justyna Zukowski and Nadia Yehia 
Federal Court – Roula Khairalla  
Ontario Superior Court – Nicole Dotson and Raza Husnain