Dean Chamberlain's parting top 10 list for 2023-2024

June 27, 2024

Portrait of Erika Chamberlain in her academic robes from Cambridge

As is my custom in June, I’m reflecting on the highlights of the past academic year at Western Law. I am incredibly proud of what our faculty, students and alumni have achieved, both individually and collectively. Here are my top 10, in no particular order:

  1. Western Law launches 2024-2029 Strategic Plan - We launched our new Strategic Plan, 2024-2029, which will galvanize Western Law to lead in this time of profound disruption. These priorities will position us to build on our longstanding and emerging strengths, educating lawyers who will become leaders in the profession and in broader society, and establishing Western Law as a centre of legal knowledge and scholarly exchange at the university and in our local, national, and global communities.

  2. Tenth biennial Obligations conference explores private law and the state - Western Law hosted 150 attendees from around the common law world at the Tenth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations in Banff, Alberta. The conference focused on the theme of Private Law and the State, enabling participants to explore numerous questions concerning the relationship between private law obligations and the state as a public institution.

  3. Western honours Professor Martin Petrin as Outstanding Scholar - Professor Martin Petrin was named Outstanding Scholar in the inaugural Western Research Excellence Awards. The Research Excellence Awards were established to recognize excellence across disciplines and career stages and celebrate efforts to advance equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization in the research community.

  4. Issac Moot success - Western Law’s Isaac Moot team won the national championship and led the way for other advocacy successes.

  5. Professor Oosterveld joins current cohort of Western Research Chairs - Professor Valerie Oosterveld was named Western Research Chair in International Criminal Justice. The appointment recognizes Oosterveld’s renowned expertise and ongoing research in international criminal law and gender-based war crimes.

  6. Public Law students take studies on the road - Students in the Advanced Public Law course engaged in high-impact field experiences, including the “Toxic Tour” in chemical valley and at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

  7. Appointments of Professors Sara Ghebremusse and Sunil Gurmukh - We appointed a new Chair in Mining Law and Finance, Sara Ghebremusse and our inaugural Assistant Dean, EDID, Sunil Gurmukh.

  8. Professor John Borrows highlights lessons from Anishinaabe law and constitutionalism at Coxford lecture - At the 2024 Coxford Lecture on March 11, Professor John Borrows explored the broad array of forces that are at the heart of Anishinaabe law and constitutionalism. In his lecture titled Indigenous Law & the More-than-Human World, Professor Borrows highlighted how engagement with Anishinaabe law – and Indigenous legal systems more broadly – can reveal potential gaps and shortcomings in Canadian law and constitutionalism.

  9. Osler, Hoskin, and Harcourt LLP honour Dale Ponder (LL.B. ’80) with scholarship and award - Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP, have generously recommitted to enhancing student financial aid opportunities with a $100,000 donation for a new scholarship and award in honour of Dale Ponder (LL.B. ’80).

  10. Summer After 1L (SA1L) placements began - We placed the initial cohort of students in our Summer After 1L (SA1L) program at our legal clinics, as research assistants, and at placements in community and advocacy organizations across the country.

This Top 10 list is bittersweet for me, as I have decided to step down as Dean after seven rewarding years in the role. It gives me great satisfaction to see everything that the Western Law community has achieved during my term. As I return to my role as Professor, I will continue to take pride in Western Law’s many successes.