April 28, 2022 —
Nothing compares to in-person learning, as two law students enrolled in the L. Kerry Vickar Business Law Clinic course found when they gave a presentation at Balmoral Hall on April 12 to Grade 9 Venture Development and Grade 10 Law class students. Having spent the year being mentored as part of the Business Law Clinic (BLC) for-credit course, Taylor Antonchuk (3L) and Janelle Gobin (3L) were excited to become mentors themselves to the 34 high-school students at this second annual collaborative learning experience.
“The latter part of my final year has been comprised of numerous clinical opportunities, with the L. Kerry Vickar Business Law Clinic being one of them,” said Antonchuk, who also competed in the Davies Corporate/Securities Moot this spring. “I was delighted when our instructors asked both myself and Janelle to attend in person to Balmoral Hall to present to their students. I think over the course of COVID, we’ve all forgotten what in-person events are like and it was so refreshing to be there for this presentation.”
“Discussing business law—and copyright law, and regulations, and litigation, and everything in between—with the students at Balmoral Hall was an awesome experience,” said Gobin.
No stranger to clinical learning, she was the researcher on this year’s Laskin bilingual moot competition team, and was part of last year’s third-place-winning Gale Cup moot team. “The students asked very insightful questions and the hour just flew by,” she added.
After spending almost three years in law school, it can be easy to forget the excitement and curiosity about law that drove us to apply to Robson Hall in the first place. Presenting to the Balmoral Hall students was a wonderful way to remember that excitement and to encourage students who may be in our shoes in a few years from now. – Janelle Gobin (3L)
As BLC instructor Nick Slonosky explained, this was the second time law students gave a presentation to Balmoral Hall students. The first was given during the 2021 Winter Term when a former UM Law student(Jennifer Bisch) with connections to the teacher of Balmoral Hall’s Venture Development class asked if students from the Business Law Clinic could do a presentation for the grade 9 students who were being taught virtually at the time. That presentation was the inspiration for a subsequent online webinar that BLC students did on Legal Fundamentals for Start-ups as part of the Asper School for Business’s 2021 Stu Clark Lecture Series which was produced for a wider audience.
“This year, when Balmoral Hall’s Venture Development Class teacher Kirstan Osborne asked if the Business Law Clinic could do another presentation to her class the answer was just as easy,” said Slonosky.
Significantly, this year’s presentation was expanded to include the school’s Grade 10 Law Class. Antonchuk and Gobin introduced the students to legal fundamentals for start-ups, including different forms of business structures (sole proprietorships, partnership and corporations), how to select and register a business name, trademarks, copyright, product labelling, sales taxes, and more.
“By preparing and presenting to the Balmoral Hall students, I learned the reality that most lawyers know – that the answer to almost any question will most likely be “it depends,” said Antonchuk. “The students were very engaged and asked some tough situational questions about copyright and trademarks. At numerous points throughout our presentation Janelle and I looked at each other and laughed as we replied to questions saying, “it depends.”
The learning was a two-way street, since the high-schoolers taught the law students a lot as well. As Antonchuk recalled, “I learned quite a bit about the laws and regulations surrounding the sale of cosmetics (as many of the BH students were selling items such as bath bombs, lotions, etc.) but also expanded my knowledge on copyright infringement.”
Antonchuk and Gobin shared their own personal stories of what interested them to study law, what law school was like and the experience of attending law school virtually throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They left each Balmoral Hall student with a gift of a UM Faculty of Law key chain “for their future keys to success” Slonosky said.
Plans for more community presentations are already in place for next year’s L. Kerry Vickar Business Law Clinic students, who will being doing another Legal Fundamentals for Start-ups webinar as part of next season’s Stu Clark Lecture Series.