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Faculty of Law
UNB Fredericton

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Dean's message

UNB Law is on a roll

There is a real sense of optimism about our Law School. Our graduates continue to excel and distinguish themselves as leaders and innovators. Our faculty demonstrate their excellence in teaching and research at every turn. Our staff show unwavering commitment to our students and academic mission. And our University continues to support UNB Law's renewal, allowing us to invest in the quality of our programs. In this issue of Nexus, you will see more evidence of what I'm referring to. 

The cover story features Dr. Argyri Panezi, the Canada Research Chair in Digital Information Law and Policy. Dr. Panezi is UNB Law's first CRC and her appointment marks a bold step forward in our commitment to socially relevant and impactful legal research. As you will read in this issue, her research agenda focuses on e-justice, which refers to the application of technology to improve the administration of justice, including with respect to access and security. Following the pandemic, this is one of the most important and practical areas of legal research.  

Dr. Panezi joined UNB Law in January and is already making important contributions to our Faculty and our Province. With her policy-oriented approach, Dr. Panezi quickly connected with judges, lawyers, and public servants to learn about the challenges and opportunities facing the justice system in New Brunswick. She aims to make UNB Law a centre of excellence in the promotion of legal innovation, with the goal of developing best practices that will make the justice system work better for all stakeholders. Her research and approach reflect UNB Law's proud history of scholarship that makes a difference in society. 

Another innovator featured in this issue is Mark Coombs (JD '15), CEO and co-founder of Sleepout. Mark is wonderful role model of creativity and determination, qualities he used in securing major investments for his startup company, first from Sleep Country and then from Arlene Dickinson after appearing on Dragons’ Den. Mark’s story is inspirational. He doesn’t come from a wealthy family. A full scholarship brought him to UNB Law, and he graduated with distinction, an achievement typically reserved for the top three or four students in the class. Mark’s story demonstrates that anything is possible when we focus on our goals and don’t let adversity stop us. 

Another UNB Law graduate profiled in this issue, Brenda Goddard (LLB '93), also knows about overcoming adversity. In her near 30-year career with the UNHCR, she has been working on the ground in some of the world's most troubled countries helping people displaced by war, famine, and persecution. Brenda's dedication to international human rights has meant moving to a new country ever few years and confronting instances of devastating injustice. I'm in awe of this level of commitment to the legal principles we teach at UNB Law. Brenda Goddard's leadership and public service represent the very best of our institution. 

Of course, UNB Law is also known for its friendly and collegial atmosphere and this issue pays tribute to that as well. Earlier this month, we saw the beginning of what I hope will become an annual event—the UNB Law Alumni Hockey Game. This was an initiative of our students and graduates, who organized a thrilling and uplifting event that truly brought the UNB Law community together. At the post-game reception, the feeling of togetherness and pride was palpable, despite the lopsided score. That evening, I told the players that I'm incredibly proud to lead this remarkable institution. And a huge reason for that is the affection that our students and alumni have for UNB Law. 

The desire of our graduates to see the Law School prosper is a source of motivation for us. Whether serving as mentors for current students, helping us make connections with employers, sharing our story with political and business leaders, or supporting UNB Law financially, the engagement of our alumni is making a difference. For the third time in four years, one of our students was hired to clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition, four other students obtained judicial clerkships across the country. And our students are getting summer and articling positions from coast-to-coast. 

As we extend our national reach, UNB Law continues to focus on the legal profession and the administration of justice in Atlantic Canada with new initiatives like the UNB Legal Clinic, hosting major legal proceedings like coroner’s inquests, and helping amateur sport organizations investigate allegations of misconduct through a sport law practicum to launch this fall. 

UNB Law is poised to affirm its place as one of Canada’s finest law schools. To learn more about what the future holds for UNB Law, check out the video launching our Strategic Plan; you will recognize some familiar faces. That feeling of optimism I mentioned at the outset is translating into real successes for UNB Law. So, stay tuned; the best is yet to come. 

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