Grad profile: Military vet inspired by Weldon legal tradition – Dal News

Grad profile: Military vet inspired by Weldon legal tradition – Dal News

This article is part of a series focusing on the grads of the Dalhousie Class of 2024. Spring Convocation runs from May 21 to 31 in Halifax and Truro. Read all our profiles here in one place as they are published, and for more information visit the Convocation website.

Caleb MacDonald entered the Schulich School of Law after two decades of service with the Canadian military and RCMP.

Learn more about Caleb’s motivations and experiences during law school below: 

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

I connected with Schulich Law’s commitment to the Weldon Tradition of unselfish public service, the idea that regardless of the path we take as lawyers, we share an obligation to use our legal knowledge for the common good. As someone who served with the military and RCMP for 20 years, public service is something I take seriously. 

Admittedly, another reason I chose the Schulich School of Law was geography. I am originally from Nova Scotia and as a mature student, married with children, uprooting them to move across the country was not our first choice, but something we would have been willing to do if necessary.

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

The students at the Schulich School of Law are part of a tight-knit group, perhaps because we all attend law school in the same building or because we are all chasing a common goal. Likely because of my age — I’m closing in on 40, and the majority of my classmates were in their early to mid-20s — I felt like I took on a paternal role in the community. I connected classmates to my peers in industry, government, or NGOs, reviewed resumes, and did mock interviews. I hosted get-togethers and invited stressed students to come play with my dog, read to my kids, or hold our chickens, whatever they needed at the time.

What does the Weldon Tradition mean to you?

The ability to study or practice law is a privilege that confers power. As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Before attending law school, I had thought that pro bono was the only way lawyers could give back. However, research, advocacy, amicus curiae, advancing public policy etc., are all ways in which we can, and should, give back. 

What is your favourite law school memory?

My favourite law school memory is when I competed at the Jessup Moot! While this endeavour took more than six months of preparation, more work than the rest of my course load combined, and at times had me questioning both the reasons I applied and my sanity, it was an incredible experience. I can’t overstate the commitment it required, but it came with excellent mentoring, interesting problems, and the chance to work alongside an incredible team.

What will you miss most about Schulich Law?

The thing about Schulich Law I will miss the most is the people. No institution exists without the people who make it what it is. The students, the faculty, the support staff, and the leadership are all world-class.

What are your post-graduation plans?

This summer, I was invited to attend the Migration Conference 2024 in Mexico City and to observe a trial at Guantanamo Bay for one of the 9/11 planners. I will then be taking the Accelerated Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) course followed by articling with Grace Allen Immigration Law here in Halifax, as the work they do is inspirational.

Post articles, I intend to research, volunteer for, and deploy to situations at the nexus between conflict, disaster, and migration.

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