A few weeks ago I was asked, as a member of the Distinguished Speakers Committee, to introduce Chief Justice Mclachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada. Since then, I have been struggling as to how to introduce her adequately beyond just her biography. Anyways, I will talk less about me and more about her. Luckily I was only given 2 minutes or so to introduce her and then the Chief Justice took the podium.
Chief Justice Mclachlin spoke about the Supreme Court, how it operates, and how the judges work together. After reading “The Presidents Club” this summer, I felt as though the Chief Justice was giving us an inside view into the Supreme Court in a similar fashion.
The highlight of the talk for me was the opportunity to ask Chief Justice Mclachlin questions. She got some questions she couldn’t really answer as a sitting justice, and a few non-law students asked questions that were a bit out of left field, but Chief Justice Mclachlin took it all on good stride and stood as an excellent example of what a Supreme Court Justice should stand for - calm, strong, confident, and most of all, funny! She answered all the questions that she could with candour. I personally asked her if she had any advice for a law student just as she had asked Justice McIntire when he retired from the court. That isn’t to say that I’m joining the Supreme Court any time soon but I just wanted to hear what she would advise a young law student as the Chief Justice. Anyways, she answered that finding and maintaining a passion for the work that you do is the most important thing and I couldn’t agree with her more. Such great advice.
It is such an honour being in the presence of arguably the most important person in the profession that I intend to enter in a few years and am currently studying towards. I read things that she (or her clerks on her behalf) has written week-in-week-out.