Testimonials

Calin Rovinescu (President & CEO - Air Canada) (LLB 1980)

I attended the Ottawa U Common Law Year in 1980, after having graduated from the Université de Montreal’s Civil Law program and taken Quebec’s Bar admission course. It was a remarkable year which improved my understanding of the broader dimensions of the law and helped to prepare me not only for a 20-plus year career in Corporate Law but also for the business world. I am proud to see the great progress the Faculty has achieved over the years and to be counted amongst its graduates.

Jamie Furniss (post-doc - Groupe de recherches et d'études sur la Méditerranée et le Moyen-Orient - Université de Lyon 2/CNRS) (LLB 2005)

The national program is one of the main reasons I chose to do law at the University of Ottawa. It drew me back at a time when I was inclined to go to university in the US. The chance to study both of Canada's legal systems, in both official languages, in the nation's capital, is a unique selling point not just in the Canadian university landscape. It fittingly embodies Canada's uniqueness in the world and offers something that can, literally, be found nowhere else: two hereditarily opposed systems of reasoning and rules co-existing peacefully under a single roof, taught and practiced in collaborative and mutually enriching ways. There are also many practical advantages in terms of career and employment. For instance, I emerged from the program far more bilingual than when I entered it, which, combined with the dual-degree, were no doubt the main strengths that got me an articling position at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Michel W. Drapeau (Barrister-Solicitor-Professor) (LLB 2000)

As legal systems developed the world over, the evolution of the role of jurists has evolved.  In modern times, jurists of the type prominent in civil-law countries and those in common-law systems have witnessed the accelerated growth and development of integrated, comprehensive codes governing many world-wide activities such as in humanitarian, commercial, financial, security and criminal law to cover situations which transcend national borders.  Increasingly, the distinction between those two legal systems have both blurred and overlapped to the point that common-law countries are now adopting features of the civil-law traditions in their legal systems and vice versa. Jurists possessing a bi-juridical training address this worldwide trend by signaling their openness to the perspective of diverse legal traditions and systems.

Kevin Gilmore (Chief Operating Officer - Montréal Canadians) (LLB 1987)

If we say that all roads lead to Rome, I can assure you that the path towards a successful career is no stranger to Common Law training, particularly the National Program at the University of Ottawa.  Both ambitious and passionate about the law, I was only 23 years old when I completed my degree in Common Law and had a feeling that nothing was impossible.  I was still far from thinking that my career would take me straight to California and eventually lead me to a career in the world of hockey, an area that particularly appealed to me.  My skating skills were deficient and, as they say in hockey jargon, I had no hands.  However, my training has allowed me to play on the first line in the big leagues, the NHL.  My 20 years in hockey circles, which I am celebrating this year, are due not only to my desire to succeed , but also to the challenging and appropriate training I received at the University of Ottawa.    Like hockey players, my success has been dependant on my apprenticeship in the minors, within one of the best Common Law programs offered in North America.

Murray Sklar (Lawyer) (LLB 1973)

I was really touched by the kindness and warm welcome that I received from the Common Law professors at the time.  Professor Leslie Shaw, who taught me Personal Property (Droit des biens), introduced us in an extraordinary manner to Common Law.  As for Professor Gerald Morin (Procédure civile), Professor Joseph Roach (Propriétaires et Locataires) and, of course, Dean Feeney, they have all inspired me.  I found that the majority of the Common Law students were always pleasant and warm-hearted in their dealings with us – Civilians.  We could say we may have added a touch of “civility” to the “common law” way of looking at things.

I   feel  that having both the civil  and common law traditions  has given me a broader and more inclusive outlook  to the law and its developments; in particular, in my area of interest,  the civil law   on  trusts has  developed its  own distinct pathway  but the common law  history of trusts has certainly  influenced the development of the  civil law  in this area. Overall, I see each system of law as comprising two separate streams that  ultimately  mix  together and  flow into the same ocean of legal  ideas.

Sandra Hassan (Assistant Deputy Minister, Law Branch, Department of Finance) (LLB 2005)


After having completed a Degree in Civil Law, a Masters in Taxation and having worked a few years, I enrolled into the National Program.  It was additional academia that I considered essential. This training allowed me to tie everything together, to better understand the law as it applies in Canada from coast to coast. 
As part of my work with the Department of Justice Canada, I regularly use the knowledge and skills I developed while in the National Program. Whether it be in the context of national litigation, legislation, economic or fiscal policy cases, the common law and comparative law notions as well as the French legal vocabulary, are indispensable to me!

Yan Campagnolo (Legal Council, Privy Council Office) (LLB 2004)


I elected to pursue my studies at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa because of its location in our National Capital as well as its bilingual and bijural character.  The possibility of obtaining a legal education in Civil Law and Common Law within the same institution, and in both official languages, is a unique opportunity for any jurist.  With this education, one can more easily break the territorial barriers that isolate the practice of law on the national and international planes; and cultivate a richer understanding of the juridical science beyond the methodology and the mode of reasoning peculiar to each tradition.  The ability to work on files from the provinces of Civil Law and Common Law in both French and English, has enabled me to constructively participate in major national debates during my clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada and as part of my current position as legal counsel with the Privy Council Office.  The National Program is an investment whose performance never fades.

Terence P. Badour (Executive Vice President, Law and Administration, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International) (LLB 1984)


The UOttawa National Program endowed me with a profound understanding of the dual legal traditions and sources of law that better positioned me to succeed in my professional career. Armed with common law jurisprudential training and civil law raisonment juridique has equipped me to transcend borders in my practice and enabled me to draw on both sources of law to find creative solutions to legal and business issues. In my role as general counsel for a global enterprise operating in more than 30 countries and on 5 continents having training in both the common law and civil law is a valuable tool and a competitive advantage. 

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