Morton Minc, Concordia’s jurist-in-residence, makes legal concepts come alive

Students from a range of disciplines benefit from the veteran judge’s expertise
March 25, 2020
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By Taylor Tower

In 2017, Morton S. Minc, BA 67, joined Concordia as jurist-in-residence for the Faculty of Arts and Science. It was the first such appointment for any English university in Quebec.

This past November, Minc and the Faculty of Arts and Science introduced a three-year partnership with the Court of Quebec on the theme of access to justice. Students on the Minor in Law and Society track who are accepted into the program will meet with judges, observe court proceedings and present their experiences to peers.

“It’s empowering for students to see the complexity of the justice system firsthand,” says Minc.

Since his mandate began, the former chief justice of the Municipal Court of Montreal has built an event series with prominent jurists from across the country; spearheaded a court observation program for students in the Department of History’s Minor in Law and Society program; and established a mentorship program that pairs students with Montreal-based lawyers.

Helen Poumbouras was among the first cohort of students to participate in the mentorship program during the 2018-19 school year. Mentors provide expertise and guidance on the day-to-day realities of the legal profession as well as general support for navigating life after Concordia.

A recent Concordia graduate who earned a sociology degree with a minor in Law and Society, Poumbouras is currently enrolled at Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Law.

She was paired with lawyer Penelope Karavelas, whose work with Legal Aid of Montreal focuses on providing access to justice for marginalized populations like the homeless. “I believe that providing legal aid to those who might otherwise slip through the cracks of the legal system is the most rewarding work a lawyer can do,” says Poumbouras.

“Learning more about [Karavelas’s work] sparked my interest in law.”

Law for all

“Judge Minc’s dedication to our students and our community is boundless,” says André Roy, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. “He has demonstrated the ways in which an understanding and appreciation of the law can shape and inspire students.”

In September 2019, Judge Minc introduced the “Law Meets Engineering” lecture series at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science with the aim of demystifying legal concepts relevant to the field. “To effectively serve the public and contribute to society, engineers need to understand legal regulations within their jurisdictions and principles governing their work,” says Amir Asif, dean of the Gina Cody School.

“I am extremely thankful to Morton Minc for inviting some of the best legal minds in Quebec to train the next generation of engineering and computer science leaders. The importance of the ‘Law Meets Engineering’ lecture series is evident from its popularity among the students.” The collaborations continued with an event co-hosted with the John Molson School of Business featuring former premier Pierre-Marc Johnson.

“Providing an engaging learning environment is a key part of JMSB’s mission, and this collaboration with Judge Minc is a perfect example of how we do that,” says Anne-Marie Croteau, dean of the John Molson School of Business.

“Through the jurist-in-residence program, the JMSB community was given unprecedented access to a major figure in international trade. Mr. Johnson’s insights into globalization and trade provided for a tremendously enriching and inspiring experience for all attendees.”

Ultimately, Minc says, he not only wants to open the world to the innovative work being done at Concordia but “give students the encouragement and support they need to become the great change-makers of our province and country.”



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