September 12, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 9  

Front Page >> News > Justice Binnie there, done that


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Justice Binnie there, done that

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

The Honourable Mr. Justice W. Ian Binnie of the Supreme Court of Canada was the first of the faculty of law's series of distinguished speakers. His appearance at the law building yesterday packed the room full of eager listeners.

Binnie's career has been long and distinguished. He was appointed to his current position on the Supreme Court in 1998.

His advice to young lawyers emphasized a pragmatic approach. "Put yourself in the place of the judge," he said. "Tell them what they need to know to agree with you."

He also spoke generally about Canada's highest court. "The Supreme Court is like a decision-making machine, we are great believers in protocol and ritual," he said. He described how the justices always sit in the same seats, even in the dining hall.

Binnie also spoke directly to young lawyers' concerns. "No one expects young litigation lawyers not to make a fool of themselves," he said, adding everyone has done this and understands what it is like.
"This game is for people who know their own worth and press on to achieve what they are capable of," Binnie said.

He warned to be prepared for some failures, but indicated winning cases was the ultimate rush. "When you pull victory out of a [tough case] you feel an incredible high - a rush of professional vindication.

"It is a wonderful theatre in which you learn to carry yourself," he said of the legal profession.

First-year law student Helve Hess said the calibre of the speaker was what drew her to attend.

"The speech laid to rest a lot of my fears about going into the [working] world," said first-year law student Ambie Chana.



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