Law student headed for highest court in the land

Though it may be a more anonymous, behind-the-scenes sort of job, a third-year Windsor law student is looking forward to the opportunity of getting a rare glimpse into the legal decisions made by the highest court in the land.

Alana Longmoore learned earlier this year that beginning next September she’ll start a coveted clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, making her only the sixth UWindsor student to secure such a position dating back to 1986 when the Faculty of Law started keeping records.

“As a law student, getting a chance to work at the Supreme Court of Canada is an immense honour,” said Longmoore, who was born and raised in Oakville, Ontario and came to UWindsor in 2003.

Longmoore will work with Justice Marshall Rothstein, the second most junior member of the court. She’ll spend a full year there, which will fulfill her articling requirements. Her main duties will be to conduct background research on lower court decisions that have made their way to the Supreme Court and prepare bench briefs for the justices who will make the final rulings on those cases.

“Basically you’re researching points of law and assisting the justices with the work of the court,” said Longmoore, who earned an undergraduate degree here in 2007 in forensic science. “It’s a very important job. There’s a lot of responsibility.”

The nine justices of the court each take three clerks per year, leaving only 27 positions for the hundreds of law students who apply for the jobs from across Canada. Chris Waters, Associate Dean of Law, said his entire faculty is extremely proud of Longmoore.

“We’ve had great success in the last four years with three of our students having gone on to clerk with the Supreme Court of Canada and Alana is really helping this trend along,” said Waters. “These are the most coveted positions a student can get in the Canadian legal scene and it’s highly competitive.”

The full day of interviews she went through last March with seven of the nine justices was “surreal,” Longmoore said.

“These are the brightest minds in the Canadian legal landscape,” she said. “But they’re not as imposing as I might have imagined. They were all very hospitable and very down-to-earth.”

Longmoore, who also earned a master’s degree in forensic chemistry at King’s College in London, England, said she got a call from Rothstein three days later offering her the position. She immediately phoned her mother who travelled to Ottawa with her for the interviews.

Longmoore spent last summer working at the Torys LLP law firm in Toronto where she learned a lot about intellectual property cases, class action cases and expert witness preparation. She’s leaning towards pursuing a career in litigation.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to work at the Supreme Court because I think it could open a lot of doors for me,” she said.

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