First LLM student defense at Windsor Law

Britney DeCosta made faculty history last month as the first student to defend their LLM at Windsor Law.

DeCosta, who graduated with a joint MSW/JD in 2016, was one of four LLM students in the first cohort that started in the fall of 2016.

The Windsor Law LLM program, which launched only a year ago, is a robust research-based program that can be pursued in almost any area of law. LLM courses enable students to develop a strong research foundation and deepen their knowledge in a given legal or socio-legal field. The work is capped by a thesis of 100-125 pages in which the student explores a contemporary research question.

“Windsor Law LLM students conduct thoughtful research that has much to contribute to the achievement of access to justice in Canada and elsewhere,” said Windsor Law’s Graduate Studies Director and Associate Professor, Laverne Jacobs. “Britney's groundbreaking thesis on lawyers and community advocacy is a product of her hard work and creativity supported by the guidance of an encouraging supervisory committee.”

DeCosta’s thesis focused on the role that lawyers play to support community-led systemic change efforts and the relationships that lawyers can have with community advocates; particularly those with lived experience that have the potential to be transformative and challenge traditional power hierarchies.

“Rather than thinking about it from the position of lawyers and legal academics, I turned to Voices Against Poverty (VAP), a group of community advocates with lived experience of poverty,” explained DeCosta. The group assisted DeCosta by sharing their insights on how they perceived the role of lawyers to support their work.

“This was an amazing learning experience that really cemented my commitment to working towards systemic change in a way that supports communities who are leading this work,” said DeCosta. “I'm incredibly thankful to Voices Against Poverty and my committee, Professors Gemma Smyth, Claire Mummé, and Dr. Jane Ku for everything they taught me throughout this process.” 

LLM students can choose from two streams: a one-year (12-month) regular LLM or a two-year (24-month) LLM with Certificate in University Teaching and Learning.

An LLM reception will be held at Canterbury College (corner of University Ave. and Sunset Ave.) on Tuesday, September 5, to welcome the incoming LLM students and will offer an informal opportunity to learn more about the program. (Please RSVP Ms. Genevive Domingo at