Peter A Allard School of Law

New gift to support tuition for incoming Indigenous law students

Jun 1, 2022

Indigenous Legal Studies group photo
Indigenous Legal Studies students with ILS Associate Director Lee Schmidt and Professor Anne Uteck in front of Allard Hall.

The Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC is pleased to announce a generous gift from alumnus Matthew Nathanson (LLB ’97), his father Irwin Nathanson, QC, and Irwin’s wife Joanie McEwen (LLB ‘75) to establish an award for Indigenous students entering the Allard School of Law.

This $225,000 fund will support three incoming students each year over the next five years with an award valued at $15,000 per student. The structure of this award will be similar to a recent award supporting incoming Black law students, which Matthew Nathanson supported in 2021, alongside the Honourable Selwyn Romilly and Judge David St. Pierre.

In a short statement, the donors stressed the importance of increasing Indigenous representation at all levels of the legal profession: “We are very pleased to partner with UBC in establishing this award for Indigenous law students. We strongly believe the legal system must reflect the diversity of Canadian society. Adding more Indigenous voices to the law school, the legal profession, and ultimately the bench, is not optional. It is crucial. We hope this award is the first of many steps toward these important goals.”

“The Allard School of Law recognizes the need for the legal profession to reflect those in the community it serves,” said Dean Ngai Pindell. “One of the ways we can ensure that happens is by removing barriers to legal education, including financial barriers—but we can’t do it alone. Awards like this one, established by our generous alumni and supporters, help us ensure Indigenous law students can enter law school knowing their tuition and fees are taken care of so they can focus on their education. It allows Indigenous peoples contemplating a law degree to know funding is there for them should they decide to take the leap,” he added. “We are incredibly grateful to Matthew, Irwin and Joanie for their generosity and vision in establishing this award.”

When asked what impact this award will have on incoming Indigenous law students, Associate Director of Indigenous Legal Studies Lee Schmidt shared: “Undoubtedly, receiving such an award will benefit the recipients in multiple ways. Studying law can be a highly stressful endeavor for all students. With financial pressures reduced due to this new generous award, recipients can focus on committing themselves to their legal studies, therefore achieving their academic potential. Indigenous Legal Studies is extremely grateful to the donors for this new Entrance Award in Law for Indigenous students.”

The award will be available starting this September to eligible students entering the JD program. The Allard School of Law is looking forward to sharing donor support with students through this significant award.

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