Our alumni and community partners are supporting new awards and scholarships for Allard Law students who identify as Indigenous, Black or a Person of Colour. Here, a few alumni share what they hope their gifts will mean for students and for the legal profession.
Allard Law’s first-ever student award for incoming Black Canadian law students
In 2021, the Honourable Judge David St. Pierre, the Honourable Selwyn Romilly (LLB ’66), Matthew Nathanson (LLB ’97), Irwin Nathanson, KC and Joanie McEwen (LLB ’75) established Allard Law’s first student award dedicated to supporting incoming Black Canadian JD students. The $225,000 fund, which includes a contribution from UBC, will support 15 incoming law students with their tuition and fees over five years.
The donors say they were motivated to establish the award to help meet the pressing need for greater representation of Black lawyers and judges in the legal profession. “A representative justice system is a healthy justice system,” they said in a statement. “Issues of racial inequality must be addressed with more than just words. We hope this student award will provide a gateway to more Black voices being heard in the legal profession. This is an important first step towards real, substantive change.”
The Hon. Selwyn Romilly was the first Black judge named to any court in British Columbia, appointed to the Provincial Court in 1974 and elevated to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1995. The Hon. Judge David St. Pierre practiced criminal law before being appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia in 2009 and helped found the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada. Matthew Nathanson is a criminal defence lawyer practicing in Vancouver.
Supporting future Indigenous lawyers
Through a $1 million estate gift, Linda Hull (LLB ’86) and her late husband Peter Hull (LLB ’73) established an endowed fund at Allard Law to provide bursaries and program support for future Indigenous law students. “It is my sincere hope that Indigenous law students will benefit from this permanent funding,” shared Linda.
Throughout their legal careers, Linda and Peter worked with numerous Indigenous clients, and came to believe strongly that there was a pressing need to support future Indigenous lawyers. “When Peter and I first talked about setting up an endowment in our will for Indigenous law students, it was to encourage more Indigenous students to enroll by helping to offset the financial burden by way of bursaries,” Linda explained. “From our experience in the criminal court system, we felt that Indigenous lawyers can better understand and represent Indigenous people before the court.”
Peter spent most of his law career as a Provincial Crown Prosecutor in Calgary and Victoria before the couple returned to Vancouver, where Peter worked for the Department of Justice as a Federal Prosecutor. He then started his own general law practice, including criminal defence, work he continued until his passing. Linda worked as a criminal defence lawyer for ten years before retiring from practice.
Helping law students of Asian heritage overcome the barriers to legal education
Reflecting on the challenges they faced beginning their own legal studies, Maria Kim-Bautista (JD ’13) and Nicco Bautista (JD ’13) established an endowment to provide annual awards to students of Asian heritage who are the first in their family to go to law school or who have overcome barriers to entering the profession.
“I compare my experience with some of my classmates who have a dad who is a judge or mom who is a partner at a national law firm. I don’t think people who have access to those connections necessarily realize it, but those connections and insights into the legal world are valuable things that many people can’t get access to,” said Maria. “It’s difficult to aspire to be something if you haven’t seen enough of that something, like a visible minority judge in Canada.”
Nicco and Maria both immigrated to Vancouver as children – from the Philippines and Korea, respectively – and were the first in their families to go to law school. The couple met as undergraduates at UBC and reconnected while attending Allard Law.
“We see this award as us doing our part to show students of Asian heritage that they do belong here at Allard,” said Nicco. “This award signals that there’s a place for people like us.”