Furthering legal scholarship, with grads’ help

Thu, Jul 11, 2013

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Furthering legal scholarship, with grads’ help

Neil Hazan, BCL’99, LLB’99, was keen to give back to his alma mater. As a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), a prominent Montreal law firm, he’s seen firsthand how far a good legal education can go. So it only makes sense that, together with his colleague H. John Godber, BCL’88, LLB’88, he headed an effort that saw BLG raise $400,000 in support of McGill’s Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law.

“As a member of McGill’s first trans-systemic class in 1999, the possibility of supporting the Crépeau Centre resonated with me, particularly since quite a bit of our corporate and commercial practice involves interaction between civil law and common law systems in North America and abroad,” says Hazan.

Since its inception in 1975, the Crépeau Centre – founded by a McGill civil law giant, the late Professor Paul-André Crépeau – has encouraged scholars to explore the intersection between these two legal traditions.

“The Centre and its cutting-edge research exemplify McGill’s Faculty of Law’s pioneering spirit,” he says. “BLG was excited about furthering that mission, which seems to be gaining traction in international legal circles, and is helping McGill solidify its reputation as one of the world’s top law faculties.”

Me H. John Godber, Professor Lionel Smith, Me Neil Hazan, Provost Anthony Masi, Me John Murphy, and Dean Daniel Jutras celebrate BLG's gift to support the Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law.

Me H. John Godber, Professor Lionel Smith, Me Neil Hazan, Provost Anthony Masi, Me John Murphy, and Dean Daniel Jutras celebrate BLG's gift in support of the Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law.

In the spring of 2012, the firm’s fundraising initiative began. “I quickly discovered a high level of enthusiasm amongst my colleagues, many of whom are McGill graduates and a handful of whom teach at the Faculty,” says Hazan.

Forty-three of BLG’s partners and associates, most of whom are McGill grads, rallied around the cause, and last month the firm announced that it had hit its target.

“We are very pleased both to have reached our objective and to have met our high expectations in terms of contributing to the advancement of work and research in civil and common law,” says John G. Murphy, a managing partner at BLG.

Hazan was proud to give back to an institution that he says has given him a lot. “BLG’s McGill alumni appreciate how the Faculty has helped their careers, and really rose to the occasion,” he explains. “The Faculty prepares its students incredibly well for legal practice by focusing on the right combination of law, policy and, perhaps most importantly, how to tackle legal problems that don’t necessarily pop up in legal statutes and textbooks.

“McGill gives its students the tools they need to excel in real-life situations anywhere.”

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