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Jan Advocate 2017

stay focussed in a David Duff tax law class. These are necessary skills for a good lawyer, and they form the fundamental building blocks of a person’s career in the legal or any subsequent profession. However, in competing in the Guile debates, students develop a very unique set of skills. They learn how to balance the sometimes competing interests of humour and respect, infuse witty observations into an otherwise tedious legal framework, and make references to questionable parentage of prestigious members of the B.C. bar without limiting their career prospects. These are all difficult tasks. These skills developed in this process are not necessary to be a good lawyer. But, they are necessary to be a great one. For me, winning the Guile debate was an incredibly rewarding aspect of Law School. My marks were roughly in the 40th percentile; if you picked a UBC Law student at random, that person is probably smarter than me. And they would probably write it as “smarter than I.” they wouldn’t! – Ed. I did not win the gold medal, I did not win any merit scholarships, and I only had one OCI, which I am fairly certain was begrudging. I got my articling job partly because I wore a t-shirt that said “come over to the dark side, we have cookies.” As an academic competitor, I did not stand out. However, the sense of pride and accomplishment I felt as hundreds of my colleagues were laughing and applauding, as well as the ongoing compliments and respect I got from those public performances, were integral to my ability to portray myself as a confident, creative, outgoing, and emotionally intelligent person in interviews with various law firms. It saddens me to know that the faculty is removing the opportunity for below-average students like me to exceed in this way. I understand there may be issues with the content of some presentations. In previous years, I have seen the Guile steadily improve in tone and content. In any comedyrelated situation involving undeveloped material, some discomfort is necessary for learning to take place. I surmise that Robert Guile himself did not have a perfect track record regarding respectful and politically correct dialogue, but these uncomfortable moments are a necessary part of the overall package that made him such a colourful and memorable individual. I would also bet dollars to doughnuts (or, well, fruit now apparently) that he would be tremendously disappointed that these debates were cancelled. I hereby request that you reinstate the Guile debate. Even as an alumnus, I enjoy watching and judging the debates and tryouts. Thank you. Chris Thompson Vancouver 130 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE


Jan Advocate 2017
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