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accountable for his past conduct and the damage he caused in my life; I
have now filed a lawsuit in this regard. Law school presented many challenges
to me, and I seriously considered dropping out within the first three
weeks. However, after a consult with a friendly administrator, and my
cousin who is now an Indigenous lawyer and law professor, I decided to stay
the course and I persevered. I held on for the ride.
When I attended law school I expected that I would be treated with respect.
I had travelled a long, hard road to arrive. Unfortunately, my experiences
were not always positive. I was involved in public disagreements with the
law school body regarding students with disabilities and learning accommodations,
Aboriginal curriculum and racism at our school.
I learned how to apply university policy and human rights law to my own
experience, which is not an easy or enjoyable process while studying, but
then again, I am probably one of the best-suited candidates for such a challenge.
Fortunately, though at times I felt alone, I had some allies within the
law school and broader legal and Aboriginal community. With their support,
I continued my pursuit of a legal education and developed a flavour
for advancing difficult arguments. I learned through my research that the
legal profession had commonly faced attitudinal hurdles towards learning
disabilities and other conditions referred to as “mental disabilities”.
I became well-tempered to advocate for myself and others. Now, as a law
graduate and alumnus, I have become a source of support in my community
for students experiencing marginalization and discrimination. For this
I am blessed, because I now know a thing or two about the discomfort that
flows from such challenges and can appropriately bring empathy into my
practice. This is where both my law and social work training complement
one another. I can freely give support to others, and in doing so give back
what was given to me.
At the tail end of law school, I decided to apply to become an articling student.
In order to be successful, I had to tell the Law Society of British
Columbia the truth about my past conduct. I was fearful that I would be
rejected because much of my life was repugnant to Canadian society. I
hated hard and hurt many. My application was sent directly to a hearing in
front of the Credentials Committee.
The decision and reasons delivered thereafter, indexed as Gallant (Re)1
still bring me deep gratitude and faith in our legal system. The decision