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Nunavut law students Alanna Copland, left, Pascal MacLellan, Tagalik Eccles, Angnakuluk Friesen, Samantha Barnes and Guy d’Argencourt pore over their legal studies in the Nunavut Law Program. Photo by Michele LeTourneau/ NNSL photo

Nunavut students taking first steps in long climb to law degrees

Now in their second semester, the students of the Nunavut Law Program have been working hard to master the foundations of a legal education.

The following article featuring the Nunavut Law Program appeared in the Nunavut News on March 8, 2018:

“We have a saying that we read till our eyes bleed,” student Alanna Copland says of the rigours of the Nunavut Law Program.

That’s figurative, of course, but sometimes it almost feels that way for the 25 law students based in Iqaluit, who are now in their second semester of a four-year law program.

The first semester kicked off in September with five courses – the legal process, Inuit history and government relations, introduction to research methods, legal writing and communications and an examination of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement – plus Inuktitut lessons, which will continue throughout the program.

The legal process course, rife with “legalese,” can be hard to wrap her head around, Copland admitted, calling it “very difficult.”

“That’s not English,” she said, laughing.

Classmate Tagalik Eccles agreed that comprehending myriad legal terms like “normative jurisprudence,” “legal pluralism” and “legal realism” is daunting.

Mastering that knowledge, as big a task as it may be, is a challenge Copland welcomes.

“I think we’re really lucky, as opposed to other law schools in Canada. They don’t have much or don’t even touch on Indigenous law,” Copland said. “With this being a four-year program as opposed to a three-year program, they’re really integrating a lot of Inuit traditional law.”

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Developed in partnership between the College of Law, Nunavut Arctic College, and the Government of Nunavut, the Nunavut Law Program has been specially designed to meet the needs of the students, incorporating Inuit legal traditions and teachings. 

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