I once told a guy that I am passionate about bureaucracies because they are the ultimate puzzle. The layers of systems, rules, and people that create bureaucracies are convenient for typical requests and regular procedures. I’m interested in the story of those who run afoul of the norm. Odd requests or lacunae that trigger bureaucratic meltdowns need to be sorted with a minimum fuss.
It’s quite possible that I’ve described all lawyers’ roles, but perhaps not their interests. I am, indeed, about to become a lawyer. I am also a crack researcher with experience writing short and long works of non-fiction. The personal research on which I am always chipping away focuses on intellectual and legal history. I’m particularly passionate about seventeenth-century English intellectual and legal history (and have been known to say ‘I’m going to bring the seventeenth-century back into style’).
You might rightly wonder what my personal research interests have to do with you and your work. It’s simple: if you’re looking to navigate a bureaucracy—whether that’s a court, a particular law, a government department, or some company—pick the person whose hobby is understanding bureaucracies that no longer exist and whose members are long-since dead. (The fact that he will soon have a law license may also sway your decision.) Ferreting out the details of a bureaucracy that still exists isn’t a cinch, but the precision with which I conduct my historical inquiries serves me, as I hope it will serve you, in good stead.
The approach that I deploy regardless of the period in which I am working requires a mastery of context to tell a strong story. I don’t mean ad hoc knowledge about specific issues. I am always reading and always expanding my horizons. The general knowledge amassed with this hobby gives me a great store from which to draw concepts and facts that contextualize a problem.
There is one problem in which I am particularly interested: conscience, or, if you prefer a legal term, equity. My doctoral studies at Carleton University focus on narrating the story of freedom of conscience as this concept is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I’m taking the long view, going back to texts derived from Antiquity and working my way to the present. So far, so theoretical: I’m applying whatever definition results from my study to judges and arbitrators. My goal is to understand and push the limits of dispute resolution.
You’ll note by perusing my publications that this interest in conscience and equity has been building over the past six years. My first book, Warring Sovereignties, examined an instance of conflict that pitted religious and secular consciences against one another. The journal articles that I’ve put out touch on issues related to conscience. One deals with the political implications of love in Andrew Marvell’s poetry. Another describes the legal jurisdiction of university visitors. If you want to learn about an obscure bureaucratic feature of charitable corporations, check visitors out.
When I’m not reading or writing, I’m learning to fly fixed-wing aircraft. Aviation has been an interest since I was a young kipper, and I’ve finally got the privilege to learn how to fly. I’ve also adopted an interest diametrically opposed to aviation: brewing beer. The hobbies keep me busy; I’m also occupied keeping house with my delightfully supportive partner. We dote upon a dog, Whisky, and a cat, Reginald.
What I Do
Literary Criticism / Story review
Analysis of fictional works and worlds in the rough.
Just research: I do not provide legal advice.
Client-facing descriptions of emerging issues
Across legal and corporate fields.
Mediation and arbitration
See my webpage on this point.
In-depth analysis of emerging issues
Tailored for businesses, institutions, and academic researchers, as needed.
Legal / Institutional histories
Deep dives into your company or firm and its place in the world.
Current events / News
Serving cold looks at issues of the day.
See my publications …
JD/LLB, University of Ottawa (2021)
MA, English Literature, University of Ottawa. The Rhetoric of Nature: Marvell and the Longinian Sublime (June 4, 2018)
Check out my social media
Freelance story /content editor – 3D Printing Media Network
Writing news articles on developing issues in the 3D printing / additive manufacturing industry. Pursuing stories for network by conducting interviews and in-depth research.
Research Assistant at University of Ottawa
(May 2020 – Jun 2020)
Researched machine learning and artificial intelligence systems. Prepared research memorandum describing operation of machine learning and other artificial intelligence systems in pubic law context.
President at CUPE 2626
(Mar 2015 – Apr 2017)
Drafted by-laws for approval by union membership and executive committee. Managed ten executives and four employees; negotiated a first collective agreement.
This post is cross-posted to CanLII. The Law Society of Ontario occupies a special place in most lawyers’ hearts, and much talk has sprung up … Continue reading Articling students: unionize against the LSO
The Canadian approach to conscience is, as the title suggests, confused. Conscience is often only paid scanting attention in judge-made law because its legal and social meaning is obscured by its most common manifestation. Courts adjudicating on issues relating to religious rights, or balancing the rights of a religious person or group against another minority’s interest, often touch on conscience as a facet of religion.
One’s conscience is received by legal institutions and ethicists alike as the centre for moral decisions, yet the freedom to have a conscience is often interpreted in terms of religious belief. This interpretation is, of course, borne from conscience’s long association with religion: Canada’s governors were, for example, instructed to ‘permit Liberty of Conscience, and the free Exercise of all such modes of Religious Worship as are not prohibited by Law’.
This post is cross-posted on CanLii. A significant danger when governing safety-sensitive occupations is lapsing into anecdotal evidentiary practises to justify rigid rules. The danger … Continue reading People are looking to fly, but aviation medicine falls short
This post is cross-posted on CanLII. International and domestic arbitration is becoming an attractive dispute resolution service, and it is one that allows parties to … Continue reading The arbitrator’s conscience and revivified legal pluralism