Students Gain Insight at Weekly Community Supper

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Lawyer's panel

Conrad Grebel University College’s weekly Community Supper on Wednesday, March 9 was filled with laughter and educational insights. Grebel welcomed three alumni who have pursued a career in law to share their thoughts and experiences about law school and practicing law. Grebel’s President Marcus Shantz, who is a lawyer himself, hosted the panel, asking questions to get the conversation started. "Going to law school expands both your mind and your vocational options. Many Grebel students have taken their undergraduate degrees into meaningful careers in law,” said President Shantz.“What excites me most right now is developing a firm,” said Russ Snyder Penner, a 1989 graduate with a BA in English and History. Russ started his most recent firm, WayForth Law, during the pandemic, where he works as a commercial corporate lawyer. Before graduating from Grebel, Russ was a Senior Resident and was part of Peace Society which was active in addressing issues like the Oka Crisis in the early ‘90s. “Being able to engage in some of those issues with the community makes a difference,” reflected Russ. “And what I learned from Grebel, most of all, is the importance of community and people that support you.”

“In my job, I like to be a part of making sure that the impact on kids is being done in a way that is fair and equitable,” explained Catherine Dyck, 2012 graduate in Legal Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS). She is currently working as an in-house lawyer at the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex. While studying at Grebel, Catherine was an off-campus resident, lived in residence, and was part of Larger Leadership Team. “I had tons of fun at Grebel, but it also shaped me in numerous ways that expanded my viewpoint of the world in understanding different communities,” expressed Catherine.

lawyer's panel

“For me, it’s the service. I’m able to help people based on my knowledge,” said Nathan Henderson, 2016 graduate with a BES in International Development and a minor in PACS. “That really is exciting and translates to any practice you would find yourself in.” He is currently working with Sobara Law in Waterloo in the area of corporate law. Nathan’s fondest memories at Grebel are filled with making connections with people. The Grebel community helped him open his mind to different possibilities. “Grebel brought me joy,” expressed Nathan. “Grebel opened me up to many different ways of viewing the world, and to form different beliefs in a positive way. You can have great conversations and have a lot of fun, but also grow as a human being.”

After the panel, students were encouraged to join the alumni for a more in-depth conversation to gain more insight into law. The lawyers answered many questions, some of which included “what advice do you have for the students exploring law?,” “How much do grades matter when applying for law school,” and “How can you manage to do morally good work in a limited framework such as prison law?”

The evening ended with each lawyer giving key advice. “Law school is expensive. It’s hard to imagine until you absolutely do it,” observed Nathan.

“Life is complicated, and the legal system is imperfect, but It is improving, and changes come from within,” said Catherine.

“Take a little bit of a risk for what you want because it is going to be okay,” advised Russ.

By Ashitha Mantrawadi