Balanced yet focused

Gold medallist Allison Jandura relished a range of law school experiences

Helen Metella - 22 July 2021

Allison Jandura came to law school with a master’s degree in molecular genetics and an idea of pursuing health law but has since uncovered a fascination with a broad set of legal interests.

The 2021 recipient of the Horace Harvey Medal, the University of Alberta Faculty of Law’s highest honour for a graduating JD student, was attracted to the law precisely because it can involve her many interests and skills.

“Law school gave me amazing opportunities to learn new ways of thinking and gain exposure to a variety of questions and areas of the law I had never thought about before — both inside and outside the classroom,” she says.

While earning top grades, Jandura made a point of accruing a wide set of experiences. In addition to volunteering for a year with Student Legal Services, she was a student editor and secretary with the Alberta Law Review, a writing fellow for the Legal Research and Writing Program, a research assistant at the Health Law Institute, vice-president of the Runnymede Society and co-lead for the Women’s Law Forum book club. She also participated in the 2019 Harold G. Fox Intellectual Property Moot and the 2020 Wilson Moot and completed an internship with the Edmonton Mental Health Court.

“There were times when it was challenging to balance everything, but the experiences I had outside of class made me a better student and were such a meaningful part of my law school experience.”

She drew upon skills learned through scientific research — how to work through a problem systematically, keep both details and the big picture in mind, and distil and communicate dense material. Support from her family, partner, and especially classmates, as well as mentorship from professors and lawyers at McAllister LLP, where she was a summer student, was also indispensable.

“Learning the law is a social exercise,” she says. “I found it incredibly valuable to talk to my classmates about what we were learning. I definitely feel that collaboration and mentorship was important for my success in law school.”

Jandura is articling at the Court of Appeal of Alberta in Edmonton and will complete her articles at McAllister LLP. She’s considering a career in litigation but characteristically, “I really want to be open-minded. I’m open to all new directions.”