Prominent Criminal Lawyer Honoured for Flair and Dedication as a Teacher

Dino Bottos receives Pringle/Royal Sessional Teaching Excellence Award

Brea Elford - 26 September 2018

A longtime UAlberta Law sessional instructor has been recognized for his years of teaching excellence.

"I feel very honoured," said Dino Bottos, who is being awarded the Pringle/Royal Sessional Teaching Excellence Award for 2018.

"I learned from and respected the namesakes of this award for a very long time, and to be able to come back to the Faculty as a sessional instructor, as part of my overall work as a lawyer, is a goal I always had."

Bottos is a prominent criminal lawyer at Bottos Law Group in Edmonton, having practised law since 1990, but he's long felt drawn to the classroom - he was a school teacher for two years after earning an education degree from the U of A.

Later, while Bottos was a law student at UAlberta Law from 1986-1989, he took an evidence class from Peter Royal, Q.C. and an advocacy class from Alex Pringle, Q.C. Now in his ninth year of teaching law, Bottos said both Royal and Pringle showed him that the best criminal lawyers and the best practitioners are those who still have an eye on legal theory - a notion he tries to pass down to his students.

"They were role models to me," said Bottos of Pringle and Royal. "They showed me the best way to stay involved in legal theory was by coming back to law school to teach and give of yourself what you learned, so you can impart that to students who come after you."

In the classroom, Bottos said he engages most with his students and the subject matter by being authentic - something he also learned from Pringle and Royal.

"I think what most students see in me, is that I am sincere and I believe in what I am teaching," said Bottos.

Bottos teaches complex legal concepts to students who often don't have much experience in law. He said by breaking down the subject matter into building blocks and theories, he's better able to engage with them..

"I found you can pretty much explain anything if you break it down into bite-sized chunks, and when you teach each piece carefully and then put it all together, most people will get it," he said.

His experience as a criminal lawyer helps him with that, since he's often explaining things in straightforward ways to juries, who by law have no legal training.

Bottos takes his role as an educator to heart and urges his students to view their three years of law school as a call to duty, and not an admittance to a privileged rank.

"It takes a lot of hard work," said Bottos. "I'm hoping to inspire them to be better than they thought possible."