Summer Student Retrospective: Ian MacKinnon

Photo Credit: Christos at Pexels Photo Credit: Christos at Pexels

May 1, 2020

In this Summer Student Retrospective series, four law students who worked with us last summer reflect on their experiences.

As a summer student with BOYNECLARKE LLP, I was able to take advantage of the firm's community partnership program and was placed at East Coast Environmental Law for the summer of 2019. I was thrilled to have this opportunity where I have had specific interest in environmental law throughout my legal education and I was excited to better understand and contribute to solving environmental issues facing Atlantic Canada.

My primary project focused on developing materials for environmental assessment workshops, which East Coast Environmental Law planned to conduct in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland later that year. The purpose of those workshops was to provide the public with legal information on both provincial and federal environmental assessment processes so that the public could understand how they affect major project development. By providing this information, East Coast Environmental Law sought to motivate and facilitate effective public participation during environmental assessments to ensure that local and regional concerns are adequately represented and considered throughout the decision-making process.

In addition to my environmental assessment project, I was given the opportunity to participate in Youth-to-Youth, a pilot project organized and created by East Coast Environmental Law in collaboration with Kings Edgehill School in Windsor, Nova Scotia. The project had a group of current law students run a workshop with high school students in order to shed light on public interest environmental law and to bridge the gap between high school and the prospects of studying and practising law. This was particularly rewarding, where it not only provided time for self-reflection on my own motivations and experience that led to the pursuit of my legal education but also revealed how interested some Nova Scotian youths are in matters that concern the environment. The workshop allowed those youths to better understand how they could work towards playing an active role in this field. 

Generally, my experience with East Coast Environmental Law is one that I will hold with me throughout my legal career. Beyond the scope of my specific projects, our weekly meetings and correspondence provided a space that welcomed collaboration, discussion, and insight from all members of the team. This not only contributed to my goals of learning about a wider variety of local environmental law issues from other staff members, but it also made for a welcoming atmosphere that made my work with East Coast Environmental Law so enjoyable. 


 Ian McKinnon

Ian MacKinnon

Ian's work with us was funded through a summer internship program administered each year by Boyne Clarke LLP, where Ian will soon be starting the next phase of his legal career as an Articled Clerk.