Deaf law grad, now a lawyer, rejects being ‘put on a pedestal’

Jennifer Jackson was one of 220 new lawyers called to the bar July 17 during a ceremony at Roy Thomson Hall, but the only one who didn’t actually hear her name called, reported the Toronto Star July 18. Jackson, now a full-fledged lawyer who happens to be deaf, graduated from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School last year and articled at Bereskin & Parr, a downtown law firm that specializes in patent and trademark law. Despite her status as one of only a handful of lawyers in North America who are deaf, Jackson said she despises “being put on a pedestal”. “What if I make a mistake and end up being a bad representative?” she asked. Jackson said she can only be upfront about her strengths and weaknesses, but “I want to say that a deaf person can do anything except hear. Just give us a chance.” She will work through interpreters provided by the federal or provincial government when she appears before a court or tribunal.

Forty-something tops MBA program

Al Goss wasn’t sure how he’d make the transition when he went back to school in his late 30s. But he pulled it off, reported Oshawa/Whitby/Clarington/Port Perry This Week July 16. The 41-year-old Bowmanville man recently graduated from York’s Schulich School of Business, winning the Graduate Business Council Gold Medal as graduating student with the highest grade-point-average in the Masters of Business Administration program. “I guess I was not so dumb after all,” said Goss, who quit his job as director of manufacturing at a printing company in Scarborough to pursue his educational dream. “It was always on my list of things I wanted to do and I just never seemed to get around to it,” he says. “Life kept getting in the way of doing this – I had a mortgage, a job. But my wife said, if you really want to do it, go do it.”

On air

  • Sheila Embleton, VP academic at York, discussed how other universities are looking for space to accommodate the double cohort and offering incentives to first-year students willing to give up their rooms in residence, on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” July 17.