As I entered the premises for the first time, I was awestruck. In my frequent travels to Calcutta, India, I had never been so moved. Granted, I had previously seen women and children begging for money on the road sides and have walked through the populous city on many occasions, emersed in its delightful pungent aroma, but nothing had prepared me for what I had experienced entering Mother Teresa’s orphanage in July of 1996. Children who appeared quite ill were playing and laughing carelessly with the minimal toys and trinckets they had gathered. Infants, so malnourished they looked as though they could perish immediately, were clothed in brightly coloured outfits as though it would disguise their disparity. Whenever I encounter inexplanable situations, I pose the question, “why?”. In this situation the inexplanable element was why are children, who are so innocent, subjected to such pain and suffering? Since my initial visit to the centre I have concluded that is no easy answer for that question. However, what little I have been able to do as a volunteer to make the lives of people who are suffering a little more tolerable gives me some consolation for the lack of a concrete response to my initial question.
It is this type of injustice in the world which fuels my desire to reach out in whatever way that I can. From volunteering at that orphanage in Calcutta (I’ve done that twice since my initial visit) to previously supporting adolescents with emotional, social and behavioural problems at the Children’s Assessment Centre and now by devoting a few hours a week to the Junior Achievement Program, I try to make a small difference in peoples’ lives by giving them my support, my advise, or my hand. I have decided to pursue a career in Law primarily for the same reasons why I have volunteered for so many years of my life, so that I may lend my clients my support, my legal advice and help. It is a profession that perfectly matches my personality and goals, and gives me the ability to fulfill my lifelong dream of making a significant impact on our society through civil service. I realized that my ability to motivate and help others could lead to great achievements. Law will definitely enable me to continue to find such opportunities. At first, I may be helping one person at a time. Yet as time passes and my aspirations become reality, I envision myself impacting whole cities or states.
In addition, as alluded to above, I am a very inquisitive person. This characteristic has been cultivated and has grown during my undergraduate career at McGill University in the Arts and Science Programme and in the Economics Department. With the support of the facutly professors, who have encouraged such behaviour, I have been equipped with skills which are necessary to succeed in one’s life. For example, this inquisitive characteristic lead me to choose my thesis topic pertaining to Islamic Banking. Curiosity got the best of me as in my readings I came across a particular economy which claimed that interest rates did not exist in countries ruled my Islamic principles. Using my critical thinking skills from the Arts and Science program and my economic knowledge, I challenged the non-existance of interest rates and attempted to put to pieces of the puzzle together. My hypothesis had been correct. The Islamic economy was in fact dependant upon interest rates, but disguised that dependence with various other economic priniciples. I love solving puzzles – discovering pieces, analyzing their importance, uncovering relationships and then utilizing the information to produce a final work. By completing the thesis, I analyzed the countries that are ruled by the Islamic banking system, drew upon my knowledge of the traditional economic system, and used the information to decipher and determine if the claim was true. Writing, research, legal study, and legal practice share this process with my thesis. Instead of finding the answer written in a textbook or a journal article, the discovery is information and requires research and analysis.
In addition to my affinity for research and writing, my work experience has confirmed my desire to learn more about the law. Currently, I am working at a Major Canadian Bank as an Assistant Manager. As an investment and credit adivsor, I have to ensure that my clients’ receive the best advise possible from a financial standpoint. Many legal questions arise when discussing either credit or investment products. These questions required that I delve into a field that I knew relatively little about. Questions related to wills, estates, collections, reposessions etc. are usually the types asked. Through the help of our legal department, I am able to guide these clients by addressing their questions and referring them to the appropriate source if more complex inquiries are made. The law and the banking system share constant variety. Since both are evolving, they require constant research and learning. Through my various jobs and by reading various works on law, the breadth and variety inherent in the law has impressed me. My work at the financial institution has exposed me to some of the realities of law such as the legal complexities, the commitment and initiative required, and the diversity of the work.
The thrill of discovery that I so enjoy in my academic and professional life partially stems from my travel experiences. Whether traveling through the city street of Bangkok, visiting my extended family in India, or submerging myself in European culture, my travels have exposed me to different facets of humanity. My experiences on foreign soil allow me evaluate daily situations as well as academic works from a unique perspective.
During my travels I have come face to face with social and economic injustices. I have come to realize that I have a responsibility to those forgotten in the world. This has left me with an undeniable need to alleviate those hardships. Attending law school will give me an opportunity to one day make changes to the betterment of those I have met. It will give me the ability to create reform and make a difference in the world.