From Citadel Heights to the Supreme Court

A Port Coquitlam man has more than a year to prepare for a new job working as a clerk in the Supreme Court of Canada.

UVic law grad Brian Bird of Port Coquitlam has been hired to be a clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada beginning in September 2012. He was one of some 200 applicants for 27 positions.

UVic law grad Brian Bird of Port Coquitlam has been hired to be a clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada beginning in September 2012. He was one of some 200 applicants for 27 positions.

At just 23, Brian Bird may not yet possess the wisdom that comes with age but the Port Coquitlam man may need to prove he’s wise beyond his years at his new job.

Meet one of the Supreme Court of Canada’s newest hires.

The Archbishop Carney regional secondary school alumnus and recent UVic law grad said he’s excited to be joining the ranks of former deputy prime minister John Manley and former B.C. attorney general Geoff Plant when he begins a one-year clerkship next year at the country’s highest court in Ottawa.

And while September 2012 is still a long way off, Bird will be honing his legal research and writing skills in the meantime as a clerk at the B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster beginning this August.

“The Supreme Court of Canada clerkship is kind of like the crown jewel for law students,” said Bird, who graduated from University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Laws just a few weeks ago. “So, to be completely honest, I didn’t think I’d even be in the competition for it, given how competitive it is.”

But in the hunt he was, beating out more than 170 applicants from across the country and being hand-picked for the job by Supreme Court Justice Louise Charron.

Although the court hires its clerks a full year and a half in advance, Bird said he didn’t get word that his application had even been accepted until just two weeks before his interview in Ottawa.

“There were people there interviewing with five or six different judges that day,” Bird told The Tri-City News. “I only got one interview and to get even one was an absolute honour.”

And so, spending less than 24 hours in the capital, Bird met with Justice Charron and impressed her enough that she hired him to be the trusted right-hand of her Supreme Court replacement when she retires at the end of the summer.

He won’t be the only one: Each of the nine Supreme Court judges hires three clerks for a total of 27 SCC clerks each year — from a pool of more than 200 applicants.

And once hired, the clerks must also undergo and successfully pass a security clearance and swear an oath of public service.

“It’s a big, big responsibility,” Bird said.

Indeed. The Citadel Heights resident will be responsible for researching and summarizing case law, preparing memos and offering his legal opinion on interpretations of laws as they pertain to the most pressing and important legal questions of our time.

“One of the first things one of my friends said to me was, ‘Congratulations Brian, are you scared?’ And I had certainly thought about that but… ‘scared’ isn’t the right word. I certainly have an understanding of the responsibility that comes along with it, especially at the Supreme Court of Canada, and I’m excited for it.”

As for his plans after the back-to-back stints at the superior courts of B.C. and Canada, Bird said he hopes to return to school for graduate studies and eventually teach law at the university level.

For now, he’s focusing on the tall tasks at hand.

“Now I know what it means when people say, ‘I’m so honoured just to be nominated.’” Bird said. “To assist with the administration of justice at the highest court in our country is just unreal. But I have until September 2012 now for it to become real.”

tcoyne@tricitynews.com

 

Supreme Court: what it is and what it does

From the Supreme Court website:

“The Supreme Court of Canada is Canada’s final court of appeal, the last judicial resort for all litigants, whether individuals or governments…

“The Supreme Court of Canada stands at the apex of the Canadian judicial system. The Canadian courts may be seen as a pyramid, with a broad base formed by the provincial and territorial courts whose judges are appointed by the provincial and territorial governments…

“The Supreme Court of Canada hears appeals from the court of last resort, usually a provincial or territorial court of appeal or the Federal Court of Appeal.”

• For more information, visit www.scc-csc.gc.ca.

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read