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

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

West Shore RCMP K9 Halla. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sound of RCMP dog enough to stop suspects in Oak Bay

West Shore RCMP K9 unit called in, didn’t get to chase

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Most Read