How this lawyer enhanced her legal skill set

To improve her knowledge of administrative law, Melanie Toolsie enrolled in the Osgoode Professional LLM
Melanie Toolsie
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Melanie Toolsie

Melanie Toolsie

Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice
Osgoode LLM: Administrative Law, 2013
Year of call: 2000

For Melanie Toolsie, no two days are the same. As a legal counsel at the Department of Justice, she represents decision makers and departments within the federal government — such as Health Canada or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency — when they face legal challenges. “Every day, I’m working with different statutory mandates, departments or pieces of legislation,” she says. Her work requires a nimble mind and a wide range of knowledge.

By 2010, Toolsie had been in this role for close to a decade, and she decided it was time to take a deep dive into the theoretical underpinnings of one of her core practice areas. So she enrolled in the administrative law specialization of the Osgoode Professional LLM, a rigorous graduate program that she could complete on a part-time basis. At the time, she had two young children, ages three and five. Thankfully, the program offered evening courses and lectures delivered via streaming video. “If it wasn’t flexible,” she says, “it would not have been doable.”

The quality of the instruction was top notch. “The LLM connected us with incredible thinkers who could bridge the theoretical foundations of administrative law with practical experience,” says Toolsie. After completing the program, she was more confident and could deliver expert advice to the broadest range of public-law clients. “I wish I could take the program indefinitely,” she says, “as part of my continuing professional development.”

Fast facts about the Osgoode Professional LLM

1. Flexible: The program is designed for professionals. Evening and weekend classes let you earn a degree while working.

2. Specialized: Dive deep into one of 14 areas of specialization, including tax, securities, criminal, constitutional, business, and dispute resolution.

3. Rigorous: Throughout the program, you’ll complete detailed papers on a complex area of law, honing your legal writing and analytical skills.

Osgoode’s Professional LLM is designed with the working lawyer in mind. To learn more, visit the program’s website or call (416) 673-4670.

This is a story from our Fall 2020 Issue.