Jan. 17, 2018
Meet our Students: Marleea Lagimodiere, JD’19
Giving back to the community has always been an important part of Marleea Lagimodiere's life. She admired the positive work her father did in the community as a social worker and wanted to emulate that through her own career.
Marleea's goal in getting her undergraduate degree was to get as much out of the experience as possible. One of her professors described the energy that she brings to her work as "moss doesn't grow under her feet." While working towards her Bachelor of Social Work through the University of Calgary, Marleea lived in Victoria and Lethbridge, actively pursued new volunteering opportunities in each city, and worked hard to stay connected to her family in Calgary and across Alberta. Some highlights from this time were joining the cheerleading team at the University of Victoria, coaching the Special Olympic floor hockey team, and engaging with her Métis roots by leading a weekly group for Métis youth in Calgary.
Choosing to go to law school was a net result of all of Marleea's many experiences. While completing her social work practicum with Child and Family Services, Marleea had the opportunity to work with family lawyers on case management files. Though she enjoyed the nature of the work that she was doing at the time, seeing how broad and influential a lawyer's role could be for clients helped spark her interest to pursue law. She noticed that there were many parallels between social work and the law, where you could have the opportunity to gain new experiences, meet new people and learn something new every day.
Soon to be the first lawyer in her family, deciding to go to law school was difficult for Marleea because she had no previous experience with the profession. So when she was deciding where to pursue her degree, she considered where she had found success in the past. As a social work student and an active volunteer, she had valued experiential learning and that was something she wanted to pursue in her legal education. After doing research on schools and speaking with current students, Marleea decided to come to the University of Calgary because of the Calgary Curriculum's focus on practical experience. Throughout the year she found "the schoolwork is challenging and confronts you to think in new ways, but it is incredibly engaging." Marleea saw the benefits of her hands-on education over the summer, where she was able to adapt quickly to working in a firm because many of the tasks she was asked to complete were ones she had already encountered through school.
Going to law school has also provided Marleea the opportunity to volunteer and engage with the community through her legal experience. As the Indigenous Youth Outreach Program (IYOP) with Level Justice, Marleea works towards the goal of breaking down barriers between Indigenous communities and the justice system. One of the ways they do this is through running mock trials in junior high schools for Indigenous youth. In addition to this, Marleea is also an Executive for UCalgary Law's Indigenous Law Club and the Student Ambassador Program. She also finds time to volunteer outside of law school as a wish granter for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. When reflecting on her busy schedule, Marleea recognizes that, "though law school is challenging, finding balance in my life through extra-curricular opportunities has truly enriched my experience."
With her incredible energy and open-minded attitude to embracing new experiences, Marleea's future in the legal profession is bright.