Campus LifeNews

Faculty of Law student and alumnus offered clerkships with Supreme Court of Canada

In 2025-26, University of Alberta Faculty of Law alumnus Trevor Sullivan and second-year law student Chiara Concini will be in Ottawa clerking for Supreme Court judges.

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) consists of nine judges, all of which select three law clerks from across the country each year. University of Alberta Faculty of Law alumnus Trevor Sullivan, who earned his Juris Doctor (JD) in 2023, and second-year law student Chiara Concini, have received clerkship offers for 2025-26.

Sullivan will clerk with Justice Sheilah Martin, while Concini will clerk with Chief Justice Richard Wagner. According to the Faculty of Law’s Dean, Barbara Billingsley, the clerkships are “incredibly competitive” and “coveted” positions.

“It’s a huge source of pride for the faculty to see our students secure SCC clerkships,” Billingsley said. “We’ve had — over the years — significant success in having our students secure clerkships. It’s very exciting for us.”

Clerking with chief justice is “an incredible honour,” Concini says

Before Concini began law school, she studied political science and history at Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ). During her time at CSJ, she became aware of the faculty’s involvement with charter litigation of Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 23 protects rights for primary and secondary instruction in French. This was to address a lack of funding from the U of A.

chiara concini

“I found it to be fascinating,” Concini said. “So I applied to law school.”

When Concini started law school, she was interested in practicing in language rights. But, she also enjoys different areas of law such as administrative law, criminal law, and federalism.

In her spare time, Concini volunteers with the association des juristes d’expression français de l’Alberta. As well, she is a member of the student-run publication, Alberta Law Review.

According to Concini, most law students apply to the SCC clerkships in their third-year. They also typically clerk with a provincial Court of Appeal before clerking at the SCC. By applying early, Concini thought she’d “kickstart the rejection process,” and hopefully increase her chances of receiving an offer in her third-year. However, she was granted interviews with several members of the court.

When Chief Justice Wagner called her to offer her the clerkship, Concini was in “absolute shock.”

“It’s an incredible honour. Having the opportunity to clerk for the chief justice is not something I ever imagined for myself in my lifetime.”

Because Chief Justice Wagner is a Quebec appointee, Concini said that “he does most of his work presumably in French.” Concini said she’s excited to work in a French environment and gain exposure to many areas of law.

“I’m hoping it will be a really rewarding and challenging way to start — what I’m hoping will be — a very long, interesting, and meaningful legal career.”

“It’s clear to anyone in the legal sphere how important and impactful the work that the SCC does is,” Sullivan says.

When Sullivan started his undergraduate political science degree at the U of A, he wasn’t sure about attending law school. Law school “can be difficult to get into and you don’t want to set your sights too high,” he explained. During the third and fourth years of his undergraduate degree, Sullivan decided law school seemed like a good option.


“I think [it’s a] rewarding, stimulating career for anybody that has an interest in social sciences, humanities, [and] that likes writing and using their analytical skills. That’s what drew me to the profession.”

When Sullivan received a call from Justice Martin offering him the clerkship, he said he was “speechless.”

Throughout law school, Sullivan said law students become familiar with the SCC’s decisions. When law students graduate and enter into practice, they frequently cite these decisions in litigation work, Sullivan said. 

“You’re always citing what the SCC has to say. It’s clear to anyone in the legal sphere how important and impactful the work that the SCC does is,” Sullivan said.

“To be called upon to help support the work of the relatively small group of justices that provide guidance to courts all across the country is a huge honour.”

Currently, Sullivan is clerking at the Court of Appeal of Alberta in Calgary. Sullivan said the clerks in the Court of Appeal don’t work for one particular judge, rather they support all of them. When he begins his SCC clerkship, Sullivan will only work for Justice Martin, which he is looking forward to.

“You have a lot of opportunity to have face time with that one justice and get to know them and learn from them.”

Lily Polenchuk

Lily Polenchuk is the 2024-25 Editor-in-Chief of The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 Managing Editor, 2023-24 and 2022-23 News Editor, and 2022-23 Staff Reporter. She is in her second year, studying English and political science.

Dylana Twittey

Dylana Twittey is the 2024-25 Managing Editor at The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 News Editor. She is a second-year student studying history. In her free time, she enjoys watching 90s Law and Order, cooking, and rereading her favourite books for the fifth time.

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