Faculty of Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

2017 Soberman Award honours one of Canada’s brightest young defence attorneys

(May 16, 2017)

Erin Dann, Law’07, winner of the Dan Soberman Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Erin Dann, Law’07, winner of the Dan Soberman Outstanding Young Alumni Award. (Photo by Studio 66)

When Erin Dann, Law’07, the 2017 winner of the Dan Soberman Outstanding Young Alumni Award, graduated from journalism school in 2002, she was first in her class. But media jobs being scarce, she took a job as a proofreader at an Ottawa intellectual property law firm to make ends meet. “On my first day of work, the person who hired me asked if I had any interest in being a legal assistant instead,” Dann recalls. “It paid better than proofreading, and so I accepted.”

The experience was an eye-opener. She had never thought of a career in the law; however, during her two years at the law firm, at her boss’s urging, Dann took the LSAT and applied to law schools.

She would excel in her studies at Queen’s Law, where she earned a slew of academic honours, including the Medal in Law for achieving the highest cumulative average in the Class of ’07. Prior to her 2008 call to the Bar, Dann served as law clerk to Justice Morris Fish of the Supreme Court of Canada. She then completed a Canadian Bar Association – Canadian International Development Agency internship in Laos (helping to implement a UN access-to-justice initiative), and worked for a time in the Crown law office (Criminal) in Toronto.

"Since entering private practice in 2010,” said Dean Bill Flanagan in presenting the award, “Erin Dann has quickly emerged as one of Canada’s brightest young criminal defence lawyers.”

One of her nominators wrote, “Erin has appeared as counsel in a remarkable number of leading cases in recent years, including several appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada.”

Working on such high-profile cases isn’t the only way she demonstrates her leadership. She is also a session coordinator for the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute, speaks regularly at continuing legal education seminars and lectures at Osgoode Hall Law School.

In addition, Dann continues to support Queen’s Law in a variety of ways. This includes serving on the Moot Advisory Council and coaching student oralists in the annual moot camp. Her ties to the law school remain strong.

“Any measure of early success in my career is due in large part to my experience at Queen’s Law and to the many members of the faculty and staff who took a personal interest in my development as a law student,” she says. “They continue to offer me support and guidance.”

— Ken Cuthbertson