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  • Writer's pictureRidhey Gill

Kinza Siddiqui

Tell us about yourself.

I did my undergrad at UofT where I did Criminology and minored in Political Science. It was a really cool experience and I think it gave me a good foundation that I can now expand on with my law degree. I took courses that helped me learn about the prison industrial complex and how the law is written in ways that implicitly discriminate against certain groups.

In my fourth year of undergrad, we did something called Walls to Bridges where we were interviewed by a professor and were placed with a prison. I was placed at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario and I was responsible for going in and facilitating a post-secondary education for those women. The goal was to provide these women with a credit from UofT in order to help resocialize them and reduce the stigma associated with incarceration. I would go in and talk about human rights and criminology and learn more about these women and their stories. We were attending lectures about why people commit crimes, but we were also physically seeing and hearing about it firsthand. This experience with Walls to Bridges really helped shape my interest in criminal law.

What area of law would you like to practice?

Criminal law is definitely where my passion lies. Specifically, I think I would like to work with prisoner rights and ensure that prisoners are getting the resources that they need. Things like visitation, therapy, dealing with trauma - I want to ensure that they are getting these things and are being taken care of and aren’t being isolated.

Why did you choose Ryerson Law?

There were a couple of reasons. Any sort of pretentious environment where there is competitiveness or a negative culture really bothers me. There is definitely a stigma of this sort of culture within law schools and I really didn’t like the idea of having to face that. So this opportunity of being at a school where I can be a part of shaping a positive culture and setting it as a foundation for future cohorts to come was really important to me.

I also was intrigued by the technology pillar of Ryerson Law and this idea of building the modern lawyer and breaking away from traditional norms in the legal profession. In my undergrad, we learned about the way artificial intelligence impacts the legal profession in a positive way and ultimately makes a difference in how we are serving people.

The practical aspect of the program also intrigued me. I think it’s so interesting that there is no articling requirement at Ryerson. I’m more of a hands-on learner so Ryerson’s approach to different methods of learning is definitely appealing.

What do you hope to accomplish with your J.D.?

I would like to get into criminal law and hopefully, I’ll get a chance to do pro-bono work. I think it’s really unfair that the individuals who are criminalized are often the ones who can’t afford legal services. Law needs to be more accessible for this reason. I think being a lawyer should be less about status and money and be more about using your position to amplify the voices of those who are constantly being marginalized. I feel privileged to be in a position where I can even attend law school, so I definitely would like to use that privilege to do good.

As a part of the inaugural cohort of Ryerson Law, what are you most looking forward to?

I can’t wait to learn alongside these amazing individuals. Our class is so interesting and everyone comes from such different backgrounds and I find that really exciting. This is going to be such a great opportunity to build a strong community with one another and to also lay down a foundation that will be welcoming for future cohorts to come.


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