by Emma Davies
Ewa Krajewska, a civil litigator and partner at Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP, is co-teaching the Asper Centre’s clinic course as the 2023 Constitutional Litigator in Residence. Over the summer, I sat down with Ms. Krajewska to discuss both her career to date and her new role.
Even prior to law school, Ms. Krajewska enjoyed studying subjects like economics and politics because they were oriented toward making systemic change. She similarly became interested in practicing constitutional law during her clerkship with former Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella. As she explained, “I’ve always been interested in constitutional law from the perspective of how we organize the relationship between a country’s citizens and government to ensure that a democracy properly protects its minorities.” She cemented this interest as an associate at a national law firm, where she represented a number of institutional clients and public bodies.
Ms. Krajewska’s career in litigation has also allowed her to become a life-long learner. “Every case is a window into a universe that you would not normally know about. It’s like one of those very deep and focused New Yorker articles on some obscure topic.” Her past cases have allowed her to learn about everything from liver transplants to the relative value of buildings in downtown Toronto. In her view, litigation is the perfect career for anyone who is curious not just about the law, but about the world in general.
When asked about cases from her career, Ms. Krajewska highlighted two as particularly memorable: a judicial review application regarding the Chief Electoral Officer, and a challenge to the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act in 2022. The former was expedited because of the election schedule, meaning that she had the rare opportunity to litigate a case from start to finish in just six weeks. The latter case was equally unique in that it involved a government Act that is almost never invoked and delved into issues like how Cabinet confidences should be treated in extraordinary circumstances. As she explained, “it’s a lot of fun to litigate these hard, new, complex issues and propose to the court the right way of interpreting the factual record.”
Looking ahead to her new role, Ms. Krajewska spoke about her love of teaching. As part of the clinic course, she particularly wants to show students the importance of marshalling the factual record to help achieve desired constitutional outcomes. I also asked Ms. Krajewska what advice she would give to current law students: “I think sometimes we’re dissuaded from taking classes in areas of law that we’re less interested in, but there’s something to be said for taking classes from excellent teachers.” Some of her favourite classes from law school had nothing to do with constitutional litigation, and yet she still relies on the skills she learned from those classes to this day. As she put it, “it’s important to give yourself the permission to have some fun, and to take the classes that may not have been on your radar.”
This interview has been edited for clarity
Emma Davies is a 2L student at the Faculty of Law and was an Asper Centre Summer Research Assistant in 2023