Meet Ewa Krajewska, our new Constitutional Litigator in Residence

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

Constitutional Litigator in Residence for 2023

We are pleased to announce that Ewa Krajewska has been selected as the Asper Centre’s Constitutional Litigator in Residence for Fall 2023.

Ewa will be co-teaching the Asper Centre’s Clinic Course in the Fall 2023 term with our Executive Director, Cheryl Milne. This course offers upper year law students at the University of Toronto the unique opportunity to engage in Charter rights advocacy, including Charter litigation. Ewa will bring her extensive constitutional litigation experience to the role and will greatly enrich the Asper Centre’s Clinic students next term. Amongst other projects, Ewa will work with students on the Asper Centre’s intervention in the Mathur climate justice case at the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Ewa Krajewska, B.A. (McGill) 2004, LL.B. BCL (2008), was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2009. She has practiced civil litigation for 14 years, specializing in public and constitutional law. She practiced at a large national firm for 12 years before joining Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP in January of 2022. She was counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on the Public Order Emergency Commission. She has appeared at all levels of court including at the Supreme Court of Canada on important constitutional and estates matters.

View the Asper Centre’s past Constitutional Litigators in Residence HERE.

Constitutional Litigator in Residence for 2022

Jessica Orkin has been selected as the Asper Centre Constitutional-Litigator-in-Residence for Fall 2022.

Jessica Orkin is a partner at Goldblatt Partners LLP in Toronto and leads the firm’s Aboriginal law practice. She has a broad litigation practice including criminal, civil and administrative law matters, with an emphasis on constitutional, Aboriginal rights and access to information law matters.

In her Aboriginal law practice, Jessica provides legal and strategic advice and advocacy to Indigenous governments, communities, organizations and individuals to advance and protect their rights and interests in interactions with governments, industry, the justice system and civil society. Her practice includes complex Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights and treaty rights litigation; environmental assessment and regulatory processes relating to mining, infrastructure and energy projects; environmental stewardship and natural resource management, including negotiations with industry proponents; and advice on the constitutional duty to consult and accommodate. Jessica has particular expertise in relation to expressive and protest rights, including those of Indigenous individuals in the context of land and resource disputes. She also has a particular interest in systemic issues relating to the overrepresentation of Indigenous individuals within the criminal justice and carceral systems.

Jessica appears at all levels of court, including the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada in the categories of Aboriginal law and Administrative & Public Law, and by Lexpert in the category of Aboriginal law.

Jessica received her law degree from the University of Toronto. She also holds an M.Phil. degree in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, and a bachelor of arts and sciences from McMaster University. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2006, after clerking at the Federal Court of Appeal.

View the Asper Centre’s past Constitutional Litigators-in-Residence HERE.

Meet Jonathan Rudin, the Asper Centre’s New Constitutional Litigator-in-Residence


By Leila Far Soares 

Jonathan Rudin, program director at Aboriginal Legal Services and experienced litigator, will be co-teaching the Asper Centre’s Clinic course as the new Constitutional Litigator-in-Residence for Fall 2021. Mr. Rudin has written widely and spoken passionately on the topic of aboriginal justice and has advocated countless cases before all-levels of Canadian court. We are very fortunate to have him join our faculty at the law school this coming term.  

Mr. Rudin’s interest in the law emanated from a desire to influence social change, a desire which served as the driving force behind his motivation to attend law school. Yet, for just over a decade after graduating and getting called to the bar, he did not work directly in law. Instead, Mr. Rudin opted to work with social justice organizations, where he could focus on fundraising and organizational development: “I wanted to get involved with things that I felt were working more broadly and systemically to address issues,” rather than “putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.”  

However, this social justice work ultimately led Mr. Rudin to a career in litigation. His involvement with several indigenous organizations coupled with the knowledge he gained while completing his Masters in Constitutional Law at Osgoode Hall, piqued his interest in indigenous justice and culminated in an opportunity to work for Aboriginal Legal Services. ALS marked the beginning of Mr. Rudin’s engagement with constitutional litigation, allowing him to intervene in a number of significant and noteworthy cases. Of these, Mr. Rudin described R v Gladue and R v Ipeelee as two cases which stand out as most memorable to him. “You don’t always know going in how significant a case will be, how the court is going to take it, or what they are going to focus on.” Mr. Rudin emphasized the real issues and consequences at play in bringing constitutional challenges: “when you do this sort of work, especially if it is constitutional, you don’t just lose for your client, there are bigger issues at play.” 

Mr. Rudin plans to bring the litigation experience he’s gained at ALS to the University of Toronto Faculty of Law this fall, offering students a practical perspective and sharing insights as to what constitutional litigation really entails. He hopes to convey “a sense of how the process works and what it takes.” His experiences speaking before the Court have taught him valuable lessons in what judges want: brevity, clarity, and structure. “Writing a factum or doing oral arguments before the court, you are presenting things to an audience: judges. This is a very different audience, and one we are not familiar with playing to.” He plans to share these lessons, alongside many more, through the clinic.  

In the meantime, I asked Mr. Rudin if there was any advice he could offer to current law students. He remarked how difficult being a law student during a global pandemic must be and the inevitable fatigue that must accompany zoom law. In fact, Mr. Rudin described the challenges he faces as a lawyer working in a COVID world. “A lot of the work I do, it’s not me, it’s a whole team of people working together,” and meeting over zoom can certainly change professional dynamics. Mr. Rudin expressed his hope that next fall he will be able to meet with students in person. To mitigate zoom fatigue and the exhaustion that can come from the demanding nature of law school generally, Mr. Rudin stressed the importance of maintaining interests and activities outside of the law. For Mr. Rudin, this takes the form of regular jam sessions with his band: Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room. 

Additionally, Mr. Rudin encourages current students to keep an open mind as they navigate through their years of law school. Often times, he remarked, students have a pre-conceived notion of what area of law they want to pursue without knowing much about what it really entails. “There are all sorts of areas of law that we know nothing about and the more opportunities you have to try things the better.” He lauded the Asper Centre’s clinic as giving students a real sense of what working in constitutional law encompasses. He encourages students to take the opportunities the clinic has to offer and looks forward to meeting students in a few short months. 

Leila Far Soares is an incoming 2L JD student at the Faculty of Law and is currently one of the Asper Centre’s summer research assistants. 

Constitutional Litigator-in-Residence for 2021

The Asper Centre is pleased to announce that Jonathan Rudin has been selected as its new Constitutional-Litigator-in-Residence and will be co-teaching the Asper Centre’s clinical course in the Fall of 2021. Mr. Rudin’s extensive constitutional litigation experience in pursuing Indigenous justice and Aboriginal rights, as well as his teaching experience will greatly enrich the Asper Centre’s Clinic students next term.

Jonathan Rudin received his LL.B. and LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. In 1990 he was hired to establish Aboriginal Legal Services and has been with ALS ever since. Currently he is the Program Director.

Mr. Rudin has represented ALS as an intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada 12 times. He has often appeared before the Ontario Court of Appeal and before Courts of Appeal in Quebec, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

At ALS he helped establish the Community Council – the first urban Aboriginal justice program in Canada in 1992, and in 2001 helped establish the Gladue (Aboriginal Persons) Court at the Old City Hall Courts in Toronto.

Mr. Rudin has written and spoken widely on issues of Indigenous justice. His book, Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System was released by Emond Publishing in 2018 and won the Walter Owen Book Prize from the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research in 2019. A second edition of the book will be published in 2022.

Mr. Rudin also teaches on a part-time basis in the Masters of Law program at Osgoode Hall Law School. Last but not least, he plays the mandolin and sings with Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room, a group that plays regularly in Toronto and has a number of videos on YouTube.