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Philip Girard is a writer, author and research professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. He was born 18 May 1955 in Chatham, Ontario, and grew up on a farm in nearby Merlin.
Girard earned a BA from Brock University, Ontario (1976), and an LLB from McGill University, Montreal (1979), before clerking at the Supreme Court of Canada for Justice W.Z. Estey (1979-1980). Following his clerkship he taught at the University of Western Ontario (1980-1983) and in 1983 began a Masters degree in legal history and jurisprudence at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1986. In 1984 he began teaching at Dalhousie Law School and has been called “one of Dalhousie’s most scholarly professors,” introducing a course in Canadian legal history. He has been a visiting professor at the Native Law Centre, University of Saskatchewan (1982), Osgoode Hall Law School (1993-1994),and the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi (1997). He has served as acting Dean of the Faculty of Law (1991-1993), president of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers (2003-2004), Associate Editor of the Osgoode Society for Legal History, and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research (Law) (2002-2006).
Girard’s research interests include property law, sexual orientation and the law, and legal history of the Maritime provinces. His work has been published in both law and history journals and anthologies, and his Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life, won the 2006 Chalmers Award. Lawyers and Legal Culture in British North America: Beamish Murdoch of Halifax (2011).
Philip Girard married Dr. Sheila Zurbrigg in 1984, with whom he has two children: Daniel (born 1985) and Gabriel (born 1988).