A former University of Calgary law student is being recognized by the Law Society of Alberta — six years after he died from an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Armin Mojtahedi’s law school friends also arranged scholarship in his honour
Brendan Coulter · CBC News
A former University of Calgary Law Student is being recognized by the Law Society of Alberta — six years after he died from an aggressive form of brain cancer.
On Friday, Armin Mojtahedi will be called to the bar at the Calgary Courts Centre in a rare move meant to celebrate his life and dedication to the profession.
Mojtahedi’s law school classmates say they lobbied the law society to admit their friend, who died before finishing an articling position with a law firm, a requisite to full legal accreditation in Alberta.
“We’re all lawyers because, at one point in time, we thought we could have an impact on the world,” said Mojtahedi’s university roommate, Marco Maduri.
“It makes me proud to count him as one of our own.”
Mojtahedi was first diagnosed as having a glioblastoma multiforme tumour only days before his scheduled law school graduation ceremony in 2016.
While receiving treatment, he tried to complete on-the-job training, but according to Maduri, his condition deteriorated too quickly.
“He came so close,” said Maduri. “He’d be in the middle of treatment, and he would put on a suit the next day and get into work.”
Friends rally for recognition
One year after Mojtahedi passed away in 2017, 37 Alberta law students who died while serving in the First World War were posthumously admitted to the bar.
After learning about the ceremony, held around the 100th anniversary of the war’s end, Maduri and fellow classmate William Katz started petitioning to get their friend posthumous recognition.
Both Katz and Maduri said they’re grateful to the Law Society of Alberta and appreciate why the governing body, responsible for a carefully controlled profession, needed several years to approve their request.
Closure for friends and family
Mojtahedi’s parents live in Vancouver and are flying to Calgary for the ceremony.
Katz hopes the day brings them closure and himself a sense of justice and fairness.
“He worked just as hard as we did, if not harder. He certainly sacrificed a hell of a lot more,” he said. “We can finally give Armin the day that he deserved,”
Because Mojtahedi can’t take the mandatory oath of allegiance, another former colleague, Ian Pillai, will be taking the oath on his behalf.
Maduri and Katz want to continue honouring their friend’s legacy by launching an Armin Mojtahedi memorial award at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law.
Every year, the Faculty of Law will recognize one student involved in student legal assistance, which gives other Albertans access to low-cost or pro bono counsel.
They’re currently raising money to create a scholarship fund.
“It’s very easy for a lot of people in our career to get cynical or burned out,” said Maduri. “When you have a story like Armin’s… it really does give you a sense of gratitude.”
A public celebration is planned after the bar call at the JSS Barristers office in downtown Calgary.