Haley Hrymak

Creating a safer and more effective family law system in British Columbia for survivors of violence
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Through my work with Rise Women’s Legal Centre, I have studied family violence, and I have found that actors within the legal system overwhelmingly lack a comprehensive understanding of family violence. The systemic issues I have come to understand from my research, which included speaking with hundreds of survivors of violence across BC, also impacted my work as a family law lawyer, advocating for my clients. While the research is voluminous on the harms of the current court model, an exact model with the necessary design for true efficacy has yet to be proposed.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

Many of the academics I admire and look up to are at UBC. UBC is the ideal place for my work given my focus on BC, my supervisors’ skillsets, and my connection to the legal community and anti-violence sector across BC. I am also very thankful for the funding UBC has offered me to complete my graduate work.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

My supervisor, Professor Erez Aloni, is an expert in the way the legal system impacts families, and I have much to learn from him. I am also fortunate to have family law expert, Professor Régine Tremblay, the Director of Feminist Legal Studies at UBC, on my supervisory committee. In addition to their wonderful scholarship, Professor Aloni and Professor Tremblay are both incredible mentors and I am very lucky to have their support.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

The UBC campus is gorgeous! It is a beautiful place to learn.

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

Having the opportunity to complete my PhD at UBC is a great privilege for me. I am very grateful for this time in my life where I can research, write, and learn about topics that I am passionate about. I am most looking forward to my field work, which will involve interviews with experts on family law and family violence. I also am very excited to draft my dissertation and have the opportunity to contribute to the research in this field.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

Working as a lawyer in criminal law and family law has given me the opportunity to see the tremendous access to justice gaps that exist within Canadian legal systems. My proposal for the PhD program is to attempt to better understand these systems I have spent years studying and working within.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I enjoy being outside in nature, whether that is hiking, swimming, running, or rock climbing. I also try to make time for music, and love singing and playing the piano/guitar.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

I always remind myself to not worry about creating things that are perfect- there is no such thing.


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