New Orleans law student gets a boost from Western

It'sbeen less than a month, but New Orleans' Tulane Universitylaw school student Adam Dunlop has made himself at home at the University of Western Ontario in order to complete histhird year of law school.

Adam Dunlop will be spending at least one semester of his final year of law school at Western studying sports law.Hurricane Katrina rocked the Gulf Coast states just weeks ago, ripping apart thousands of lives and leaving many homeless. New Orleans was hardest hit and Dunlop, Toronto-born but attending the U.S. law school, was able to evacuate before the storm reached the city.

Dunlop, 25, was in the Big Easy over the summer working as a business/marketing intern for the NFL team New Orleans Saints and had just finished the first week of his third year at Tulane when he heard the news of the hurricane.

"I was working down at the Superdome," he told Law Times. "I worked all day because there was a Saints pre-season game and after the game ended at around midnight, as I was cleaning out one of the executive suites there, the bartender pointed up at the television and said, 'I think we may need to evacuate. It looks like a bad one.'"

On Aug. 27, Tulane cancelled classes and closed the school for the following week, so Dunlop booked a plane ticket to Toronto for the week, planning to return to New Orleans to start class after Labour Day.

He packed enough clothing for a week and scrambled to get a flight after Delta called to say his flight had been cancelled. After a long journey with multiple stopovers, he met his father in Buffalo and they drove to the family home in Toronto.

"I got home and sat there for a week glued to the television, trying to figure out what was going on, whether I knew any of these parts of the city being affected, whether I could see my house," he recalls.

A fellow classmate at Tulane had e-mailed Dunlop to see what his plans were for finishing his third year of law school, as the dean of Tulane had said if students wanted to graduate on time they were going to have to go somewhere else for the semester and transfer the credits back.

"At that point the city wasn't safe, there was looting and the floodwaters were way up, so it didn't look like there was going to be a semester at the law school," he says.

He then called several law schools in Ontario to see if they could accommodate him. His first appointment was with Western.

"I didn't know what the process would be like, but the dean of admissions at Western granted me an interview within two hours' notice. She accepted me pretty much as I walked in and she wanted to know what she could do to help," Dunlop says.

"She went about letting me look at the course catalogue and whether the courses I was going to be taking would be of interest to me and they definitely were, especially when they offered sports law. That was the reason I went down to Tulane: they have the best sports law program in North America."

Becky Bannerman, communications officer at the faculty of law at Western, says the school was the perfect choice for Dunlop.

"I asked why did he choose Tulane for his law degree and he said that he was really interested in sports law. Apparently they have a really good sports program," she says. "And then I mentioned that it was good that he came to Western because we have professor Richard McLaren here who is very well-known in the sports law circles. He's been an arbitrator at the last three Olympics and he runs our sports law clinic here.

"He worked with Dick Pound in the doping commission so it was really good timing for Adam to come here and he actually got into the sports law course so he was really happy."

Dunlop says it was a rushed weekend to get settled in London, Ont., but it helped that he had completed his undergrad at the school in 2003 and still had friends in the area.

Dunlop says he has adjusted to life on campus quickly, even though some of the subject matter is foreign to him.

"It's a little bit of a different experience just because I don't have any basis in the Canadian legal system so obviously there is some fundamental law that I'm missing, whether it be constitutional or tort or that sort of thing," he says. "Thus far, it's been extremely great. The people on campus have been very helpful."

Tulane University plans on opening again for the spring semester in January, and Dunlop says he would like to return.

"I'll definitely be going back and doing what I can to help the city rebuild because I've enjoyed my time down there thus far."

He found out recently that the house where he lived in New Orleans fared better than others in the ravaged city.

"The house is in decent condition but the ceiling in my room caved in so it looks like pretty much everything that I left in there, which is pretty much everything, is probably ruined or damaged.

"I'm not that upset because it could have been a whole lot worse and I'm a lot better off than most people," he says. "You know, selfishly you hope that your things, especially your pictures and your personal valuables, aren't damaged but if that's the worst that happens then I'm very lucky."

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