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Jon Vandall – Student Success Journey in Administrative Law Programs

January 18, 2023

Roz Bahrami

The 2021 intake of Part-Time Professional LLM students includes diverse professional backgrounds – from lawyers to senior project managers to corporate directors. Geographically, our students are spread out across Canada (though there are a few from outside of Canada as well!). Today, we’re focusing on the subject of Administrative Law

We’re following our students’ success journey from their time of admission, checking-in with them during their studies, and again after convocation.  

Join us as we dive into their stories. 

Meet: Jon Vandall

Jon Vandall is an executive with the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) who has responsibility for compliance and enforcement and is a current student of OsgoodePD’s Professional LLM in Administrative Law.

About Jon

Jon Vandall is an executive with the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) who has responsibility for compliance and enforcement. BCFSA regulates the financial services sector in B.C, including real estate agents, developers, mortgage brokers, financial institutions, pensions, and trusts.  In his current role, Jon is responsible for enforcing the various regulatory regimes, which includes overseeing and directing BCFSA’s investigations and prosecutions. Prior to joining BCFSA in 2021, Jon spent five years as a senior leader within British Columbia’s Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE). 

Given the nature of Jon’s work, administrative law is a key part of his role and he’s been on the frontline of professional regulation policy, oversight, and enforcement.   

When considering professional development, Jon was looking for a program that would offer a practical education directly related to professional challenges – essentially, a mix of theory and practice. Jon expects that the administrative law programs will make him a more well-rounded executive by complementing his previous experience and education.   

Jon’s Experience so Far…

How does your experience in the Administrative Law programs compare to your expectations at the time of applying?  

My expectations have been exceeded.   

I’ve been especially impressed with the quality of the professors and the diversity of my fellow students. The course delivery and virtual class time has been exceptionally valuable.   

Students and professors approach the subject matter from a basis grounded in experience, which is very stimulating and is definitely a high-water mark in my educational experience.  

As a non-legal professional, how challenging has the legal matters/topics been in your program so far?

The pre-requisite non-legal course was very effective in providing the base skills to engage in the area.   

I’ve found that most hurdles occurred when engaging in legal research rather than the legal matters at hand. Professors and fellow students have been very accommodating, no matter their backgrounds.   

Typically, even questions asked by myself or my non-legal colleagues resonate with the legal professionals.  

What courses have you found to be the most rewarding so far? What makes them so great?  

The Introduction to Graduate Legal Studies course was great for establishing a foundation. I’ve generally found the intensives to be the most enjoyable as it forces one to focus on a subject with minimal outside distractions and it removes the challenge of balancing studies with demanding work.  

These courses and the program, in general, have absolutely helped me engage with the myriad of legal issues I engage in with work. It has prepared me to better engage in discussions with lawyers relating to legal advice and strategy.  

What has been the most challenging part of the program overall? Was this a surprise to you?  

Balancing family life, the academic workload, and work demands has been difficult. Planning time to complete papers has been the most challenging aspect and requires establishing realistic expectations and strong boundaries around time management. 

What advice would you give (based on your experiences in the program so far) to prospective students who are looking to apply to a Professional LLM program?   

Just do it! It’s been incredibly rewarding.   

The time spent in class is consistently the highlight for me, with opportunities to engage with students from across Canada (and around the world) with a real diversity of backgrounds and thought.  

Everyone brings a unique perspective based on both training and professional experiences, which makes for excellent discussions.  

My advice would be to take every opportunity to engage and connect.   

What’s Next for Jon?

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