Only male graduate of the &#39A;kitsiraq; program becomes the ninth lawyer of 11 graduates

Henry Coman called to the Nunavut bar


Nunavut's legal fraternity turned out in force last Friday when one of its favourite sons, Henry Dialla Coman, took the oath that allows him to practice law in the ­territory.

The swearing-in made Coman, an RCMP officer, the ninth of 11 graduates from the made-in-Nunavut Akitsiraq law program to be called to the bar here. He is the only male graduate.

"Both my mom and dad have passed on, and they are not here today, but I am thinking about them," Coman said in a brief address after the swearing in. "I think they would have been proud of what I have accomplished."

Coman also thanked his wife, Alison, and daughters Cassandra, 13, and Victoria, 10, for their love and support "for those years during law school and during my articling with the Crown's office here in Iqaluit."

It's a wonderful day," Alison Coman said after the ceremony. "We're very pleased and proud."

Nunavut's Chief Justice Beverley Browne noted that "getting through law school, writing bar exams, articling and arriving at the courthouse today for this ceremony has been an eight- or nine-year project for Henry."

"Law school began in September 2001 and graduation day was June 21, 2005," she recalled in her own remarks after Nunavut's assistant deputy minister of justice, Rebekah Williams, opened the gathering by lighting the qulliq.

A second Akitsiraq law program is now being organized.

Coman has been an RCMP officer since 1993, before, during, and after law school, including a two-year stint in Afghanistan advising that country's police force.

The RCMP sponsored Coman's participation in the Akitsiraq program, and he told Nunatsiaq News he will continue working for the force as a police officer for another couple of years, before "becoming a lawyer for the RCMP at some point."

"But that would mean moving to Ottawa," he added, "and I'm not ready to do that yet."

Coman also named his grandfather Joanasie Dialla as a role model. Dialla was a special constable with the RCMP in Pangnirtung for 23 years.

Many of Coman's fellow Akitsiraq graduates attended the ceremony to welcome him to the Nunavut legal fraternity.

Among others present were Justice Robert Kilpatrick, Justice Neil Sharkey, Justice of the Peace Bill Riddell, Nunavut's Deputy Minister of Justice Koovian Flanagan, Crown prosecutor John Solski, who introduced Coman at the ceremony, NWT Judge Christine Gagnon (a former Nunavut Crown prosecutor), and Canadian Bar Association president Guy Joubert.

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