Gregory McMeekin has always wanted to be a lawyer. However, like all young law school hopefuls he must first take the notoriously difficult LSAT exam. This is challenge enough for any student, but luckily McMeekin is not one to shy away from a challenge.
McMeekin has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheel chair. His motor skills are limited, and this has made preparing for the test especially difficult.
"If you were writing the test you have an easier time highlighting text, figuring out questions, turning pages," he explained, "Things that most people take for granted."
Fortunately for McMeekin, Kent Hehr of the law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP was willing to help. McMeekin called Hehr to "pick his brain on how to prepare for the test." Hehr did more than give McMeekin advice, he volunteered nine students to work as tutors.
McMeekin is quick to acknowledge how important the help has been to him.
"The firm has been extremely generous," said McMeekin. "I couldn't have begun to undertake this process without their help."
These students have been helping McMeekin prepare by providing old tests, drilling him with questions and teaching him strategies to stay calm.
"I get test anxiety like everyone else," said McMeekin. "I put a wall up between myself and the test, and I don't think as I normally would."
McMeekin also feels the standardized format of the exam is biased against persons with disabilities.
"The test has been extremely challenging," he said. "The process is discriminatory against people with disabilities. Just preparing is very difficult, as the LSAT is a standardized test. It doesn't change, and it certainly doesn't get any easier."
McMeekin said now his focus is on the test and getting through law school, but he said he will not shut any doors. He has not ruled out a future in politics or one day becoming a judge, like his father. McMeekin said that despite his father's prominent position, the decision to write the LSAT was all his.
"There's no pressure from [my father]," he said. "It's all on my own."
McMeekin also had advice for other students facing challenges.
"Be as prepared as you can," he said. "Be as organized as you can. Plan things well in advance, and above all, believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish your goals."