Name: David Rybak
Title: National President (2018-2019)
Law School: University of Toronto, Class of 2019
Background: I grew up in rural Alberta, about ten minutes north of a small town called Stony Plain, which is about 40 minutes outside of Edmonton. I did my undergrad at the University of Alberta and then moved across the country for law school! My entire family lives out west (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba), so I miss them quite a bit. But they’ve been nothing but supportive.
Memorable Moment in Law School: Meeting with the inaugural University of Toronto First Generation Network campus chapter executive for the first time. I had been having fun for the first month of law school but was still not really feeling like I fit in or had found my crowd. I was feeling a bit out of my comfort zone, and that my classmates’ experiences/upbringing were vastly different from my own. But meeting other first gens (particularly those from rural environments) and hearing about our similar upbringing was comforting and gave me a circle of people I knew I could rely on. These people are now my best friends, and meeting them helped calm my nerves and enabled me to have a successful first year of law school.
Current Plans: I’m splitting my 2L summer between a Bay Street firm in Toronto and a large corporate firm in New York – one of my roommates in NY is actually a fellow first gen student!
Future Plans: I hope to return to one of the firms I’m working for upon graduation. So far, the BigLaw/Bay Street environment seems to be a good fit for me, but I’m taking it day-by-day and I’m always open to new opportunities – whether those are within law or outside of the profession.
Fun Facts About Me: I love the symphony/classical music, even though I never played any instruments growing up. I also am a bit of a craft beer snob, and I love watching hockey, football, and baseball. I’m a diehard Edmonton Oilers and Oakland Raiders fan, and I’m currently deciding which baseball team I’m going to adopt/follow. I also love distance running (10km, 1/2 marathons, marathons) and I try to make it to the gym every morning, although sometimes that can be tough in law school. I love exploring a city and finding new restaurants! I also like to think I’m a funny person, so I perform stand-up comedy in my spare time!
Advice for Incoming Law Students: So much of law school, like life, is outside of your control – volunteer opportunities, grades, jobs, etc. have an element of randomness to them that we don’t control. Law school is an inherently stressful environment, so don’t add additional stress by worrying over things you can’t control. The path ahead isn’t always clear, but I found that if I could focus on the process or what I could control and not the result, and have faith that things would work out in the end, that things usually ended up okay. I’ve definitely failed/not met goals I’ve set for myself while in law school. But resiliency – the ability to pick yourself back up after falling short of a goal – is an attribute that I’ve found invaluable while in law school and I’d encourage every incoming student to build that resiliency and avoid stress that’s unnecessary while in law school.