Law alum, Canadian Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, presents a fireside chat at the law school

Minister Champagne and co-Dean Michael Scharf in the Moot Courtroom during the fireside chat

One of Case Western Reserve University School of Law's most distinguished graduates, François-Philippe Champagne (LAW '94), participated in an informal fireside chat with Dean Michael Scharf in the Law School Moot Courtroom on March 6, 2024. With a faux fireplace projected on the screen behind them, the free-ranging conversation before a standing-room crowd covered Minister Champagne's experience at our school, his remarkable career and the state of Canadian-U.S. relations. The video of the chat is available here: An in-person fire-side chat with Canadian Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne | School of Law | Case Western Reserve University

During the chat, Champagne said he chose to attend law school at Case Western Reserve University because of its nationally ranked international law program and its well-known Canada-U.S. Law Institute. He shared his fondest memories of his classes with Professor Lewis Katz, who was in the audience. After graduating from CWRU School of Law in 1994, Champagne spent the next twenty years as a businessman, lawyer and international trade specialist in Europe, with a focus in the fields of energy, engineering and innovation. In 2015, he entered public service, and has since served as a Member of Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of International Trade of Canada. He is currently the Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. 

Scharf and Champagne following their fireside chat

This was Champagne’s first visit to our school since 2018, when he received the Honorary Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University and delivered the law school's Commencement address. He told the audience that as part of a multi-state barnstorming tour to discuss international trade and investment, he was in town to meet with another distinguished alum of our school, Mayor Justin Bibb (LAW '18). He said that Mayor Bibb surprised him by saying that the two had actually met previously–Champagne was the mayor’s law school graduation speaker six years ago. 

Check out a recap video here.