Professor Rod Macdonald had grand ideas about many things, ideas that were insightful, brilliant, quirky, courageous and original. Among these were his ideas about law school curricular reform. In Professor Macdonald’s view, “curricular reform is a continuing enterprise” and “thoughtful curricular debate is a law school’s primary heuristic device”. These are optimistic views about the importance and the promise of constructive curricular reform. But Professor Macdonald also observed, more pessimistically, that “since most curricular changes are implemented or retracted in the general spirit of tinkering, it is not surprising that the integration of new themes into existing programs has been . . . [more]
Archive for the ‘Legal Education’ Columns
The Place of Clinical Legal Education was the theme of the 6th annual conference of the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education (ACCLE), held at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law from October 22-24.
The conference keynote was by author and playwright Maria Campbell on the place of clinics in reconciliation. Some of the topics covered at the conference were:
- Beyond Cultural Competence: the Place of Decolonialization in Clinics
- Leveraging Law School: Breaking Down Silos to Enhance Access to Justice
- Community Lawyering and Teaching Clinics
- The Internet as a Site for Clinical Legal Education: Using Online Dispute Resolution
I am pleased to participate in this regular series of posts from the Council of Canadian Law Deans (CCLD) sharing insights and ideas on Canadian legal education. This past summer, I explored the impact of design principles on the justice system and since then, I have been reflecting more on the impact of design principles on Law Schools.
Has our legal education system developed as a series of ad hoc measures, policies and programs or has it been designed according to a plan? This question is being asked more broadly in Law Schools as legal academics and lawyers bring design . . . [more]
In my June column, I outlined one of the papers from the Second National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law, which took place at Elon University in Greensboro, North Carolina in June 2014. The Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law and Elon University School of Law hosted the symposium.
This column will focus on Part V of the papers from the symposium, Creative Initiatives at US Law Schools (all the papers may be found at http://ow.ly/O8YQJ). The US, with its large number of law schools, has the advantage of scale to allow its schools to act as . . . [more]
The recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have presented Canadian society with a set of urgent ‘calls to action.’ Two in particular require a response from the law schools, Recommendations 27 and 28, quoted in full at the end of this blog post – although, as I argue below, our concern should extend between the particular terms of those recommendations.
Law schools are earnestly considering what they ought to do to respond to those calls. At least four schools (Lakehead, Thompson Rivers, Ottawa (Common Law) and my own, UVic) have posted preliminary responses on their websites. Individual scholars (such . . . [more]
This fall an estimated 2800 students will begin their three-year journey for a J.D. degree at one of Canada’s 18 Common Law Schools (there are 23 law schools in total in Canada). If they are anything like I was some 23 years ago, these students are excited but apprehensive. The vast majority of new law students have had no contact with the legal system and have not taken any law-related courses. Their knowledge of law comes from popular culture. For me this was L.A. Law, Inherit the Wind, Perry Mason and To Kill a Mockingbird. For today’s law students, . . . [more]
Experiential legal education has been the subject of numerous papers, conferences, and innovative curriculum changes in the United States in the past decade. In October 2012 the first National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law was held at Northeastern University in Boston. I attended that symposium, and came away inspired by the topics and discussions.
In June 2014 the Second National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law took place at Elon University in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law and Elon University School of Law hosted the symposium. To my regret, I was unable to attend . . . [more]
One of my pet peeves is when people throw around the word “technology” as a catch all to mean anything that can or will involve a computer. A common pattern is “In X number of years, this task will be replaced by TECHNOLOGY.” The speakers very rarely get into specifics as to when technology they mean. Personally, I like to amuse myself by replacing “technology” in these statements with “magic fairies.” Actually, I think fairies are more likely to exist than some technology that is universally adopted and solves myriad problems.
If you’re like me, you probably feel like the . . . [more]
As a librarian, I’ve been trying to avoid talking about libraries in this column. Mainly because there is already a legal information column on Slaw and I wanted to keep talking about “true” law school issues.
Then I realized I was being an idiot and part of the problem that plagues libraries.
What sparked my realization was reading a couple of closely timed items. Item the first was a article on Above the Law about Washington & Lee School of Law’s Strategic Transition Plan. In reference to the plan’s “Operating budgets will be reduced by 10 percent in 2015-16 . . . [more]
What makes a law school great? What should a law school curriculum seek to accomplish in light of the school’s obligations to its students, its university, the pursuit of knowledge, the profession, and society as a whole? What should a law school strive to be?
Every law school has to answer these questions one way or another, and events of the last few years – the crises of American legal education and Canadian articling, and global and technological shifts in the legal services market – have given them greater urgency.
In this column I want to share my own law . . . [more]
Tenure is one of those sticky academic topics. Those on the outside of the acadame wonder why anyone would or should be granted a “job for life.” On the inside, the question was not “if” we should have tenure, but “who.” Throughout the entirety of my career as an Academic Law Librarian and Legal Research Professor, my colleagues and I debated with the question of whether or not we should be (1) tenure track and, if so, (2) considered part of the law school faculty and invited to participate in the governance of the school.
At the time, I held . . . [more]
Legal Aid Ontario announced recently that it was committing $2 million to the six legal clinics at Ontario law schools to allow them to create or expand family law services.
This is the kind of creative thinking that we need in the justice system as we tackle the issue of our generation in law: access to justice. But it’s not just access to justice that will be improved; students will receive the experiential education that will enhance what they learn in the classroom.
Our clinic here at Western Law is one of the recipients of this grant. We have used . . . [more]