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Archive for ‘Education & Training’

The Mandatory Nature of CPD

Love it or hate it, we all have to do continuing professional development (CPD).

One lawyer hated it so much that he refused to do it at all. When the Law Society of Manitoba automatically suspended him, he took his challenge all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

As you might expect, the lawyer was unsuccessful on his appeal in Green v. Law Society of Manitoba, released this week. The law society was empowered under the Legal Profession Act to achieve its mandate of self-regulation and protecting the public interest. The power to create a CPD scheme . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Constructing Competence: One Student’s Experience in Legal Education

Since entering law school, people have told me their personal “horror” story regarding their experience with a lawyer. They generally follow the same narrative arch: “I paid X amount of dollars and the lawyer did nothing for me. They were so incompetent!” As I often stand steadfast in the defense of my chosen profession, there is a voice in my head that whispers, “maybe they’re right”. Though the law society has formed a comprehensive definition of competence, in my experience, there has been little done in the rearing of new lawyers to meet it.

The Law Society of Upper Canada . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week

The Future Is Bright

As I wrapped up my last class at Robson Hall last week, I remarked to that whip-smart group of 1Ls that I hoped they had learned at least half as much in their two terms of Legal Methods as I did in the teaching of the course. This was my first experience teaching in a law school setting and looking back, I know for certain that I learned more than I likely imparted.

You may recall that last fall, my stated intention as I went back to law school as a sessional instructor was to keep a record of my . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Why the LSAT Should Be Retired

Starting this fall Harvard Law School will allow applicants to submit their scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This is a significant departure from the last 70 years, where LSATs have been considered a rite of passage.

Even though the LSAT provides a “neutral” way to measure students from diverse schools and programs, it’s continued use must be questioned.

Many of the critiques that apply to the SAT apply to the LSAT. The SAT has been “called out of touch, instructionally irrelevant, and a contributor to the diversity gaps on college . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools

#Research4Refugees: A Cross-Canada Law Student Effort

An inspiring event began late last week and rose to a crescendo on Saturday: the law student-driven Research-a-thon for Refugees. The 12-hour distributed pro bono legal research marathon was kickstarted in a whirlwind of spark of initiative, quick communication, outreach, collaborative effort, and perhaps a bit of collective consciousness.

Volunteer law students receiving an immigration and refugee law overview from UVic Professor Donald Galloway

The goal of #Research4Refugees was to produce a collaboratively researched document for a Canadian NGO, focusing on interpretation and application of the US-Canada safe third country agreement for arriving refugees, on a project managed by . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Courthouse Libraries BC Hosting Webinar for Canadian Lawyers on the Impact of Recent Executive Orders


I feel I must write this quick, as every day the terrain shifts and the battle lines move in the escalating conflict between the 45th POTUS and virtually the entire machinery of justice.

FYI, the ABA yesterday released its resolution 10C calling on Trump to withdraw his order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Less than two weeks ago Trump started the whole mess when he slapped on brass knuckles to deliver not one, not two, but three immigration-related executive orders to finish his first week as President.

The world sucked wind.

Even north of the 49th people . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Finding the Best Ways Forward: A Symposium on Children’s Participation in Justice Processes

I am delighted to announce Finding the Best Ways Forward, a two-day national symposium scheduled for 15 and 16 September 2017 in Calgary, featuring keynote speakers Mr. Sheldon Kennedy of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Dr. Nicole Sherren of the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.

Finding the Best Ways Forward is aimed at gathering together leading stakeholders to share information and dialogue about how the voices of children and youth are heard, how their interests are protected, and how their evidence is received in justice processes. The symposium will generate innovative proposals for policy reform, best practices, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Introducing the Alberta Limited Legal Services Project

Much of the research and writing on access to justice issues in the last five years, including that of the Canadian Bar Association and Julie Macfarlane’s National Self-Represented Litigants Project, has discussed unbundling as a potential, albeit partial, remedy.

The idea here is that the usual full-service retainer, ever so commonplace in civil litigation, makes lawyers’ services unaffordable and prevents many litigants from accessing justice. (Professor Macfarlane’s landmark 2013 study on the issue of self-representation found that “inability to afford to retain, or to continue to retain, legal counsel” was the overwhelming reason why the litigants she spoke to . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Indigenous Law at McGill

McGill law has started something new when students return from the winter break. The first-year students are participating in an intensive course on indigenous legal traditions.

Dean Robert Leckey explains in the Montreal Gazette,

It’s a first for us at McGill and possibly a first at any Canadian law faculty. It’s a promising step toward remedying some of the legal system’s wrongs toward indigenous peoples.

Guided by guests as well as by McGill professors, our students are starting the complex process of learning about indigenous peoples’ law. Doing so involves attending to sources of law — and resources for

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

Strategies for Racialized Licensees

It’s with a tad bit of irony that the professions charged with fighting inequities and combating racism, both explicit and institutional, is itself one of the most regressive communities there is when it comes to these same challenges.

In part this is likely due to the independence of the legal professions, which results in a decentralized industry that is highly autonomous, but also likes to act with impunity. Most legal practices do not have access to best practices in human rights, or how to create an inclusive work environment. In fact, most of these practices are still largely exclusive to . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues

First Steps on a Journey of Reconciliation

A sold-out audience of lawyers, judges, academics and others gathered in Winnipeg last week for a Journey to of Reconciliation as part of the 2016 Isaac Pitblado Lectures. This event was a first step for The Law Society of Manitoba in meeting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #27:

We call upon the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal– Crown relations. This

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues

Why Ryerson Should Have a Law School

When Trinity Western University first suggested it should have a law school, I emphasized here all the market reasons they should not; there are enough law schools already, not enough articling positions, and too much job competition for junior lawyers.

What it was ultimately about though is that we don’t need a new law school, doing everything the old way of doing things, and adding exclusionary criteria that runs contrary to human rights principles.

Since then, we’ve had new law schools at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, and Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia. The former has gained some notoriety . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools