Last week my Facebook feed lit up after the article by Eric Girard, “What I learned at law school: The poor need not apply”, was published in the Globe. Mr. Girard, a 3rd year student at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, was on the verge of leaving school due to his financial circumstances until a friend stepped in and, at the last minute, offered to co-sign a loan. Mr. Girard’s story ends well but it highlights some significant problems with legal education in Canada. The high cost of a legal education puts it out of reach from . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Education & Training’
A brand new two-day course, “Assessments and Interventions: The Intersection of Family Law and Psychology,” is coming to the Pan Pacific in Vancouver, British Columbia in March. The course is being put on by the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC and the course chairs are myself and Morag MacLeod, a noted Vancouver family law lawyer, and Alyson Jones, a well-known registered clinical counsellor based in West Vancouver. Morag frequently presents for groups including CLEBC and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. Alyson teaches at the Adler University and presents for the Association of Family . . . [more]
Over the weekend, I had opportunity to speak with a high school student about the path to law school and into the legal profession. We spoke at some length about the importance of her pre-law education, in terms of ensuring her grades were high enough to get into law school but even more in terms of ensuring she has a strong background in relevant skills, e.g. business administration, project management, accounting or engineering. I urged her to be practical in terms of making her under-graduate choices so as to position herself well for a future in a changing profession.
The . . . [more]
When we leave law school to become articling students and then junior associates, we will likely spend the majority of our time researching and writing memos. Knowing this, how is it possible that law students can leave school without a strong foundation in these skills?
All law students at UVic have at least some exposure to legal research and writing through taking Legal Research and Writing (LRW) in first year. However, this is our first introduction into legal research and writing. At this early stage in our education, it is difficult to fully appreciate and absorb all the material covered . . . [more]
I have now taken the better part of two legal research and writing courses (though the term paper still looms) and on the whole I have found them to be a beneficial to my legal research both in other classes and in the workplace. However, if there is one thing that I find these courses a bit short on, it is direct feedback and a corresponding opportunity to put this feedback into practice, and observe and evaluate the end results.
While I was an undergraduate I had the opportunity to participate in a writing intensive class as both a student . . . [more]
Household pets are a cherished part of many families. Yet, in the words of Auxier J. in Pezzente v. McClain, 2005 BCPC 352 (CanLII), the law remains “coldly unemotional” towards companion animals, which continue to be considered “just another consumer product.” Nonetheless, there is good reason for continuing to restrict the compensation available in pet death or injury cases. A line of cases out of Ontario has begun to award more than just replacement value and incurred costs to owners of wrongfully injured or killed pets – and it may be setting a precarious precedent.
In Ferguson v. . . . [more]
The Importance of Keeping a Record
When I registered for ALRW I thought the most important improvement in my research skills would relate to finding and locating relevant legal materials. However, learning to keep a detailed record of my research has been the most valuable skill I’ve developed.
I kept a record in the past but I didn’t give too much importance to it and it tended to be recorded a bit haphazardly. I kept track of the relevant cases, statutes, and principles I came across but did not keep a detailed record of search terms I used or the . . . [more]
Eluding Relief: Ministerial Discretion and the Impact of Recent Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Recent amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 (“IRPA”) (http://canlii.ca/t/52dg2) will make ministerial relief illusory for some foreign nationals deemed inadmissible to Canada on security grounds. The government created this problem in its response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s (“SCC”) ruling in Agraira v Canada, 2013 SCC 36 (“Agraira”) (http://canlii.ca/t/fz8c4). Agraira challenged the application of IRPA s 34(2) (http://canlii.ca/t/521ff) under which an inadmissible foreign national could apply to the Minister of Public Safety for an exemption if they could prove their presence was not contrary to the “national . . . [more]
As I approach the last few weeks of my legal education I begin to ask myself: Am I ready? Am I a well-trained individual ready to take on any challenge thrown my way? Or at least a competent individual with the basic skills necessary to write my first “real” memo? I have spent the last seven years in university researching and writing multiple papers; is that enough?
Even in my third year I find myself turning to the student next to me, whispering, “Where would I find that?” or “How do I cite that?” As embarrassing as this is, I . . . [more]
In 2012, the Copyright Modernization Act was enacted to make a number of significant changes to Canada’s existing copyright regime. One of the primary goals of this new legislation was to ensure that Canada did not open the floodgates to “copyright trolls” (copyright plaintiffs who file lawsuits simply to extort quick settlements) and devolve into the shocking state of copyright litigation south of the border. The federal government hopes to balance the rights of copyright holders with the privacy rights of the alleged copyright infringers. The Act now has a statutory limit of $5,000 on damages for all non-commercial copyright . . . [more]
In October 2013, Adam Liptak—The New York Times’ Supreme Court correspondent—dismissed law reviews as repositories of irrelevant and un(der)-read legal scholarship that merely bolster the curriculum vitae of published authors and, presumably, the student editors.
Disagreement with Liptak’s bold assertion ran the gamut from the observation that students run law reviews for lack of an alternative to the rebuke that Liptak’s criticism overreached to taint law reviews with less problematic publication structures. Others focused on Liptak’s brief praise for legal blogging; Kevin O’Keefe celebrated the article for heralding law blogs as better sources of “valuable legal insight” . . . [more]
Upon arrest or detention, a police officer must advise a detainee of their s. 10 Charter right to retain and instruct counsel without delay. Does this right apply if a person is “apprehended” and taken involuntarily to a health facility for a psychiatric assessment? Presumably it does: if the individual is not free to leave the officer’s custody or refuse the examination, then their individual liberty is clearly suspended by a state authority. This is the very definition of a “detention” under the Charter: R v Grant. Yet, the case law implies that officers may be failing to advise . . . [more]