An accused has a constitutional right to a fair trial and may raise concerns about race and discrimination if they identify it as an issue in their case. Furthermore, lawyers have an obligation to remind their client of this right. This very issue arose in R v Fraser (Fraser). In Fraser, a white student accused a Black high school teacher of committing “sexual improprieties”. The appellant raised concerns about racial bias both before and during the jury selection, but his lawyer nonetheless failed to tell Fraser that he had the right to challenge for cause. Upon . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Education & Training: Law Schools’
We have been fortunate to have taught legal ethics over the past two decades at four law schools: U of T, Osgoode, Windsor and uOttawa. We quickly came to appreciate the multiplicity of experiences and perspectives that students bring to the discussion of these issues. We both have included requirements that students write short analytical papers, along the lines of the blogs that appear here on Slaw, or newspaper op-eds.
We both encourage students to dissect a particular issue, to push themselves and to be creative. We have been well-rewarded with thoughtful and original pieces. The work of these . . . [more]
During the Toronto launch of Doing Law Differently this past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jordan Furlong and some of the NewLaw Pioneers featured in the report. Nate Russell previously summarized the report here.
The report is important because the changes in the legal profession don’t affect anyone more acutely than law students and young lawyers, who will actually live to see the changes sweep across the industry. “This report needs to be read by every student in the country,” said Fred Headen, a past President of the Canadian Bar Association and chair of the . . . [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]