Canada’s online legal magazine.
CPAC Beyond Politics
Osgoode Professional LLM

Archive for ‘Education & Training: Law Schools’

Let TWU Have Its Law School

When Trinity Western University (TWU), a Christian-focused post-secondary institution, announced plans to pursue accreditation for a new law school, a tide of opposition swelled from within the Canadian legal establishment and academy.

A near unanimous chorus of professors, Law Deans, and student groups urged the Federation of Law Societies to reject TWU’s application on account of its homophobic “Community Covenant”. After the Federation and the provincial government approved the program last month, a prominent civil rights lawyer threatened to sue.

Personally, I was not bothered by TWU’s application for accreditation. The human rights opposition has insisted that a “one-size-fits-all” approach . . . [more]

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

Law Schools’ Fear of Social Media Is a Disservice to Students

Spending time at a law school allowed me to see something very disturbing; law students are actively and deliberately told by law schools to expunge all social media activity.

The clear message to students is: Do Not Have Any Web-Presence Whatsoever.

Given this message, it’s no wonder that most Canadian lawyers view social media with fear and take no part in it. It also explains the shocked looks when I asked my class to create Twitter and LinkedIn accounts – then use them for class participation. Oh the horror!

Imagine if I had asked them to create blogs!

In my . . . [more]

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

Twitter Moot 2014 Scheduled for February

Auditions are currently open until December 6th for students who would like to participate in the third Twitter Moot taking place on Friday, February 28th. Unlike a traditional moot held in a courtroom type facility, a Twitter Moot takes place online via Twitter (hashtag #Twtmoot).

From the West Coast Environmental Law website:

On Friday, February 28th, 2014 at 10am PST (1pm EST), students from law schools across Canada will argue an appeal over Twitter about the duty of Canada’s governments to consult First Nations on mines development.

The appeal, to be heard before three judges of the

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

Bay Street Hiring Described as “Bloodbath”

Times are rough for everyone, but law students are still feeling the brunt of the economic contraction as there are less and less jobs. Osgoode and Ottawa students seem to be affected the worst, while Queen’s, Western and UofT have fared slightly better. A total of 351 students were hired by Bay Street firms this year, which can be compared to 379 hires in 2012, 403 in 2011 and 444 in 2010.

Theses figures are available through UofT’s law student paper, Ultra Vires, which describes the situation as a “bloodbath.” The data was compiled through information provided by firms, . . . [more]

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

More on the Future of Law School

I wrote last month on a recent conference, The Future of Law School. The backchannel and later discussion was considerable, as I’ve noted, and several others wrote about the rich panel presentations and their own ideas about the future of law school. Weeks later, I still find myself pondering ideas from it often. I’m thinking lately about the place of the law school and its connection—in Canada—to the university and its library.

The focus of the conference was where law school curricula are, should be, or could be headed. Participants and presenters discussed various factors that do or might drive . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

No Easy Answer on Access to Justice

When lawyers say they can’t afford their own services, you might have an access to justice problem.

Regina lawyer Alex Shalashniy said during the CBA Legal Futures Initiative’s Twitter chat Tuesday night that he’s heard lawyers admitting they would be unable to pay their own fees if they needed a lawyer – something he calls a “telling illustration” of the access to justice problem in Canada.

A number of people participating in the third weekly Twitter chat, this one dealing with how legal services can be changed to increase access, pointed to cost as a barrier.

Corinne Boudreau, owner of . . . [more]

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

How Would You Improve CLE?

Is continuing legal education the professional equivalent of renewing your driver’s licence – requiring little of you beyond that you show up, pay your fee and get your picture taken?

That was one of the questions asked during Tuesday night’s Twitter chat this week, where the discussion focused on the utility – or futility – of CLE.

While some participants made the argument that CLE is useful – Karen Dyck, for example, says lawyers will often have an “Aha!” moment that will send them back to the office to implement lessons learned. Sara Cohen says CLE is essential, “especially for . . . [more]

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

21st C Lament

Earlier this week I had one of those discussions/debates with a friend of mine whereby neither of us could remember a certain point. However, our discussion was quickly laid to rest with a quick perusal of the nearest search engine. In our particular case we were trying to remember all the characters that have been in KISS (avec make-up). Trust me, it is not as easy to recall as you might think (absent enlistment in the KISS army).

This occasion brought home a lament of mine, that the interweb has killed the bar stool argument, one no longer goes back . . . [more]

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

On the Utility of Articles

An interesting perspective on the Canadian system of articling was offered up during this week’s Twitter chat by Valarie, @YoungSmartLegal, who has recently moved here from the United States.

“The idea of articles sort of baffles me,” Valarie said in response to questions about the advantages and limitations of articling for professional training.

Twitter chat moderator Omar Ha-Redeye noted that Canadians seem to think it’s necessary, to which Valarie responded: “In principle it makes sense, but if you’re going to a big firm it just seems like a way to keep salaries low.”

Articling students would be first-years at U.S. . . . [more]

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

On the Future of Law School

Over two and a half crisp autumn days last month, The University of Alberta Faculty of Law capped its centenary celebrations with a stimulating conference: The Future of Law School. I imagine a conference so named can either entice or repel, depending on one’s interest in the plethora of discourse on practice-ready graduates, tomorrow’s lawyers and the goals of legal education. Firmly in the camp of the enticed, I made the homecoming weekend trip to the U of A to hear the thoughts of the stellar lineup of presenters.

The keynotes, panels, and question sessions brought external experiences and . . . [more]

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

#LegalFuturesInitiativeGetsLively

The CBA Futures Initiative took to the Twitterverse Tuesday night to talk about legal education.

What was supposed to be a half-hour discussion about objectives and obstacles turned into more than two hours of enthusiastic participation from across the country. Mitch Kowalski summed up the responses about 75 minutes in: “So we’ve seen tuition, diversity, maturity, practicality, length of study are issues. Solutions?”

Karen Dyck summed up the legal profession’s response to these issues so far with an emoticon wink: “Don’t change a thing.”

A lot of the early discussion focused on high and rising tuition costs, in response to . . . [more]

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

Starting Off on the Right Foot

“The conundrum that regulators have is that we are to all intents and purposes recognizing entry-level competence,” Tim McGee, CEO of the Law Society of British Columbia told a CCCA lunchtime panel at the 2013 CBA Legal Conference in Saskatoon, discussing what the role of the regulator should be in ensuring competence in the legal profession.

His point was that despite CLE requirements, lawyers aren’t actually assessed by regulators as their careers progress – it’s assumed that if they attend an accredited law school, get a certain degree and pass a bar exam, law students are competent to become lawyers. . . . [more]

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