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Archive for ‘Education & Training: Law Schools’

What Makes Lawyers Happy?

I came across a new research paper today via SSRN titled, “What Makes Lawyers Happy? Transcending the Anecdotes with Data from 6200 Lawyers“.

The legal profession has done a much better job of addressing (or at least discussing) the issue of lawyer well-being in recent years. And thank-goodness for that! We are all very aware of the unfavourable statistics regarding mental health, substance abuse, and the general unhappiness that can show on some faces. So the idea of quantifying these factors — both positive and negative — cited by practitioners seems like a practical piece of work. . . . [more]

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

An Immodest Proposal for a Law School Curriculum

Now that I’m a good many years distant from any actual connection to legal education, I feel free to divest myself of a curriculum, or at least an approach to a curriculum, that I’ve mulled over for a long time and that in my view would approach an ideal of sorts.

My notion doesn’t address directly the somewhat tiresome business of skills training vs. theory or doctrine (or whatever the “non-skill” side is now called). I have nothing against skills, which are fine things; I do have some concern, however, that the inculcation of skills that are seen as important . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

The TWU Debate Continues

Why are we still discussing Trinity Western University (TWU) and their law school? The Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) approved TWU’s application back in December and the BC Ministry of Advanced Education gave TWU their approval in January. 

The answer is simple. The FLSC failed to uphold their mandate to act in the public interest when they disengaged from public discourse. This glaring omission became clear to me on Thursday, February 13 as I was live tweeting the first public hearing held by any law society in Canada about TWU.

The Executive Committee of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

Does a Generational Divide Hamper Change in Legal Services?

My class at University of Ottawa Law is now over. But the thoughts provoked in class hopefully are not. U of O has, probably more so than other Ontario law schools, a social justice/access to justice bent and I have been critical of the CBA’s recent Reaching Equal Justice Report mostly because it is unrealistic and provides little hope for change. So it was interesting for me to see two presentations by students that focussed on ideas that should have been part of that CBA Report.

One student presented ways in which gamification could be used in legal services. It . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Law Student Week, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

She’ll #IdleNoMore

Earlier today, one of our law graduate students gave a delightful performance of a poem, Why I’ll #IdleNoMore. The poem earned Michelle first place in the annual diversity writing contest the University Library sponsors in conjunction with the Provost’s Diversity Research Forum.

Michelle’s performance was evocative and thought-provoking, as is the poem itself: She rapped about the goals of the Idle No More movement, and about activism as an ally of that movement.

As stimulating to me as her performance were the remarks with which Michelle prefaced it. She spoke of how, were it not for her time . . . [more]

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

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