Back to the Future – Western’s Bold Leap

One of the saddest chapters of Bill Kaplan’s excellent biography Canadian Maverick – the Life and Times of Ivan C. Rand, is his account of Justice Rand’s post SCC appointment as the founding Dean of the University of Western Ontario’s Law School. Rand didn’t fit, was remote from students, and was ill at ease and isolated. {For further references see Omar’s post and Jamie Cameron’s review.]

A different challenge awaits the former chairman and chief executive officer of McCarthy Tétrault LLP., Iain Scott who will be moving to take over the deanship of Western in September. This is a time of transition for Canadian legal education in which many of the founding myths of the profession are up for re-examination by a generation for whom Caesar Wright is scarcely a footnote. The balance between academic and professional emphasis in legal education is ripe for re-examination thirty years after Harry Arthur’s seminal Law and Learning Report. The future of legal services in a very changing marketplace. Shifts in models of lawyering. The unmet legal needs of millions. The linkages between business schools and law schools. The challenges and opportunities offered by new technologies.

I worked together with Iain on the CBA Conflicts Task Force and he’s an impressive, intelligent, shrewd and tough lawyer, who has a splendid grasp of the bigger picture.

Western is fortunate to have him. It’ll be interesting to see what happens at UWO over the next few years.



  1. Many of us offered him a warm welcome at an alumni event last week.