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a Canadian law school.” says
Sossin, a 1992 Osgoode Hall
LL.B. grad, who began teaching
law there 13 years ago before
moving to the U of T and, as of
this year, returning to Osgoode
as its dean.
He explains that one solution
may be to create more law
schools, which is underway with
the planned opening of a new
one, next fall, at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C.,
in partnership with the University of Calgary’s law school — along
with a proposed Ontario law
school at Lakehead University in
Thunder Bay and possible others
at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto, Laurentian University in Sudbury, the University
of Waterloo and nearby Wilfrid
A private university in B.C.,
University Canada West, has also
sought approval from the provincial government to establish a
However, as Sossin says, new
schools will depend on the willingness of provincial governments to become funding partners of such ventures.
Meanwhile, existing law
schools face significant expenditures in training future lawyers.
“Legal education as it is delivered today is a lot more expensive than it has been historically
where you had one faculty member being brilliant in front of a
large class,” says UBC’s Bobin-
Lorne Sossin (right), dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, at an open house for
students hosted by Osgoode’s Community and Legal Aid Services program.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL
ski, a 1989 Harvard Law School
“Classes are taught in a more
active learning environment
with more clinical programs
and the like, all of which are
more expensive to deliver but
which also offer students a
wider range of knowledge and
skills relevant to their chosen
practice area. At the same time,
we’re making sure law school
remains accessible to the best
students, regardless of their
“That’s a tough challenge for
all law schools.”
She says that UBC’s law
school is developing a scholar-
ship program with regional B.C.
Bar associations that would pro-
vide financial aid to prospective
students from those areas and
perhaps encourage them to
return to their communities to
IN 2002, 94.8 per cent of students who entered the Bar admission course
and who were actively looking for an articling position were placed within six
months of the usual start of articling, according to the Law Society of Upper
Canada. By the end date of the usual articling term (June 2003), all of the
equity-seeking, self-identified student
groups (aboriginal, disability, gay and
lesbian, mature and visible minority)
had a placement rate of more than 90
per cent. Francophone students experienced a rate of 88.4 per cent.
More recently, 93.1 per cent of all
2009 licensing process candidates had
secured an articling position by June
2010—a placement rate roughly the
same as last year’s at 93.4 per cent, according to the law society.
Of the 2009 candidates, 27.7 per cent self-identified as members of an
equality-seeking community (aboriginal, persons with a disability, francophone, gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered, mature, racialized community),
who in turn had an articling placement rate of 89.7 per cent.
Based on the results of a voluntary survey—to which 84 per cent of
candidates responded—the hire-back rate of candidates returning to the
firm with which they articled was 42.8 per cent, a 1.5 per cent decrease from
last year’s survey. As well, 55.5 per cent of candidates indicated that they had
secured some type of employment at the June 2010 call to the Bar— a 2.1
per cent drop from last year’s results (57.6 per cent) and a 10. 2 per cent
decrease since June 2008.
NYUL / DREAMSTIME. COM
Meantime, the lineup to study
at one of Canada’s 22 law schools
(six of them offering civil law
degrees) continues to grow.
“Relative to the small number
of law schools we have, there’s far
more demand for a spot than there
is in most of our peer jurisdictions,
in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia,” says Osgoode Hall’s Sossin.
“There hasn’t been a new law
school in Canada for over 30
years [since the Université de
Moncton’s law school was estab-
lished in 1978], even though the
population has been expanding
rapidly across the country, par-
ticularly in urban areas. So,
there’s tremendous pressure
when it comes to access to legal
education—every available spot
is hotly contested.
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