Lachemi backs proposed Ryerson law school

Interim president Mohamed Lachemi in his office on Jorgenson Hall's 13th floor, Nov. 30, 2015. (Steven Goetz/Ryersonian Staff)

Interim president Mohamed Lachemi in his office on Jorgenson Hall’s 13th floor, Nov. 30, 2015. (Steven Goetz/Ryersonian Staff)

Ryerson University hopes to continue its rapid expansion with a new law school.

“We think Ryerson could provide an innovative approach to law education that is very different from the rest of the system,” said Mohamed Lachemi, Ryerson’s new interim president, in an interview with The Ryersonian on Monday. “We are doing the consultation with the community and of course we have a lot of work to do with the government and the law societies. That feasibility study is starting right now.”

The academic director of the Ryerson Law Research Centre, Avner Levin, has been working with a small group of faculty members on the proposal since mid-October.

In emails obtained by The Ryersonian, Levin points to curriculum at law schools at the University of Calgary and Cornell University as potential inspiration for a Ryerson program.

The University of Calgary launched a new law curriculum in September, which emphasizes “performance-based learning.” Students practise concepts in “more realistic and practical ways” than the typical use of examinations to measure competence, according to a blog post announcing the changes.

Cornell will launch a new master’s degree in law, technology, and entrepreneurship next year. According to a press release, the program will provide practising attorneys and recent law graduates with “the specialized skills needed to support and lead technology companies in the increasingly complex and dynamic digital economy.”

Ryerson launched its Research Law Centre in the fall of 2009. The centre supports legal research, runs a free legal clinic in partnership with Miller Thomson LLP, and organizes workshops, volunteer opportunities and conferences.

The Law Practice Program launched last year and provides Ontario law students an alternative route to a licence to practise law than the traditional articling. Students instead take a fourmonth intensive course load followed by a four-month work placement.

The university has been growing rapidly over the last decade, putting a major crunch on space for programs. The Faculty of Science, launched in 2012, is still waiting for the university to secure government funding for a permanent home planned for a parcel of land on Jarvis Street.

It is unclear where Ryerson will house the proposed law school.

The university still requires the green light from the province, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and the Law Society of Upper Canada.

3 Comments

  1. CausalInversion says:

    Well, that’s not a terrible idea at all.

    It’s not as though there’s an articling crisis in Ontario, or that there’s already two law schools in the GTA (one of which is blocks from Ryerson) or that we’re already relying on alternative measures (cough, cough, LPP) to address the critical shortage of articling positions. Adding 200 more law graduates to the market is a GREAT idea.

    Heck, it’s not as though we have a nearby country which has already experienced the issues inherent in flooding the legal market with graduates far in excess of what it can support (certainly not to the South) to whom we might look for guidance.

    Frankly, this move is extraordinarily predatory on the part of Ryerson.

  2. Students Pour your $ in this Hole!!! says:

    What a joke. I’m all for aspiration purchases too, but c’mon Ryerson a law school?

    There is a huge problem in securing Articling positions for most students that has been ramping up for years. Lachemi should be ashamed of himself and Goetz you to report on this without proper examination of the issue is pure half-assedness

  3. “An innovative approach to law education that is very different from the rest of the system”.

    Big words thrown around by an “interim” leader who has ZERO idea what the current articling climate is like in the province and Canada generally.
    I hope the law society and government see this for what it is, a desolate cash grab.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

nineteen + 3 =

Read previous post:
(Left to right) Sarah De Vries and Stephanie Steriotis in the newly painted part of O’Keefe Lane (Courtesy 3B Photography)
O’Keefe Lane gets a much needed makeover

Group of students want to improve the school’s O’Keefe Lane — the sketchy service alley just off Gerrard Street that’s...

Close