Rye scores new legal program

Ryerson will break new legal ground next September, offering a first-of-its-kind law practice program.

The Law Society of Upper Canada announced Thursday that it has awarded the school with the opportunity to develop a web-based curriculum – for a three-year pilot period – as an alternative to the province’s traditional articling program, which is an apprenticeship or training period at a law firm.

“Articling is an alternative…but it’s not really what a lot of people are interested in,” said Avner Levin, chair of the Law and Business department at the Ted Rogers School of Management. “A program like this opens up a lot of opportunities for law students to get placements in (places other) than in big law firms.”

Levin said the eight-month program, which will earn participants the requirements to take the bar exam before they become full-fledged lawyers, includes a four-month work placement in legal practice areas such as legal clinics, in-house counsel and family law, fields not usually available to articling students.

The program is based on a virtual law firm environment, developed by the Chang School, where students can role-play in simulated legal practice scenarios. The students’ interactions in these case studies can be tracked by their mentor and instructors, which will help form their final evaluation.

“The Ryerson LPP will build on what Ryerson does best,” said Ryerson president Sheldon Levy in a press release. “It’s a natural fit for our academic culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, collaboration and meeting society’s needs.”

Ryerson will provide the English LPP program, while the University of Ottawa will offer a French LPP program.

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