Ryerson University is on track for creating a new generation of lawyers. With a focus on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, Ryerson’s upcoming Juris Doctor (J.D.) program is positioning itself as a unique alternative to existing law schools in Ontario.
Students will use classroom technology to innovate and participate in a mandatory coding boot-camp.
“Coding is so central to understanding the standing legal processing,” said Anver Saloojee, lead of Ryerson’s law school application. “They can follow a case, manage a case, and not just engage on the technological side, but it teaches them skill sets.”
With Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) and Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ), future J.D. graduates will have easier access to entrepreneurship in legal technology than their competition.
“Through legal technology, there’s more access to justice,” said Shiwar Jabary, start-up experience assistant at LIZ. This is especially true now compared to before, when it was more expensive.
Jabary said the new J.D. program will create 21st century lawyers who are, “always willing to change for the better in terms of efficiency, providing a better service, being able to give service to more people and looking always to do things in a better way.”
While there is no guarantee of immediate employment, integrating a tech-focused curriculum would benefit graduates pursuing intellectual property law, cybersecurity or a legal start-up, he said.
Eden Prisoj, first-year psychology student, is looking to attend law school after graduation.
“The source of my anxiety when it comes to graduating from law school stems again from this idea of not finding a job,” said Prisoj. “If Ryerson can give me that competitive advantage over the other legal graduates, that’s definitely something I’d be interested in.”
But to Tiana Perricone, dual J.D. student at the University of Windsor and University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, the advantage of having a technological background would be small for new graduates.
“If someone is set on studying family law, I don’t think much would change for them, other than it is always good to know more,” said Perricone.
On the other hand, Saloojee believes,“We’re at a point where this profession [law] would benefit hugely from the kind of students that come to a law school at Ryerson.”
The tentative opening date for the law school is September of 2020 with pending approvals from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the Ryerson Board, and the Ontario Government.