All Posts Tagged With: "law"
Future lawyers push for more practical skills
Laura McGee entered law school three years ago planning on a career negotiating international trade deals. By second year, reality set in.
“Once you look at recruiting opportunities, you start to think, ‘Who’s going to pay me to practise international law?’”
Staring down a six-figure debt, she decided to explore her options on Bay Street, Canada’s corporate capital, where there’s plenty of work for young lawyers. To her surprise, the University of Toronto didn’t offer many ways to get business-law skills or test drive a corporate career. The school’s clinics, where students get credit and hands-on experience with clients, offered exposure to Aboriginal law, poverty law and family law, but—ironically for a school one subway stop from Bay Street—not business. “You learn to think in law school,” she says, “but you don’t learn how to practise as a lawyer.” Seeing a gap, she circulated a petition proposing a business-law clinic. About 200 students, a third of the class, signed within two days.
Lakehead welcomes 55 law students
The inaugural class of Ontario’s first new law school in decades starts this fall in a province already teeming with new lawyers, but these students will be steered away from the big-city fray.
As law school enrolments continue to rise and more students studying law abroad return home, a growing number of graduates are scrambling for a comparatively stagnant number of articling positions — a 10-month work experience mandatory to become a lawyer.
But the so-called articling crisis never made its way as far north as Thunder Bay, Ont., where Lakehead University is set to unveil its new law school, said the new dean.
“If you talk to many of the law firms up here they’ll say, ‘Look, we’ve been trying to get an articling student for a number of years, we just can’t get the right one,” said Lee Stuesser, who has taught law for more than two decades.
“For years I’ve been saying to law students, ‘Look outside the big centres. There are jobs there.’ And you know what? They haven’t. So there is a shortage (of lawyers) here in the north.”
What students are talking about today (February 4th)
1. It’s not just teacher’s college where the number of applicants is falling. Law schools in the United States are in crisis mode after statistics from the Law School Admission Council show that the number of applicants dropped 20 per cent from last year after falling 14 per cent the year before. In Canada the number of applicants is down four per cent, which is certainly not a crisis and may even be good news considering there is a small shortage of articling positions. Bill Flanagan, president of the Canadian Council of Law Deans, offered Canadian Lawyer Magazine his assessment. “On average, tuition at Canadian law schools is much more affordable than many U.S. law schools,” he said, adding, “the job market for Canadian law grads is better in many Canadian legal markets than it is for U.S. law grads in many U.S. legal markets.”
From the turmoil of Quebec to the rise of the West
It was a record year for Maclean’s On Campus with more readers than ever, but perhaps that’s unsurprising considering how much there was to talk about. Based on clicks and comments, here are the top five campus news stories of 2012.
1. Quebec student groups helped toss a government and won a tuition freeze.
In March, Quebec student groups declared war on a planned tuition hike of roughly $2,000 over five years. By April, students at 11 of Quebec’s 18 universities and 14 of its 48 CEGEPs had declared “strikes” and were skipping classes. There were nightly marches in Montreal that made life miserable for many who lived and worked downtown. Students who dared go to classes, even after judges orders allowing them to return, were stopped by masked protesters. The nightly marches started turning violent and threatened the tourism industry. Something had to be done.
A photographic tour of the main Toronto campus
This fall, Maclean’s photographed 24 of the 49 institutions featured in the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings. Below, Jessica Darmanin shows you around York University. Click on each photo to make it larger. Then check out the other 23 galleries by clicking here.
A photographic tour of the Edmonton campus
This fall, Maclean’s photographed 24 of the 49 institutions featured in the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings. Below, Chris Bolin shows you around the University of Alberta. Click on each photo to make it larger. Then check out the other 23 galleries by clicking here.
A shortage of positions in Ontario forces a reevaluation
Mathew Mezciems thought he was doing everything right. He got into one of the country’s premier law schools and set his sights on extracurricular activities that would set him up for a job on graduation. Big firms look for leaders—or so goes the conventional wisdom. So at the end of his first year at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., Mezciems ran for a junior position on the law students’ society, and won. The following year, his peers elected him president.
The job consumed a surprising amount of time. “There are meetings during the week with faculty,” says the 27-year-old, “and office hours where students can come and talk to you.” By the end of his second year, his grades had slipped into the Bs, and Mezciems found himself without one of the all-important summer student positions that serve as entryways to articling. After graduating this spring, he still couldn’t find an articling job—a predicament that not long ago would have been unthinkable for such a prominent student. “I’m trying not to be worried,” he said last June from his home outside Kingston, the strain audible in his voice. “You have those moments of panic, but I’m trying to stay positive and not get too overwhelmed.”
It takes a lot of creativity to finance second degrees
Last fall, when Kristen Pennington started at the University of Toronto faculty of law, she was surprised to learn of “an assumption” that students wouldn’t work during the school year. “I’d never been in school and not worked,” the 22-year-old says. “It wasn’t a question.”
During her first year in law school, Pennington held down three part-time jobs: she worked as an after-hours receptionist at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, as an executive assistant for a lawyer, and as manager of the undergraduate residence at Glendon Campus, part of York University, where she also lived rent-free. “I worked for my room,” she says. “It was a great expense to cross off the list.” The commute from Glendon to U of T’s downtown campus, on public transit, was “45 minutes on a good day.”
law rankings, engineering, medicine, M.B.A.s and more
Inside the 2012 Maclean’s Professional Schools Issue, on newsstands and iPad now, you’ll find:
—Our much-anticipated Law School Rankings
—The hottest engineering field
—Should articling be scrapped?
—How students are financing their degrees
—Rebranding the M.B.A.
…and much more. Pick up or download your copy of Maclean’s today.
Subject rankings for psychology, law, economics…
Here are the top five highest ranked universities in the QS World University Rankings by Subject and the rankings of all Canadian schools for arts, humanities, and business. For science, engineering, and health disciplines click here. For the full rankings, visit TopUniversities.com.
1. Harvard University (United States)
2. University of California, Berkeley (UCB) (United States)
3. University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
4. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (United Kingdom)
5. University of Chicago (United States)
16. University of Toronto
33. McGill University
40. University of British Columbia
45. Queen’s University
51-100. Université de Montréal, University of Alberta
101-150. McMaster University, Western University, Université du Québec, University of Waterloo, York University
151-200. Carleton University, Concordia University, Dalhousie University, Laval University, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, University of Ottawa, University of Victoria
Students who don’t risk losing credits
Students at 14 Quebec CEGEPs (junior colleges) who have been ordered back to classes in August by the controversial Bill 78 have until Friday to confirm their plans to finish their stalled terms, reports the Montreal Gazette. If they do not agree to return to school when classes resume (on Aug. 17 at most CEGEPs), they will be assigned zeros in all of the courses they started in January.
No deal has been made between students opposed to Quebec’s tuition hike, which last pegged at $1,778 over seven years. The hike prompted a “general strike” that shut down many CEGEPs.
Law students struggling to find work
Law students are once again struggling to find articling terms, reports The Lawyer’s Weekly.
Articling is mandatory on-the-job training that lasts 10 months in Ontario. The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario’s self-regulator), says that 12.1 per cent of articling applicants were without jobs as of March 31, up from 5.8 per cent in 2008. LSUC is preparing a report on the problem.
The Lawyer’s Weekly blames the shortage on an imbalance between supply and demand. Law schools have admitted more students in the past decade. Enrollment is up 33 per cent at the University of Ottawa, for example. On top of that, foreign-trained lawyers are arriving in greater numbers, but firms aren’t adding many positions.
We’ve heard of the rural shortage. But a suburban shortage?
Just months after British Columbia opened its first new law school in 30 years, a top lawyer is advocating for another one, this time in Surrey.
B.C.’s newest law school is at Thomson Rivers University in Kamloops, where its mission is, in part, to address the rural lawyer shortage.
Tony Wilson, an adjuct professor at Simon Fraser University, makes the argument that there’s a pending shortage in suburban Surrey too. He notes that the city near Vancouver is projected to be the biggest in B.C. by 2020. Surrey grew by 13.6 per cent between 2001 and 2006.
There’s plenty of work, Wilson argues in his letter to Canadian Lawyer. “Surery has… clients, many of them in real estate, real estate development, or other small or medium-sized businesses,” he says, “and if you’re into criminal law, the newspapers would suggest that opportunities abound.”
Law society approves, provincial consent pending
Lakehead University is one step closer to opening a law faculty, after the Law Society of Upper Canada gave its stamp of approval last month. The unanimous decision follows approval of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada earlier this year. President Brian Stevenson said that the latest recognition is “the final external vote of confidence we needed.” The university’s senate will be asked to approve the creation of a law faculty, and law degree program on Friday, but Lakehead still has to gain consent and funding from the provincial government.
American colleges enticing quality students to boost their rankings
American law students are accusing schools of “bait and switch” when it comes to merit-based scholarships. According to a Saturday report in the New York Times, more than ever, law schools ares enticing students with the promise that their tuition fees will be mostly, or even fully, covered.
The catch is that in most cases, a minimum grade point average is required to retain funding passed the first year, and students say law faculties are not always upfront with how difficult it is to keep their grades up, or what proportion of students keep their scholarships. At Golden Gate University of Law, in San Francisco, for instance, 57 per cent of current first-year students have merit scholarships, but only around a third can be certain to maintain the requisite 3.0 GPA to keep their funding going into second-year. First-year classes are more likely to be subjected to curve grading.
Jerry Organ, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, in Minneapolis, has studied the rise of merit based scholarships since the 1980s. He pointed out to the Times that since U.S. News began ranking law schools in 1987, there has been fierce competition for quality students. The grades and LSAT scores of students account for 22 per cent of a school’s ranking, suggesting that if exceptional students can be swayed from attending a more elite college with the promise of large scholarships, it can help boost a school’s score. “What law schools are buying is higher G.P.A.’s and LSATs,” Organ said.
Ryan Manilla appeal over ‘good character’ requirement dismissed
Ryan Manilla, the 29-year-old star law school student who won jobs at Canada’s top firms, has been officially barred from becoming a lawyer after a scuffle with his condo board, as reported in Maclean’s. After appealing the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC)’s decision to ban him from joining the profession over its ages-old “good character” requirement, Manilla appealed, but the LSUC has dismissed his appeal, the Toronto Star reports. As president of his condo board, Manilla sent threatening emails to fellow members, and forged a letter from a woman claiming to be a private investigator, all part of his battle against a proposed fee hike. He was eventually charged with criminal harassment, but charges were dropped after he met certain conditions, including apologizing and making a charitable donation in the names of those he targeted. Even so, the Law Society has banned him.
A legal career no longer seen as a ‘safe bet’
The number of students applying to American law schools is at its lowest point since 2001, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. According to the Law School Admission Council, applications have dropped 11.5 per cent over last year, a sign that students are becoming disillusioned with the job market for law graduates. In 2009, the American Bar Association released a report that concluded that, “The rising cost of a legal education and the realities of the legal job market mean that going to law school may not pay off.”
While students flocked to law schools when the economy first went into recession, it is now becoming apparent that it might not provide the job prospects and employment security many had hoped it would. “The froth in the applicant pool—those who were just going to law school because they didn’t know what else to do and everyone told them it was a safe bet—is pretty well gone,” Kent Syverud, dean of the Washington University School of Law’s, said.
It is the first program of its kind in North America
A unique master’s degree program combining law and business is set to launch at the University of Toronto this fall. In creating the Global Professional Master of Laws program, the university says it is responding to student demand.
“The faculty has done a lot of consultation and academic research to identify important areas of study such as trade, investment, and the globalization of institutions. International commercial arbitration is a huge area that was not significant in the past but is now a larger issue,” law dean Mayo Moran told the Varsity. The “executive-style master’s degree” will cater to both legal and business professionals, including those who might not have had any previous legal training.
Moran says the program will bridge the gap between lawyers who are “trained to think of what could go wrong and to be conservative” and business leaders who “are more forward looking.” According to the university, it is the first program of its kind in North America.
New program to open in September and no professors have been hired
Canada’s newest law school, at Thompson Rivers University, is scheduled to open in September, but aside from dean Chris Axworthy not a single faculty member has been hired.
The university has sent a request to the faculty association seeking approval to pay law professors more than other members of the union. “In order to provide a quality student experience we need to hire quality law faculty, and these faculty are highly sought after. We have done research on the current salary levels for law faculty across the country and TRU is proposing competitive market salaries,” a TRU statement to the Kamloops Daily News read.
Precisely how much TRU would like pay law professors has yet to be reported, but the current ceiling for tenured faculty is $107,000 annually. TRU is also awaiting final approval for the degree program from the province, which is keeping it from appointing faculty.
The law school, which was announced by the provincial government two years ago, will be the first to open in Canada in 30 years, and is partnered with the University of Calgary. Monday of this week was the deadline for applications, and according the university, 400 students have applied for 65 spots.