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Ryerson Law by 2020 - Letter of Intent

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mod edit: Note previous thread here. -WJ

 

Ryerson plans to have a law school fully operational by 2020, according to a letter of intent that was released this week.

 

News article: https://theeyeopener.com/2016/10/ryerson-law-school-set-to-run-by-2020/

Letter of Intent: http://ryerson.ca/content/dam/provost/planning/documents/2016%20Juris%20Doctor%20%28JD%29%20Program%20LOI%20FINAL-s.pdf

 

Discuss!

Edited by whereverjustice
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We don't need more law graduates in Canada.

 

Ontario, based on my understanding of the market there, especially does not need more law graduates.

 

Law school is too expensive to justify having lots of people with law degrees with no intention to practice (like the UK.)

 

Ryerson is doing this because it will benefit the university, not because it's good for students or the legal profession.

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If Ryerson - based on its LPP experience - puts together a proposal that is similar to Lakehead's, where students get the necessary experience during law school and graduate ready to write the bar without needing to article, especially for a downtown Toronto law school, I think that would be attractive to a lot of potential students. And the legal community would presumably be more familiar with the model than with Lakehead grads (who I understand sometimes need to article again?) giving their graduates a sort of head start?

 

Would that pressure other law schools to do likewise (incorporate practical experience into the curriculum)?

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Canada is heading into the same situation that the US has found it self today: More law schools than it needs charging high tuition to students with bleak employment outcomes (save for those that went to a certain tier of law schools) - should we just start JDUnderground.ca now?

Edited by conge
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Lakehead had a unique proposal for its existence. I don't think Ryerson is going to be able to make that same case.

 

Assuming one makes the IPC/LPP argument as the reason why Ryerson law should exist, I would say there's no need for "practice-ready graduates" in the GTA or really anywhere in Southern Ontario. In fact, law firms want people who've articled (LU grads that have moved back to the GTA have found that they need to article even though they can be licensed without it -- this is what the firms want because as practical as the IPC is it's not enough). For rural or northern practice, I absolutely see the desire to be able to start as an associate after graduating, but not in the middle of the GTA where there are 2 law schools within 20km of each other and plenty of firms to get experience with.

 

I hope it doesn't happen. There's no need for it market-wise, and it will only take us closer to the US model where the vast majority of lawyers come from shitty schools, have enormous debt, aren't all that bright or well trained, and can't find any work. But I guess the universities will make money so that's good, amirite? *rolls eyes*

Edited by Ryn
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A few observations on the letter of intent:

  • "Ontario law schools have tuition rates between $16,000 to $33,000. The hope is to keep Ryerson’s rate in the lower third of this range." Of course, that range is misleading as UofT is a significant outlier. 1/3 (33K-16K) + 16K is $21,666, or nearly as much as Osgoode.
  • On that note, I maintain my previous position that Osgoode has a lot to lose from a potential Ryerson law school.
  • I don't think anyone is as committed to buzzword/omgtech marketing as Ryerson is. Startups! Apps! Incubator! Uber! Digital! Zone! Innovation! Yeeesh
  • I find it bizarre that the letter doesn't mention the Lakehead IPC. It does discuss incorporating elements of the LPP into the curriculum, but it's missing what seems to be the obvious next step: the suggestion that these elements of the LPP will dispense with the need for articling. That can't possibly be an oversight. Why don't they want to go there?
  • The section on "Estimating Labour Market Demand" is painful to read. Sure, 94% of law grads wind up employed in some capacity. Sure, that's marginally better than B.Ed or Humanities grads. But are we really supposed to accept that that answers the issue of 'labour market demand'? No mention of the articling issues that spurred the creation of the LPP in the first place? Nothing about legal employment outcomes for new calls? How is that even possible?
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A few observations on the letter of intent:

  • "Ontario law schools have tuition rates between $16,000 to $33,000. The hope is to keep Ryerson’s rate in the lower third of this range." Of course, that range is misleading as UofT is a significant outlier. 1/3 (33K-16K) + 16K is $21,666, or nearly as much as Osgoode.

 

 

I expected Ryerson to lean in and charge offshore rates. I'm sure consumers would bear it. The rest of this proposal is almost as cynical.

Edited by Eeee

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1. Worth noting the eyeopener piece says the school is planning to have its first class by 2018. So 2020 marks the year where they have all three years of enrolment.

 

2. After a quick glance, someone completely screwed up the stats on p 23. It looks like they copied Ottawa for Western, Queens for Windsor, and Osgoode for UofT.

 

edit: the goal of starting in 2018 is also found on p. 35.

Edited by bernard
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Do you guys honestly think Ryerson graduates will be on equal footing with Oz and UofT and other Ontario schools? I was told that even if Ryerson gets a school it would be the start of a "tiering" of law schools and that if one went to Oz/UofT/Western/Queen's they would probably have the upper hand in the already competitive market.

 

Correct me if what I was told was BS.

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I imagine Ryerson won't be permitted to charge more than the cheapest Ontario law school.  If they were, the other law schools would start bitching and whining and it would be totally inconsistent with their claim of serving underserved areas.

 

.   

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And ... just about nobody is surprised.

 

Before anyone freaks out too completely, I'm on board with the "not going to happen" team. I mean, I'll never say never, but please don't get freaked out simply because Ryerson releases a letter of intent. I mean, seriously. The Blue Jays intended to win the World Series. They had a plan and everything. There's a significant gap between saying you want to do something and actually achieving what's required.

 

It's only PropJoe's comment that inspired me to add some perspective. I don't believe we need another law school in Ontario now or soon, but eventually there will be one. These things are inevitable. Just like we need new buildings and new subways and new everything, eventually we'll need another law school. At least until population growth evens out - which doesn't appear to be happening any time soon. It's easy to predict doom and "tiering" of law schools. There's no sign that Canada is heading there, or that one more law school would push us over the edge. The newest school in Ontario, before Lakehead, was Windsor. It took some time to establish a brand, and it's obviously not viewed as a "top" law school still, but it's also not viewed as disreputable, which I believe it what's been suggested here. Even Lakehead isn't viewed as disreputable.

 

So no, there's nothing to get excited about here - not the immediate term likelihood of Ryerson getting a school (which is small) nor the long-term likelihood (which is much larger). Despite all claims to the contrary, and obvious problems which do exist, our legal marketplace is still in relatively good health in Canada, and the powers that be aren't completely stupid.

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I imagine Ryerson won't be permitted to charge more than the cheapest Ontario law school.  If they were, the other law schools would start bitching and whining and it would be totally inconsistent with their claim of serving underserved areas.

 

.   

 

Not that I think it's going to happen, but look at tuition at TRU. I wouldn't be too sure of your conclusion IF a law school was actually allowed at Ryerson.

 

Every new law school claims it's going to turn out lawyers to serve under-serviced populations. I'm sure if that's what it took, Ryerson would promise to admit only students who intended to specialize in helping disabled, same sex, First Nations couples to adopt refugees from war-torn nations. No law school believes that's what will actually happen. They all know they'll end up admitting next 80-100 students (or whatever) that couldn't quite get into any other law school, and that those students have goals and aspirations that are essentially the same as all the other applicants. Lakehead, TRU, etc. are already filled with many students who hope to practice corporate law in some form.

 

Again, not at all worried Ryerson will get a school. But I have no illusions about what it would look like if they somehow did.

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Not that I think it's going to happen, but look at tuition at TRU. I wouldn't be too sure of your conclusion IF a law school was actually allowed at Ryerson.

TRU charges about the same as Ottawa and less than all the others.  I'd bet that's the template.  

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Every new law school claims it's going to turn out lawyers to serve under-serviced populations. I'm sure if that's what it took, Ryerson would promise to admit only students who intended to specialize in helping disabled, same sex, First Nations couples to adopt refugees from war-torn nations. No law school believes that's what will actually happen. They all know they'll end up admitting next 80-100 students (or whatever) that couldn't quite get into any other law school, and that those students have goals and aspirations that are essentially the same as all the other applicants. Lakehead, TRU, etc. are already filled with many students who hope to practice corporate law in some form.

 

I agree with this.  See, what they really need, and smart, hard-working, caring people, who want to serve those communities and don't feel strongly about enjoying an upper middle-class lifestyle.  Weirdly, such people are few and far between.

Edited by maximumbob
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Wasn't Lakehead approved because it argued that it would focus on an under-serviced geographical niche? You definitely could not make the same argument with Ryerson. Toronto already has two law schools (one of which literally being right down the street), with several other law schools also focusing on Toronto. At the very least, Ryerson Law seems completely redundant. 

 

It is definitely a very good time (read $$$) to be a law school administrator.  

Edited by hORNS

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I see no reason why Ryerson won't have their own law school in the near future.  

 

They could charge the same tuition as UofT, make a program that does not require articling, have a class size of 300 and I guarantee that they will have 2,000+ applicants.  They might even accept students with a best two year average of C+ and LSAT scores averaging 152.

 

Why wouldn't someone chose this program over Bond/Leicester?  Ryerson could make some kind of argument that students go abroad with the intent to practice in Canada, and face discrimination upon their return.  Their program would attempt to alleviate that.

 

I'm not saying that I agree with this logic; I just think that's the way things are going now unfortunately....

Edited by homer

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