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pzabbythesecond

Ryerson Law open for applications this fall

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12 minutes ago, providence said:

I’m not sure paid work placements or income contingent loans are sufficient incentives. 

Is there a need for more new calls as sole or small practitioners though? Are they competent to do this difficult, client-centred work? Does it help marginalized populations to barrage them with inexperienced lawyers? Or do we need the experienced lawyers, who might be getting out of poverty law to go to more lucrative fields, jobs with more work-life balance, or leaving the law, just when their experience becomes valuable? 

 

5 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Those are separate issues. Viewed on its own, assuming lawyers being pumped out are competent to practice (and if not, the blame lies squarely at the LSO's feet, not law schools), then more lawyers means more services being offered, which means less pricey services (again, the assumption is they're at least competent services; not necessarily good ones).

Is a new lawyer who's had some training, and is deemed competent, a better alternative to self reps? I would say yes, a thousand times over.

First, while the authors of this article think there are too many lawyers, it's still interesting - I haven't had time to read it in full in the few minutes since my last post, but just skimming there's a lot there including problems with law schools and the academic-practitioner divide unlike medical schools with more balance:

https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=3184&context=ohlj

Second, tuition and student debt is a far broader issue than law or law schools or Ryerson, so I don't want to go too far that way (I tend to be persuaded that the relationship between loans and tuition mean that tuition ramps ever higher far outpacing inflation and cost of living). As I've said before, if there are to be limits imposed re graduates it should be done by government, not law societies. So in that sense, agree or not, Ontario decision re OSAP with Ryerson law seems fair at first. But then, considering that someone studying naturopathy, acupuncture, or chiropractic in Ontario can get OSAP, that makes it seem less fair to me (maybe chiropractice since as long as not talking about vaccines or doing dangerous neck manipulations, there is evidence that what they do can help).

Third, access to justice and legal advice, I think law societies and governments too much focus on, let's provide clinics or certificates for the worst off (and cut budgets, because general population thinks of lawyers in a not-so-pleasant, they make enough money, kind of way), and not on, how can we make it more practical and affordable for lawyers to provide paid legal services (limited scope retainers were a good improvement). If Ryerson helps train lawyers who are better with automation of tasks and doing work more efficiently with fewer or no staff, that helps with access to justice even in a small way.

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2 hours ago, beyondsection17 said:

Happy to.  Here's my breakdown of why I think that statement on Ryerson's website is utterly ridiculous:

"Ryerson’s Faculty of Law reimagines legal education to create a new kind of lawyer..."

  • Ryerson's Faculty of Law is not re-imagining legal education. They are profiting off of the knowledge that there's a large number of people in Canada who want to be lawyers but who can't get into law school in Canada, and who would rather go to Ryerson than Bond.  THEIR LEGAL CURRICULUM IS QUITE DIFFERENT FROM LEGAL EDUCATION IN OTHER SCHOOLS. THE PRACTICAL COMPONENT THEY HAVE ADVERTISED IS A COMPLETE SEA CHANGE FROM LEGAL EDUCATION IN CANADA. YOU'RE NOT SPEAKING FROM A PLACE OF FACTS ON THIS POINT - THE PROGRAM THEY HAVE DESCRIBED ABSOLUTELY RE-IMAGINES THE TRADITIONAL LAW SCHOOL TEACHING PRACTICE.
  • Additionally, from reviewing their curriculum, it looks like Ryerson's "re-imagined" legal education involves [most of] the same core classes as every other school, with fewer elective options probably because they can't find people to teach them, and with some mandatory coding workshop. Gee, I really would have benefitted from that workshop during all those times I had to code in my job. OF COURSE THERE ARE THE SAME CORE COURSES, WHAT AN ASININE COMPLAINT. OF COURSE THEY DON'T HAVE A ROBUST SET OF ELECTIVES...YET, THE SCHOOL HASN'T EVEN OPENED THE DOORS. U OF T DOESN'T OFFER ELECTIVES TO FIRST YEARS - WE'LL SEE WHAT ELECTIVES THEY HAVE ONCE THEY ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, HAVE A CLASS, THAT'S ABLE TO TAKE THEM? IT'S NOT HARD TO FIND PRACTITIONERS IN TORONTO TO TEACH COURSES. THIS IS ANOTHER SILLY COMPLAINT. SEE ABOVE WHERE I'VE DESCRIBED THE BENEFITS FROM CODING. CODING IS AN EXTENSION OF THE STUDIES OF LOGIC. IT'S REALLY JUST A FORMALIZED WAY TO TEACH LOGIC AT A PRACTICAL LEVEL. WE CERTAINLY SEEM TO VALUE IT HIGHLY GIVEN ADMISSIONS TO LAW SCHOOL IN CANADA ARE BASED ON A TEST THAT EVALUATES LOGIC.

"...one who is technologically savvy..."

  • Every young lawyer who graduates from law school in 2019 is more technologically savvy than the dinosaurs who are dictating their letters and using their assistants as typists. This has nothing to do with Ryerson and everything to do with the fact that graduates from law school (any law school) are generally in their 20s and 30s.  THIS IS NOT TRUE, THERE ARE A MILLION FOLKS WHO COME THROUGH THE DOORS OF MY FIRM THAT CANNOT WORK EXCEL, DON'T KNOW BASIC WORD FUNCTIONS LIKE KEEP AFTER NEXT, POINTS BETWEEN PARAGRAPHS, ETC., LET ALONE THE ABILITY TO CODE MACROS OR OTHERWISE BE TECHNOLOGICALLY SAVVY.
  • The website brags that their students will have access to WestlawNext Canada and LexisNexis Advance. These services are available to all students at every school and Ryerson is making it seem as though they're special for having access to these fundamental legal research tools. HERE'S THE FULL PARAGRAPH SO THAT LAZY READERS DON'T TAKE YOUR RIDICULOUSLY BIASED VIEW OF THE PARAGRAPH AS GOSPEL:

Students will also have access to the electronic tools currently used by the profession, including WestlawNext Canada and LexisNexis Quicklaw (both for legal research and practice), Clio (a cloud-based practice management tool) and Teranet (for real estate title searches). In working with client files, they will use a program, D2L, which includes an online resource library, and that allows for the online delivery and review of assignments. WebEx will be used in videoconferencing associated with role-playing simulations.

WHAT KIND OF IDIOSYNCRATIC READ SUGGESTS THAT THEY ARE "MAKING IT SEEM LIKE THEY ARE SPECIAL FOR HAVING ACCESS TO THESE FUNDAMENTAL LEGAL RESEARCH TOOLS"? THEY SIMPLY NOTE THAT STUDENTS WILL HAVE ACCESS TO THEM, THEY ALSO MENTION CLIO (NOT AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE), TERANET (CERTAINLY NOT AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS REGULARLY - A GREAT RESOURCE FOR SOMEONE STARTING OUT), ETC. ANOTHER UNCHARITABLE AND BIASED READ OF THE WEBSITE.

Quote
  • A coding workshop does not a good lawyer make. NO SHIT, 95% OF WHAT IS TAUGHT IN LAW SCHOOL DOES NOT A GOOD LAWYER MAKE. BUT IT IS ANOTHER TOOL IN THE TOOL BOX. IT'S A SMALL WORKSHOP THAT YOU AND OTHERS ARE LOSING YOUR MINDS OVER.

"...equipped with diverse work experience..."

  • The fact that Ryerson offers fewer course selections than any other school and feeds directly into the LPP are being presented as though they are positive attributes. I find this assertion to be silly. OKAY - YOU FIND THIS ASSERTION SILLY, BUT THEY ACTUALLY WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR DIVERSE WORK EXPERIENCE. SEE ABOVE REGARDING COURSE SELECTION.

"...and driven to expand the reach of justice."

  • I see this as being the least offensive point in this sentence because, while utterly meaningless, it's true that every law school is equally guilty of spewing this sort of meaningless garbage.
  • If Ryerson wanted to be honest about their aim to "expand the reach of justice" or whatever, they would mandate that their students work for underprivileged populations or in rural areas for x number of years after graduation, or something to that effect. Yet how much do you want to bet that Ryerson will set up an OCI recruit at their school the minute they have 2Ls to churn through it? SO? THEY HAVE AN INTENT AND THEIR PITCHING THEIR PROGRAM AROUND IT. MAYBE YOU SHOULD ALSO READ THE DAMN BLURB UNDERNEATH? THEY AREN'T PITCHING THEMSELVES AS FOCUSED SOLELY ON UNDERPRIVILEGED POPULATIONS OR RURAL POPULATIONS. THEY WANT TO SERVE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO PAY LESS FOR LEGAL SERVICES. ANOTHER LUDICROUS POINT.

Our JD program is designed with special emphasis on improving access to the halls of justice. From underrepresented communities to small business owners, our focus is on ensuring that an excellent legal education and legal services are available to all Ontarians

"The legal profession is changing and so too must law school."

  • The best thing a law school like Ryerson can do for the future of the legal profession is not open at all. The last thing the ~changing~ legal profession needs is another 200 graduates being called to the already overcrowded Bar every year.

AH - THE REAL NUT - YOU WANT TO MAINTAIN THE LAW RACKET MONOPOLY. THE REST OF YOUR POST IS MEANINGLESS AS YOU WILL ALWAYS ARRIVE AT A RYERSON COMPLAINT SINCE YOU'VE STARTED FROM THE PREMISE OF IT BEING BAD BECAUSE YOU WANT LESS COMPETITION.

 

Edited by Rashabon
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Yes, let's keep this discussion focused on Ryerson. If people want a broader discussion on the other issues, we can splice it out and move it to the OT forum.

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26 minutes ago, providence said:

I’m not really speaking specifically to Ryerson anymore. I don’t really have a vested interest in that and I am not “vehement” about that or trying to be “negative” for its own sake. I can only speak to what I see on the ground in poverty practice and, whether it’s the fault of the law society or not, again, laying blame is not my point, no, many lawyers are not competent. And more law school courses in whatever is trendy will not fix that. 

I work in an area that many desperate people see as their last resort when they can’t work anywhere else in the law, and some of them do charge cut-rate fees. I don’t see this as a benefit in any way to the client base I serve.

Some lawyers can be worse or just as bad as self-reps, actually. The judge has an obligation to help a self-rep. They do not have to step in if the lawyer screws up the case. 

[emphasis added]

Other aspects I respond below, but how are cut-rate fees not a benefit? I agree cut-rate services may not be a benefit, but cut-rate fees may be; and even some cut-rate services may be a benefit, e.g. limited scope retainer or summary advice may be better than nothing (that's not a dig at DCs or clinics, I mean, sometimes that's all someone can get and isn't it better than nothing?).

24 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Good. So we should be petitioning for an overhaul of the competency process. And I'm all for that. I think it's outdated, ineffective, and inefficient.

We could quibble over definitions (not competent in the legal and ethical sense, or minimally competent, but not good?), but I'm sure there are incompetent lawyers - or competent lawyers who, for time/money/other pressures in a particular matter are not competent, even if they have the knowledge and skills that they could do competent work. If someone could be competent, they have the necessary intelligence, education, and skills, but aren't because they're desperate, well, that defect is not the fault of their law school education but due more to other pressures, economic and otherwise. And if one is encountering incompetent lawyers before Ryerson opens or produces graduates, well, whose fault is that?

Also, as I've commented before, I think lawyers are overly protected against their own incompetence, because those who most see it and understand the ramifications are the lawyers on the other side, who have ethical restrictions that prevent them from saying e.g., dude, I'm the Crown, get yourself a better lawyer and you might stay out of prison... 

EDIT: posted before refreshing to see @erinl2 post above, and I think reasonably focused on Ryerson in that, if anyone is complaining about incompetent lawyers now, that has nothing to do with Ryerson and isn't a reason to rail against Ryerson. It might be a reason to criticize existing law schools (or NCA, but that's another discussion), but I think other pressures explain it well enough, that people who've learned enough, don't always spend the time, get the rest, etc. to be competent.

Edited by epeeist
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Meh, ultimately I don't think this is a big deal.  This is the exact same conversation that occurred when TRU and then Lakehead opened. 

At the end of the day, the onus is on the prospective law student to have an idea of what they're getting into before they go to law school.  If you choose to go to law school while knowing that the legal market is saturated and there are countless graduates who can't find articles, then you have to understand that there's a possibility that you might be the one who may not be able to find a job. 

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2 hours ago, Stark said:

Meh, ultimately I don't think this is a big deal.  This is the exact same conversation that occurred when TRU and then Lakehead opened. 

At the end of the day, the onus is on the prospective law student to have an idea of what they're getting into before they go to law school.  If you choose to go to law school while knowing that the legal market is saturated and there are countless graduates who can't find articles, then you have to understand that there's a possibility that you might be the one who may not be able to find a job. 

This sums everything in this thread up.  

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