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pzabbythesecond

Ryerson Law open for applications this fall

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Posted (edited)

I don't think there's a shortage of lawyers in Newfoundland, the province is well-served by Dalhousie and UNB.

The main advantage of Memorial University having its own law school is the potential for student legal clinics to increase access to legal representation and information for low income earners. There's also a possibility if the school recruits correctly to attract candidates who many be interested in practicing in rural communities after graduation. 

The main con is that it's going to push us one step closer to the legal market in the United States 

 

 

Edited by Toad
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16 hours ago, realpseudonym said:

If memory serves, @Bure10 went to TRU in one of the earlier years. Maybe he has some insight?

 

16 hours ago, ZineZ said:

Genuine question:

How does a new school set up some of the student life/career pieces for students?

I'm curious about how you set up your student clubs, organize funding for them (this would typically be run through student government - but that's going to be even more difficult for a new school dealing with ancillary fee changes), create your student government structures and help them network with firms. A lot of Oz's firm tours are run through  its student clubs and upper years are fairly integral to helping prep you for the OCI process etc. It seems like students who decide to go here will have a *lot* that they'll have to figure out on their own.

 

 

It was all student run.  There was some funding provided by the school but it was minimal. - There was a grant application process for new clubs but it was only like $250.00. The student government was set up by the students and endorsed by the school (IIRC) that was a pretty tenuous start because we had some real wildcards that wanted to inject their crazy ideas into the politics but it settled and we had a student government early in 1L.  Sports was all student driven - I set up law games and ball hockey.  We paid a couple dollars more the first few years of hockey to get gear that we passed down and law games we just paid the cost of our trip and bought our uniforms. 

I didnt do OCIs but I dont think it was smooth right away and some ONT student were flying for interviews across the Country.

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6 hours ago, Bure10 said:

 

It was all student run.  There was some funding provided by the school but it was minimal. - There was a grant application process for new clubs but it was only like $250.00. The student government was set up by the students and endorsed by the school (IIRC) that was a pretty tenuous start because we had some real wildcards that wanted to inject their crazy ideas into the politics but it settled and we had a student government early in 1L.  Sports was all student driven - I set up law games and ball hockey.  We paid a couple dollars more the first few years of hockey to get gear that we passed down and law games we just paid the cost of our trip and bought our uniforms. 

I didnt do OCIs but I dont think it was smooth right away and some nt were flying for interviews across the Country.

Thanks for taking the time to answer this! 

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On 4/4/2019 at 6:12 PM, Eeee said:

Isn't it FLSC who determines this? The same FLSC that sets an unbelievably low bar with the NCA exams? 

I am no expert but aren't the NCA exams marked as the same (50%) as Law School exams?

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On 4/7/2019 at 4:29 PM, Toad said:

I don't think there's a shortage of lawyers in Newfoundland, the province is well-served by Dalhousie and UNB.

The main advantage of Memorial University having its own law school is the potential for student legal clinics to increase access to legal representation and information for low income earners. There's also a possibility if the school recruits correctly to attract candidates who many be interested in practicing in rural communities after graduation. 

The main con is that it's going to push us one step closer to the legal market in the United States 

I'm a practicing lawyer in rural Newfoundland. Can confirm there is no shortage of lawyers out there, the market is well served, if not better served, by not having its own law school. Many Newfoundlanders, mainly those from St. John's who grow up there, go to MUN, and then go to law school, have never left home before going to law school. Their law school experience is really their first step out into the world and I shudder at the thought of the day when we are graduating law students who have no idea how to function on their own as people.

I'm practicing in a town of about 10,000 people and half of our local bar is under age 40, which I think demonstrates that it's not hard to attract people to work here. Basically, kids grow up here, move away for education and go to law school so that they have the freedom to come home and make a decent living. 

Newfoundland has a very robust legal aid commission, whereby pretty much anybody can come in off the street and get free summary legal advice from a lawyer. I'm not how much use a legal clinic would be for the people of St. John's.

As it stands right now, between the graduates coming back to NL from UNB and Dalhousie, the job market is already stretched and there are grads who struggle to find work. I know people that have been firm jumping since they graduated, just trying to maintain steady employment. I don't know where we're going to put 100 grads per year from MUN, but I imagine there'll be a lot of them wandering around downtown St. John's and Halifax trying to find a paycheque. There are only 500,000 people in this entire province. We're arguably saturated now.

 

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4 hours ago, ForensicAnthropology said:

because isn't Skype dead?

No?

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5 hours ago, ForensicAnthropology said:

I wonder what platform they'll do the 'online interview' in, because isn't Skype dead?

I'm assuming the same platform they used for the LPP "mock interviews." Not quite sure what it's called, but basically they had some pre-determined questions that you had to answer via video which was recorded and then sent to the folks over at the LPP. 

Safe to say you don't need to wear pants for it as long as you don't get up.

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8 hours ago, ForensicAnthropology said:

I wonder what platform they'll do the 'online interview' in, because isn't Skype dead?

 

3 hours ago, yeezy said:

No?

Skype classic is. Though, and somewhat ironically, the new Skype is quite the opposite: you can't even close down the task in windows 10. You can't kill the thing even if you wanted to...

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On 4/5/2019 at 7:40 AM, setto said:

Just a guess: Those are usually practice areas covered by smaller firms. It's possible they are mandatory in order to place their students in the practical rotations in 3L - I feel like mostly smaller firms will be bringing these candidates on (unless biglaw decides to chew up some free labour), and so they should be somewhat-versed in these areas.

But I think the theory that they are doing this to reduce electives (like @Ambit suggested) is more likely the culprit.

I think it may be similar to one of the required readings (though it was never really tested-on) during this year's CPLED course in Alberta - Cultural Competency. It basically goes over being conscious of other culture's social hierarchies, mannerisms etc. in a legal setting.

Working at a larger firm, these things are unlikely to come up considering most law firms/corporations around the world adopt the western model of cultural norms (Old guy speaks more and commands more respect than young woman etc.) But the readings were pretty interesting when it came to cultural mannerisms for smaller clients (Woman from X will unlikely take plea deal because it would bring shame upon her family).

I'm not sure a bootcamp is necessary - the pamphlet we had to read pretty much got the message across. It's more something that will be developed in practice and I don't think people will be able to pick up the intricacies of the multitude of cultures you'll find in Canada. All you really need to do is give people a heads up that these differences exist and have them self-learn to develop their practice.  I'd be pretty pissed if I started law school and had to sit through a bootcamp like this. But I have my issues with law schools teaching non-substantive-law material in the first place (an issue for another thread).

The practical session itself is of the same design. You pay tuition to work for free, because that's way cheaper than offering courses, and presumably, the hope is that lots of students who do that just continue on and article. I wonder if Ryerson will even consider kicking some money to firms to take on students. Which essentially means people are buying the right to work given high tuition rates, with Ryerson as the middleman. Good stuff. 

The entire curriculum is designed to cut costs. I imagine most of the practical courses outside of the core black letter courses will be taught by adjuncts. The limited time on the black letter materials means you can stretch the actual professors you have farther (or even just not bother and have 100% non-academics). Plus, lots of the mandatory courses which are ostensibly meant to be cutting (a "coding bootcamp", "social innovation and the law", etc.) needn't even be taught by lawyers. All of that cuts down on costs.  

Edited by Ambit

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On 4/5/2019 at 10:30 AM, harveyspecter993 said:

Is the coding bootcamp required? It seems strange to me for a law school to require its students know how to code.

It fills some credits really cheap and creates the idea that the law school is "cutting edge"

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19 hours ago, Ambit said:

It fills some credits really cheap and creates the idea that the law school is "cutting edge"

Wrapping my head around the McGill guide was hard enough. If I had to learn how to code as well I would've jumped out a window.

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19 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Can we not make assumptions on the part of a university's decisions in the future based on literally 0 evidence and pure conjecture?

I think it's entirely reasonable to note that almost every curriculum decision made by Ryerson has the effect of reducing costs, and that those same decisions are hard to explain or justify on pedagogical grounds, and draw the inference that cutting costs is a major motivating factor of those same decisions. The absence of hard evidence is hardly a surprise - it's not like Ryerson is going to announce that cost-cutting is a motivation. 

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36 minutes ago, Ambit said:

I think it's entirely reasonable to note that almost every curriculum decision made by Ryerson has the effect of reducing costs, and that those same decisions are hard to explain or justify on pedagogical grounds, and draw the inference that cutting costs is a major motivating factor of those same decisions. The absence of hard evidence is hardly a surprise - it's not like Ryerson is going to announce that cost-cutting is a motivation. 

I'll trust professors on determining what's best for student pedagogy over you, until there's evidence proving otherwise. 

Students often think they can do it better. That's basically always untrue. These people devote their careers to pedagogy. 

Ryerson especially, having experienced the faculty myself, are devoted to pedagogy to a great degree - a degree which unfortunately isn't mirrored by a lot of other universities. So I'll defend their decisions until someone has concrete evidence of mal-intent, and I won't assume mere incompetence, because that's not true.

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1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I'll trust professors on determining what's best for student pedagogy over you, until there's evidence proving otherwise. 

Students often think they can do it better. That's basically always untrue. These people devote their careers to pedagogy. 

Ryerson especially, having experienced the faculty myself, are devoted to pedagogy to a great degree - a degree which unfortunately isn't mirrored by a lot of other universities. So I'll defend their decisions until someone has concrete evidence of mal-intent, and I won't assume mere incompetence, because that's not true.

I'm maybe not quite as optimistic as this about some of the pedagogical reasons for their curricular choices, but jeez, many people on this thread are jumping to conclusions on the basis of VERY LITTLE information.  Why shit talk a coding boot camp without knowing anything about it?  It's not even an entire class.  It will probably only be for a few days or a week.  Ditto for the emotional intelligence and cultural training.  Also a bootcamp, so it's not like tons of time will be spent in that class.  Yes, there are valid POTENTIAL concerns with that class that were discussed a few pages ago, but there is definitely not enough information to draw any conclusions at this stage.  I've seen the course outlines for orientation to law/foundations/perspectives/etc. classes at different law schools and they certainly contain things that I consider far more useless than emotional intelligence.  Some of the mandatory classes like family law are certainly less useless than courses like conflict of laws, which was a mandatory class at one Canadian law school not that many years ago (edit: is STILL required at UNB).  The concerns about half the time being devoted to classes are also almost certainly unfounded and it is pointless even articulating them without a schedule.  As noted above, Osgoode condenses some of its classes into one semester.  As have others at various times.

Edited by ProfReader
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So I reread my comments and I agree that I have been unnecessarily harsh, and for that I apologize. I cannot look into the mind of the powers that be at Ryerson. I imagine my cynicism about my own school's administration has been unfairly cast on them. 

However, I do not agree that it is unreasonable to be critical - indeed very critical - of the program Ryerson is putting forward prior before students, who will read this website, commit hundreds of thousands in tuition and opportunity cost. Some of Ryerson's marketing strategies are, in my view, irresponsibly misleading. For example, the suggestion that students can just create their own legal "start-up" (i.e. go sole directly out of articling), and the notion that there is some sort of unmet market for lawyers for tech start-ups (there is no evidence of this)... if only those lawyers knew how to code!). 

When that is combined with a curriculum, this is what drives my cynicism (although, again, expressed far too harshly above). I don't worry about the five 1-week bootcamps, but I do worry about :

1) Teaching family law in two weeks of morning classes (year two, semester 1). Ditto for corporate law

2) Students learning criminal, constitutional, Aboriginal, and administrative law in a single semester (which is also shortened by a week, because of the bootcamp) and while also juggling a full-sized legal methods course. U of T and Osgoode do 1L in semesters, but they don't pack it in nearly that much.*

3) The students will essentially pay tuition to work in third year. This is downright abusive, especially given the existence of articling. 

So we have a school that, on the one hand, is presenting a very optimistic view of the legal market to students. And we have a curriculum that, if made in good faith to be 'cutting-edge', at least has the effect of undermining the effect of actually learning basic legal concepts. My inference is that the motivation here, at least in significant part, is cost-cutting. But I have no evidence of that. 

*Osgoode defers constitutional, administrative and Aboriginal law to 2L, and has no 1L writing/research class, though there is an elective. U of T defers admin and Aboriginal law and has no elective. 

 

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3 hours ago, Ambit said:

Osgoode defers constitutional, administrative and Aboriginal law to 2L, and has no 1L writing/research class, though there is an elective. 

This is just wrong. Constitutional law is taught in 1L at Osgoode, and the constitutional law class also teaches sufficient aboriginal law content for most lawyers (notwithstanding Osgoode’s value signalling with their upper year aboriginal requirement). 1Ls at Osgoode take a full year legal research and writing course in 1L and take a perspective that has a 3,000 word paper. 

The only correct thing is that Osgoode doesn’t teach an administrative law course in 1L. However, Osgoode does teach a sufficient amount of administrative law in 1L to satisfy the FLSC National Requirements, and as such administrative law is not a required upper year course. 

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9 hours ago, Ambit said:

I do worry about :

1) Teaching family law in two weeks of morning classes (year two, semester 1). Ditto for corporate law

2) Students learning criminal, constitutional, Aboriginal, and administrative law in a single semester (which is also shortened by a week, because of the bootcamp) and while also juggling a full-sized legal methods course. U of T and Osgoode do 1L in semesters, but they don't pack it in nearly that much.*

 

Has an actual schedule been published?  I took a look on the website a few days ago and didn't see one.  I definitely didn't read family and corporate as being taught in two weeks of morning classes.  I read the materials as having two weeks of morning classes on these issues and then assumed that the "hands-on mentorship in small student ‘firms’ in the afternoon" would relate to whatever morning topic they had discussed in the morning.  Students at my school spend about 36 hours in family law, which could very easily be spread over two weeks.

Edited by ProfReader

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