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Ryerson Law open for applications this fall

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3 hours ago, ProfReader said:

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.

. This is the quote

"Intensive two-week modules with lecture in mornings and hands-on application overseen by mentor in afternoons for both semesters and an emphasis on group work conducted in ‘firms’ comprising seven students."

So I assume you do lecture with a prof in the morning, and then have something that resembles tutorial in the afternoon. I'm not sure who the "mentor" will be - there are no grad students, and there won't be enough profs in a given area to meet the 1:7 ratio. 

My worry is not so much overall hours, but I am extremely skeptical that you can properly absorb a substantive course in two intensive weeks. The lack of time interferes with office hours and makes it difficult to spend more time on something you don't understand. Because substantive courses build on concepts, if you fall behind on one thing, you can't just carry on and fill it in later. Even assuming that students absorb the material well, a students who gets the flu / has a relative die / has a child who gets sick will miss half of a substantive course. 

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13 minutes ago, Ambit said:

 

. This is the quote

"Intensive two-week modules with lecture in mornings and hands-on application overseen by mentor in afternoons for both semesters and an emphasis on group work conducted in ‘firms’ comprising seven students."

So I assume you do lecture with a prof in the morning, and then have something that resembles tutorial in the afternoon. I'm not sure who the "mentor" will be - there are no grad students, and there won't be enough profs in a given area to meet the 1:7 ratio. 

My worry is not so much overall hours, but I am extremely skeptical that you can properly absorb a substantive course in two intensive weeks. The lack of time interferes with office hours and makes it difficult to spend more time on something you don't understand. Because substantive courses build on concepts, if you fall behind on one thing, you can't just carry on and fill it in later. Even assuming that students absorb the material well, a students who gets the flu / has a relative die / has a child who gets sick will miss half of a substantive course. 

There are arguments that having focused study on one course at a time is better for learning than juggling multiple at a time. Some schools in Europe I believe do this, where you learn one course one month, have the exam, then repeat.

Yes two weeks isn't a month. But let's assume good faith and that ryerson isn't intentionally setting up its students to fail, and have looked at the hours/materials covered and assume it's possible?

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9 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

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. 

My bad - I missed the public law course. Nonetheless it seems clear that Osgoode and U of T are less intensive.

At Ryerson you do 12 courses in 1L - 2 bootcamps, which are weeklong, and 10 courses which appear to run for the semester. The hours breakup in those courses is not clear, although seven are substantive (Property, contracts, criminal, torts, Constitutional, administrative, Indigenous) and three are 'soft' (ethics, legal process, legal research). 

At Osgoode, students take 8 courses in first year. 5 are substantive (property, contracts, criminal, torts, and public law), 3 are 'soft' (ethical lawyering, legal process, and the elective).

At U of T, students take 5 substantive (property, contracts, criminal, torts, constitutional) and two soft (legal research and legal process). In addition, there is a two week introductory session, but that runs in August. 

So at Ryerson, you take two more substantive courses and two bootcamps than Oz, and take that plus an extra soft course compared to Toronto. That seems insane.

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2 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

There are arguments that having focused study on one course at a time is better for learning than juggling multiple at a time. Some schools in Europe I believe do this, where you learn one course one month, have the exam, then repeat.

Yes two weeks isn't a month. But let's assume good faith and that ryerson isn't intentionally setting up its students to fail, and have looked at the hours/materials covered and assume it's possible?

I don't think Ryerson is setting it's students up to fail.  Ryerson has every interest for its students to succeed.  And in any event, what would they fail? The bar is straightforward and I imagine F's will be as rare at Ryerson as they are at other schools.

I do, however, think Ryerson is prioritizing features which differentiate it from other schools at the cost of a substantive understanding of the law. That is why IP and privacy law is mandatory, why there is a coding bootcamp, and so on. 

This is obviously on the school's mind. On the FAQ's, one of the questions is "I've heard it's hard to get work as a lawyer - why should I apply? Where can I work when I graduate? This is the answer:

Quote

 

It is true that the Canadian legal market is changing. We believe major shifts bring new opportunities and that is why Ryerson is offering a unique law school that trains lawyers and legal professionals to better meet the needs of communities, consumers and society.

As a result of this market-responsive curriculum, Ryerson will graduate legal professionals who will be multi-faceted problem-solvers whose skills and legal training can be used in a wide range of settings, not just in conventional legal contexts.

The broadest possible opportunities will be available, from positions in traditional Bay Street law firms, to the court and justice system, to legal clinics and organizations requiring legal expertise, and more. Enterprising graduates may also choose to launch their own firms or start-ups.

 

Respectfully, I think this is a false bill of goods. Ontario has an articling crisis. There is no evidence of a market for legally trained persons outside of "conventional legal contexts". Time and time again this board has told prospective law students that it is a bad idea to go to law school if you do not wish to practice law. The cool in-house jobs at startups go to the corporate solicitor who worked at Blakes for six years, not the guy /gal who just graduated from Ryerson.  A coding bootcamp and taking IP law does not change that.

This board has also documented the perils of running your own shop fresh out of articles. The wisdom is that there is a major capital problem and that income is extremely limited or non-existent. Ryerson claims to be an accesible law school, despite the lack of provincial funding. Students who are coming from backgrounds of modest means, often with families to support, will take on large amounts of debt and graduate in 3 years. They then have articles, which will often be poorly paid or not paid at all.  Or they have LPP, where they pay. And then Ryerson says "just be enterprising". 

 

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34 minutes ago, Ambit said:

 

. This is the quote

"Intensive two-week modules with lecture in mornings and hands-on application overseen by mentor in afternoons for both semesters and an emphasis on group work conducted in ‘firms’ comprising seven students."

So I assume you do lecture with a prof in the morning, and then have something that resembles tutorial in the afternoon. I'm not sure who the "mentor" will be - there are no grad students, and there won't be enough profs in a given area to meet the 1:7 ratio. 

My worry is not so much overall hours, but I am extremely skeptical that you can properly absorb a substantive course in two intensive weeks. The lack of time interferes with office hours and makes it difficult to spend more time on something you don't understand. Because substantive courses build on concepts, if you fall behind on one thing, you can't just carry on and fill it in later. Even assuming that students absorb the material well, a students who gets the flu / has a relative die / has a child who gets sick will miss half of a substantive course. 

I've heard a rumour that the mentors are practitioners who work with the faculty in the relevant area, but I can't confirm that.  If so, then that may actually be beneficial to learn abut something and then have some sort of practical exercise that deals with that material.  Or not.  But it is WAY too early to tell.

Lots of schools do intensive courses.  Without knowing more about the actual evidence on intensive courses, I don't feel like I am in a position to judge.  I don't see how this interferes with office hours.  I've taught intensive courses and I just had office hours every other class or so.

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22 minutes ago, Ambit said:

So at Ryerson, you take two more substantive courses and two bootcamps than Oz, and take that plus an extra soft course compared to Toronto. That seems insane.

It might SEEM insane, but without any information whatsoever, including a schedule, what is the point in opining on it?

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15 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

It might SEEM insane, but without any information whatsoever, including a schedule, what is the point in opining on it?

I'm not sure how a schedule could meaningfully take it from insane to not-insane. 

I agree that it is early. Perhaps Ryerson will change things up, or have an extended semester. And having practitioners teach students 7 on 1 would be fantastic.

However, I'm hoping students considering Ryerson approach it with a bit of skepticism - certainly if they plan on committing before knowing more details. We are not far from the point where someone who is only applying because of the prospect of Ryerson (which is very possible given its location) has to decide to start studying for the LSAT and otherwise arranging their life to be in school starting in fall 2020. Because those decisions have to be made early, Ryerson has some of the obligation of proving its concept early as well. It has not, in my view. 

However, I agree that there is much more to be revealed, presumably before applications open in the fall. 

Edited by Ambit

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1 hour ago, Ambit said:

My bad - I missed the public law course. Nonetheless it seems clear that Osgoode and U of T are less intensive.

At Ryerson you do 12 courses in 1L - 2 bootcamps, which are weeklong, and 10 courses which appear to run for the semester. The hours breakup in those courses is not clear, although seven are substantive (Property, contracts, criminal, torts, Constitutional, administrative, Indigenous) and three are 'soft' (ethics, legal process, legal research). 

At Osgoode, students take 8 courses in first year. 5 are substantive (property, contracts, criminal, torts, and public law), 3 are 'soft' (ethical lawyering, legal process, and the elective).

At U of T, students take 5 substantive (property, contracts, criminal, torts, constitutional) and two soft (legal research and legal process). In addition, there is a two week introductory session, but that runs in August. 

So at Ryerson, you take two more substantive courses and two bootcamps than Oz, and take that plus an extra soft course compared to Toronto. That seems insane.

I’d argue you’re over simplifying things. Students at Osgoode really take 10 courses. 

In the fall, they take: criminal law, torts, contracts, legal process and state and citizen. 

In the winter, they take: property, civil procedure, an elective, and state and citizen.

ELGC runs for both semesters for three weeks of class time, but about five weeks of work. There’s also have continued legal process work outside of the civ pro class, but let’s ignore that for this discussion. 

The fact that civil procedure is absorbed as 50% of legal process and the fact that state and citizen is a double credit course that runs for the whole year doesn’t really mean they should be collapsed into the equivalent of a course for the purposes of this discussion. 

So since ELGC only runs for 3-5 weeks, Osgoode students can reasonably be said to take nine semester long classes and one ~month long boot camp. I don’t think that’s a substantial departure from the 10 semester long classes at Ryerson and the two one-week boot camps. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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59 minutes ago, Ambit said:

I'm not sure how a schedule could meaningfully take it from insane to not-insane. 

I agree that it is early. Perhaps Ryerson will change things up, or have an extended semester. And having practitioners teach students 7 on 1 would be fantastic.

However, I'm hoping students considering Ryerson approach it with a bit of skepticism - certainly if they plan on committing before knowing more details. 

Seriously? 

Currently, students at many schools are learning a bunch of Aboriginal law content in Constitutional law.  If they are pulling that content out of that course, then let's say they make Constitutional law a bit shorter (2.5 hours a week instead of the 3 that it is at many schools) and then let's say that Aboriginal law is 1.5 hours once a week, that's only an extra hour a week of class, which isn't much.  Students at various schools are doing an extra hour or two a week in something (for example, students at Calgary take Legislation, which isn't common among law schools).  We also don't know that the boot camps will take away from class time at all.  Maybe they start or end earlier (like the UofT where they do their orientation stuff before other law schools are in session or at other schools where they don't get a fall reading week).  See @BlockedQuebecois above for another example of how this might not actually be "insane" relative to other schools.

I do agree that students should be skeptical if they are asked to commit before having any more information.  However, I doubt that will be the case and we have no reason whatsoever to think that more information won't be forthcoming (in fact, there is a place on the website where you can asked to be kept abreast of information).  What I don't agree with is idle, baseless skepticism well in anticipation of when this information would need to be provided to students.  And what I think is even more ridiculous without more information are some of the outright hostile comments about "yanking their accreditation" and the like earlier in this thread.

Edited by ProfReader
Grammar error!
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31 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I’d argue you’re over simplifying things. Students at Osgoode really take 10 courses. 

In the fall, they take: criminal law, torts, contracts, legal process and state and citizen. 

In the winter, they take: property, civil procedure, an elective, and state and citizen.

ELGC runs for both semesters for three weeks of class time, but about five weeks of work. There’s also have continued legal process work outside of the civ pro class, but let’s ignore that for this discussion. 

The fact that civil procedure is absorbed as 50% of legal process and the fact that state and citizen is a double credit course that runs for the whole year doesn’t really mean they should be collapsed into the equivalent of a course for the purposes of this discussion. 

So since ELGC only runs for 3-5 weeks, Osgoode students can reasonably be said to take nine semester long classes and one ~month long boot camp. I don’t think that’s a substantial departure from the 10 semester long classes at Ryerson and the two one-week boot camps. 

My view is that the extra substantive courses take a toll. But I am assuming that the Indigenous law and administrative law courses are full-blooded separate courses, not merely an add-ons to constitutional law. Maybe I'm wrong - and that might make it workable. 

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31 minutes ago, Ambit said:

My view is that the extra substantive courses take a toll. But I am assuming that the Indigenous law and administrative law courses are full-blooded separate courses, not merely an add-ons to constitutional law. Maybe I'm wrong - and that might make it workable. 

What additional substantive courses? Ryerson has seven semester-long substantive courses (property, contracts, criminal, torts, constitutional, admin and Indigenous) and Osgoode has seven semester-long substantive courses (property, contracts, criminal, torts, civil procedure, constitutional (x2)).

And that's being as harsh on Ryerson as possible – as I mentioned, Osgoode teaches sufficient administrative law in its legal process and state and citizen courses to satisfy the FSLC National Requirements, and Osgoode has an elective course that is certainly substantive in most cases, although it is a paper course. You could very reasonably argue that Osgoode covers 9 courses worth of substantive material to Ryerson's proposed seven. 

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I am not counting civ pro as a substantive course, because in my experience at U of T it was given way less weight, and course time. That's why it's baked into methods. Anyways, I accept that 1L could be workable. My stronger concern is indicated above with respect to Ryerson's marketing approach, and the half third year. 

Edited by Ambit

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2 minutes ago, Ambit said:

I am not counting civ pro as a substantive course, because in my experience at U of T it was given way less weight, and course time. 

It's given an identical amount of weight to the other substantive courses at Osgoode, and is given the same amount of time. 

Regardless of whether you think civ pro is a substantive course,  I think it's fair to say that your initial concerns about their 1L curriculum were misplaced. The Ryerson curriculum is, at the very most, a slight increase in workload over the workload at Osgoode. Based on our discussion, I'd actually be comfortable saying that the Ryerson curriculum is a decrease in workload compared to Osgoode. 

Which is saying something, because Osgoode's workload is remarkably light compared to many undergraduate and professional school workloads (let alone the workload of practice). 

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I'm not sure if I agree with that. If admin and indigenous law are given a full treatment, there is more substantive coverage than at Osgoode. But you have convinced me my concerns re: the 1L program are overstated. 

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13 minutes ago, Ambit said:

I am not counting civ pro as a substantive course, because in my experience at U of T it was given way less weight, and course time. That's why it's baked into methods. Anyways, I accept that 1L could be workable. My stronger concern is indicated above with respect to Ryerson's marketing approach, and the half third year. 

If you're concerned about half years in upper years, I've got an even bigger target for you to set your sights on - upper year exchanges.

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Honestly ryerson may be realizing that 3 years of law school is unnecessarily too long, and that students (and the profession) may be better served by committing some of that time to practical training.

Giving students 4 months or however long it is exposure to smaller practices will make it more financially viable for those small firms to have students, since the training will be somewhat complete and the students can hit the ground running at the firm. There's continuity in play there.

Smaller firms tending to work in legal aid type practices tend to have less resources to hire students regularly. This program may be designed to help fix that issue. The presupposition being that articling crisis may exist because of the man power available at certain firms, and the necessary costs involved with training someone. This may be a way to fix that.

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I am skeptical that any law school, not just Ryerson, is basing its curriculum primarily on pedagogical concerns. They all seem to be more and more engaging in marketing, branding and virtue-signaling, while raising tuition, as are universities in general, and it’s reasonable to have concerns about that broader trend.

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7 minutes ago, providence said:

I am skeptical that any law school, not just Ryerson, is basing its curriculum primarily on pedagogical concerns. They all seem to be more and more engaging in marketing, branding and virtue-signaling, while raising tuition, as are universities in general, and it’s reasonable to have concerns about that broader trend.

In my experience, this is not "primarily" the case.  

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3 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

In my experience, this is not "primarily" the case.  

I am sure the profs are great and are being sincere in their approach. But when there are so many students going into debt because they think X school is going to get them X career because it says it is, something is going wrong in the messaging. 

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