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Ryerson Law open for applications this fall

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2 minutes ago, providence said:

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. 

What exactly are we talking about here? Ryerson saying that going to their law school will get them certain jobs? It will. Obviously not all candidates will, but it gets them the chance to do certain things that, without going to Ryerson law, they wouldn't be able to otherwise.

I'm sure at least some Windsor dual grads end up in a corporate bay street firm, for example. Is it wrong for the law school to advertise that as a possibility (assuming they did hypothetically)? Not really. At what point do we stop coddling young adults in making decisions which impact their futures? 

None of what Ryerson says leads to the level of malicious misinformation, or deceptive advertising. Nor is that true for other law schools (at the moment). We're not in US law school advertising territory, not even close, where a school with like a 5 percent bar passage rate advertises their school's chances at landing graduates on Wall Street.

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1 minute ago, providence said:

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. 

Huh?  We are talking about two different things, I think.  The conversation started with curriculum design, which in my experience is primarily pedagogically-motivated, but seemed to shift to marketing, which I have no idea about.  I've never seen my school's marketing material and have no idea where it came from.  When you spoke about the curriculum and noted a shift to virtue signalling and branding, I assumed that you meant things like building up the Indigenous aspects of the curriculum, making things more-skills based, or making things more technology-focused.  All of those have credible pedagogical justifications and, in my experience, were done for pedagogical reasons rather than virtue signalling, branding, etc.  The branding and marketing came well after the fact (except perhaps for some secondary discussion about how, for example, increasing the skills-based aspects of the curriculum (which were done for pedagogical reasons) would perhaps stand somewhat apart from another school in the same market).  The marketing materials that lead students to believe things are almost a completely different question than curriculum design.

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I mean the US-style marketing, like this:

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2890727

5 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

What exactly are we talking about here? Ryerson saying that going to their law school will get them certain jobs? It will. Obviously not all candidates will, but it gets them the chance to do certain things that, without going to Ryerson law, they wouldn't be able to otherwise.

I'm sure at least some Windsor dual grads end up in a corporate bay street firm, for example. Is it wrong for the law school to advertise that as a possibility (assuming they did hypothetically)? Not really. At what point do we stop coddling young adults in making decisions which impact their futures? 

None of what Ryerson says leads to the level of malicious misinformation, or deceptive advertising. Nor is that true for other law schools (at the moment). We're not in US law school advertising territory, not even close, where a school with like a 5 percent bar passage rate advertises their school's chances at landing graduates on Wall Street.

Well, why would that be wrong? I'm sure they've had a couple of grads end up on Wall Street, so isn't it up to the young adults attending to buyer beware? It seems like you're drawing an arbitrary line.

How can Ryerson know what jobs its grads will get before it has any grads and what jobs can they get that they can only get from Ryerson law? I'm not sure how anyone can make that claim. 

Windsor Dual costs a fortune and mainly admits people who didn't get in anywhere else. Yes, it is borderline unethical to tout the "at least some" people who got high-paying corporate jobs.

5 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

Huh?  We are talking about two different things, I think.  The conversation started with curriculum design, which in my experience is primarily pedagogically-motivated, but seemed to shift to marketing, which I have no idea about.  I've never seen my school's marketing material and have no idea where it came from.  When you spoke about the curriculum and noted a shift to virtue signalling and branding, I assumed that you meant things like building up the Indigenous aspects of the curriculum, making things more-skills based, or making things more technology-focused.  All of those have credible pedagogical justifications and, in my experience, were done for pedagogical reasons rather than virtue signalling, branding, etc.  The branding and marketing came well after the fact (except perhaps for some secondary discussion about how, for example, increasing the skills-based aspects of the curriculum (which were done for pedagogical reasons) would perhaps stand somewhat apart from another school in the same market).  The marketing materials that lead students to believe things are almost a completely different question than curriculum design.

I'm not talking about curriculum design in and of itself, but it does seem that legitimate curriculum design is being used to market after the fact, I would agree with that. I think it's irresponsible to "market" schools costing 20 and 30K a year to people who will have to incur large amounts of debt to pay that. They deserve honest, neutral information. That was my only point. 

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1 minute ago, providence said:

I'm not talking about curriculum design in and of itself, but it does seem that legitimate curriculum design is being used to market after the fact, I would agree with that. I think it's irresponsible to "market" schools costing 20 and 30K a year to people who will have to incur large amounts of debt to pay that. They deserve honest, neutral information. That was my only point. 

I would have to take a closer look at the marketing materials to determine if there is something that I find concerning, I guess.  If there are any actual misrepresentations, then those would absolutely be problematic.  However, I also think that by the time someone is in their early 20s, they realize that marketing is designed to paint a one-sided picture.  I also think that it isn't problematic to market choices that were made for pedagogical reasons.  If there is good reason for those choices, then great, market them.  Therefore, based on the abstract of that article alone, I don't really see the problem with branding (as long as it isn't linked, for example, to misleading career prospect numbers).  I think the way some US schools game the system to appear better on the quality metrics discussed in that article is way worse than people saying "we're different...here's how."

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27 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

I would have to take a closer look at the marketing materials to determine if there is something that I find concerning, I guess.  If there are any actual misrepresentations, then those would absolutely be problematic.  However, I also think that by the time someone is in their early 20s, they realize that marketing is designed to paint a one-sided picture.  I also think that it isn't problematic to market choices that were made for pedagogical reasons.  If there is good reason for those choices, then great, market them.  Therefore, based on the abstract of that article alone, I don't really see the problem with branding (as long as it isn't linked, for example, to misleading career prospect numbers).  I think the way some US schools game the system to appear better on the quality metrics discussed in that article is way worse than people saying "we're different...here's how."

You'd be shocked at how little consideration is given by someone in their early 20s to almost anything. If an authority figure, such as a school, tells a prospective student that something may or will occur, most will probably take this at face value.

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20 minutes ago, FingersCr0ssed said:

You'd be shocked at how little consideration is given by someone in their early 20s to almost anything. If an authority figure, such as a school, tells a prospective student that something may or will occur, most will probably take this at face value.

I know plenty of people in their early 20s who are much more skeptical than this.  I certainly was.  Regardless of what either of us thinks about this topic, neither of us are experts in the psychology of advertising, so have no real idea who believes what about marketing materials aside from pure anecdotal speculation.

I'm also not sure that anyone is telling anyone that something "will occur" in terms of career prospects.  I just had a look at the marketing materials and they are pretty innocuous about what "will occur".

Edited by ProfReader

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3 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

@Ambit you sort of alluded to this before, but are you a ryerson alum? Is it possible that your fears are being motivated by your prior (potentially) negative experiences at ryerson?

I am not. . My fears are motivated by seeing different kinds of issues arise from the admin at Toronto, which has not realized what should be a massive teaching advantage given its tuition fees. Now I see a school which is explicitly running on cost-recovery basis, which has recently lost not only its subsidy for the law school but also is facing further cuts, and is making interesting claims about the legal market. 

 

3 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

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.

The counterargument is that a rich supply of students compelled to work, for free, plus whatever incentives Ryerson provides to get these firms to take those students on, will make taking articling students on an even worse proposition. But it also might be an advantage for those students, getting their foot in the door. It can't be any less useful than exchange. My issue that it isn't right for Ryerson to charge for the privilege. 
 

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1 hour ago, Ambit said:

The counterargument is that a rich supply of students compelled to work, for free, plus whatever incentives Ryerson provides to get these firms to take those students on, will make taking articling students on an even worse proposition. But it also might be an advantage for those students, getting their foot in the door. It can't be any less useful than exchange. My issue that it isn't right for Ryerson to charge for the privilege. 
 

Lots of schools already do this. Most of Osgoode's intensives, if not all of them, essentially replace articling students for 4 months of monday-to-friday work at various places, including government offices and private firms. If you're concerned about Ryerson, you should be concerned about intensives. 

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A few comments re some things raised in this discussion:

1. There's a little bit in the strategic mandate between Ontario and Ryerson re the law school that may be of interest:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/2017-20-strategic-mandate-agreement-ryerson-university

2. Is # of articling students a bottleneck and more demand for lawyers? In any event, some criticism that models of demand for lawyers (lawyers, not articling students) in Ontario has been below actual demand (# of new positions) through years:

http://www.slaw.ca/2019/03/22/wrong-again-the-prism-reports-prediction-of-too-many-practising-lawyers-again-collides-with-reality/

3. Re marketing, not that I'm a fan of some of what Ryerson says, but is that unusual for law schools in Canada?

To pick U of T, as I've commented before it promotes the usefulness of a U of T law degree for people who become MDs etc. (not MD to law, law to MD) to high school students which is worse than the FAQ (also quoted below) under FAQ I think this is objectionable so-called marketing.

"Not sure you want to practice law?  Fear not.  The options are limitless
Law school will provide you with an unparalleled education.  Upon completion of your degree, you will be equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to commence your career as a lawyer, but also equipped with the intellectual strength and roster of skills necessary to succeed in virtually any profession or job, including in business, politics, journalism, and virtually any other profession that requires strong oral and written communication skills, an ability to approach tasks in a clear, reasoned and logical way,  and an ability to think through and effectively solve problems.  Lawyers become professors, politicians, CEOs, mediators, arbitrators, union leaders, agents, doctors, teachers, and so much more.  
 
Getting a law degree is one of the best educations you can get; the possibilities are endless!
" [emphasis of header in original, other emphasis added]

https://www.law.utoronto.ca/admissions/youth-outreach/so-you-want-become-lawyer

For older prospective students what university students would look at, I mean really, "actor" promoted at least implicitly as the first alternative career that  a U of T law degree is good preparation for?!

"Will a J.D. degree be useful if I decide that the traditional practice of law is not for me?

Absolutely. Graduates seek a variety of positions in practice as well as in non-traditional careers upon completion of their law degree or articles. For example, some students choose to clerk for judges at a Canadian court, or article with a policy division of the government, a public interest organization, a union, or corporation.

You may choose to pursue a career in academics, the civil service, with an international human rights organization, or within business. We have graduates who are actors, labour relation consultants, career counsellors, human rights advocates, professors, university administrators, company presidents, investment bankers, stockbrokers, and small business owners - the list is endless.

All these people, although pursuing non-traditional paths, have benefited from the acquisition of a law degree. But before you decide to pursue a non-traditional career, it may be useful to get an articling position that exposes you to several areas of law. This may help determine exactly which direction you should take. The Career Development Office can also assist in your search through panel discussions, resources, and individual career counselling." [emphasis added]

https://www.law.utoronto.ca/student-life/career-development-office/cdo-frequently-asked-questions

 

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23 minutes ago, epeeist said:

But before you decide to pursue a non-traditional career, it may be useful to get an articling position that exposes you to several areas of law

Lol. Talk about subtly but not subtly throwing in a big law reference.

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1 hour ago, epeeist said:

A few comments re some things raised in this discussion:

1. There's a little bit in the strategic mandate between Ontario and Ryerson re the law school that may be of interest:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/2017-20-strategic-mandate-agreement-ryerson-university

2. Is # of articling students a bottleneck and more demand for lawyers? In any event, some criticism that models of demand for lawyers (lawyers, not articling students) in Ontario has been below actual demand (# of new positions) through years:

http://www.slaw.ca/2019/03/22/wrong-again-the-prism-reports-prediction-of-too-many-practising-lawyers-again-collides-with-reality/

3. Re marketing, not that I'm a fan of some of what Ryerson says, but is that unusual for law schools in Canada?

To pick U of T, as I've commented before it promotes the usefulness of a U of T law degree for people who become MDs etc. (not MD to law, law to MD) to high school students which is worse than the FAQ (also quoted below) under FAQ I think this is objectionable so-called marketing.

"Not sure you want to practice law?  Fear not.  The options are limitless
Law school will provide you with an unparalleled education.  Upon completion of your degree, you will be equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to commence your career as a lawyer, but also equipped with the intellectual strength and roster of skills necessary to succeed in virtually any profession or job, including in business, politics, journalism, and virtually any other profession that requires strong oral and written communication skills, an ability to approach tasks in a clear, reasoned and logical way,  and an ability to think through and effectively solve problems.  Lawyers become professors, politicians, CEOs, mediators, arbitrators, union leaders, agents, doctors, teachers, and so much more.  
 
Getting a law degree is one of the best educations you can get; the possibilities are endless!
" [emphasis of header in original, other emphasis added]

https://www.law.utoronto.ca/admissions/youth-outreach/so-you-want-become-lawyer

For older prospective students what university students would look at, I mean really, "actor" promoted at least implicitly as the first alternative career that  a U of T law degree is good preparation for?!

"Will a J.D. degree be useful if I decide that the traditional practice of law is not for me?

Absolutely. Graduates seek a variety of positions in practice as well as in non-traditional careers upon completion of their law degree or articles. For example, some students choose to clerk for judges at a Canadian court, or article with a policy division of the government, a public interest organization, a union, or corporation.

You may choose to pursue a career in academics, the civil service, with an international human rights organization, or within business. We have graduates who are actors, labour relation consultants, career counsellors, human rights advocates, professors, university administrators, company presidents, investment bankers, stockbrokers, and small business owners - the list is endless.

All these people, although pursuing non-traditional paths, have benefited from the acquisition of a law degree. But before you decide to pursue a non-traditional career, it may be useful to get an articling position that exposes you to several areas of law. This may help determine exactly which direction you should take. The Career Development Office can also assist in your search through panel discussions, resources, and individual career counselling." [emphasis added]

https://www.law.utoronto.ca/student-life/career-development-office/cdo-frequently-asked-questions

 

That is equally bad. It repeats the same myth that you can cut to most of those jobs straight out of law school, which isn't true. If you want to be a stockbroker, law is a terrible route. If you want to do labour relations consulting... I imagine you need to practice some labour law? 

The only 'defence' is that U of T doesn't juxtapose that against a bad legal market (since articling rates approach 100%), but against people who just don't want law in the end. 

I particularly enjoy the implication that clerking is a career - it's a one year deal! 

Edited by Ambit

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52 minutes ago, Ambit said:

That is equally bad. It repeats the same myth that you can cut to most of those jobs straight out of law school, which isn't true. If you want to be a stockbroker, law is a terrible route. If you want to do labour relations consulting... I imagine you need to practice some labour law? 

The only 'defence' is that U of T doesn't juxtapose that against a bad legal market (since articling rates approach 100%), but against people who just don't want law in the end. 

I particularly enjoy the implication that clerking is a career - it's a one year deal! 

That seems reasonable only for impossible wealthy people...  most people cannot drop U of T tuition and then turn around and become an actor saddled with student loans they will never be able to pay off, or pay through the nose again for med school. That's also very irresponsible advertising, and that's my point - more and more schools are doing more and more of this. And we see people on this site all the time who aren't sure they want law but don't know what else to do applying to law schools - material like that encourages them to do that and it will all be ok.

I'm not so concerned with the clerking comments - most clerks are going to be strong students and keeners who will have a variety of options after clerking. 

Edited by providence

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11 hours ago, providence said:

That seems reasonable only for impossible wealthy people...  most people cannot drop U of T tuition and then turn around and become an actor saddled with student loans they will never be able to pay off, or pay through the nose again for med school. That's also very irresponsible advertising, and that's my point - more and more schools are doing more and more of this. And we see people on this site all the time who aren't sure they want law but don't know what else to do applying to law schools - material like that encourages them to do that and it will all be ok.

I'm not so concerned with the clerking comments - most clerks are going to be strong students and keeners who will have a variety of options after clerking. 

I just think it's even worse when there is a meaningful chance that not only will that person accumulate debt, but they won't have work (even work they aren't keen on foreover) available at the end of it. That's rarely a problem at Toronto. 

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"Ryerson’s Faculty of Law reimagines legal education to create a new kind of lawyer, one who is technologically savvy, equipped with diverse work experience and driven to expand the reach of justice. The legal profession is changing and so too must law school."

Are these people serious?

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43 minutes ago, beyondsection17 said:

"Ryerson’s Faculty of Law reimagines legal education to create a new kind of lawyer, one who is technologically savvy, equipped with diverse work experience and driven to expand the reach of justice. The legal profession is changing and so too must law school."

Are these people serious?

See..... marketing 

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2 minutes ago, providence said:

See..... marketing 

What's wrong with what they said, from the perspective of "fooling" law graduates? It might be bad marketing, or not, but there's nothing wrong with bad marketing. Just flip on any channel, or focus on website ads. Bad marketing is a part of life.

More importantly, I think that's far less offensive than saying a JD from U of T lets you become a doctor. 

Edited by pzabbythesecond
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11 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

What's wrong with what they said, from the perspective of "fooling" law graduates? It might be bad marketing, or not, but there's nothing wrong with bad marketing. Just flip on any channel, or focus on website ads. Bad marketing is a part of life.

More importantly, I think that's far less offensive than saying a JD from U of T lets you become a doctor. 

Lawyers don’t use the Dr prefix after obtaining a Juris Doctor?? I am a doctor of the law and I will use it on all my business cards.

Edited by FingersCr0ssed

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30 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

What's wrong with what they said, from the perspective of "fooling" law graduates? It might be bad marketing, or not, but there's nothing wrong with bad marketing. Just flip on any channel, or focus on website ads. Bad marketing is a part of life.

I completely agree.  I don't even really think this is bad marketing, unless every single other law school is also engaging in bad marketing. 

I think that they genuinely will make more technologically-savvy lawyers and, at least from that quotation, aren't claiming that this will somehow make them much, much more employable than the graduates of any other law school. 

And I think several schools claim something similar to saying that their graduates will be "driven to expand the reach of justice." 

As for the final claim, "The legal profession is changing and so too must law school", I think that various groups of people say this all the time in a variety of different settings.  I don't think that is problematic at all.  Again, other law schools probably make similar claims.

The only claim that maybe mystifies me a bit is that their graduates will have diverse work experience.  Not because I necessarily doubt this (I have no idea how they will structure the work experience part of the program or the afternoon sessions with what will likely be practitioners in 2L), but because I don't have enough information to assess that claim.

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2 hours ago, beyondsection17 said:

"Ryerson’s Faculty of Law reimagines legal education to create a new kind of lawyer, one who is technologically savvy, equipped with diverse work experience and driven to expand the reach of justice. The legal profession is changing and so too must law school."

Are these people serious?

Please explain what you think is off base here?

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