Ian Holloway

Ian Holloway

The dean of law at the University of Calgary, and former dean at Western’s law school, Ian Holloway’s column will focus on the future of legal education in Canada.

Column: Law School Futures

The summer of love, sesquicentennial editionLike many of my fellow baby boomers, my mind of late has often wandered back half a century. This month marked the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bandthe seminal album of the 1960s — which was followed a couple of weeks later by the Monterey Pop Festival, which in turn marked the beginning of the so-called “Summer of Love.” A couple of weeks after that, we celebrated Dominion Day, as we still called it, and the Centennial celebrations and Expo ’67 kicked into high gear. We all sang and danced and wrapped ourselves in what was then the “new flag.” It really was an exciting moment in which to be alive as a Canadian — even as a boy.
Tradition in form, change in substance“You're a strange dude, Ian.”
Monday, 27 March 2017 09:00

In defence of the LSAT

In defence of the LSAT“A new era has dawned for prospective law students.” So began a piece the other day in the Fulcrum, the University of Ottawa law student newspaper. What the author was referring to was the recent announcement by Harvard Law School that it would accept the Graduate Record Examination in lieu of the Law School Admission Test as the basis of an application for admission to the JD program. 
Sink or swim: The academy and the bar in Canada must move forward togetherI have from time to time been critical of what I consider a tendency to isolationism in the academy and bar in Canada. In my view, this has worked to the disadvantage of both of us. 
Killing the LPP and resistance to innovationSo the Law Society of Upper Canada has been invited by one of its committees to deep-six the Legal Practice Program. Convocation is set to vote on a proposal by the Professional Development and Competence Committee on Nov. 9. The question now is, “What next?”
The new Calgary Curriculum: what we’ve doneIn my very first column in this series, which I entitled “What we know,” I offered a number of things that, to my lights at least, discredit the conventional model of legal education and lawyer training as we know it in Canada. Our duty, I said, is to prepare students for the profession they’re joining, not the one we joined. And there is no question, I argued, that their profession is going to look different from ours. From this it follows — axiomatically, it seems to me — that we have to reconsider how we “do” law school. What was relevant to us in the 20th century may or may not be relevant to our students in the 21st. And if it isn't, then we owe it to our students — and at the risk of sounding corny, to the rule of law in Canada — to get rid of it and put something better in its place.
Monday, 30 May 2016 09:00

Oops, I did it again!

Oops, I did it again!I don’t imagine that Britney Spears has often thought about the Canadian legal profession. But if she did, she might have been forgiven for having been inspired to name her second album by watching us in action. To paraphrase Abba Eban, we never seem to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity — an opportunity, that is, to chart a new course in the relationship between the practising arm of the profession and the teaching one.
Incentivization and change in legal educationThe genius of our version of the rule of law is that it is not the law of rules. Yes, there are imperatives — what we lawyers call statutes and regulations — with which we all are obliged to comply. But for the most part, the rule of law in the anglo-Canadian tradition is premised on the notion that freedom is a paramount social value.
Of lawyers, law schools, and the keeping of gates“As long as there are lawyers, there is always going to be a need for therapists.”
Monday, 14 December 2015 09:00

Of theory, skills, and false dichotomies

Of theory, skills, and false dichotomiesOf all the shibboleths we are cursed with in Canadian legal education, the worst is that there is a constructive distinction to be drawn between theory and skills.
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