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Queen’s eyes letting in more law students

|Written By Heather Gardiner
Queen’s eyes letting in more law students
Tuition caps mean revenues are not growing enough to allow expansion of law school, says dean Bill Flanagan.

As Ontario law schools feel the impact of tightened purse strings, they are desperately searching for other ways to bring in additional revenue.

Some, such as the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, have increased tuition, which is currently set at $27,420 for the first year.

In the past, other law schools, including the universities of Ottawa and Windsor, have grown enrolment.

In a recent e-mail to students, Queen’s University Faculty of Law revealed it is considering increasing the number of students by 35 or 50 in its first-year program to make up for a lack of revenue. The law school currently receives 2,800 applications for 165 first-year spots.

Queen’s law dean Bill Flanagan says the school is in a tight spot with the provincial government’s five-per-cent cap on tuition.

“Five per cent is about enough to keep up with your increasing costs — or not even that really. So that leads to no expansion,” he tells 4Students. “The challenge for Queen’s has been that with fixed tuition and low student numbers, this translates into less revenue and fewer resources to hire faculty.”

He says the expansion would allow the school to hire several new faculty members and therefore improve its program.

“We’re always keen to expand the opportunities for our students. There’s huge demand for clinical programs, experiential learning, very core curricula where we need to enhance our strength,” says Flanagan.

However, Queen’s 2L student David Francis says he worries about law schools producing too many graduates into the legal market.

“I certainly can sympathize with the school’s need to do something for revenue but at the end of the day, pumping out people with legal training into a job market that has nothing for them while they’re trying to pay down a massive debt load is not good for students [and] I don’t think it’s good for taxpayers in the long run. I think it’s a pretty short-sighted solution,” he says.

But Flanagan isn’t worried about placing additional students.

“I’m confident that we can continue to maintain a very high [articling] placement rate,” he says. “Placements of students are really a function of two things: the calibre of students that a school is able to attract and the school’s reputation. I think with increased faculty numbers our reputation — which is already strong — will only be enhanced, and as our reputation is enhanced our ability to attract first-class students will be even further increased.”

Jenna-Dawn Shervill, another second-year law student at Queen’s, says students are still concerned about the situation.

“This issue is top of mind for me and for many of my classmates who chose Queen’s law because it offers a world-class education in a collaborative, collegial setting,” she wrote in an e-mail to 4Students.

Flanagan says the faculty is consulting with students as they will be “key” to this decision. The law school is also hosting a meeting on Oct. 8 where students can voice their opinions. It is yet to be determined when a final decision will be made.

Update: Sept. 25: Correction made to the information regarding the potential increase in students.

  • RE: Queen’s eyes letting in more law students

    “Placements of students are really a function of two things: the calibre of students that a school is able to attract and the school’s reputation" I thought this comment was somewhat remarkable. Forget the demand for legal services, the ability of people to pay for lawyers or the ability of the profession to take on new law students each year?
  • RE: Queen’s eyes letting in more law students

    I won't be attending if he lets in more students. There is no room for extra students at Queens. When i visited the student lounge was packed. 25 - 50 per year is WAY TOO MANY EXTRA STUDENTS......

    I'd happily pay my money to UofT or Osgoode.
    I hope he makes the decision before OLSAS deadline.

    - A very concerned OL
  • RE: Queen’s eyes letting in more law students

    #2L @ Uottawa
    NO NO & NO!

    Learn from Uottawa!! No books in the library, no students space, no office hours, long rest room lines, terrible reputation, disorganized staff, terrible admin .........
  • Lawyer

    Mark Muir Rodenburg
    Is anybody surprised by this? The next step will be for the law school to complain that the Law Society isn't doing enough to provide articling positions for all the students so that articling should be discarded as being a "barrier" to entry into the legal profession. Oh wait the law schools have already made that argument and they are very close to winning it.

    I still want the law schools to explain why their high tuition fees and their own weeding out of candidates (after all not all applicants get in to law schhol and not all students graduate) are somehow acceptable barriers but having to get an articling job is an unacceptable barrier.
  • RE: Queen’s eyes letting in more law students

    Ken A. Whent Q.C.
    And the Benchers should create a program where all of these additional student, together with the present graduates, are able to join the Law Society of Upper Canada and practice law for a living whether they have articles available or not.