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LSO to consider Ryerson law school

Annual tuition fees expected to be set at $20,000
|Written By Alex Robinson
LSO to consider Ryerson law school
Paul Schabas says benchers will have to decide whether to endorse the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s decision to preliminarily approve a new law school at Ryerson University.

The Law Society of Ontario is set to consider whether to endorse Ryerson University’s proposed new law school.

The LSO’s professional development and competence committee will ask benchers at Convocation Thursday to give their blessing to the proposal, which was preliminarily approved by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada at the end of 2017.

If the law school gains the necessary approvals, it is expected to open its doors to a first class of 150 students in September 2020.

When asked whether Ontario needs another law school, LSO Treasurer Paul Schabas said it was not for him to say.

“I think the Ryerson proposal does identify that there are quite a lot of Canadians who are leaving the country to go to law school, which suggests that there is a demand and I think it will be for the government to decide whether that’s an appropriate use of their resources to support another law school,” he says.

Schabas says the question for benchers will be simply whether to endorse the FLSC’s decision, barring any public policy reason, as the approvals process to accredit law schools is largely delegated to the federation.

“Our role is limited to recognizing that the federation has approved their curriculum [and] that it meets the national requirement,” he says.

When the FLSC provided preliminary approval, it recognized three concerns that it had with the proposed program. These included a concern that the law school would need consistent provincial funding in order to be sustainable, as the university expects annual tuition fees would be set at $20,000. The university countered this by saying they would raise fees if provincial funds were not available.

The other concerns involved whether the law school would have adequate physical resources, as well as the fact that the proposal did not include a target student-to-faculty ratio.

Ryerson has pitched the new law school as a program that will be more focused on innovation than existing law schools. This characterization drew some criticism from the Council of Canadian Law Deans, which said that Ryerson’s focus on innovation did not differentiate it from existing schools.

If endorsed by the law society, the law school will still need to be approved by the Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities.

  • Why? Is There Still A Shortage Of Lawyers and Articling Students In Ontario?

    A. Waltz
    "Ryerson has pitched the new law school as a program that will be more focused on innovation than existing law schools." If Ryerson's 'focus on innovation' at the law school will be similar to the approach used in the LPP, its just going to focus on dumbing down legal work to simplified mcjobs with little focus on analytical thinking & writing or principles. The LPP ticked off a box on the path to being licensed but it was an underwhelming pedagogical experience that rewarded you for going through the motions without actually learning or any meaningful feedback. They kept talking about legal innovation but when you look at the ideas and projects they promoted, it was just the same rehash of old ideas over and over again. Call it cynicism but the inescapable reality is that law schools are just cash cows and this is another revenue play - the LSO's comment about the untapped market of students going overseas means there is money being left on the table in Ontario. The only real legal innovation here is the vertical integration of having a law school that can crank out more students they can feed into the LPP.
  • Underemployed Lawyer

    Underemployed Lawyer
    "The only real legal innovation here is the vertical integration of having a law school that can crank out more students they can feed into the LPP." That is correct. The naked self interest is glaring. I am sure the future underemployed and unemployed law grads of Reyerson will take great comfort in their expensive education being more progressive than that of others.
  • Why?

    Underemployed Lawyer
    Kudos to the two brave benchers who votes against. This underemployed lawyer salutes you.
  • Deny Ryerson approval

    Samantha D
    The province should not be subsidizing another law program that is not needed in Ontario. There is already a shortage if articling jobs for the students graduating which resulted in the LPP program where we have to subsidize training for law grads that can't find articling... There is no need for more law grads, certainly there is no need for them in Toronto...
  • Please stop this

    Molly S
    Yes. Words of wisdom from Samantha D. There is absolutely no valid reason to add any more law schools. The market is beyond saturated. Must we repeat mistake previously made in the US?





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