The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has granted preliminary approval to Ryerson University’s proposed new law school.
According to Anver Saloojee, the dean of record for Ryerson University’s law school proposal, the university is still optimistic they can launch in 2019 but a more realistic date is likely 2020.
“It is a big day for the university. It is a major accomplishment for the province of Ontario, for the greater GTA, for the Ryerson community,” says Saloojee, who is also assistant vice president international for the university.
Saloojee says that Ryerson’s president Mohamed Lachemi will now be “engaging” with the province early in the new year, since the proposed program must be now be approved by the Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities under the Degree Granting Act.
In its approval, the FLSC identified three concerns that it says it will monitor in subsequent reviews. Those concerns were related to Ryerson’s faculty complement, program funding resources and physical resources available to faculty and staff.
Saloojee says none of the concerns outlined in the report, published yesterday, were a surprise.
“In the iterative process we had with them they indicated those were concerns they raised. We tried to address them as best we could at that time. Those are concerns that we will definitely take into consideration as we go forward.”
Ryerson says its proposed law school will offer graduates a new kind of program, one that is more focused on innovation than existing law schools. This claim has caused some consternation for existing law school deans, who have said they are continuing to evolve and offer innovative curricula.
“This is a law school that we believe is both in keeping with the tradition of other law schools but also extends pieces of innovation and equity and diversity and access to justice into the very core of what we are doing in the law school,” says Saloojee. “While we believe that we are within the prouder traditions of what other law schools are doing, we also believe that this will be a unique law school and it will differentiate us.”
The proposal contemplates a first year class of 150 students, with similar numbers admitted each year. Ryerson has said it does not intend to increase enrollments in the near future.