Changing legal landscape focus for new UofT law dean

Newly appointed University of Toronto law dean Edward Iacobucci says one of the considerations in his new role will be how best to educate students in the face of a changing legal profession.

“I believe that there are many opportunities to rethink aspects of our approach to education, but [I] also believe that our academic approach to legal education, something embedded in our institutional DNA since the founding of the modern law school at U of T over 60 years ago, is as or more important than ever,” Iacobucci told Legal Feeds.

“The academic study of law does not only teach doctrine, though it does do that, but in addition teaches the kind of critical thinking and imaginative problem-solving that is required for success in law, and in many other walks of life,” he said.

Iacobucci, who’s currently a professor and associate dean of research, will begin his five-year term in January. He replaces interim dean Jutta Brunnée. Former dean Maro Moran left in April 2014.

His first priority as dean of the law school will be to hear from students, staff, faculty, alumni, and members of the legal profession about their “thoughts and ambitions for the law school’s future,” Iacobucci said.

“I have no doubt that while we are in great shape, there is room to be even better,” he also said, adding he wants to better ensure the law school is taking advantage of ideas from its stakeholders.

Iacobucci’s areas of interest include corporate law, competition law, and law and economics. He has been a visiting professor at New York University Law School and University of Chicago Law School in addition to being a John M. Olin visiting fellow at Columbia University Law School in 2002. He also served as a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada for Justice John Sopinka from 1996 to 1997.

“Professor Iacobucci brings to the position of dean a comprehensive understanding of the strengths and challenges of the faculty and a progressive vision for the future,” said Cheryl Regehr, the law school’s provost.

“He has a celebrated dedication to teaching and an outstanding commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and societal engagement.”

Iacobucci, who is also the law school’s Osler chair in business law, said he is “honoured and humbled” by his appointment, calling the faculty “a wonderful place.”

“I’m tremendously fortunate to be part of the team here, and hope that I can make a useful contribution to school’s illustrious history as its dean.”

Iacobucci received his BA (honours) in economics from Queen’s University, M.Phil. in economics from the University of Oxford, and LLB from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Update: 1:05 pm: clarified former dean.

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