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A Common Law Degree for Canada OBA Council Debate Backgrounder December 3, 2010 1.

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Presentation on theme: "A Common Law Degree for Canada OBA Council Debate Backgrounder December 3, 2010 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Common Law Degree for Canada OBA Council Debate Backgrounder December 3, 2010 1

2 PREMISE OF THIS DEBATE Public image of lawyers tied to the formation (fr.) of lawyers: –Public resists paying for educating lawyers graduating without skills, believes law societies exist to shield incompetent lawyers from consequences – pressure on law societies to impose competency targets – –Public alienated by lawyers who follow process blindly and dont get it or unaware of the diverse and changing sources of demand for legal services – pressure on law faculties to innovate in pace with public needs Ontario Bar Association 2

3 PREMISE OF THIS DEBATE (contd) Clementi report in spurred by wave of consumer revolt led to removal of self-regulated status of the Law Society of England and Wales Canada is unique in having a self-regulated profession, but it can take one more Bernardo Tapes crisis to require politicians to jettison the privileged role of the bar Better dialogue between the regulator and the academy will lead to better lawyers and both the profession and the public will reap the rewards through greater relevance and engagement Ontario Bar Association

4 What has been called the Fiercest Debate – See: Sept/10 issue of CBA National Ontario Bar Association

5 Origins of Legal Education in Ontario (Canada) Law Society of Upper Canada – 1797 First law students – Trade School model – 1801 William Blake – first law professor at University of Kings College (U of T) – 1843 Ontario Bar Association 5

6 1850s – LSUC discourages students from academic lectures Osgoode Hall Law School opens – 1889 Curriculum controlled by the Law Society Cecil Wright enrolled at Osgoode Hall and John Falconbridge appointed principal – 1923 Legal training involved articling with simultaneous voluntary morning and evening lectures at Osgoode Hall (Before the students woke up, and after theyve gone to sleep.) Ontario Bar Association 6 Start of the Division

7 Falconbridge enlisted the help of the CBA (read OBA) to convince the Law Society to raise admission standards to require a 2-year undergrad pre-requisite for law school admission - 1927 – precedent for OBA engagement in the relationship Taught law is tough law – Wrights 1931 lecture against legal formalism Law Society abolished 2-year undergrad pre-requisite – 1932 The fiercest debate on legal education – Bora Laskins description of power struggle in 1930s-1950s Ontario Bar Association 7 Falconbridge and Wright

8 Admission to law school – 2 years undergrad from senior diploma, or 3 years after junior Law school course – 3 years; curriculum to include core courses and 23 subjects to be offered Bar Admission course – 1 year Articling and bar entrance examinations Ontario Bar Association 8 1957 Arrangement

9 Fewer courses required to be offered. Mandatory courses specified: Civil Procedure, Constitutional, Contracts, Criminal, Personal Property, Real Property and Torts Greater academic freedom, including sequencing of courses, for universities The last real reform of legal education in Canada Ontario Bar Association 9 1969 Amendment

10 40 Years without any reform of the Canadian Common Law Degree – due to absence of dialogue between academy and the bar (both sides agree they werent talking to each other) Other provinces simply follow Ontario Law Society replaces classroom Bar Ad Course with self-study – 2006 to present Ontario Bar Association 10 1969-2009

11 Rationale: –Lack of national standard for law schools (Ontarios being the only one) – pressure to regulate (Clementi) –New law schools to be accredited –Accreditation of NCA students –National labour mobility commitments and Competition Bureau study (2007) Favours outcome-based competency requirements for Law School Curricula Ontario Bar Association 11 2009 FLSC Task Force

12 Problem solving Legal Research Oral and written communications Ethics and Professionalism Substantive Legal Knowledge Foundations of Law Public Law of Canada Private Law Principles Ontario Bar Association 12 Competencies - Categories

13 The Council of Canadian Law Deans, and individual law schools asked for delay of adoption of FLSC Report in order to improve the report. LSUC Convocation adopted the FLSC Report and stated differences could be ironed out in implementation. Implementation Committee has been struck – opportunity for Law Societies to address the academys concerns and start new dialogue Ontario Bar Association 13 Reactions

14 Law Societies are: –Mandated by law to ensure lawyers know how to practice law –Mandated to enforce discipline when lawyers demonstrate fail to exercise expected level of competence Black-Letter Doctrine is traditionally the minimal requirement of knowledge Ontario Bar Association 14 How HOW matters

15 Legal academy produces research on legal theory – critical thinking is not enough – creative thinking is required as facts evolve Belief that the academy is not qualified to teach how – a view held by many academics Theory, based on research, is the path to excellence and growth of the living tree Ontario Bar Association 15 Why WHY matters

16 November, 2008 Supported foundational competencies but also supported academic freedom Advised of the need to promote innovation, and the relevance of Canadian legal history, including the need for awareness of Aboriginal law, civil law and the need for students to critically analyze the law and the legal system from an equality and equity perspective. The practicing bar, through law associations (i.e. not the regulator), must be used as a resource, especially regarding professionalism Ontario Bar Association 16 OBA Submission

17 Law School Provides Rapid Socialization into the Standards of Legal Thinking. Law schools are impressive educational institutions. In a relatively short period of time, they are able to impart a distinctive habit of thinking that forms the basis for their students development as legal professionals. Finding #1, Carnegie Foundation Report, Educating Lawyers Ontario Bar Association 17 Legal curriculum and professionalism – cause/effect

18 We have lawyers who know how but dont understand why. There are others who know why but have never been shown how. New law schools adopt Integrated or Client- Focused Curricula: Eg. CUNY School of Law; CUHK Faculty of Law Ontario Bar Association 18 HOW and WHY

19 2015 deadline for law schools and law societies to agree on implementation Sense of urgency in need to reform legal education in the Common Law world Historical lack of dialogue is a stifler of innovation Tuition rate inflation causing consumer reaction among students Ontario Bar Association 19 Why now?

20 Voice of the Legal Profession, in all its diversity 1927 precedent – The academy can speak to the OBA as representing the bar outside the Law Societys regulatory role Current implementation talks are a historical opportunity to create a relationship between the academy and the bar – we are the students and the alumni; we are the regulated – it is our public image Ontario Bar Association 20 WHAT CAN OBA OFFER?

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