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Ryerson University To Open New Law School

Ryerson University in downtown Toronto has started the process of opening its own law school after a year and a half of internal debate. Earlier this month, following a community consultation, the university’s law school originating committee released their letter of intent.

Faculty members across all disciplines at the university are a part of the committee, and crafting that letter of intent is the first step towards developing a Juris Doctor program. To better outline what the program will look like, the university released a statement on their website that says “the proposed program focuses on innovation in legal education for the benefit of graduates, their communities, and the broader society.”

Chris Bentley, who is the executive director of the Legal Innovation Zone and Law Practice Program at Ryerson, sees a value in the proposed law school because of its differences relative to what the country already offers. He sees ways to make Ryerson’s law grads more adaptive and prepared for the changing market.

Ryerson is hoping to prepare their law students for the legal climate, and give them the tools to be creative and strategic with financial literacy, tech skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. This is something the university feels current Canadian law schools aren’t achieving.

The proposed new program also has a mandate to incorporate elements of the Legal Innovation Zone and Law Practice Program, which is currently under review by the Law Society of Upper Canada. It was recommended that the Law Practice Program be discontinued because it wasn’t a sustainable choice compared to articling.

Ryerson’s plan to start a law school is nothing new, and just like all of their programs, they want to offer something that is more practical and hands-on. After learning of these proposed plans, the Law Society of Upper Canada is interested, but states that it is still very early to definitively state whether or not the university will be successful.

Ryerson continues to collect community feedback, and there will be a town hall on October 27. The first town hall, which collected the opinions of students, faculty and staff, was earlier this month.

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Lynn Hachette

Lynn Hachette began her career in journalism as a columnist for her university newspaper, and her love for writing quickly developed. She went on to become a co-editor-in-chief of the newspaper, writing about everything from local politics to technology to popular culture. Lynn since completed her master’s in journalism, and has made a career out of her passion. She also loves reading, cooking, puppies and bad TV.

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