Religion and Bigotry – Opponents of Trinity Western Law School Say More About Themselves Than They Think

There a minor kerfuffle in the legal community this week over news that Trinity Western University (TWU), a private Christian university based in BC, had cleared the initial hurdles to potentially establish a new law school.  What has been particularly controversial about TWU’s application is the community covenant that TWU requires its students (and staff) sign which includes an agreement not to engage in “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” (read gay sex).  TWU’s application to establish a law school has been opposed by many of the powers-that-be in the legal community (including the redoubtable Clayton Ruby and the Council of Canadian Law Deans) on the grounds that, among other things, it would be a breeding ground for bigotry.

The Council of Canadian Law Deans has called Trinity Western’s proposal “fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools.” And in a statement from a coalition of LGBT affinity groups at Canadian law schools, University of Toronto student Marcus McCann called the decision “totally unacceptable.”

“The bottom line is that no law school in Canada should be allowed to weed out gay students,” he said.

Continue reading “Religion and Bigotry – Opponents of Trinity Western Law School Say More About Themselves Than They Think”

Law School Graduates Can’t Get Articling Jobs? So What?

A big issue among Ontario lawyers these days is the paucity of articling jobs for law students looking to become lawyers (generally, to become licensed as a lawyer you have to work for another lawyer as an “articling student”, basically a glorified apprenticeship, for 10 months).  Between a sharp drop-off in activity in the legal community, and increases in enrollment at Ontario law schools and in the number of Canadians law students who couldn’t get into a respectable Canadian school attending law school abroad (hello, Bond University, I’m looking at you), we’ve reached a crisis point with hundreds of students graduating from law school (often with 6-figure student loans) with no realistic possibility of ever becoming lawyers.

To the Law Society of Upper Canada (the “LSUC”), this is a problem to be addressed.  Since lawyers can’t be persuaded to hire more articling students then they need, the LSUC is proposing to create a new parallel licensing arrangement (the “PLA”), consisting of a  4-month long “Law Practice Program” and a 4-month co-op placement.

Personally, I don’t think the current excess supply of law students is a problem, over time it will decrease if gradates can’t find jobs.  And the PLA is a non-solution to this non-problem that, if it achieves anything, it will be to increase the amount of disciplinary complaints about new lawyers.

Continue reading “Law School Graduates Can’t Get Articling Jobs? So What?”