If it could be bottled as a tonic, Tuesday’s celebration at Osgoode Hall Law School would be a hot seller.
Above: Dean Patrick Monahan (centre) and former Dean Peter Hogg (centre right
Alumni, students, faculty and staff of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School gathered in the Moot Court on Tuesday afternoon to revel in the law school’s top ranking in Canadian Lawyer magazine’s 2006 Law School Survey. Sporting limited-edition ball caps that proclaimed Osgoode’s number one ranking, the audience erupted into cheers and hollered as Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan took to the podium to officially announce the results.
“This is an historic achievement for this school because for the first time ever, we have been recognized as the number one law school in Canada by Canadian Lawyer magazine,” said a jubilant Monahan.
Right: Monahan announces Osgoode’s No. 1 ranking
Since the survey began, Osgoode has steadily climbed the ranks in the survey. “In the late 1990s, when the Canadian Lawyer magazine began doing annual rankings of Canadian law schools, Osgoode did not do very well and we tended to rank at the bottom of the survey,” said Monahan. “There were many at the time who tended to dismiss the survey saying, ‘It’s just a student satisfaction survey, it means nothing! Does it really matter what they think?’ Our former dean in 1998, Peter Hogg, stood up and said ‘It does matter and it is important. Canadian Lawyer magazine is providing an important service by asking students if they had a satisfying and rewarding experience’.”
Hogg committed to improving the satisfaction of Osgoode students with their education. “He did it by hiring new faculty, renovating the building, introducing technology into programs and by expanding the courses and clinical programs,” said Monahan. “Over the years we began to do better and ultimately, we got to the point where this year we have a number one ranking. I want to congratulate you Peter and thank you for the tremendous work you did here during your time as dean.”
The Canadian Lawyer survey asked recent law graduates across Canada to grade the quality of their law school experience in seven categories. The categories included rating the quality of the curriculum; caring and competency of teachers; quality of their fellow classmates; testing standards; facilities; and the relevance of their education to their actual work and practice of the law. The alumni graded their schools according to a five-point system ranging from “very poor” to “excellent”. Canadian Lawyer magazine then translated the points into an average letter grade.
Sue-Lynn Noel (LLB ’01) was one of the Osgoode alumni who responded to the survey. Noel was at the event to represent the Osgoode alumni who took part in the survey.
Right: Sue-Lynn Noel
“Osgoode has always been number one in my mind even before I applied to study here,” said Noel, as she addressed the boisterous crowd. “Diversity has always been the key to my personal satisfaction with the law school. The diversity in the students and faculty at Osgoode is unparalleled – diversity in the courses, methods of evaluation and a broad selection of depth in any area of law that students wanted to practise.
“When a partner at my firm once challenged me saying that ‘Osgoode could not be all things to all people’, I responded that it could be,” said Noel. “That is Osgoode’s greatest strength. Where else could you recruit the brightest and best minds in Canada?” she asked.
“Every year Osgoode graduates future trailblazers. Osgoode admits some of the most accomplished and deserving students in Canada; they are the type of students who want the best and are agents of change even before they are admitted to law school,” said Noel. “These types of students can be the harshest critics of the school; however, I am sure the faculty and staff would have it no other way. They push for change and challenge the faculty to make Osgoode the best law school in Canada.”
Visit the Canadian Lawyer magazine Web site for more information on the survey, its methodology and results.