For Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Gus Van Harten, the findings that law school graduates fare well in the job market aren’t surprising. “I don’t think a law degree at least at this stage is a mistake,” he said in Canadian Lawyer Feb. 24, noting those who don’t end up practising can often get other jobs such as policy advisers with government. For Van Harten, who wrote an opinion piece in Law Times this week about looming changes to the licensing process, a key concern is about the supply of lawyers and the quality of legal services they’ll be providing. . . . “The fact you’ve got a high employment rate is certainly good. But what kind of employment rate are we talking about?” he asked. Read full story.
The evolution of legal education
Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Lorne Sossin advocates more hands-on learning in legal education. “The word we use is praxicum,” he said in Canadian Lawyer Feb. 24. . . . Osgoode law students now have more than 15 experiential learning options. This includes an intellectual property law and technology intensive program and an anti-discrimination intensive program. Experiential education is often the most memorable part of law school, said Sossin. Read full story.
Mad about ‘mad’ rights
Despite full-time employment and her work with several other organizations, Lucy Costa has also found time to pursue her LLM at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, reported Canadian Lawyer Feb. 24. Part of the reason behind her decision to attend Osgoode was an interest in bridging the discipline of law and the emerging discipline of mad studies. . . . Costa is a board member with ARCH Disability Law Centre, a Toronto-based community legal clinic that provides legal support to people with disabilities. She has used that connection to help form a partnership with Osgoode that allows students to do placements with ARCH, as well as with CAMH. Read full story.
The problem with ‘Mr. Big’
“The ‘Mr. Big’ procedure is a controversial and increasingly common covert operation in which the police create a fictitious criminal organization and then devote considerable time, money and energy inveigling the target into joining it,” wrote York University psychology Professor Timothy Moore in the Feb. 28 issue of the Lawyers Weekly. “The undercover police officers pose as members of a successful criminal clique. They develop a personal relationship with the target and slowly involve him or her in staged illegal activities on behalf of the organization. . . . The scheme usually terminates in an encounter with ‘the boss’ (Mr. Big), an undercover operative posing as a senior member of the organization. He uses various incentives in an attempt to elicit a confession to the specific offence being investigated (usually murder). . . . Sometimes the confession results in the discovery of new evidence whose evidentiary value is central to a conviction. The tactics, however, are both relentless and coercive.” Read full story.
Osgoode faculty speak out on TWU
Osgoode Hall Law School’s faculty council has unanimously passed a motion calling on Trinity Western University to remove a clause in its policy dealing with lesbian and gay students, faculty and staff, reported Law Times Feb. 24. . . . The Osgoode council is one of many organizations that have expressed concern about the language used in the mandate of the Christian university that plans to open a law school in 2016. Read full story.
Feb. 25: Sochi glory – and other letters to the editor
“Most of us would prefer not to spend our last days, or see our loved ones spend theirs, in the corridors of a hospital,” wrote Mary Wiktorowicz, chair of York University’s School of Health Policy and Management, in The Globe and Mail Feb. 25. “What constrains change is the absence of political will to create patient-centred care that integrates health and social care in the community. How long can patients wait for policy to catch up to the problem?” Read full story.