Training yesterday’s lawyers

When requested about how Canada’s authorized academy is dealing with innovation, Jason Moyse is blunt. It’s “to this point behind, it thinks it’s forward,” says the co-founder of Regulation Made, a small authorized firm that helps startups and enormous corporates “drive innovation, and benefit from expertise, within the authorized providers trade.”

Toronto-based Moyse spoke to Canadian Lawyer roughly midway via Regulation Made’s casual street present of types via six or seven Canadian legislation colleges. Preaching to “anybody who turns up,” the displays deal with rising greatest practices for coaching 21st-century lawyers.

“Via our travels,” says Moyse, “we now have a worldwide perspective on authorized innovation and a really strong understanding of the [innovation] state of play elsewhere in comparison with Canada. And, frankly, I’ve lots of concern in respect to the Canadian legislation college atmosphere. [So far], the street present has regrettably solely strengthened our issues relating to an absence of innovation inside Canadian legislation colleges.”

Moyse says Canada’s academy is “nowhere near the place it must be,” innovation-wise, significantly when in comparison with small however extremely progressive U.S. legislation colleges now providing customary programs in e-discovery, doc automation, information analytics, machine studying, challenge administration, app constructing, design pondering and the person expertise.

Against this, “Canadian legislation college packages are nonetheless designed and taught the way in which they have been 20 years in the past,” says Moyse.

“Particularly, they’re theory- slightly than application-based.”

Echoing Moyse’s issues about legislation colleges’ failure to maintain tempo with change is Darrel Pink, who in January concluded 27 consecutive years on the helm of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, that province’s regulator.

Pink says innovation is kind of non-existent inside the Canadian academy, which is “persevering with to do an excellent job of coaching yesterday’s lawyers.”

Few colleges, says Pink, are dedicated to instructing the “new legislation” regarding dynamic and rising fields similar to meals safety, genetic modification, IP, possession and commerce.

Listening to from critics like Moyse and Pink, the try to deliver Canada’s legislation colleges into the 21st century, with their traditions and tenured legislation professors, can appear to be a misplaced trigger. Enter Ontario’s Ryerson College and its proposal for a brand new form of legislation college, yet another oriented to “apply readiness and alter administration” — and which trains lawyers “in a different way” inside an “progressive and entrepreneurial” atmosphere.

Final December, Ryerson’s proposal received approval from the Federation of Regulation Societies. However earlier than that, in November 2016, it drew a Council of Canadian Regulation Deans accusation of advancing solely a “caricature” of Canadian academy innovation.

The legislation deans mentioned there was loads of innovation at Canadian legislation colleges and questioned whether or not Ryerson’s proposal provided something dramatically new. Canadian Lawyer spoke to a number of deans to seek out out what is definitely occurring on the legislation colleges and why the tempo of change just isn’t as quick for each critics and deans alike.

Ian Holloway is dean of legislation on the College of Calgary, a faculty that in September started the third yr of its high-profile Calgary Curriculum.

It sees first-year college students enter by way of a foundational three-week boot camp-style course that goals to start to “professionally acclimatize” them inside a simulated 9-to-5 “workplace hours” atmosphere. Different curriculum options embrace a obligatory course in laws, a compulsory three-week “intensive” every January and coaching in authorized challenge administration, management, innovation in authorized providers, legislation and expertise, disaster communications, enterprise ideas and business-related technique and threat administration.

Of the enterprise coaching, Holloway says the goal is to introduce college students to the idea of authorized issues via the eyes of shoppers, slightly than the eyes of a lawyer.

Holloway, nonetheless, is fast to confess the college nonetheless has some approach to go with regards to innovation.

“Information, information, information! That’s what’s lacking from each legislation college curriculum I do know — instructing college students find out how to use Large Information to serve shoppers. We’re engaged on it.”

Holloway provides that the college stays at solely an “experimental” stage with regards to providing experiential alternatives past its six clinics.

Holloway has been working with the college’s Taylor Institute for Instructing and Studying to aim, amongst different objectives, to measure the curriculum’s impression.

“We’re [probably] going to assessment externally, at arm’s size. We’ll probably design it this yr, and implement [in] 2019, in order that we’ll have structured suggestions from college students who’re [by then] articling, in addition to their employers. That would be the [curriculum’s] actual validation.”

On the subject of innovation, Lorne Sossin, dean of Osgoode Corridor Regulation Faculty at York College in Toronto, says Ryerson’s problem can be to “catch up.” Regulation colleges throughout the nation are and have been launching initiatives in precisely the areas Ryerson “hopes to pursue,” he says.

In 2014, Osgoode launched its Analysis Digital Commons — Canada’s “first open-access platform” for legislation college content material together with thought management. Since then, says Sossin, commons content material has been downloaded nearly 1.5 million instances.

Extra lately, Osgoode has hosted or participated in a modest stream of recent law-related conferences and workshops. One such full-day occasion final November centered on blockchain and drew a capability crowd of 120, says Sossin. Different latest occasions have been titled Disruption in Authorized Service Supply: What College students and New Lawyers Have to Know; Hack Justice: An Entry to Justice Hackathon; and Communication 2.0: Social Media Greatest Practices. The latter drew nearly all of Osgoode’s 300-strong first-year class.

Different additions, in the meantime, embrace Osgoode’s Studying & Main Sequence {of professional} improvement packages for JD college students. New programs embrace Authorized Data Know-how and Designing the Way forward for Justice. And, in 2017, the college’s Winkler Institute acquired “important” Regulation Basis funding to host Design Pondering and Know-how: Responding to the Justice Wants of Aboriginal Youth.

Says Sossin, “The suggestions [on these changes] has been actually sturdy and constructive and in some instances career-altering . . . We really can be posting a few of these testimonials within the new yr and hope to increase a few of these actions considerably in 2018.

“Innovation just isn’t a brand new fad at Osgoode,” he says. The college’s efforts have acquired loads of exterior recognition — for instance, the 2016 Clawbie for greatest Canadian Regulation Weblog — and in addition funding, together with two innovation-related grants the college lately secured from the Regulation Basis of Ontario.

Regardless of the obvious progress, nonetheless, Sossin says he has loads of work left to do with regards to embedding innovation.

“All [Canadian] legislation colleges want extra thought management on innovation. It’s invoked by many however investigated by few.”

He additionally needs to see his college obtain “extra engagement with tech literacy” and higher use of expertise to show and prepare.

So, what’s stopping him?

“The very points of innovation which might be compelling are additionally typically discomforting,” says Sossin. Features similar to “restricted time, sources and information [are] at all times hurdles to beat.”

Maybe much less nuanced relating to his college’s limitations to enchancment is Paul Paton of the College of Alberta’s College of Regulation in Edmonton.

Says Paton, “The college [of law] wasn’t at all times and nonetheless isn’t at all times prepared for embracing change. That’s a positive stability that must be managed by any dean and any authorized group. I’m cautioned about how shortly we now have moved . . . Inside any authorized group, you at all times have entrenched pursuits.”

One of many first strikes Paton made when he arrived on the college from California nearly 4 years in the past was to create an exterior advisory board comprised of eight to 12 members unfold throughout Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto.

Says Paton, “We set it as much as get recommendation, enter and data; to garner a greater perception when it comes to what we must be doing.”

Extra lately, Paton created a second advisory physique — this time on experiential studying — to have a look at “how can we bolt on or improve the experiential studying we offer and add it to our educational basis fastidiously, thoughtfully and properly.”

In late January, in the meantime, the college hosted a convention on authorized innovation. And Paton, who surveys college students on the school’s efficiency, has additionally launched a legislation and social media course. That takes on a unique subject every year, most lately the Reality and Reconciliation Fee. Prior years have centered on girls’s suffrage, the Magna Carta, and alter and advocacy — with that yr’s model successful nationwide and worldwide recognition. 

Innovation runs via the college’s pedagogy, says Paton. For instance, professor Peter Sankoff — winner of an innovation-related worldwide Shiny Area award — launched to Canada’s academy “flipped school rooms,” an idea that goals to position college students slightly than lecturers on the centre of the training expertise.

Paton can be launching experiential partnerships with organizations such because the Alberta Utilities Fee and Alberta Human Rights Fee, the Canadian Armed Forces and innovation hub TEC Edmonton. And the college additionally provides “varied alternatives” for college students to have supervised externship apply experiences.

Mitch Kowalski, a Toronto-based lawyer and the Gowling WLG Visiting Professor in Authorized Innovation on the College of Calgary Regulation Faculty, says legislation college schools are “ocean liners crammed with tenured professors who should be coaxed in new instructions” — professors who’ve “little incentive” to reply.

Kowalski, who labels the council of deans’ letter in response to Ryerson’s proposal as “petty,” says there’s solely a “veneer of innovation” at Canadian legislation colleges.

“The present degree of innovation is nothing to crow about. Ryerson’s proposed curriculum would put it leaps and bounds forward of each Canadian legislation college.

“New gamers in each trade have an enormous benefit as a result of they don’t have any legacy baggage to take care of as a part of change administration. A brand new college begins from a clean web page, hiring solely the professors who purchase in to the brand new imaginative and prescient and solely those that are capable of take a recent have a look at how each course is taught.”

Erika Chamberlain, dean of Western College’s College of Regulation in London, Ont., says that, in her expertise, there’s at all times a “sense of inertia” amongst school in addition to college students. She’d like to extend her college’s abilities coaching and introduce a higher number of “extra genuine” classroom assessments and workouts, together with “drawback fixing by way of collaboration” and soft-skill coaching similar to communication.

“That’s one thing we’ve been working towards, and we’re making lots of progress.”

As for the current, Chamberlain says the college has made important strides with regards to exposing legislation college students to different disciplines. Her college runs, for instance, co-operative-style programs with the college’s enterprise and well being schools. And it’s more and more exposing college students to new expertise, too.

“In our M&A course, we use software program developed, by the way, by two of our graduates. It allows company offers to occur on-line and within the cloud with out the [traditional] battle rooms of [paper-based] supplies. Instructing this fashion exposes college students to the precise deal and helps them work via all its steps.”

Current years have additionally seen the college introduce plenty of specialised, elective examine streams, designed to provide college students the power not simply to take lots of introductory programs however to really advance via a coherent program of examine.

“By commencement, they’re actually specialists in a specific subject and might hit the bottom operating.”

The college additionally has a brand new third-year capstone course that helps college students “put every thing collectively [and subsequently] notice legislation doesn’t are available in neat little packages however slightly runs throughout what we might usually think about totally different programs.”

The capstone has college students apply the idea and abilities they’ve discovered within the first two years to extra advanced packages . . . “as a bridge to apply,” says Chamberlain.

The college, which Chamberlain says has globalized its content material as a lot as doable, additionally provides college students clinics usually, enterprise and sports activities legislation — and has a mediation centre, too.

Ed Iacobucci, dean of the College of Toronto’s College of Regulation, says rising expertise will certainly impression apply.

“There’s no query there’s going to be change. To make sure, there are pressures on non-public apply.”

As such, Iacobucci’s college is “explicitly including new packages and programs” to make sure it stays aligned with the instances, he says.

“We’ve launched into some important curricular adjustments in recent times,” says Iacobucci. “For instance, we now have a brand new program on the skilled grasp’s degree on innovation and expertise that may explicitly discover the legislation surrounding innovation — IP being one instance — however which additionally talks about how the legislation itself goes to evolve amid technological change.”

Then there’s the college’s more and more co-curricular method. A number of years in the past, it launched its Management Expertise Program to show skilled communication abilities and battle administration within the office. Extra lately, the college struck a partnership with the college’s graduate enterprise college to speak in confidence to its legislation college students the web supplies that Rotman’s offers to its incoming MBA college students — introductions to accounting, finance and statistics and so forth.

“There’s a bunch of experiential alternatives inside the co-curriculum program as properly. We’ve got medical experiences and externships.”

Iacobucci says that, as a substitute of a skills-based, practice-ready method, legislation colleges ought to proceed to deal with enabling college students to develop “higher-level pondering talents.”

“We need to train folks find out how to assume. That’s a part of our DNA. And every thing follows from that.”

As well as, says Iacobucci, expertise and abilities coaching have more and more quick shelf lives, given the speedy tempo of technological change.

“Who is aware of if the software program you utilize as we speak would be the software program you utilize tomorrow. We’re at all times trying to do what’s greatest. However that doesn’t essentially imply one thing new.”

For Moyse, although, which may be lacking the purpose — a minimum of when one seems to be at what the job market is more likely to appear to be just a few quick years from now.

“Software program is consuming the world and authorized providers should be delivered now in some kind apart from a text-based narrative or by an advisory guide . . . More and more, lawyers are going to be wanted to construct info merchandise comprised of a mixture of tech, design [and] challenge administration. That’s what I’d prefer to see legislation colleges gear themselves towards.”

Don’t imagine him? Moyse factors to the success of different authorized providers supplier Elevate Providers, at present the 53rd-fastest-growing non-public firm within the U.S., based on Inc. journal. Moyse is the Canadian lead for the Los Angeles-headquartered firm.

“Different authorized service provision — that’s the place all the expansion goes to be. And colleges should not getting ready college students in any respect for these roles. That’s why Ryerson represents such a novel alternative. There’s no legacy. No cultural drag, in respect of constructing a multi-disciplinary, market-connected JD program that’s aligned with an expert skillset.”

Lawyer Daniel Linna spoke to Canadian Lawyer on the finish of a three-year stint directing the LegalRnD centre at Michigan State College’s Faculty of Regulation in East Lansing.

There, courses incorporate scientific and quantitative methodology, they usually embrace sturdy analysis and collaboration packages with authorized help organizations and legislation companies. The college introduces college students to authorized service supply disciplines via co-curricular actions similar to subject work, directed examine initiatives, audio system, weekly conferences, workshops, hackathons, conferences and extra.

In early 2015, Linna began what’s now a 38-school “legislation college innovation index” to measure the extent to which legislation colleges have integrated authorized service supply innovation and expertise disciplines into their curriculum. The index’s foundational objectives embrace bettering entry to justice, by way of (you guessed it) progressive enhancements to authorized service supply.

Says Linna, “The place legislation colleges actually have and have had an innovation deficit because the starting of time is considering how we are able to enhance the supply of authorized providers; not working within the enterprise as lawyers, however engaged on our enterprise. How will we enhance our supply mannequin? Serve extra folks, add extra worth and improve entry to justice. How will we not solely grow to be extra environment friendly however enhance high quality, get higher outcomes and supply higher worth to our shoppers?”

One other drawback, says Linna, is that legislation colleges “aren’t very properly related” with their prospects and the skin world.

As well as, says Linna, “Many legislation college school should not properly ready to show a few of these courses.”

Linna, who has visitor lectured at Osgoode and is “very acquainted” with Ryerson’s Regulation Apply Program (an alternative choice to articling) in addition to
its Authorized Innovation Zone, says that Canadian and U.S. legislation colleges are
for essentially the most half engaged in “inner navel gazing.”

“Innovation isn’t all about legislation colleges creating new programs. A few of these matters have apparent integration factors into present programs. For instance, doc meeting and computable contracts in contracts legislation, information analytics and challenge administration in negotiation, blockchain in proof, cybersecurity, metadata and the extent to which competent lawyering mandates expertise information and utilization in skilled duty.

“Why aren’t legislation colleges higher related with the technologists on campus? With the enterprise college? With humanities initiatives? There’s great alternative. That’s what they’ve tapped into at Ryerson. They’re taking that form of power and making use of it to authorized service supply . . . It’s spot on.”


Conceived as an eight-month-long, coursework-based different to articling, the Regulation Society of Higher Canada’s controversial Regulation Apply Program started in 2014 as a response to the rising variety of new graduates unable to seek out articling positions.

LPP college students spend 4 months in a “digital” legislation workplace the place they tackle quite a lot of instances after which take part in a four-month work placement.

Ryerson College provides the English model of the pilot, whereas the francophone equal — Programme de pratique du droit — is run by the College of Ottawa.

In its first yr, Ryerson’s LPP drew roughly 260 candidates, of whom 221 graduated. The French course drew 19 candidates, of whom 17 graduated.

Chris Bentley, managing director of Ryerson’s LPP and a former prison lawyer and Ontario legal professional normal, informed Canadian Lawyer that early indicators counsel LPP graduates, as soon as referred to as to their provincial bars, are assembly with “glorious” employment outcomes.

Particularly, Bentley says that 84 per cent of this system’s “Yr Two” class — and 75 per cent of the “Yr One” graduating class — have been working in legislation or law-related positions as of the faculties most up-to-date twice-a-year reporting cycle.

Says Bentley, “The figures mirror the standing one yr after name. If we couldn’t attain them, they have been counted as no job.

“There aren’t any equal figures for articling.”

Over on the College of Ottawa’s LPP, director Anne Levesque reviews that, of her program’s 51 graduates so far, the typical employment price for all years mixed is 80 per cent.


As way back as 2007, the Carnegie Basis for the Development of Instructing — a U.S.-based basis based in 1905 — referred to as for higher authorized instructing.

The muse’s report — “Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Occupation of Regulation” — studied 16 U.S. and Canadian colleges and noticed that almost all legislation colleges give solely informal consideration to instructing college students find out how to use authorized pondering within the complexity of precise legislation apply.

“Not like different skilled training, most notably medical college, authorized training usually pays comparatively little consideration to direct coaching in skilled apply. The result’s to lengthen and reinforce the habits of pondering like a scholar slightly than an apprentice practitioner,” the report mentioned.

In Canada, solely the Bora Laskin College of Regulation at Lakehead College in Thunder Bay, Ont. has carried out the kind of built-in curriculum really helpful by the report — by way of an Built-in Apply Curriculum based mostly on “integrating authorized ability improvement with substantive authorized information,” explains dean Angelique EagleWoman.

“Our college students are given significant experiential training via hands-on, face-to-face instruction. The necessary four-month apply placement is designed to allow third years to additional develop and refine, in a apply setting, related competencies and ability developed all through the three-year program.

“General,” says EagleWoman, “the aim is to see its graduates practise able to work within the North and in sole and small-town apply.”

Up to now, 118 folks have graduated from the IPC. What number of have landed law-related jobs, nonetheless, stays unknown as EagleWoman says there’s at present no “customary reporting mechanism” to reply that query.

Editor’s Observe: This story has been corrected to make clear that Elevate Providers just isn’t a shopper of Regulation Made.

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