Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Western students vote for JD

According to a post, most of the law students of Western want the degree to change to a JD. The results:

Should the degree change?

A. Yes - 143

B. Yes, on the condition that at least one other leading Canadian law school
commits to implementing the change at the same time - 52

C. No - 125

Honestly, the fact that 52 students voted for B is more interesting than the fact that most students want change. Basically, 60.9% voted yes, but some have reservations. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall and hear the debate. One commenter noted:
Wow - looks like the Dean's fearmongering worked!

I gather the Dean was against the change. At Queen's we would not have that hurdle. Our Dean paid the $150 to trade in his LLB for a JD. I wonder what the numbers would have been without the Dean's "fearmongering". Why was he involved anyhow? Shouldn't this be about what the students want?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Western going to JD?

I heard that Western Law recently had a townhall meeting where they discussed switching from an LLB to a JD. There was a huge turnout and both sides were well presented. Soon (next week?), the students will put it to a vote.

Here at Queen's, we have a committee looking into switching. I believe UBC is also considering it. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Congrats to Prof. Anand!

News broke today that Professor Anand has been named a 2005 Canada-U.S. Fulbright Scholar. Congratulations! Our university is lucky to have such an accomplished professor.
As a Fulbrighter, Ms. Anand will analyze the costs and benefits of voluntary corporate governance regimes for capital markets stakeholders and the motivations that lead managers to adopt corporate governance practices voluntarily. With this information, capital market participants will be better able to establish where additional mandatory standards are needed and where voluntary compliance can be credibly relied upon. When Ms. Anand completes her sabbatical, she intends to return to Canada to continue her research and teaching. She will also seek to contribute to the ongoing public policy debate about the optimal corporate governance regime for this country.
Corporate governance and corporate crime are important topics in our age of scandals and organized crime. Good to hear researchers in the area are getting support and resources.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Prof: "What I learned in law school"

American law professor Cameron Stracher recently published an article on from the perspective of a troubled law student. The article is in the form of a fictional letter to "Mom and Dad" where the law student responds to the criticisms and concerns of his parents.
Parental Concern: "Inability to secure suitable legal employment."

Student Response: Give me more money. "
In lieu of restructuring [my financial obligations], I would also accept an additional round of financing or the issuance of vested warrants".

Parental Concern: "
Many of my law school classmates have had a second set of callback interviews." If the student does not "'get off [his] ass and stop behaving like a goddamn bum'" then "[his] life will crash and burn on the dung heap of penury".

Student Response:
"I have taken specific purposeful steps to find gainful employment. First, I wrote Uncle Morris, as you suggested, and though his firm is not hiring at this time, he promised to keep my resume on file should the need for a solid C student arise. Second, although I still owe money to the local bail bondsman, he indicated his willingness to consider a position of temporary employment pending my release from my probationary obligations. Finally, one of my classmates has proposed an offer he claims I cannot refuse, the specifics of which he promises to expound upon when the wiretaps are removed. While none of these leads may give rise to a legitimate or lawful career, I believe I deserve a B- for effort".

Parental Concern:
$120,000 in tuition.

Student Response: "
By the end of the year, including room and board, the amount will be closer to $180,000. But money cannot measure the importance of my law school education".

Parental Concern:
Threaten "to stop paying my rent and monthly allowance".

Student Response:
"I am looking out for your interests -- after all, they're your names that I forged on the student loan documents". "I don't want to ruin your credit rating, or force you into insolvency, but I will because I love you".

What the student really learned in law school:
"If there's one thing I have learned in law school, it is that there is no quarrel too small to escalate into Armageddon or manipulate for Machiavellian purposes".
Funny guy. I wonder if one day Canadian students will be paying $120,000 - $180,000 for a legal education. . .

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tuition, tuition and debt

There has been a lot of buzz around the school lately about tuition levels. Student presidents have been talking to deans and government officials. Posters on bulletin boards state that tuition could rise by 43% but nobody really knows if this option has been tabled. From what I hear, it seems like the discussions have been going well (i.e. actual dialogue). Let's hope the results are favourable.

Currently, law students at Queen's pay about $9,900 in tuition - an amount which has remained the same for three straight years. When I originally researched law schools in Canada, I remember reading information with a table of tuition increases at Queen's. If memory serves, they had projected the 2005-2006 tuition to increase to about $10,800 and then increase again in 2006-2007 to about $12,000. I think if we can negotiate a 4% - 6% increase in tuition levels most students would be happy. The question becomes: for the minority of law students who can't afford any increase in tuition levels, will the government/universities provide adequate funding for bursaries and scholarships?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A spec of sand

I was musing today about the vastness of the Internet. One article stated that 40,000 new websites are created every day. Wow. These new sites, added to the existing +3,083,000,000 sites (according to Google, other sources say fewer) make for a resource that is powerful, global and 24/7. Quasi-omnipresent. Quasi-omniscient. Quasi-vice ...

OK - back to casebooks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Indian Blogger Sued and then Dooced

This article is quite shocking. After merely included a link on his blog, the guy was sued and then fired (or, rather, Dooced). Here are some interesting points:
IIPM soon served JAM a legal notice on the grounds of defamation. It also complained to IBM, where Sabnis worked and he ultimately had to resign from his job.

“Blogging is quite a new phenomenon and, therefore, most countries have not yet formulated any legislation on it,” says Supreme Court advocate Pawan Duggal, an expert on cyber law. “The ‘blogosphere’ is in the process of obtaining official recognition and some basic working rules for blogs are being formulated.”

If the blog and the blogging site are posting third-party information, they are liable for it,” he says. “Both may be sued for defamation if the content is defamatory, abusive, or scandalous in nature.”
So, if that is correct, would Google then be liable for libelous content in Blogger blog (like this one)?
“I don’t think any limits should be placed on blogging, nor should there be any law censoring the content of blogs,” says Varna Sri Raman, a third-year student of Delhi University, who has written a blog in support of Sabnis.
Her blog, I think, is here.
But there are others who think the time has come for laws to be formulated to rein in bloggers. “I am quite sure that legislation will soon be be passed to ensure that people’s business interests are not harmed by these faceless and nameless bloggers,” says Arindam Chaudhuri, dean, Centre for Economic Research and Advanced Studies, IIPM.

This issue is hot. On this side of the Atlantic (or Pacific), we have a debate about BitchPhD being sued by student Paul Deignan at Purdue. He is "suing for stated and published libel" on her blog (see his comment below). For his take, his blog is here. Chris Clarke wrote a nice opinion piece recently on his blog Creek Running North. One of the reasons this story is getting so much attention, he writes:
Deignan is not only threatening to sue Dr. B. as well, but to reveal her real-life identity on his blog and elsewhere.
In the blogosphere, anonymity is key (if you want it). I imagine much of the backlash against Deignan has been fueled by his threats to BitchPhD's identity.

We'll have to see how these cases play out. Another worthy blog can be found here.

For Cat lovers: Maukie *click here*

Friday, November 11, 2005

Still Job Hunting

Congrats to everyone who secured a position for this summer. I've heard from students who will be working in Toronto and Vancouver. Interviews with Calgary firms are this week. Good luck to those students. Our futures are being (partially) decided. I'm still looking for a firm that fits.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


The newest addition to this blawg: Google's Adsense bar (it's right above this posting). I have been thinking of adding it for a while but I have been resisting. Mostly because when I think of it, I'm reminded of a past situation when I once worked as a Sales Representative. My former employer asked me to list 500 individuals in my "natural market". These people, I was told, included family members, friends, classmates and acquaintances - basically anyone we had contact with before signing up with the company. Quite honestly, I found the experience nauseating. I did not want to think of my grandmother as a potential client.

In the same way, I have been resisting putting ads on this blog. While I don't care about you readers in the same way I care about my grandmother (be thankful), I do actually put thought into the content of this space and I try to keep everything informative and useful. Hopefully, you agree.

I considered a few factors in making my decision. First, I hope that the ads will be useful. If they aren't, or if you object to being subjected to a line of ads, please let me know and I can abandon the experiment. One of the great things about websites is: everything can be changed. (I only wish, by the same token, that nothing was permanent. This, alas, is not always true.)

Also, I'm curious about the value of this blog. According to Business Opportunities Weblog:
How Much Is My Blog Worth?

Your blog,, is worth $9,597.18

Blogshares pegs the value of this blog at B$5,502.71. So, as a little experiment, let's see if these "$" actually turn into dollars.

The final factor was that Google introduced some new formats for their Adsense program. I like this one. It's simple and not buried. I'm not interested in including a ubiquitous "skyscraper" along the side.

So, let the experiment begin. And if your clicking inadvertently helps me buy a textbook for next year, thank you.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

'Blawg' use in law firms is on the rise

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Top Ten Reasons to Come to the Ethics & Law Panel

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Best Halloween costume: Assault & Battery

He had wrapped himself in packets of salt and AAA batteries, and he dressed as though he'd just been beaten up. Brilliant. (I wish I had thought of it first.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Opinions about JD

Since I posted the informal poll on if you would prefer an LLB or a JD, I've been speaking with others in the law school about the issue. For example, I learned that our new dean, a graduate of UofT, was awarded an LLB when he graduated but he traded it in for a JD when that option became available. Other people have added other comments. (I'll let you vet the myth from fact.)

- If we switch to a JD system, the government will use it as an excuse to raise tuition. They will say that a JD is worth more so we, as students, should be paying more to get it.

- The government pay scale regards an LLB on par with a BA or a BSc. But, they consider a JD as a Master's degree so graduates of American schools & UofT are paid more.

- Harvard used to give out LLBs so Americans know the value of an LLB.

- A "JD" implies that it's a doctorate degree, which it's not. It doesn't make sense to go from a JD to an LLM, which is a "Master's". Furthermore, some schools offer PhDs in law. Given that system, it makes sense that the first level is a Bachelor's and law students can then go on to get Master's level and then PhD level degrees.

Here's a reply to the last opinion:
American law schools (and UofT) don't offer a PhD in their doctoral law program. Its an SJD, so the progression from a JD to SJD kind of makes sense. Some schools, like Stanford, even offer the JSM degree, but most only offer the LLM in between the JD and SJD.
Other comments, in addition to the comments from the above post, can be found under the post: JD versus LLB: Results.

With the new agreements between schools such as Osgoode-NYU and Windsor/ University of Detroit Mercy, Canadian students are slowly getting the choice. While other Canadian law schools deliberate on this important issue, I think we need to separate fact from fiction.