Friday, February 17, 2006

The JD debate heats up

As often reported in this space, Canadian universities are considering switching to a JD. U of T did it 5 years ago and their student newspaper, Ultra Vires, has published an article by Amy Smeltzer on the changes across the country. Here's an excerpt:

Student societies at four of the five other law schools in Ontario committed to seriously considering following suit at a tele-conference of law society presidents on Feb. 7, says Chris Lee, president of the Student Legal Society at the University of Western Ontario. Only the University of Ottawa, which was absent, did not commit.

Despite strong arguments in favor of adopting a J.D., [the student presidents of Western and Queen's] say that without the support of other law schools, the move could be a public relations disaster.
Smeltzer notes that this is a student-driven initiative across the province. Acknowledging that some law schools deans are for the change and others are against, the push is coming from the students.
Western Dean Ian Holloway says he will support the students, although he doesn’t think a shift to the J.D. will change international demand for Western students. “I personally don’t think it’s a good idea, but if the decision is taken to do this, then I certainly will do my best to make it a reality."
There are certainly members of Queen's faculty who share Dean Holloway's opinion on the issue, but our Dean is staying out of the fray. Considering that he actually paid U of T the $150 fee to convert from a LL.B. to a J.D., there is little doubt where he stands. But this is a student issue and Dean Flanagan (a.k.a. "Flanny") is leaving it up to students to decide. Way to go.


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