Global Legal Education at the Crossroads


I had the privilege to attend and speak at a landmark conference on Global Legal Education held at Tsinghua University’s Faculty of Law in Beijing this past weekend (though admittedly an unusual place to spend Canadian Thanksgiving). The conference helped celebrate the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of Tsinghua’s Law School (now among China’s very best, and one of Osgoode’s newest global partners), and to mark a moment of significant reform in Chinese legal education, as well as disruption and change in many other jurisdictions. This led me to ask whether there is a distinctly Canadian approach to Global Legal Education? Continue reading “Global Legal Education at the Crossroads”

A Day with “FACL” & 10 Tips for New Lawyers

This Saturday, I was invited to speak at the annual Conference of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL), this year with the theme “Paving the Way.” Each year I attend, the gathering gets bigger, livelier and represents a snapshot of the legal profession’s vibrant future. In addition to participating on an engaging panel exploring the end of the first full year of the Law Practice Program (LPP), I was asked to join the final plenary panel ambitiously titled “60 tips in 60 minutes”! Six lawyers were asked each to offer 10 tips on how to serve clients better, manage practices more efficiently, develop business relationships, increase profile in an increasingly diverse profession, and ensure ethical compliance. I was joined by Ian Hu of LawPro; Phillip Tsui of MAG; Law Society Bencher Jeffrey Lem; Bindu Cudjoe, the Deputy General Counsel of BMO; and Lai-King Hum, National President of FACL and owner of her own firm. I understand the tips from the whole panel will be posted shortly on the FACL site and I found the tips from others invaluable, but in the meantime, in hopes these may be of interest to some who were not in the room, below are my ten tips on enriching personal and professional success for young lawyers. Continue reading “A Day with “FACL” & 10 Tips for New Lawyers”

Law School by Design

[this post was initially published on Slaw on September 22, 2015 as part of a blog series with the Canadian Council of Law Deans]

I am pleased to participate in this regular series of posts from the Council of Canadian Law Deans (CCLD) sharing insights and ideas on Canadian legal education. This past summer, I explored the impact of design principles on the justice system and since then, I have been reflecting more on the impact of design principles on Law Schools.

Has our legal education system developed as a series of ad hoc measures, policies and programs or has it been designed according to a plan? This question is being asked more broadly in Law Schools as legal academics and lawyers bring design principles to the question of where and how people access legal education, where and how people learn about law, and where and how people solve the problems that matter most in their lives. Whether the new Calgary Curriculum, the Integrated Practice Curriculum at Lakehead or McGill’s Transsystemic Legal Education, more Law Schools are differentiating their programs by design. Continue reading “Law School by Design”

Federalism, Pensions and the limits of Partisanship in Canada

[a version of this post was published by the Globe and Mail on August 10, 2015] Can the Federal and Provincial governments work together on policy matters on which they disagree? The answer in Canada is simple – they can and they must. This issue has come to a head around the  Ontario’s Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) proposal, which the Provincial Government has developed because it believes the Canada Pension Plan is inadequate, and which the Federal Government has stated it will not help administer through its existing Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) infrastructure . The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan will be phased in over two years and will be offered at companies without employee pension plans. Self-employed Ontarians also may be able to opt-in. Companies with sufficient retirement plans will be exempt, and the lowest-income earners will not be required to contribute. While the ORPP could be run entirely by Ontario, this would increase the cost and could decrease the effectiveness of the scheme.  The sniping of the Federal and Ontario Governments on this issue began shortly after its announcement, and will no doubt continue to intensify over the course of this unusually long Federal election campaign.  Continue reading “Federalism, Pensions and the limits of Partisanship in Canada”

Justice by Design

Has our justice system developed as a series of ad hoc measures, policies and programs or has it been designed according to a planned vision? This question is being asked more broadly in Law Schools as legal academics and lawyers bring design principles to the question of where and how people access justice. It is a question which may lead to suprising, disruptive and absolutely necessary answers. Continue reading “Justice by Design”

Visionary Donors for Accessible Legal Education

In March of 2015, a remarkable milestone was crossed. Osgoode’s largest ever student led fundraising campaign, aimed at debt relief and financial accessibility, crossed its goal of raising $125,000.00 to coincide with Osgoode Hall Law School’s 125th Anniversary. Our aim was for Osgoode’s Alumni to match that amount through this year’s Annual Fund campaign but, inspired by our students’ ambition, the Osgoode Annual Fund raised a record amount, far exceeding the $125K match. And the Law School itself matched the $125K as well. So, in total, in this first year of making debt relief a campaign priority, Osgoode has been able to set aside close to $400,000.00 in new and much needed accessibility funding. While the aggregate numbers are meaningful, so is every individual donation that made it possible. In this and a series of posts to follow, I profile some of the visionary donors who are investing now to ensure those who receive an amazing legal education at Osgoode are not precluded from putting it into action because of high debt loads. One such donor is Richard Bogoroch, the founding partner of Bogoroch & Associates LLP. Continue reading “Visionary Donors for Accessible Legal Education”

The Wellspring of Jewish Life at York

The first time I found my way to York’s sprawling (and then mostly barren) campus was as a teenager, to help assemble a Jewish magazine called Images. I was tagging along with my older sister, who was somehow involved in the publication (though she never attended York). This would have been in 1979 or so. Little did I know how much Jewish community life, or York University, was to feature in my future. This blog series is intended to paint a picture of Jewish life at York – not the stories you will typically read, but the more interesting and personal ones. Each entry will be by a member of the York community – past and present – with a story to tell. The first one will be my own. These will also be cross-posted at CIJA’s The Exchange. Continue reading “The Wellspring of Jewish Life at York”

Is Art a Fad or the Future of Legal Education?

This post was first published on the Canadian Association of Law Teachers (CALT) blog on April 7, 2015 at

As this term and academic year draw to a close, the thoughts of several Deans will turn to broader trends and lessons learned. I wanted to share one such development based on my experience at Osgoode Hall Law School. This year more than any other, it is becoming apparent that art in legal education is no fad but. Art no longer seems like an interesting distraction or peripheral gloss in legal education, but is becoming central to our mission and how we can best fulfill it. Continue reading “Is Art a Fad or the Future of Legal Education?”