Theory and Practice: The Four Defining Pillars of Ryerson’s Faculty of Law

Date:October 09, 2019

The Ryerson Faculty of Law is built on four pillars – a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, increasing access to justice, stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship, and providing sound academics with innovation pedagogy.

Ryerson’s proposal was shaped by widespread consultations within the university and in the broader legal community. This included continuous community engagement, solid academic input and feedback, stakeholder engagement, engagement with organizations representing lawyers from diverse backgrounds, and a comprehensive external review of the draft proposal.

In creating and refining a proposal for legal education at Ryerson, two separate internal committees were established. The first was a cross-campus body that studied the feasibility of establishing a Faculty of Law at Ryerson. This committee made a unanimous recommendation to Senate, the Provost and the President that the Faculty of Law at Ryerson was feasible. The second committee was primarily made up of exceptional academics drawn from Ryerson’s Business and Law program and Criminology Department and professional representatives from the Law Practice Program. This committee developed and refined the proposal for the Juris Doctor degree.

The approval processes the proposal went through were extremely rigorous. External approvals were required from the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and the Law Society of Ontario. Internally, there needed to be approval of the academic program by Ryerson’s Senate, then approval by Senate and Ryerson’s Board of Governors for the establishment of a new Faculty. Final program approval from the Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities was received in August 2019. The proposal is all the stronger for having received sage advice from so many different quarters.

Ryerson acknowledges and respects the important work of the law schools that already educate law students in Canada. We propose a different kind of law school that trains future lawyers differently. Our law school will be innovative in focus, design, and approach involving a mandatory intensive practice element and collaborative co-teaching between faculty and practitioners.

We have created a curriculum and an approach to pedagogy that seeks to blend theory and practice. It is an approach that requires faculty members to work closely with practitioners in the delivery of the curriculum and it places...

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