LSSO Plans to Address Financial and Curriculum Issues for 2015-2016 Academic Year
Students from all seven Ontario law schools gathered earlier in March for the LSSO’s second annual general meeting. The organization affirmed its priorities from this academic year and set goals for next year.
“Most of the priorities set out last year were reaffirmed,” Ryan Robski, President of the LSSO and Osgoode Hall law student, said. These priorities include:
- Raising awareness about the effects of skyrocketing tuition
- Advocating for inclusivity in law schools, and the legal profession generally
- Monitoring the Law Practice Program by pushing for disclosure of relevant statistics from the Law Society of Upper Canada.
This year, Robski says the organization plans to further engage the Law Society and the provincial government to address “rapidly increasing financial barriers to entering the legal profession—from law school through licensing.”
Also on the table for next year is helping law schools reform their legal and skills curricula to make sure law school graduates are ready to face the demands of the real world.
“We are now at a critical juncture in the development of the legal profession. The marketplace for legal services is changing; issues of access to justice, technological advancement, and the articling crisis are just symptoms of an unstoppable pressure to reform the legal community. Law students’ voices must be prominent in the discussion of what the profession they are entering will look like,” Robski said.
“It is clear that students are a key stakeholder in the legal community and have a direct interest in the development of the profession as we enter an increasingly diversified future of legal services,” Adam Gilani, Vice President (External) of the LSSO and University of Ottawa law student, said in a statement.
Much of the evidence supporting the need for curriculum change comes from the Just or Bust report, which was released in September 2014. The report, which examined the state of legal education in Ontario, “re-affirmed the grim financial reality that we already knew law students were—and still are—facing in Ontario,” Robski said.
The reality, according to Robski, is that licensing fees have increased (they are up 74 per cent since 2013), and tuition is increasing at the maximum rates permitted.
“All of these developments are steps in the wrong direction and we intend to make their consequence known,” Robski said.
Sarah Spitz (1L) is Co-News Editor of Juris Diction.