Whence all this indignation about a Christian law school?
The fundamental argument seems to be that since TWU law graduates will be trained in an environment disapproving of homosexuality, they can be presumed to graduate as disapproving of homosexuality. They therefore must be incapable of serving as lawyers for homosexuals.
This argument is nonsense. Lawyers routinely represent clients who act in ways that not only diverge from their own values (as in, say, their choice of sexual partners) but actually appall their counsel: theft, drug pushing, fraud and murder. All of those lawyers graduated from law schools that can be presumed to frown on such behaviour. Yet lawyers are trusted to provide services to those who act in those ways.
My first year of law school has been incredible. As the first in my family to attend university and law school, I cherish and embrace each moment. I understand that I have earned an unparalleled opportunity to continue my education at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.
My first semester of law school was a challenging, yet memorable experience. I was introduced to the largest volume of reading that I could have ever imagined and I was exposed to the basic principles of Property Law, Criminal Law, Torts, Public Law, Contracts Law, Legal Research, and Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility. My professors are all leading experts within their fields. For example, my Torts professor Anthony Daimsis, was an associate at an international law firm located in Austria prior to teaching at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, and is frequently approached to serve as an arbitrator in domestic and commercial international disputes, and my Dispute Resolution professor Ellen Zweibel, was a Staff Attorney, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, a Lawyer-Partner at Roper, Lief, Zweibel & Mains, a U.S. Tax Consultant and a legal assistant for Daley, Black & Moreira prior to teaching at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. My professors bring fascinating perspectives to lecture and always have an interesting story to tell. I also enjoyed the guest speakers that visited the Faculty of Law such as the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Honourable Warren K. Winkler, who spoke about his experience with class actions and the Court of Appeal; Bob Potts, who was invited to speak to my Property Law class about his experience representing First Nations in land claim settlements since the early 1980s; and Jane Doe from the case Jane Doe v Metropolitan Police, who was invited to speak to my Criminal Law class about her experience as a sexual assault survivor
A proposed law school at a B.C. Christian university that critics accuse of being discriminatory against the LGBTQ community has cleared its final hurdle with approval by the province’s Ministry of Advanced Education.
Minister Amrik Virk announced his decision to green-light a law school at Trinity Western University in Langley on Wednesday, two days after the private faith-based university won preliminary approval from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Critics have argued that a covenant requiring all students, staff and faculty at the school abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Yes, it appears that Trinity Western does discriminate against Gay and Lesbian students. This issue will work itself out over time.
The far bigger news is most notable it its absence! Trinity Western has just received approval as the first private law school in Canada! This is huge, huge, huge!! Because the Government has monopolized the “law school market” in Canada, it has always been difficult to gain admission to a Canadian law school. In other words, the demand far spaces in Canadian law schools far exceeds the supply. It appears that the door is NOW open to private law schools seeking the approval of Federation of Law Societies. Regardless of the future of Trinity Western, it appears that private law schools are here to stay!
On the issue of discrimination against gay and lesbian students, see the following article written by a Dalhousie law professor.
The legal status of gays and lesbians in Canada has improved. Striking the appropriate balance between freedom of religion and equality for gays and lesbians today requires greater recognition of gays and lesbians than it did fifteen years ago. Freedom of religion would not trump these equality interests as easily as it did when the College of Teachers case was decided.
Last year, Trinity Western applied to the B.C. government and to the law societies across Canada for approval to open a new law school. Trinity Western still requires all of its faculty, staff and students to sign an agreement promising not to engage in “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.” In support of this covenant Trinity Western cites biblical passages condemning homosexuality. Students who violate the covenant face disciplinary measures including expulsion.
The above tweet references an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal law blog. The article is dated October 31, 2013. It includes:
The figures are the latest sign that the law-school bubble hasn’t stopped deflating. Law Blog reported in August that law-school applicants are down 12.3% and applications are down 17.9% compared to a year ago.
The number of test takers peaked four years ago and has been on the decline ever since. The total for June and October is down 38% from four years ago. And the October total alone is 45% below the 2009 peak.
Okay, but what I find most interesting is the fact that (at this moment) the article has attracted only 25 comments. A small number of comments does not suggest interest in this issue. Furthermore, a most of the comments seem to be for the purpose of venting about “evil lawyers”. Few comments attempt to address the reason for the decline. One comment that might as well be a “composite” for those that do address the question is:
The public is FINALLY beginning to understand that law school is a complete and utter rip-off for the vast majority of graduates. Many (if not most) grads make $40-60,000 salaries when they find jobs, which can take up to a year or more, and have debt levels ranging from $100-250,000. For the top 10% that get BigLaw jobs, the math works out but for the 90% not in the top 10%, they’re financially destroyed. Just by searching Google you can find hundreds, perhaps thousands, of stories about law school graduates who owe $200,000 in non-dischargeable debt, have very low paying jobs, and live at home with their parents.
Law degrees are not in demand. You’re a fool and a gambler if you’re going to law school and finance your legal education with debt.
Okay, that’s a legitimate consideration. The following tweet references one of my post popular posts – How much do lawyers earn?
Very interesting article referenced in the above tweet. Excerpts include:
… President Obama was a part-time lecturer at the University of Chicago’s law school. But that side of him made a rare appearance Friday in a speech at Binghamton University, when he suggested that law school shouldn’t be three years long:
This is probably controversial to say, but what the heck, I’m in my second term so I can say it. (Laughter.) I believe, for example, that law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years — because by the third year — in the first two years young people are learning in the classroom. The third year they’d be better off clerking or practicing in a firm, even if they weren’t getting paid that much. But that step alone would reduce the cost for the student.
Now, the question is can law schools maintain quality and keep good professors and sustain themselves without that third year. My suspicion is, is that if they thought creatively about it, they probably could. Now, if that’s true at a graduate level, there are probably some things that we could do at the undergraduate level as well.
This idea isn’t original to Obama. Samuel Estreicher at NYU Law is probably the most vocal advocate for the plan, and Washington University in St. Louis’s Brian Tamanaha endorsed it in his book, Failing Law Schools.