The article referenced in the above tweet continues the discussion of what exactly should be the licensing standard to become a lawyer? This discussion has been prompted largely be the decline in law school applicants in the United States. During the last few years the following questions have been raised:
Leaving aside other issues, the long run significance of Trinity Western law school is that it is a private law school that is seeking accreditation in each of the provinces. As a private law school, it needs consumers for its legal education. To attract consumers it must show that it’s law degree has economic value. To show that it has economic value it must show that its graduates can enter the “lawyer licensing programs” in the various provinces. Generally entry is conditional on having graduated from an “accredited law school”. Hence, Trinity Western is in the process of seeking accreditation in each of the provinces. The results of the accreditation applications so far include:
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.