University of Denver

Learning by Doing

Former Senior Director

Some Canadian law schools are looking at ways to offer more experiential education:

Regardless of the type of experiential learning, whether it’s participating in one of the law school’s clinics or one of its various intensive programs, [Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin] says it breaks down the barriers between the classroom and community, effectively creating better learning opportunities for students. “What we’re hoping is it sets our graduates up to have a real advantage that not every graduate of every law school will have,” he says.

But not all are conviced that experiential education is needed in Canada, where students are already required to article for one year after law school.

Nancy Stitt, director of student programs at Goodmans LLP, says law firms aren’t necessarily interested in having more experiential learning at law schools either. “The main purpose of the law schools is not to teach the practical skills. The skills that lawyers will need will vary so much depending on what they end up doing and where they end up going,” she says. “I think the practical options that they give at the law schools should be that; they should be options.”

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