Lawyering up

Lawyering up

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Trinity Western University pursues a new law school.

Proposals for a Trinity West­ern University School of Law were submitted at the end of June 2012, to both the Ministry of Advanced Education and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. The program would be the seventh school at TWU, offering a J.D. program of studies with a view to excellence in leadership development, professionalism, and public service. A possible opening is September 2015; however, that is dependent on when approvals might be received. In order for TWU to be accepted as an accredited law school, the Min­istry and the Federation must review these proposals and confirm that the university is capable of producing ca­pable and quality graduates, suitable for “articling” at a law firm within the province. Professor Sawatsky stressed that TWU is still only in the approvals phase, there is no guarantee that there will be a law school. In 1993 the Academic Vice Presi­dent of TWU at the time, Dr. Don Page, approached Sawatsky with a vi­sion for the university. “After working at McCarthy Tetrault, one of the rea­sons I came to Trinity was the idea of working with Dr. Page to build a law school here,” Sawatsky says. How­ever, it wasn’t until six years ago that the school started to look into the idea more seriously, when Dr. Janet Buck­ingham was hired, whom also has a huge passion and desire for a law school to be built at TWU. Sawatsky also points out, “A law school at TWU could create a unique place in Canada for legal research to consider issues in law through a Christian perspective. A law school at Trinity would be a place where schol­ars come together to think through is­sues related to faith and the law.” Ad­ditionally, there is no law school in the country that has a focus on charitable organizations and charity law. “That’s who we are; we are a charitable orga­nization,” he says, “So it would make sense to have a program that focuses on charity law and not-for-profits.”

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Many contend that a law school is the logical next step for TWU. The uni­versity has moved a lot more into the professional areas including Nursing, Business, the MBA program, and Ed­ucation; it seems that a law program would be the next logical step. “We fo­cus on leadership here at TWU and if there is any profession that is related to leadership, it’s law. Lawyers go on to politics and corporate leadership so it seems to be a natural fit with our focus of leadership. There have been some very rough concept drawings for the new build­ing on campus in a few different lo­cations, one of them being the area between Northwest and CANIL, just below the soccer field. The size and design of the building depend on a number of factors. Will it be solely a law school or a joint building? Will residency be attached? Donors input will also be taken into consideration regarding the design of the structure. The program is intended for 60 students a year, thus the total size of the school would include about 180 students. Market research has proven that there is a large demand; a signifi­cant number of students around the country want to attend law school, and TWU’s offering of Christian per­spective would give it a unique advan­tage over other institutions. Tuition will be relatively compa­rable to Trinity’s current tuition. A law program is a quasi-graduate program so TWU will take into consideration undergraduate tuition rates as well as graduate tuition rates, setting some­where in the middle. In closing the interview, Professor Sawatsky encouraged students to con­sider pursuing a law degree. “A legal career isn’t necessarily an easy career, but it is definitely an area where you have a great impact and where you can serve. This is one of the “philoso­phies” of the proposed law school, is the idea of law as service.” If students are interested in a potential career in law, the Pre-Law society will be meeting this year. Email scottwillforsyth@ gmail.com to sign up or for more informa­tion or check out https://twu.ca/academics/ fhss/politics/prelaw.html.

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