Yes! A few more lawyers for Canada. -

Yes! A few more lawyers for Canada.

Campbell: B.C. will open its first law school in 30 years


Yes! A few more lawyers for Canada.

It has been more than 30 years since a new English-language law school has thrown open its doors in Canada—but that’s finally about to change. Last week, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell announced plans to open a new law faculty at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, in partnership with the University of Calgary. Slated to open in 2011, the new school will be a much-needed step toward alleviating a severe shortage of law schools in Canada.

There are now just 16 common law schools across the country—not nearly enough, critics warn, to serve our population. According to John G. Kelly, who runs Canada Law from Abroad, Canada has the lowest number of law schools per capita in the Commonwealth. Rural areas in particular are already showing signs of a lawyer shortage, and in B.C.’s interior, “there just aren’t enough lawyers to meet demand,” says John Sparks, general counsel at Thompson Rivers. Because of the law school shortage, in all of B.C. only about one in 10 applicants is currently admitted.

Unless other provinces follow B.C.’s lead and open new schools, some say the dearth of lawyers in Canada will only get worse. “I think there’s going to be quite a significant shortage” as the population grows, says Rob McDiarmid, a Kamloops lawyer who worked on the Thompson Rivers proposal. With too few lawyers, he warns, the public risks facing “no competition and outrageous costs.”

Officials at Lakehead University, in Thunder Bay, Ont., recently proposed opening a new law school there to train more lawyers for northern Ontario. But the provincial government has refused to fund any new law faculties, prioritizing medical schools instead. “Lawyers are scarce here, and they’re very costly,” says Stan Beardy, grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. With all six of Ontario’s law faculties located in the south, “there are young people interested in law who aren’t pursuing it,” he says. “We need a law school in Thunder Bay, and I will continue pushing hard for it.”


Yes! A few more lawyers for Canada.

  1. “I think there’s going to be quite a significant shortage” as the population grows, says Rob McDiarmid, a Kamloops lawyer who worked on the Thompson Rivers proposal. With too few lawyers, he warns, the public risks facing “no competition and outrageous costs

    Hmmm. Difficult call. Either a life time gag order, or single most unintended ironic statement of the decade award? Toughie!

  2. I think around 40% of graduating lawyers don’t practice law or begin and abandon it within a few years. There are alot of reasons why lawyers practice the way they do and I doubt that opening one new law school is going to have much impact on ‘lawyer shortages’.

  3. ”Yes! A few more lawyers for Canada.”
    Why do I sense sarcasm in this title?
    What is it about lawyers that people don’t like?! Jealous you can’t get into law school and then make thta much money afterward?

  4. It depends what you mean by “make that much money”. The legal profession is much more market driven than the medical profession (debate amongst yourselves whether that’s good or bad) and the end result is that there is an overwhelming discrepency between what potential clients are willing and able to pay in the major cities, compared to rural practice. The absence of lawyers in small towns is just another symptom of the concentration of the nation’s wealth in our cities. Every law school graduate I know leaves university with an average of 7 years of schooling, and a proportionate amount of debt. A first year associate on Bay Street can earn over $100k, while a first year associate in a small town law firm in certain provinces will be lucky to earn one third of that. If there is such a shortage of lawyers, then why are so many graduates forced to beg for an opportunity to complete articles?

  5. okay so how do I soon to be 45 year old guy start becoming a lawyer – I would be one of the best ever

    • Just do it!

  6. Articled students will go where the money is. Why? Because tuition is expensive. $70k in debt after 7 years. You think I'm going to settle for a $30k job doing real estate transactions on farm land? Not a hope in hell.

    And is there something wrong with only 1/10 applicants getting into law school? I'd be more comfortable in knowing that the lawyer who is working for me was a bright enough cookie to beat those odds, as compared to any Tom, Dick or Harry being allowed in.

    I wonder what the ulterior motive is behind this move by Gordo.

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  8. There are more than 46% Canadian law students could not find job or articling student position here!!! shortage? You get water into your mind!

  9. We need to make a serious effort to avoid letting the legal practice turn into what’s happened to the States..