Access to justice in legal education

  • May 11, 2017

Members of the CBA Access to Justice Committee’s Legal Education Subcommittee will be presenting a workshop on experiential learning at a legal education conference in Victoria in June.

The subcommittee is hoping to get some feedback from legal educators on the experiential learning guide it's creating.

A 2016 study suggests a growing number of law schools are expanding their experiential education opportunities, with some having made, or considering making, experiential learning mandatory.

“This presents Canadian Association of Law Teachers members with a unique opportunity to collaborate to create ‘best practice’ resources to assist law students in navigating these new experiential opportunities,” the subcommittee says.

Experiential learning environments in law schools include simulated learning in the classroom, volunteer work, work-based learning, externships, and articling, as well as clinical legal education opportunities.

The reflective process required by experiential learning presents a unique opportunity for students, the subcommittee says, and is an essential component of developing professional expertise and knowledge. The guide being prepared by the subcommittee is envisioned as a resource that will help students translate hands-on experience into lessons learned – and to maximize the value of those lessons throughout their careers.

Subcommittee members are hoping to work collaboratively with law professors, gathering ideas and insights from all workshop participants. Participants will be invited to bring and share examples of the resources they have already created to support experiential education.

The conference, Educating the Whole Lawyer, presented jointly by the Association for Canadian Legal Education and the Canadian Association of Law Teachers, will be held June 8-10 at the University of Victoria. You can find more information online.

Working Title: Ensuring the Competency of “Whole” Legal Professionals: Maximizing Experiential Learning Opportunities for Law Students

Workshop presenters and facilitators

  • Doug Ferguson, Director of Clinical Legal Education, Western University Faculty of Law
  • LA Henry, PhD., Clinic Manager, Fredericton Legal Advice Clinic (University of New Brunswick partner), Barrister & Solicitor
  • Michele Leering, PhD. Candidate, Queen’s University, & Executive Director/Lawyer, Community Advocacy & Legal Centre
  • Brea Lowenberger, LLM. Candidate, University of Saskatchewan, Access to Justice Coordinator & Director CREATE Justice (Centre for Research, Evaluation and Action Towards Equal Justice), University of Saskatchewan College of Law
  • Gemma Smyth, Associate Professor, University of Windsor