Law School as Social Innovation

Law School as Social Innovation

Lorne Sossin, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University

Description

I have just finished an eventful week of talks and touring in New Zealand (or, Aotearoa, as it is known in the Maori language), culminating in an address in Wellington at the Australasian Law Teacher’s Association (ALTA) annual conference on the idea of Law Schools as social innovation. I heard from a number of Australian, New Zealand, and South Pacific colleagues about the challenges Law Schools in that part of the world face, from too many Universities chasing too few students, to the bifurcation of legal education between traditional LL.B. programs and emerging J.D. programs, to the rise of managerialism and a fetish for research performance metrics, to the search for Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through legal education. Some of these dynamics are distinct to the Australasian model, while others resonate more broadly. Similarly, the reflections on legal education as social innovation I shared are dynamics in many ways particular to North American legal education, but which include elements I believe to be relevant more broadly. Below I summarize the points I expressed.