Canada, Law Professors, Law Schools, Student Loans

Blame Canada — For Its Crappy Law Schools

The Canadian legal blogosphere has been buzzing this week over an article penned by last year by a retired Canadian law professor. In it, University of Western Ontario emeritus professor Robert Martin likens Canadian law faculties to “psychotic kindergartens” and offers other hilarious taunts about the quality of Canadian legal education.

The Guardian highlights this quote by Professor Martin: “Each fall, a horde of illiterate, ignorant cretins enters Canada’s universities. A few years later, they all move on, just as illiterate, just as ignorant and rather more cretinous, but now armed with bits of paper, which most of them are probably not able to read, called degrees.”

Some might say: this sounds just like the United States. Does Professor Martin have a newsletter or perhaps a blog of his own so that we may continue to hear his thoughts on the state of legal education?

While Martin has a number of excellent quips about Canadian education, he reserves his biggest guns for the value proposition of going to law school. His thoughts should resonate with many American law students….

Who knows how much law school should cost, but Professor Martin’s suggestion sure sounds like a step in the right direction:

“In 2001, the Dean of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law decided to transform it into a ‘truly great global law school’. As part of achieving this goal, annual tuition fees were to be raised to $20,000 and beyond. The decision of the Law Faculty to pattern itself after a Wal-Mart outlet had certain, predictable consequences.” …

“The other Ontario law faculties,” Martin continues, “brought their fees into line with those at the University of Toronto. Given the wretched quality of the ‘education’ being offered, fees at this level are both extortionate and fraudulent. If tuition fees were to bear any resemblance to the inherent quality of what was being purchased, they would likely be set at the level of $12 per year.”

You gotta love this guy:

With the mood now established, Martin lets loose with his central theme – legal education: “When one observes a dismal current reality, there is a tendency to assume that there once existed a golden age. The best that can be said is that there was, in the 1950s and 1960s, a bronze age. During this period, some Canadian law faculties managed to reach the level of second-rate American law schools.”

So to recap: law schools in Canada are extortionist and fraudulent institutions that arm illiterate cretins with degrees and at their best are no better than second-rate American law schools. Anything else you’d like to add, Professor Martin?

“There are two phrases that can be used to describe every law faculty in Canada. The phrases are: ‘feminist seminary’ and ‘psychotic kindergarten’.”

Gosh. American law schools are a lot more expensive than Canadian law schools; now we know why. Hopefully other Canadian law professors won’t set Professor Martin adrift.

Can we get anybody on here to defend Canadian legal education? They can’t be that far behind American law schools; have you seen the course offerings at the University of Idaho College of Law? Surely a school like Toronto could compete with that.

Improbable research: Canadian law faculties ‘like psychotic kindergartens’ [The Guardian]

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