We've gotten used to new law schools here in the U.S. I'm particularly proud to have been one of the six inaugural faculty at a darn good one here in Philadelphia. But things are different north of the border. Nobody has opened a new law school in Canada in 35 years. That's about to change.
Thompson Rivers University (formerly The University College of the Cariboo), in British Columbia, plans to open the doors of its new law school in September of 2011. The school will offer a three year J.D. degree. It has now named its founding dean. Chris Axworthy, the sitting dean of the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Law, will move to TRU this May. Axworthy knows Canadian legal education. He's been a faculty member at Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Dalhousie. He has also been in and out of government.
TRU may be offering an American-style J.D., but some things are clearly different in Canada. Exhibit A: the school has entered a curriculum license agreement with the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary. According to TRU's counsel:
“This is an historic agreement and we are very proud to be part of it. Not only does it facilitate the establishment of our law school by licensing the curriculum of an existing first class law school, it does so across provincial boundaries in Canada. We think this is a great model for efficiently starting a new law school in a way that will serve our students and our communities.”
-- Dan Filler (cross-posted at the Faculty Lounge)