Following the December 2013 delivery of the final Law School Feasibility Report to Memorial president and vice-chancellor Dr. Gary Kachanoski, for the past year an internal Memorial University committee has been examining a number of issues surrounding a future law school including curriculum, student recruitment, size and costs.
This internal Memorial committee is currently comprised of Ann Browne (associate vice-president, Facilities Management), Dr. Wilfred Zerbe (Dean, Faculty of Business Administration), Dr. Lynne Phillips (Dean of the Faculty of Arts), Morgan Cooper (Associate Vice-President Academic, Faculty Affairs) and Janet Harron (communications coordinator, Faculty of Arts). The committee is chaired by Dr. Phillips.
The proposal committee is developing a law school program with research and teaching that will meet the legal needs of the 21st century and, in particular, the needs of Newfoundland and Labrador. We will be proposing a small but distinguished law program with the possibilty for students to attain legal expertise in two areas of specialization, one in sustainable northern resource development and the other in social justice, including Aboriginal issues. We are envisioning a future Memorial University Law School with two joint programs (JD/MSW and JD/MBA) and a multi-campus orientation.
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In 2013 a committee was struck to determine the feasibility of a law school at Memorial University. It was chaired by Dr. Lynne Phillips, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and included Morgan Cooper, Memorial's Associate Vice-President Academic (Faculty Affairs); Karen Kennedy, internal consultant in the provost's office; Bert Riggs, Head of Archives and Special Collections, QEII Library; Heather Clarke, PhD student in the Faculty of Business; Janet Harron, communications coordinator, Faculty of Arts; Justice A.E. (Fonse) Faour, Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division; and Dr. Peter MacKinnon, president emeritus and former dean of law, University of Saskatchewan.
Public consultations took place across the province on the following dates:
Gander, July 15, 2013
Grand Falls Windsor, July 16, 2013
Corner Brook, July 16, 2013
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, July 18, 2013
Memorial University, Sept. 9, 2013
St. John's, September 10, 2013
A final report on the feasibility of a law school was delivered to Memorial president and vice-chancellor Gary Kachanoski in December 2013. The review was restricted to the consideration of a faculty of law as a professional school, as opposed to a degree program or department of law. The review also examined the demographics of existing Canadian law schools, current and future needs for more lawyers, and benefits to Memorial, among other goals
There were two previous considerations by the university of establishing a law school. The Harris Report, 1976, concluded that there was no demonstrated need for a law school at Memorial, and the Bruce Report, 1987, which endorsed a law school in principle, but not at that time.
In 2012, the Law Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and the provincial branch of the Canadian Bar Association supported a review of the concept of a Faculty of Law, a position later endorsed by the Chief Justice of Newfoundland and Labrador. That endorsement lead to the establishment of the 2013 feasibility committee.