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Federation of Law Societies approves TW School of Law

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Trinity Western University (TWU) is pleased to announce that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada has approved its proposal for a School of Law.

“We are very pleased with this news,” said TWU President Bob Kuhn, also a lawyer. “The School of Law at TWU will provide increased access to legal education in Canada without placing a greater demand on public funds. TWU will develop legal professionals who respond to 21st century needs – professionals deeply rooted in an understanding of the law and equipped to be the highly skilled and compassionate practitioners of the future.”

“We recognize,” said President Kuhn, “that there has been considerable debate with respect to the fact that TWU is a faith based university. Now that the Federation has approved the program, we can move on from that debate and build an excellent law school to serve the Canadian public.” President Kuhn noted that “while the University does have strong religious roots it is committed to fully and comprehensively teaching all aspects of law including human rights, ethics and professionalism.”

While offering a range of law courses comparable to other Canadian law schools, the TWU School of Law will offer unique courses in two distinctive areas of specialization: charities/not-for-profit law and entrepreneurial law. A specialty in the non-profit sector will address a niche market in legal education. TWU graduates are challenged to care about the well-being of others and committed to understanding how to address the world’s deepest needs. The law school will establish strategic partnerships with agencies that serve the under-assisted and the oppressed, giving each student hands-on opportunities to provide services to those who suffer injustice because they cannot access the legal system.

In addition to the non-profit specialization, an entrepreneurial track will equip graduates to serve the many growing entrepreneurial enterprises throughout Canada.

While TWU’s approach to the education of law will be practical, it will be well grounded in the standard academic legal principles. Typically, law firms have to invest significant resources in order to transform newly minted law graduates into practicing lawyers. The School of Law at TWU will aspire to produce law graduates ready to enter the marketplace as practicing professionals.

The School of Law will prepare graduates ready to excel in the practice of law. By delivering a legal education within a framework of servant leadership, the TWU Law program will encourage its graduates to be lawyers with a focus on community service. The School will incorporate leadership and character development into all aspects of its programming. Students will be encouraged to see the profession of law as a high calling of service, including volunteerism with local, national and global NGO’s that serve under-developed nations, and the vulnerable whenever they are found.

“A School of Law at TWU will help meet the growing need for practical and affordable legal services in Canada,” said Earl Phillips, Vancouver lawyer and co-chair of the Law School Advisory Council. “I also am confident that its graduates will benefit from a culture of ethics, professionalism and service informed by the ideals of the Christian faith.”

As Eugene Meehan, Q.C. of Supreme Advocacy LLP in Ottawa, says: “Mandela’s recent passing taught us the historic value of freedom-this future Law School encompasses and encourages freedom of enquiry, freedom of discussion, freedom of religion, while being open to all-to speak plainly…that’s big.”

TWU recognizes with appreciation Janet Epp Buckingham, LL.D., and Kevin Sawatsky, J.D., who have led the research and development of the TWU School of Law proposal over the past five years. They will continue to lead the development of the School in preparation for opening its doors in 2016 to 60 first year students. TWU would also like to acknowledge having received significant assistance from the Law School Advisory Council and the many other lawyers, judges and professors who supported the School of Law proposal.

The BC Ministry of Advanced Education has not communicated its decision on the TWU proposal submitted in June 2012.

Trinity Western University is a Christian University of the arts, sciences, and professions. Recognized for its high quality, TWU is consistently ranked among the top universities in Canada for Educational Experience by the National Survey of Student Engagement; holds four Canada Research Chairs; wins National Championships in CIS sports; and emphasizes experiential learning to prepare graduates to make a global impact. TWU offers 42 bachelor’s degrees, 16 graduate degrees, and adult degree-completion programs. A vibrant community committed to educating the whole person, TWU has been developing leaders of character and competence for 50 years.

—Trinity Western University news release

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