Chapter Four: Future Directions for the Law School

As we look to the future, this Plan has set out an ambitious array of goals in relation to innovative legal education, enriching the student experience, community engagement and legal research that shape the public debate. New areas for more focused attention include deepening Osgoode’s commitment to Accessibility and pursuing Reconciliation with Indigenous communities both within and outside the Law School.

It is challenging to plan with any certainty for the future in legal education, given all the change that has occurred since our last Plan, and is likely to occur over the next three years. In 2011, the Digital Commons did not exist yet by 2016, over 15,000 articles are housed there, with approximately 25,000 downloads monthly. Osgoode remains committed to the Digital Commons (and its further expansion) over the life of this Plan.

Thus, while we have anticipated some future directions in this Plan, we remain open to embracing all opportunities which may arise and enable the Law School to advance our goals. As we pursue these goals, whether through the various special purpose Funds set out in this Plan or through new initiatives that may arise, we commit to do so in a transparent and consultative way, through collegial governance mechanisms where applicable, respecting the various Collective Agreements that govern Osgoode staff and faculty, with outreach to our alumni, partners and supporters, and with full, clear and timely reporting to the Osgoode and York community.

As we move forward, Osgoode is committed to continuing leadership in new areas of legal education, research and engagement. These include:

  • Developing the relationship between new technology and law. During this Plan, Osgoode will launch a Tech Transformation & Law Certificate as part of the Learning & Leading Series, expand the Justice Design Project (JDP), develop new opportunities through OsgoodePD for the legal sector to thrive in the innovation economy and continue to explore digital pedagogies in legal education both within Osgoode and through links with other peer law schools and Law Societies.
  • Expanding the ways in which law is taught, researched and practised through various media. Osgoode will expand the Law.Arts.Culture initiatives and new Fund for Innovation in Law & Media (FILM) initiative to include new visual advocacy clinical programs, including the deployment of new media to enhance Access to Justice goals, and exploring legal ideas through new media in our Artists in Residence program, and potentially through a new Journalist in Residence program.
  • Pursuing new opportunities to increase our exposure to new fields of interdisciplinary expertise related to law, from our existing interdisciplinary programs with the Schulich School of Business, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, to our growing partnership with the Lassonde School of Engineering.
  • Strengthening relationships with those who regulate and support legal education. Recent proposals from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the Law Society of Upper Canada have highlighted the importance of ensuring those whose decisions affect legal education have a clear understanding of the impact of those decisions on law schools and law students. The Law Foundation, Legal Aid Ontario and other public institutions provide invaluable support to Osgoode, particularly in programs to enhance access to justice. With significant change on the horizon both to licensing standards and the accreditation of common law schools in Canada, these relationships appear likely only to grow in importance
  • Seeking new communication venues to tell the story of the Law School, its alumni, staff, students and faculty, its aspirations and its impact, through the continued development of the Osgoode website, video content and podcasts, social media, and digitizing more of the history and records of the Law School through the Osgoode History and Archives Project (OHAP).

Finally, Osgoode remains dedicated to the future improvement of Osgoode’s buildings, including anticipated renovations and expansions to OsgoodePD’s 1 Dundas St. location, the launch of the Hart House as a centre for Indigenous life at the Law School, renovations to the 4th floor at Osgoode to  add an additional classroom and lounge space to better serve Full-Time LLM in Canadian Common Law students, improving the accessibility of the building for those living with disabilities, enhancements to student safety in the building, new art projects, and updating the wireless and other infrastructure in the building to ensure it serves present and future needs.