Kamloops, B.C., has a certain majesty about it that Thompson Rivers University hopes will attract prospective law students to their new law school, partnered with the University of Calgary.
New students can expect to grace the doors of Canada’s first new law school in 30 years next fall.
“One advantage of starting new is you have the opportunity to learn from others,” said founding TRU Dean of Law, Chris Axworthy.
“Students will come into a community of creativity and energy, and we can guarantee them the best education they can get.”
He said the new school will fill the demand for law education and law services that exists across Canada, especially in smaller communities.
The school will use the University of Calgary’s existing law curriculum, with a few tweaks for differences in provincial legislation and the needs of the Kamloops area.
“Getting more law graduates out there is important and we’re in a unique position to help make that happen,” said U of C law school Dean Alastair Lucas.
“The main aspect of the partnership is it gives the program at TRU immediate credibility,” said Axworthy.
He said Bond University in Australia currently has 140 Canadians in their program, adding he hopes TRU’s new school can end the exodus of law students from Canada.
“There are those who think there are too many lawyers,” Axworthy joked, “but there’s no doubt there are areas of the country that are under-serviced.”
The hope is that students will stay in Kamloops and other smaller communities once they’ve graduated. The new school will provide an education fitted specially to the region, with special emphasis on aboriginal justice concepts.
Axworthy said they will try to train more aboriginal lawyers, since many in First Nations communities in British Columbia often have to leave their community to get services in a major city, where their specific needs may not be fully understood.