A law school should be our priority

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I am writing today in response to John Crosbie’s column titled “Law school not our top priority” (The Weekend Telegram, Aug. 10.)

In that column, Crosbie stated that we are not in need of a law school in this province for a number of different reasons. One of which was that he did not believe that there was a sufficient amount of people in this province who were not able to attend law school, but wished to do so. I must disagree with this statement.

He reported on one person who did not feel that making the move to another province for law school was a big issue.

I am sure that Shawn Kavanagh’s circumstances made it possible for him to make such an easy decision.

However, the personal and financial background of some people could make it unfeasible for a person who wishes to move for school impossible.

I myself always wanted the opportunity to study law. Unfortunately, I let that dream go a long time ago given my financial position.

My parents are not wealthy, or even financially stable.

They have not been able to fund my education, therefore I needed a student loan.

But, because I took a year off school to work before returning for university, I was not always able to get a student loan, and when I did get one it was not a full loan. Therefore I had to work for three months to save money for school to be able to attend the next semester.

My four year degree has now taken nearly seven years to complete.

Crosbie’s second statement was that Newfoundland and Labrador is not lacking in lawyers, with 1,598 members enrolled in the law society.

I agree that number is not a small one by any means, however, how many of them will continue practising law in the next five, 10 or 15 years? How many people will be retiring in the coming years?

Crosbie enjoyed using ancient quotes from very wise people, well, I offer you another one.

The famous philosopher Plato said, “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.”

The number of people who are currently enrolled in the law society is irrelevant, providing an excellent education to the people of this province is what our focus should be.

Before I conclude, I would like you to consider the good a law school will do for this province.

The building of a new facility will provide the province with new jobs. There is never anything wrong with that.

Also, consider the new jobs that will be made when the school opens. Professors, clerical positions, maintenance positions and more.

Secondly, a law school will bring in people from other provinces and countries.

With them they will bring their money, giving our province a financial boost.

I do not consider a law school in Newfoundland a financial burden, I think it would be a financial aid.

Amanda Hiscock

St. John’s

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • Shawn
    August 16, 2013 - 01:41

    I was quoted in the article, and contrary to Amanda's assertion, it wasn't an 'easy' decision for me. I'm anything but wealthy. I worked in a fish plant for years after high school, went into debt for university and worked my ass off for scholarships for grad school. Good thing for her she didn't make it to law school, I say. Cheers

  • Brad
    August 15, 2013 - 11:16

    Amanda, I have kept hearing for the past 8 years that there will be mass retirements soon. I'll believe it when I see it. We don't need a law school here, many people are struggling to get jobs as it is in the law profession, and the ones that manage to do so are paid peanuts. You don't make the good coin until you hit partner. Law school used to be a good fall-back option 5 years ago, but it is oversaturated and over-rated now.

  • John
    August 15, 2013 - 10:33

    The one thing missing from these arguments is the benefit to the people of NL in having academic research and critique of court decisions and government legislation and policy as it relates to NL. This is very important to future development within the Province.

  • Mark
    August 15, 2013 - 10:17

    MUN should be innovative if the Law School goes ahead. It should offer a part-time program (not available in Canadian law schools but dozens of american and British ones). You should not have to quit your job to study the law.

  • Marty
    August 15, 2013 - 08:48

    Expansion of our Medical school would also bean excellent idea for the same reasons. I know of people who had to leave not only the province but the country to get into Med school in a reasonable timeframe. Memorial's med school only has a certain number of seats available to Provincial and ,other Canadian students. Many seats are kept for International students who are charged much higher tuition.

    • Michael
      August 15, 2013 - 09:54

      That big new piece they are putting on the HSC. Med school extension...and I have to agree with Amanda, MUN needs a Law School. It's not just about NL students, their are a lot more students looking to go to Law school then in our province.

  • Jon
    August 15, 2013 - 07:06

    Well said Amanda. I agree there should be a law school here and that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have the option to study law in their home province. I think this would be a great fit for MUNs recent purchase of the battery.