Lawyer calls for another new law school

We’ve heard of the rural shortage. But a suburban shortage?

<p>MONTREAL, 4 SEPTEMBER 2008 &#8212;   Professor Robert Leckey&#8217;s constitutional law class at McGill Faculty of Law on Thursday, September 4, 2008.  PHOTO BY IAN BARRETT FOR MACLEANS MAGAZINE</p>

Photo by Ian Barrett for Maclean’s

Photo by Ian Barrett for Maclean’s

Just months after British Columbia opened its first new law school in 30 years, a top lawyer is advocating for another one, this time in Surrey.

B.C.’s newest law school is at Thomson Rivers University in Kamloops, where its mission is, in part, to address the rural lawyer shortage.

Tony Wilson, an adjuct professor at Simon Fraser University, makes the argument that there’s a pending shortage in suburban Surrey too. He notes that the city near Vancouver is projected to be the biggest in B.C. by 2020. Surrey grew by 13.6 per cent between 2001 and 2006.

There’s plenty of work, Wilson argues in his letter to Canadian Lawyer. “Surery has… clients, many of them in real estate, real estate development, or other small or medium-sized businesses,” he says, “and if you’re into criminal law, the newspapers would suggest that opportunities abound.”

He also reminds readers that B.C. Chief Justice Lance Finch suggested last year that the bar should admit twice as many people in order to meet the demand for lawyers in the province.

Still, it should be noted that whether or not there’s a lawyer shortage outside rural Canada is debatable. In Ontario, 12.1 per cent of 2011 articling candidates couldn’t find spots, up from 5.8 per cent in 2008, the Law Society of Upper Canada told Maclean’s. They may want to try Surrey, B.C.