Online Legal Education in Canada
24 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2021
Date Written: December 8, 2021
This report compares the development of online legal education in Canada prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is pan-Canadian in scope and encompasses both the university legal education (qualifying education) and continuing education for already-qualified lawyers in the country’s common law and mixed civil/common law jurisdictions. The pre-pandemic achievements in online legal education were very limited despite the general availability of adequate technology to experiment in the field. Reluctance has been the strongest at the qualifying education stage. Structural factors (e.g. education requirements, limited competition among institutions, funding regimes) seem to explain this dire lack of innovation; this state of affairs left Canadian legal educators generally unprepared to face the sudden transition to online education forced upon them by the pandemic in early 2020. This report offers a first look at the lessons learned from the universal experience with online legal education. It also points to likely future developments, considering students' and instructors' changing preferences as well as the social aspects of certain law schools’ missions.
Keywords: Legal education, Canada, continuing legal education, law schools, COVID-19 pandemic, online education, comparative law
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation