Ethics, access to justice and professionalism—locally and globally—have increasingly become foundational topics of attention over the past several years at all levels of the justice community. This course is designed to look directly at those issues. Specifically, this course provides an introduction to the Canadian legal profession, professional rules, norms and values, regulatory institutions and processes, and the practical ethical issues that lawyers face. It focuses on the context of the Canadian lawyer’s many and varied roles: as advocate, advisor, employee, employer, entrepreneur or public servant. It considers the various contexts in which lawyers work: in solo practice, firm practice, government practice or in-house. It also examines lawyers as members of a profession with collective responsibilities in relation to the public interest and access to justice. The course situates these issues within their modern-day context; that is, within a context characterized by local diverse communities, normative pluralism, globalization and transnationalism. The changing nature of legal practice has resulted in the proliferation of practice contexts and roles for lawyers. This course introduces students to multiple visions of lawyering and professional roles and the many contexts in which those roles are performed. It asks whether and how context should matter in terms of how lawyers conceptualize their roles and their individual and collective professional and ethical obligations. It explores questions of how legal professionals working in different settings such as private practice, government, legal aid clinics, the legal academy, or beyond the formal practice of law, should conceptualize their roles, obligations and opportunities. It explores different lawyering visions; that is, visions of how one undertakes the task of lawyering: for instance, lawyer as collaborator, lawyer as deal-maker, lawyer as expert, lawyer as facilitator, lawyer as negotiator, lawyer as translator/storyteller, lawyer as friend and lawyer as hired gun. It questions the centrality of adversarialism and neutral partisanship (the “zealous advocate” vision) in depictions of lawyers’ roles. It emphasizes the importance of a self-conscious selection of lawyering visions. In the process, it draws students’ attention to the power dynamics in lawyer-client relationships, to the scope of conversations lawyers ought to have with clients, and to possible individual and collective duties beyond those owed to clients. In so doing, the course will ask students to engage in a critical and self-reflective conversation about what the public interest is and what it means in terms of lawyering, the profession and professionalism. This course is taught in an interactive online format, with regular instructor and classmate interaction. In each section of the course, students will do independent reading, review multimedia content in the course website, and communicate with their instructor(s) and fellow students. Regular group work, problem-based learning, practical exercises, and research and writing assignments will be required at key points during the course. At the conclusion of the course, students will participate in exam review and write an invigilated final exam.

Pre/anti-requisites

Open only to current and prospective NCA candidates.

Pre-requisites: N/A

Anti-Requisites: CCLW 6844 - Canadian Professional Responsibility, LAW 6844 - Canadian Professional Responsibility

NCA equivalence:

Yes - satisfies Professional Responsibility competency

Terms Offered

Winter 23

Video conference only

Course Section: M

3.0 credits

Fall 23

Video conference only

Course Section: A

3.0 credits

Summer 24

Video conference only

Course Section: A

3.0 credits

Summer 23

Video conference only

Course Section: A

3.0 credits

Fall 24

Course Section: A

3.0 credits

Winter 24

Course Section: M

3.0 credits

Winter 25

Course Section: M

3.0 credits

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