Law school looks to expand

University District

Faculty of Law proposes to increase first-year enrolment to garner more revenue

Last Tuesday, the Faculty of Law announced its plan to increase enrolment by up to 50 students per year – an initiative set to garner more revenue for the Faculty.

The proposal, which was sent to law students via email last Tuesday by the Faculty’s Strategic Planning Committee, will up first-year enrolment from 165 to either 200 or 215 students, according to two options presented in the report.

The first option calls for an increase of 35 students per year, while the second calls for 50.

The increase would bring in $2,043,123 in net revenue by 2017 for the first option, and $2,918,756 for the second option.

The revenue takes into account an additional five per cent tuition increase, as prescribed by provincial policy.

The projected growth in revenue resulting from an enrolment increase would be used to hire six additional faculty members, in order to expand the faculty’s programs, Faculty of Law Dean, William Flanagan, said, adding it will help the faculty compete with other Ontario law schools.

Currently, there are 515 students in the Faculty of Law and 26 faculty members. It hasn’t expanded in size since the 1970s, Flanagan said.

“We want to enhance teaching and strength in our business law, and in the [areas] of private law, first year law, property contracts and torts and we want to build our range of specialized courses,” he said.

Between 1998-2004, tuition fees for Ontario law schools were deregulated, but the Faculty didn’t raise tuition as high as the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall law schools, he said.

The Faculty of Law at Queen’s currently charges approximately $16,000 in tuition, while the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall charge approximately $28,000 and $23,000, respectively.

“We want to compete with the very best and to do that we need to provide a wider range of learning opportunities for students,” he said.

Flanagan said the enrolment increase won’t affect student placements in articling positions post-graduation.

“Data showed we have the best placement out of any law school and preserving that is very important for the school,” he said.

In 2011, three graduates of the Faculty of Law went unplaced, compared to five at Western University, seven at the University of Toronto and 15 at Osgoode Hall.

“I wouldn’t propose a modest expansion if I wasn’t confident [that] we could continue those high placement rates,” Flanagan said.

The Committee will present the proposal for consultation at the Law Students Society Annual General Meeting on Oct. 8.

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