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Math and the law

Editorial Obiter

As summer closes and the school year draws near, topics relating to education are top of mind.

Recently, Law Times began a series looking at the need for a proposed law school at Ryerson University, which is set to open in 2020.

This week, the third installment looks at the steps taken so far in the process.

The province, and the new government leading it — so far — has not stated its commitment.

In the course of the series, the statistics that have come up during the research have been sobering.

As Anita Balakrishnan reported, the average debt of first-year Ontario law students is $35,358, which rises to an average of $53,876 in the second year and $71,444.17 in the third year, with 85 per cent of law students overall reporting a debt of $40,000 or more, according to the law society and separate statistics from Ryerson’s law school approval proposal to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, which cites 2014 survey data.

There is a 60-per-cent increase in graduates from Ontario law programs between 2007 to 2012, says the Law Society of Ontario, and only 10 per cent of law firms in Ontario provide articling positions.

These figures would give me pause for thought about the significant investment required to obtain a law degree at any Ontario school and the prospects facing young lawyers once they graduate. Practising law can be extremely rewarding and come with plenty of public admiration and esteem — which is why many young people flock to the profession.

But, these days, it comes with high costs.

These are statistics that should be widely shared with those contemplating a career in law.

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