Queen’s Law recently announced it is looking for ways to increase revenue. According to Dean William Flanagan, the province’s 5% cap on law school tuition (introduced last year) has left the school in a difficult position. Dean Flanagan says that Queen’s must increase revenue if it wants to remain competitive among “the very best in the country”.
Dean Flanagan is referring to U of T and Osgoode, the only schools that beat out Queen’s in this year’s Maclean’s professional school rankings. Queen’s tied with McGill for third place.
A few weeks ago, Queen’s notified students by email that it is considering adding 35 or 50 spots to its first year class. Dean Flanagan says that the addition of 35 students would generate enough revenue to hire six new faculty members. Queen’s current class size is 165. Last year, Queen’s received nearly 2,792 applications for those 165 spots.
While Queen’s has fewer course offerings than Osgoode and U of T, it offers some unique clinical placements in areas including family law, business law, elder law, and correctional law. Dean Flanagan says that the school’s increased revenue will allow it to offer even more opportunities for students, which should come as good news.
Some Queen’s students are concerned about the effect of the increased class size on the job market, calling the plan short-sighted. Dean Flanagan is not concerned – he cites Queen’s high articling placement statistics, which are a function of its strong reputation and the high calibre of its students. The Dean is hopeful that new faculty hires and new course offerings will enhance the school’s reputation, which will in turn help it attract first-class students.
Queen’s proposed increase would be a drastic development for that school, but it is not unique in Ontario. Windsor and Ottawa University have both increased their class sizes significantly since 1997, and Lakehead University just opened its new Faculty of Law in September, with 60 students.
On October 8, Queen’s Law held a meeting where students could share their opinions about the proposed plan. Dean Flanagan has promised to use feedback to develop a proposal that he will present to Faculty Board. Faculty Board is made up of representatives from faculty, staff, students and alumni.
The decision will have its greatest impact on the Queen’s community, but will not go unnoticed among law students across the province.