Editor’s Letter

Paloma Van Groll (3L) & David Gruber (3L)

The law school is operating out of borrowed space for yet another year. Construction of the new Hal Jackman law building is delayed, and Flavelle House is a right mess. An asbestos kind of mess. A good number of our administrators, including the esteemed dean, are new or temporary hires. 1L is going through its experimental phase, and the first-years are the lab rats on which this radical and impulsive study is being conducted.

The Year of the Guinea Pig. It’s a title the last three classes of U of T 1Ls have felt entitled to – and with good reason. Our year, the current 3Ls, were the first 1Ls to be subject to the new grading system. The current 2Ls were the first 1Ls to start their legal life in the “transitional space” (where the only thing permanent is the feeling that nobody’s driving this bus). This new crop of students is the first to experience the virgin semesterised system.

The new building construction is a daily visual reminder of what’s happening to U of T’s law program: gutted from the inside and not yet fully formed. When the dust settles on all these developments, will we be a better, more “elite” law school?

Finally, the legal profession is at a turning point, and there’s a more-than-insignificant chance that the turn it takes will be for the worse. Hiring numbers for law school graduates continue to look increasingly ominous for those of us who have mortgaged our futures on this proposition. And our administration has consistently opted to address this issue through a fingers-in-ears, “La, la, la, I can’t hear you!”-type of approach.

“Change We Can Believe In,” Obama said in 2008. Will we, the student body, and also we, young legal professionals, emerge from these academic and professional transformations like phoenixes rising from the ashes of the schools and legal landscapes of yore? To put it another way, Ultra Vires does not foresee any shortage of material for the upcoming year. Writing in Ultra Vires has been an outlet for those who want to speak out about these changes, and we hope to continue in that tradition. We are continually impressed by our fellow students’ abilities to engage with these issues and make their voices heard.

Based on our experiences last year, we have high hopes for what’s to come. Emily Debono ushered in a new day for our humble publication. The news was more scandalous, the analysis more insightful, and the tasteless gags more numerous than ever before. We also established a significant online presence, which helps us reach beyond the (literally) crumbling walls of this institution and connect with students and legal professionals from across the country.

Over the summer we assembled a crack team of editors, writers, photographers, yarn-spinners, and soothsayers to help us run the show. But we can’t do it alone. We’re counting on your contributions, articles, photographs, comments, criticisms, and – if the mood should strike – perhaps your praise.

We invite anyone with an inside scoop about what’s going down at the law school to get in touch with Brett, who’ll be running News. Tali and Alex are the ones to holler at if you feel a burning desire to write a Feature. Even if your desire is merely lukewarm, they can help you work it out. If you’re feeling particularly opinionated (which, as law students, is all of you at all times) drop a line to David Pardy and Marita of Opinion Editors fame. Lastly, the ever-so-wonderful-and-witty Alanna and Lisana are the ones you want to go to with all your farcical, strange, and silly Diversions ideas.

If you want to write or have any feedback of any kind, contact us at ultra.vires@utoronto.ca, send us a Facebook message, tweet at us at @UltraVires, or contact a section editor directly.

David & Paloma