The Open Casebook Revolution
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The open access law book “revolution” (as named by The Faculty Lounge), is gaining momentum. Open access law books are materials compiled and edited for law students, practitioners and/or the public that are freely hosted on websites and as downloadable, searchable, printable, mark-up-able PDFs. In the United States, dozens of open access law casebooks are popping up on platforms such as SSRN, Open Textbook Library, eLangdell and H2O.
In Canada, CanLII hosts Professor Beswick’s casebook, Tort Law: Cases and Commentaries, and Messrs
Fiddick and Wardell’s handbook, The CanLII Manual to British Columbia Civil Litigation. These materials are freely available alternatives to commercial cas
ebooks and handbooks, which are typically expensive, heavy, and have a short shelf-life.
Open access law books have clear practical, pedagogical and societal advantages. On the practical side, compared to commercial alternatives, open access books are simpler to edit, faster to publish, easier to update, and free. On the pedagogical side, they empower flexibility and innovation. They can be more readily structured to suit the editor’s teaching aims. They can link to podcasts 🎧, videos 📺, blogs, news, articles, books, and judgments. Readers can keyword search and highlight text. Students don’t break their backs carrying them. They can also be integrated with quizzes and exam exercises. On the social side, open access legal materials advance access to justice. Commercial materials are often beyond the reach of the public and, in some cases, students.
Open access legal publications help to keep the law accessible.
This roundtable will appraise and praise the practical, pedagogical and societal benefits of open access law books for law teachers, students and lawyers. We will begin by taking 10 minutes each to highlight the design innovations of our respective books and the impact we see them having.
We will then discuss among ourselves and with attendees the tricks and challenges for making such materials. We hope to encourage others to venture into creating open access casebooks, handbooks and other resources for students and curious members of the public.
Sarah Sutherland (session chair), President and CEO, Canadian Legal Information Institute
- Samuel Beswick, Assistant Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia (presentation slides)
- John Fiddick, Director, Whitelaw Twining.
- Cameron Wardell, Partner, Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP
INCORPORATING LAW AND DISABILITY INTO THE CURRICULUM
June 29 1230-2PM EST
|Please register in advance for this meeting: click here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.|
22% of Canadians over the age of 15 have at least one disability. Graduates of law schools will serve clients with disabilities, work alongside colleagues with disabilities and may themselves have or acquire disabilities over the course of their career. Key competencies for graduating law students include being familiar with how the law conceptualizes and addresses disability and having frameworks to critique the shortcomings of the existing law.
The aims of this session are
(1) to provide concrete examples of how topics relevant to meeting the legal needs of individuals with disabilities can be incorporated into a wide range of courses across the law school curriculum and
(2) to engage law professors in a discussion of these topics. Each participant will discuss a different area of law and how they bring awareness of the lived experiences of persons with disabilities into their classroom teaching.
The session will touch on:
- models of disability and theoretical underpinnings
- equality and human rights law
- accessibility legislation (including the federal Accessible Canada Act)
- employment law
- benefits law
- criminal law
- tort law
- administrative law
- mental health law
Time will be reserved after the roundtable for a dialogue among participants and attendees.
The session participants include the contributors to Law and Disability in Canada: Cases and Materials (Toronto: Lexis Nexis Canada, 2021) and David Lepofsky, a longtime disability rights activist, who has a forthcoming article in the Windsor Yearbook on Access to Justice entitled, “People with Disabilities Need Lawyers Too! A Ready-To-Use Plan for Law Schools to Educate Law Students to Effectively Serve the Legal Needs of Clients with Disabilities, As Well As Clients Without Disabilities”.
Anna Lund, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta (moderator)
- Odelia Bay – PhD Student, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and co-author Law and Disability in Canada: Cases and Materials
- Ruby Dhand – Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University and co-author Law and Disability in Canada: Cases and Materials.
- David Ireland – Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba and co-author Law and Disability in Canada: Cases and Materials.
- Laverne Jacobs – Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor and lead author and General Editor, Law and Disability in Canada: Cases and Materials.
- Richard Jochelson – Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba and co-author Law and Disability in Canada: Cases and Materials
- Freya Kodar – Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria and co-author Law and Disability in Canada: Cases and Materials.
- David Lepofsky – Disability Advocate, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Toronto and Chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.
Brandon Stewart (Dalhousie) and Lynda Collins (Ottawa) are inviting people to join in on June 1, 2021 from 1:00-3:35pm EST for an online symposium on Teaching Wellbeing in the Law.
Speakers will include:
- Professor Marilyn Poitras (University of Saskatchewan), who created Canada’s first law school course in “Happiness and the Law” and now directs the Indigenous Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan
- Professor Rhonda Magee (University of San Francisco), author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming our Communities through Mindfulness
- Professor Thomas Telfer (Western University), who teaches “Mindfulness and the Legal Profession”
- Daniel Lussier-Meek (University of Ottawa), Director of Indigenous and Community Relations
- Professor Brandon Stewart (Dalhousie University), co-author of “Engendering Hope in Environmental Law Students”
- Professor Jordana Confino (Fordham University), who teaches a course on Positive Lawyering
- Professor Karen Ragoonaden (University of British Columbia), who is an expert in Mindful Approaches to Anti-Oppression Pedagogy
- Professor Lynda Collins (University of Ottawa), who teaches “Happiness and the Law”
- Heather Cross, Appellate lawyer and teacher of “Mindfulness in the Law”
Below you can find both connection information and a working program. Please direct any questions related to the symposium to [email protected]Read more
We are pleased to announce the following events for the CALT webinar series. Please click on each link for more details:
- Teaching Canadian Tort Law in Its Social Context (September 30)
- Critical Perspectives in Tax and Business Law: A Roundtable on Legal Pedagogy (October 21)
CALT is honoured to host this event as part of its ongoing webinar series, on Monday, July 13, 2020, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., EDST, via Zoom:
This session will bring together individuals teaching civil procedure and related subjects to discuss how they might address issues of anti-black and other racism during the 2020-2021 school year. The session aims to enable self-reflection and collaborative thinking. The listed contributors will not try to offer definitive answers. Instead, they will prepare a list of questions to guide the discussion, will seek to elicit ideas from the participants, and will offer some of their own ideas for how they plan to address these subjects. The session aims to foster a community of civil procedure teachers across Canada who are committed to race-conscious teaching and learning and who will continue to learn from one another.
The Canadian Association of Law Teachers held two online fora (in “roundtable” format) on law teaching and learning in the COVID context.
The COVID pandemic of 2020 has compelled law faculties to move to online teaching and prompted other major changes, such as modified evaluation schemes. What lessons can law teachers draw from these unprecedented shifts? What further needs are arising, and how should we be trying to meet those needs? What is likely to be the lasting impact? While we lament the circumstances, have we gained any valuable insights or perhaps discovered new approaches that are worth preserving?
The English version took place on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 from 1PM to 3PM EDST.