My name is Faith Cameletti and I'm a 1L in Section D at Osgoode Hall Law School. I'd like to be Dean for the Day for 2017. I believe accessibility should be Osgoode's top priority for the next three years. Please watch my video submission to find out why:
Recommendations for increasing accessibility to legal education:
- Prioritize financial resources for students who are economically insecure. Cost is one of the greatest factors keeping bright, capable and qualified students out of our classrooms.
- Remove barriers to admission for students with disabilities. One of the biggest obstacles for students with disabilities is the LSAT. Taking the LSAT is gruelling task for everyone. But the difficulty of the exam is exacerbated for students with disabilities. Students with visual impairments who use adaptive technology, students with medical conditions like chronic illness or chronic pain, students with learning disabilities or students with mental health conditions like anxiety or depression are all disadvantaged by the exam.
- Aside from removing barriers to admission, we must also increase our supports for students with disabilities while they’re studying at Osgoode. Although Osgoode has students with disabilities, there is no dedicated staff person that handles accommodation requests or adaptive supports. This means students must correspond with multiple staff at Osgoode, York main campus, York libraries and York housing to have their accommodation needs met. Requesting accommodation takes time and energy away from students who are already short on time and energy because of their impairments.
Recommendations for increasing access to justice:
- Integrate design thinking and complexity theory when addressing legal issues in the classroom
- Facilitate and create opportunities for faculty to collect data on the specific costs of justice*
- Be candid with students about the realities of today's legal market, not every law school graduate in Ontario will successfully secure an articling position. Students should be encouraged to explore and pursue "alternative careers" to the traditional call to the bar, including working with self-represented litigants, working in alternative dispute resolution or structured negotiation, developing innovative legal technologies or collaborating in multi-disciplinary practices (MDPs).
*This research has already been initiated by Osgoode's Trevor Farrow and Nicole Aylwin in "EVERYDAY LEGAL PROBLEMS AND THE COST OF JUSTICE IN CANADA: OVERVIEW REPORT." More research is needed.