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June 7, 2010 7:17 PM

Are Canadian Law Schools 'Psychotic Kindergartens?'

Posted by Brian Baxter

We know more than a few things about Canadians: generally speaking, they like ice hockey, Alanis Morissette, and Tim Hortons. Now an emeritus law professor named Robert Martin from the University of Western Ontario is raising questions about what he says is another phenomenon unique to America's northern neighbor: bad law schools. As part of his argument, Martin says those schools should be closed and turned over to the homeless.

And you thought legal education was under fire in the United States

Martin's gripe, which was first reported on last month by The Guardian, was presented in a somewhat obscure article he wrote for the scholarly journal Interchange last fall titled "University Legal Education in Canada is Corrupt Beyond Repair." (Hat Tip: Inside Higher Ed.)

Martin, an author known for his somewhat unorthodox ideas, suggests that Canadian law schools are far too focused on teaching niche legal issues and being politically correct. (Click here to purchase a copy of Martin's diatribe, which Inside Higher Ed notes is available only to subscribers and also takes a swipe at Canada's universities.)

"Each fall, a horde of illiterate, ignorant cretins enters Canada's universities. A few years later, they move on, just as illiterate, just as ignorant and rather more cretinous, but now armed with bits of paper, which most of them are probably not able to read, called degrees," Martin writes, courtesy of The Guardian. "Canadian universities are closed and fearful institutions, which actively enforce uniformity on their members."

Martin is especially worked up about tuition rates at Canada's law schools. Pointing to a tuition hike to $20,000 in 2001 at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law, Martin says the move opened the way for other law schools in Ontario to follow suit, setting prices that he writes are "both extortionate and fraudulent."

"If tuition fees were to bear any resemblance to the inherent quality of what was being purchased, they would likely be set at the level of $12 per year," Martin writes. "There are two phrases that can be used to describe every law faculty in Canada. The phrases are 'feminist seminary' and 'psychotic kindergarten.'"

Critics of Martin's article, of which there are many in the Canadian legal blogosphere, point out the professor's history of making extreme statements and the relative obscurity of the forum in which he presented his arguments.

Martin himself told Macleans in an e-mail that "I believe in being direct and to the point. If one is to spend one's time paralyzed by the fear that one's writing might offend someone, then one should not be writing."

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By the way, Western is like the Arizona State or whatever of Ontario. There's only one reason to go there, and it should not take you more than six seconds to guess.

Dan- lame hate and highly misleading to compare Western to Arizona State.

Just because there's a higher percentage of attractive females walking the beautifully tended grounds of the school, does not mean the law school is not superior to the school you attended, which i'm guessing was Osgoode or Queens.

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