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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Director of Legal Resources and Communications
The seventh meeting of the Dean’s Forum on Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice (the Dean’s Forum) was held on March 13, 2019. The Dean’s Forum is an initiative that engages justice community stakeholders in Saskatchewan, including the Law Society, in a dialogue about access to justice and the future of the justice system.
The associated Dean’s Forum course, unique to the College of Law, offers law students a rare experiential learning opportunity to contribute to justice policy alongside these stakeholders, who are leading members of the legal profession.
Students presented on and forum participants addressed two topics: “Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession” and “Meeting Saskatchewan’s Justice Needs with Technology”.
Participants were divided into groups to engage in a breakout session focused on diversity and inclusion at private law firms in Saskatchewan The common themes that emerged from discussion included:
In response to these themes, the students created a syllabus on diversity and inclusion containing modules which could be extracted and incorporated into law courses, as well as educational sessions for lawyers. Here are the reports:
This session was structured so that the Dean’s Forum attendees were part of a hypothetical ‘think tank’, tasked with ideating how to use technology to improve the legal empowerment of the public. The attendees were introduced to the ‘think tank’ by being asked to consider how to strengthen the public’s access to credible and centralized legal information online in a matter that would improve the public’s capacity to exercise their legal rights and responsibilities. The think tank was asked to identify any ‘pain points’ that a user might experience in trying to resolve their legal issue. Following this breakout session, the think tank once again broke out into groups to develop solutions or “ideate” surrounding these pain points. The below follow-up report outlines the important insights drawn from the discussions. The think tank found that it is in the public interest that the legal community embrace technology and in order for the legal community to do this effectively, the community needs to adopt a “start-up” mentality. This involves embracing the client-centred approach to creative problem solving and empathizing with the client. For more information, read these reports:
Congratulations to the Dean’s Forum for being this year’s recipient of the Provost’s Prize for Collaborative Teaching & Learning!
For more information, please visit the Dean’s Forum webpage.