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Number Of Indian Law Graduates Increasing

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      DECEMBER 1978      v08 n12 p40  
SASKATOON - The number of graduate lawyers of Indian or Metis ancestry in Canada has increased dramatically since 1973, when the University of Saskatchewan introduced its annual summer program of legal studies for native people.

Then, there were only four qualified native lawyers in the entire country; today, 31 have law degrees and 10 more are expected to graduate next spring from law schools across the country. Most of these completed the summer program in Saskatoon, which is administered by the University's Native Law Center.

The aim of the program, which attracts an average of 20 students each year, is to introduce native people to the nature and methodology of legal studies so that they can cope more successfully with subjects taken in law school. In this way, it helps to overcome the cultural and educational barriers that tend to discourage native students from embarking on a legal career.

Professor Roger Carter, director of the Native Law Center, said the program is also helping to create a career model for young native students to follow.

"This likely encouraged some of the students who entered law school without our program to consider law as a career option. In fact, one measure of our success will be the extent to which young native students are motivated to enter legal studies on their own."

Of those students who have successfully completed the eight-week summer program, 62 per cent have been successful in their subsequent law studies in one or other of Canada's law schools. Before entering the program they must obtain assurance they will be accepted by a law school upon successful completion of the summer course. Normally, students wishing to study law in Canada must first complete the equivalent of two years of academic work at the university level. In particular cases, however, and in implementing "mature student" admission policies, law schools may relax the usual standards.

Number Of Indian Law Graduates Increasing

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      DECEMBER 1978      v08 n12 p41  
Students from every province and from the Yukon and Northwest Territories have enrolled in the summer program. They have received financial support for both the program and their subsequent legal studies from the federal and several provincial governments. Each summer, the teaching staff is drawn from law faculties across the country. Law students who previously completed the program assist with the intensive tutorial work that supplements the lectures.

Professor Carter said the program was introduced to provide Canada's native people with some meaningful representation in the ranks of legal profession.