Law Foundation funds online learning, libraries and articling reform

$500,000 for online learning

The Law Foundation has made a grant of up to $500,000 to the Law Society, the UBC and UVic faculties of law, PLTC and CLE to collaborate on a two-year project to provide online learning for the legal profession in all areas of the province, at any time.

The plan is to develop an online curriculum in a particular area of law (such as technology/e-commerce law, family law or elder law) through the course of law school, PLTC, articles and continuing professional education. The curriculum would include such features as video or audio, PowerPoint slides, chat rooms, threaded discussions, formative and summative assessments and face-to-face instruction.

A goal of the project is for the partner organizations to develop a common approach, look and feel for online learning that supports a continuum of learning, to reduce costs for lawyers and to enhance the quality of learning.

The grant is subject to submission of a more detailed work plan and budget by January 15, 2001 and that there be no duplication with the Continuing Legal Education website redevelopment (CLE.web), for which a separate grant of $500,000 over two years was also approved.

$65,120 for virtual law library project

The Law Foundation has approved a grant of $65,120 to cover the Law Society of B.C.'s contribution toward the development of what has popularly become known as the "virtual law library."

This virtual law library project was initiated by the Federation of Law Societies through the creation of Canadian Legal Information Institute (CANLII), in partnership with the LexUM (University of Montreal) computer law research team. The vision of CANLII is to create an original web resource that will make primary legal materials available free on the Internet, accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no cost to lawyers or the public. The same user-friendly search engine will work for all collections on the site: see the October-November, 2000 Benchers' Bulletin for details.

The prototype phase of the project is underway thanks to funding from all law societies in Canada. In the next phase, to which the Law Foundation funding will apply, the technological infrastructure of CANLII will be refined and the caselaw collections expanded.

$406,000 for Law Society articling reform

The Law Society will tackle an extensive research and consultation project to improve articling and PLTC. In particular, the project will research the education and training needs of articling students; consult widely on university and professional cooperative education programs that may be helpful in enhancing articling; link and strengthen PLTC and articling; research online learning resources; develop articling education plans and conduct a pilot project on an enhanced articling and PLTC program.

The grant is subject to submission of a more detailed budget and work plan to the Law Foundation by January 15, 2001.