By Denise Paglinawan
Fourth-year industrial engineering student Aidan Messom used to have a strong interest in law. He considered taking a law minor but had a change of heart after seeing the list of courses required to obtain the minor.
“It was very business-oriented and that is not really what I find interesting about law,” Messom said.
Ryerson’s law minor is offered by the law and business department at Ted Rogers School of Management. The two required courses for the minor are business law and advanced business law.
“If you are someone who is interested in law but not interested in business law, as soon as you pull up the list of courses to take, you could very easily be discouraged,” said Messom, who is the president of the Ryerson Law Network.
Messom said if there was a law minor more focused on human rights or other aspects of law, he would have put more consideration on taking the minor.
Although Ryerson will soon have a law school, the department of law and business has no plans to revamp the law minor, said its department chair Chris MacDonald.
“The fact that there will now be a law school means it is even more clear that law and business can and should stick to teaching business law,” MacDonald said.
But this means non-business students would still be focusing on business law if they wanted to have a law minor. For some students, this would be challenging.
Stephanie Liu, a second-year journalism student, planned to take a law minor because of her interest in human rights law.
Liu found the introductory course interesting but had difficulties keeping up with the next law course she took because of her unfamiliarity with business concepts.
“I have to put in the extra work to understand business concepts,” she said. “I feel like it’s very unfair for us [non-business students]. It’s very discouraging especially if we want to potentially pursue a law career in the future.”
She said she didn’t continue taking the minor because she “did not think it was something I would be successful in” and business law did not give the confidence she needed to pursue law any further.
On the other hand, Ryerson will be adding more undergraduate law courses when the law school opens, said Sari Graben, chair of the law and business curriculum committee.
At the moment, there is still no information on what courses will be added or when they will be offered, she said.
Meanwhile, there will be no emphasis on business law in the proposed law program, said Anver Saloojee, dean of record for the proposed program. There will, however, be mandatory and elective courses dealing with business topics.
Saloojee said the law program will be focused on “professional preparedness with an emphasis on social justice and innovation.”