Canadian Lawyer

May 2024

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 51

FEATURE CROSS EXAMINED 6 DESIGNING A CURRICULUM FOR THE FUTURE As his law deanship at UCalgary ends, Ian Holloway reflects on putting tradition aside to move the legal academy forward IAN HOLLOWAY is a history buff, but he is no traditionalist. Holloway's term as the dean of UCalgary Law ends in June, and, as the longest-serving law dean in North America, he has spent his career pushing for innova- tion in the legal academy. But as a leading legal history scholar, he has criticized law schools with a deep knowledge of the institutions he has served. "I'm very keen on history, and I don't believe you can understand the world as it is today unless you understand the world as it was," he says. Holloway did not come from a professional family, having never met a lawyer before he went to law school and being the second person in his family to finish high school. After graduating from law school, Holloway joined what became McInnes Cooper. He practised labour and employment law and appeared in every court level, including the Supreme Court of Canada, which he says gave him "the professional confidence to carry myself as a lawyer." Yet an unexpected tragedy – his mother's death after routine surgery – caused him to rethink his career. Holloway left McInnes Cooper and travelled to England to reflect. He visited the courts and Parliament, reigniting his passion for the law. "I wasn' t sure what I wanted to do precisely, but I didn't want to turn my back on the law altogether. So, I decided to do an LLM." Holloway accepted an offer at the University of California at Berkeley, where one of his professors told him that "interesting things are going to happen in the Asia Pacific region." So, he then packed his bags for Australia, where he enrolled in a PhD program. He soon began teaching and eventually became the associate dean at the Australian National University. "The associate dean had to step down very quickly [and] unexpectedly. And the dean came to me and said, 'Look, I need you.' And I had no aspirations to do it." Once he settled in Australia, Holloway met his now-wife, became an Australian citizen, and served in the Australian Navy. Holloway eventually returned to Canada in 2000 when he was offered the deanship at the University of Western Ontario's law school. He says his outsider status in Canada's legal academy made him attrac tive to t h e s e a r c h c o m m i tt e e . " W h e n I w a s gone from Canada, the Canadian legal academy had gone through a protracted period of heightened tension… The fact that I had no connections with the school was one of my chief qualifications for the job because I couldn' t be identified with one party or another." He pushed for closer ties with the law firms that employed most law graduates – which no doubt angered some of his colleagues who saw law school as more of an academic than a professional school. Yet Holloway is unapologetic about his focus on the practicalities of his students' careers. "Our placement rate went up; our quality of students went up." When Holloway's term was nearing its end at Western, he was invited by the University of Calgary to advise its dean search committee, but the committee ended up offering him the job. "I'm very keen on history, and I don't believe you can understand the world as it is today unless you understand the world as it was" Ian Holloway, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian Lawyer - May 2024