Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New benchmarks set as law firms Osler and Torys give unprecedented gifts of more than $2M each

Law Building Campaign Launch

More than 200 alumni and friends of the Faculty of Law gathered on Nov. 29, 2011 to celebrate the launch of a $53-million building campaign to position Canada’s number one law school for a future of boundless leadership, potential and vision.

In a packed and energized Flavelle House, the iconic heritage building at the Faculty of Law and future anchor to the new building, guests were delighted to hear the exciting news of the campaign’s success to date. The project has received incredible support from the University of Toronto, as well as from Faculty of Law alumni and friends. More than $37 million has been raised, which has propelled the Building Campaign forward to 70% of the overall goal.

In particular, the law firm community has provided unprecedented support for the Faculty of Law building campaign.  Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP and Torys LLP, with gifts of more than $2 million each, have set new benchmarks for law firm giving in Canada.  The campaign has also received several individual alumni gifts of $1 million or more, including from former U of T Chancellor Henry N. R. Jackman, John Schumacher and David Asper.

Law Building Campaign Launch

Faculty of Law Dean Mayo Moran with David Palmer, U of T VP Advancement.

"Nothing is as important to the future of this incredible institution as physical renewal,” said Mayo Moran, Dean of the Faculty of Law.  “We are so grateful for the extraordinary generosity of the law firms and individuals who have come forward so early in the campaign to support our aspirations."

Campaign Co-Chair Clay Horner, LLB 1983, remembered when he first started law school. “The facilities seemed old then. But tonight, I’m feeling really fantastic about the future of the law school.”

Added Horner: “Many alumni are greatly appreciative to the law school for what it did for their personal journey, and learning, and how it contributed to their personal success. But these individuals also believe in the importance of the future of the law school, and the crying need to have a great physical plant to allow students and faculty to do even more amazing work.”

The constrained physical facilities have been limiting the Faculty of Law’s potential as a research and leadership centre locally, nationally and internationally. Three external reviews—and critical student feedback—have identified the limitations as a serious issue.

Law Building Campaign Launch
(L-R) Alumni Deb Dalfen, Torys, former dean and U of T president Rob Prichard,
Torys, Students’ Law Society president Aaron Rankin, Jamie Shulman and
former dean/Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci

Students’ Law Society president, Aaron Rankin, spoke of some of these issues. “Locker rooms feel like a sauna, you can’t find a water fountain anywhere, and one student didn’t realize how inaccessible the law school really was until an injury put her in crutches.”

The new building will increase space by 50 per cent, to 66,000 square feet, and will have three distinct elements: a multi-storey wing on Queen’s Park Crescent; an extensive interior renovation to the Bora Laskin Law Library; and a light renovation to Flavelle House.

This state-of-the-art building will enable the law school to continue to compete for top law students and world-renowned faculty. The expanded facilities add much-needed contemporary teaching, learning, research and collaborative space not only for JD and graduate programs, but also for professional and continuing education courses, and ground-breaking new initiatives such as the Global Professional LLM, and Internationally Trained Lawyers Program.

Designed by Toronto firm Hariri Pontarini, the new structure completes a cultural and architectural renaissance along Philosopher’s Walk and in the Avenue Road and Bloor Street quadrant, which includes the ROM’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal and the Royal Conservatory’s Telus Centre for Performance and Learning.

“I love the University of Toronto’s Boundless Campaign because our abilities and potential at this law school are boundless, and we’ll be able to realize more with the new building,” said Dean Moran.

See a slideshow of the event.

For further information on our Law Building Campaign, view:

In the media:

Campaign Launch Video

 Photos: Jeff Kirk