Teaching Medical Malpractice Advocacy at the University of Toronto

Recently I had the privilege of speaking to the summer students in the LAWS program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, my alma mater, on advocacy and the role of a lawyer in the conduct of medical malpractice litigation. The students spent a whole week on the study of medical malpractice including the law, rules of court, framing their case and preparing and conducting a mediation.

The students were given a fascinating fact situation involving the failure of a kidney organ transplant and the rights of both the organ donor and the transplant recipient. I was startled when I was first given the case scenario as it bore an eerie resemblance to a case that we had just taken in some 4 weeks ago and are still actively investigating.

While we did cover the litigation process and aspects of mediation as part of the curriculum I was also able to present on the role of the advocate, the techniques of advocacy, what it takes to be a trial lawyer and the peculiar challenges of acting for plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case. What became very apparent to me was how engaged these students were in preparing for their future careers. The coordinators and educators at the program do a great job and I certainly recommend the program for someone who wants to gain exposure to the workings of the legal system and the work that a lawyer actually undertakes in litigation.

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