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Chris Bentley has been appointed executive director of the Law Practice Program (LPP) at Ryerson University. Bentley has been a strategic advisor to Ryerson on several different projects over the past year and was instrumental in the university’s successful proposal to the Law Society of Upper Canada to become the sole English-language provider of the new, innovative LPP in Ontario.
“We are very pleased that Chris has agreed to take on a more formal role with Ryerson, overseeing the development and implementation of the Law Practice Program,” said Mohamed Lachemi, provost and vice president academic. “His experience as a lawyer and educator, working with clinics and in government will help ensure that LPP participants receive a rich and fulfilling training experience that is consistent with Ryerson’s reputation as an innovative, career-focused university.”
The LPP is a rigorous and demanding eight-month program that will produce career-ready law graduates with real-world experience in all facets of the practice of law. The three-year pilot will provide participants with the same level of preparation as traditional articling, but will leverage Ryerson’s expertise in technology, distance education and experiential learning to prepare participants using groundbreaking training and tools that reflect the changing needs of society and law school graduates.
As executive director, Bentley will work closely with Avner Levin, chair of the Law and Business program at the Ted Rogers School of Management and academic director of Ryerson’s Law Centre, as well as university faculty, staff and members of the legal profession in Ontario, to develop curriculum and establish work placement partnerships throughout the province for eligible law school graduates who are entering the licensing phase of their careers.
“Practicing lawyers appreciate Ryerson’s reputation as an innovator in post-secondary education and the passion that students, faculty and staff have shown for legal research and education in the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs,” said Bentley. “I am already hard at work on behalf of Ryerson, working with the legal community and the Law Society as we develop a program that will prepare candidates to succeed in their careers.”
Prior to retiring from politics last year, Bentley served for almost 10 years as the member of provincial parliament for London West. He held several cabinet posts, including attorney general for Ontario. He received a law degree from the University of Toronto, and a master’s level diploma in legal studies from Cambridge University. Bentley practiced criminal and labour law for over 20 years, taught part-time at the Western University for almost a decade, was the first chairperson of Neighbourhood Legal Services of London and Middlesex, and authored a practice manual for criminal law.