Lakehead University introduces Founding Dean of Law Lee Stuesser

Lakehead UniversityTHUNDER BAY – Lakehead University is pleased to introduce its Founding Dean of Law, Lee Stuesser. Born and raised in northern Saskatchewan, Stuesser is currently working as a professor and administrator at Australia’s Bond University, where he has been since 2008. Before that, he was a Law Professor with the University of Manitoba for more than 20 years and he has also taught at the University of Ottawa and Royal Roads University.

Stuesser has a distinguished reputation in the Canadian legal and academic community for his writings on advocacy, evidence, and criminal law.

“We are so excited to introduce Lee Stuesser as the Founding Dean of the first Faculty of Law in Ontario in more than 43 years,” Lakehead University President Brian Stevenson said. “He brings the right mix of local and international experience, as well as knowledge of the north. He is the right fit for a Faculty of Law in the north, for the north.”

Stuesser was the clear choice as Founding Dean, said Dr. Rod Hanley, Lakehead’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic).

“He has the vision to implement the Faculty of Law’s ambitious curriculum, which focuses on natural resources law, issues related to the training and retention of lawyers in small and sole practitioner firms, and Aboriginal law,” Hanley said.

For his part, Stuesser says the opportunity to build a Faculty of Law from the ground up is a truly unique and exciting prospect.

“I think the law needs to serve people,” he said. “I look forward to bridging the gap between the practice of law and legal education. We can make a real difference by providing well-trained, committed lawyers able to deal with legal issues relevant to rural and remote practice.”

An expert in Evidence, Canadian Constitutional Law, Trial Advocacy, and Canadian Criminal Law, Stuesser brings to the table a breadth of knowledge that he will use to create an innovative teaching and learning model without precedent in Canada. Last year, his work was cited in 31 legal judgments including two judgments by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Stuesser received a Bachelor of Education from Brock University, an Arts HBA from the University of Winnipeg, and an Arts MA from the University of Guelph before embarking upon his legal studies. He earned a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Manitoba and a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School.

His textbook An Advocacy Primer is used in classrooms across Canada and he just completed a second edition of the Australian textbook An Introduction to Advocacy. “Nothing gives me more joy than to be told by a young lawyer that my advocacy book ‘saved him in court,’ ” Stuesser says.

Lakehead’s newest Dean promises a consultative approach that engages faculty, students, and Northern Ontario’s law community in this inspiring new endeavour.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose today welcomed Professor Lee Stuesser as Founding Dean of Lakehead University’s Faculty of Law.

“I am pleased to join Lakehead University in welcoming Professor Lee Stuesser as Founding Dean of this eagerly anticipated law school,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose, who served on the Chancellor’s Task Force for the law school and the search committee for the founding dean. “I am confident that Professor Stuesser understands our hope that this law school will encourage First Nation youth to pursue careers in the legal profession and will be an important investment in the future of the people of Nishnawbe Aski and all of Northern Ontario.”

Professor Stuesser is the Director of the Canadian Law Program at Bond University in Queensland, Australia. He is an expert in the Law of Evidence, and served as Professor of Law at the University of Manitoba for 20 years and has also taught at the University of Ottawa. His appointment at Lakehead University will commence September 1, 2012.

NAN has worked with Lakehead University since 2005 for the development of a law school that will meet the challenges and needs of the North, including a focus on Aboriginal law. A ‘local’ law school will encourage NAN youth to pursue challenging and rewarding careers while providing First Nations the skills to support and build their communities, which has the potential to break generations of welfare, poverty and despair.

“Access to education is the key to success and will help our youth prepare for the future with a sense of hope, pride and self-worth,” said Waboose. “Lakehead University’s Faculty of Law will provide First Nations with specialized skills to help their communities move towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance through business, economic and resource development.”