Bill Flanagan holds a B.A. (English and Philosophy) from Carleton University (1982), a J.D. from the University of Toronto (1985), a D.E.A. in international economic law from Paris I (Université Paris I-Sorbonne) (1986), and an LL.M. from Columbia University (1989). He joined the Faculty of Law at Queen's University in 1991 and served as Dean of Law for 14 years, from 2005 to 2019. He was a law clerk for the Hon. Justice Estey of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1986-87.
His teaching interests include International Economic Law, Business Associations, and Property Law. His scholarly work spans a number of areas, including property law, corporate law and international trade law. He served as Co-Chair of the Queen's Annual Business Law Symposium from 1998-2005.
In 2001, he founded the Faculty’s International Law Program, offered each spring at the Queen’s University Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceaux Castle in the UK, and served as the Academic Director of this program until his appointment as dean in 2005. The program includes about 50 law students and offers a range of courses in public international law and international business law, including study trips to major international organizations in The Hague, Paris and Geneva.
During his term as dean, milestones included the establishment of a PhD program in 2008, the founding of the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace in 2010, the addition of three new clinics in family law, elder law and business and the co-location of all five of the law school’s clinics downtown in 2014, and a major expansion of the business law program including the establishment of the Allgood Professorship in Business Law in 2016 and the Sigurdson Professorship in Corporate Law and Finance in 2017.
Thinking creatively about new program offerings, under his leadership the school launched an online Undergraduate Certificate in Law Program in 2017, with more than 2000 students taking one of these courses in 2018/19. This was followed by the launch of a new online Graduate Diploma in Legal Services Management in 2019, a unique program that provides training in key business skills for lawyers, from financial literacy to innovation and entrepreneurship. Also announced in 2019, the school will develop a new online Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law, training the immigration consultants of tomorrow. When launched in January 2021, the school anticipates over 500 students a year in this new program.
With new resources, the school was able to expand its faculty numbers by 25% during his tenure, enriching the range of courses available to students and deepening the faculty’s research output. All the faculty’s classrooms and study spaces were renovated, transforming the school and providing a first-class learning environment for our students. Throughout, annual donor support was key to all these new initiatives, increasing over five-fold during his tenure as dean.
Reflecting the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, in 2016 he initiated an annual demographic survey of the incoming class. Drawing students from across Canada, over 35% identify as a member of a racialized group, 19% were born outside of Canada, 14% are the first in their family to attend university, and 15% speak a language other than English or French as their mother tongue. Responding to the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report, in 2019/20, the school had over 20 Indigenous JD students, an all-time record. Signaling the law school’s commitment to the incorporation of Indigenous legal knowledge, in 2018 the law school unveiled a dramatic art installation in the faculty’s atrium by Indigenous artist Hannah Claus.
He served as President of the Council Canadian of Law Deans (CCLD) from 2011 to 2014, and the law school representative on the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, its report published in 2013.
He has also been active in the area of community service. He served as Chair of the Board of the AIDS Committee of Toronto from 1993-1995, Canada’s largest community-based HIV service organization. He served as Chair of the Board of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network from 2003-2008, a provincially funded organization that supports HIV-related research in Ontario with an annual budget of over $11M. He also served part-time as Executive Director of the Canada AIDS Russia Project from 1998-2004, a $3.3 million research and training project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. In recognition of his community service, in 2011 he was named to the Honour Role of the Ontario AIDS Network. In 2014, he was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. He is currently serving as Chair of CANFAR’s National Working Group on HIV & AIDS Research, a group of HIV researchers and community leaders from across Canada who are working together to develop and implement an action plan to end the HIV epidemic in Canada.
Recent Professional Achievements
- Dean, Queen's University Faculty of Law, 2004-2019
- Member of the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters 2012-2013
- Board member, Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research 2014 to present
- Named to the Honour Roll of the Ontario AIDS Network in 2011
- President of the Canadian Council of Law Deans, 2010 to 2014
- President of the Board, Ontario HIV Treatment Network, 2003-2008
For more information, please consult Professor Flanagan's CV.