1151 Richmond Street, Josephine-Spencer Niblett Building, London, Ontario N6A 3K7
Website: law.uwo.ca |
View Important Information for Applicants to Ontario Law Schools.
Western University, founded in 1878, is one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities. It delivers the “Western Experience,” an exemplary learning experience that engages the best and brightest people, challenging them to meet ever-higher standards in the classroom and beyond. Our main campus, considered to be Canada’s most beautiful, spans 400 acres and provides an idyllic environment for our community of scholars. From our home in London in the heart of southwestern Ontario, and outward across every continent, Western prepares future leaders to succeed. With a population of approximately 400,000, London offers both a “big city” experience and the safety of a smaller community. Affectionately known as the “Forest City” due to its numerous trees and over 200 public parks, London has an extensive trail system that runs along the Thames River right onto Western’s campus, for walking, running, biking, or inline skating.
Western’s Faculty of Law offers a three-year Juris Doctor degree as well as combined graduate and undergraduate degrees in several disciplines. Western Law’s focus on business law in the global environment is unique among Canadian law schools. As Canada’s premier business law school, our vision of business law is multidimensional, encompassing a wide range of economic, public law, and social justice perspectives. Indeed, our strength in business law complements our nationally and internationally recognized strengths in many other areas, including international law, torts, insurance law, intellectual property, constitutional law, and legal ethics.
For students interested in careers in other areas of law, our depth of faculty expertise; our rich array of academic, practical, and international educational opportunities; and our keen appreciation for the breadth and diversity of all dimensions of the modern law school curriculum make the program at Western Law an exciting, dynamic, and enriching experience. Our students succeed in career paths as diverse as our course offerings. We have an abiding commitment to a vision of law that is mindful of the goals of human development and the demands of social justice.
Finally, Western Law provides students with many opportunities to engage in student life. Our class size remains among the smallest in Ontario, allowing more one-on-one time with professors and an enriched classroom and co-curricular experience where many classmates become lifelong friends. We look forward to welcoming you to our dynamic and collegial community.
Academic excellence is at the heart of Western Law. Our faculty scholarship is wide-ranging and our professors make important contributions to law and public policy through their research. In addition, our professors are exceptional classroom teachers who have won prestigious teaching awards. They also value collegiality, providing students with significant opportunities to interact with them as academic and professional mentors. Complementing our full-time faculty is a distinguished group of lawyers who teach courses within their specialties, adding their perspectives as practitioners to the classroom.
Curriculum and Degree Programs
- Juris Doctor degree
- Extended-time JD program also available
- Over 100 courses offered
- Advanced courses offered in most areas of law
- Option of taking Corporate Law in first year, an opportunity unique among Canadian law schools
- Eight optional curricular streams, which offer guidance in course selection and co-curricular activities for students wishing to focus their study on a particular area of law. Each curricular stream culminates in a capstone course that assists students in making the transition from legal education to legal practice.
Western Law’s combined undergraduate programs, which allow students to complete both degrees in six years (one year less than if the degrees were pursued consecutively), are the HBA/JD with the Ivey School of Business and the BESc/JD with the Faculty of Engineering (eight programs). Western Law also offers a combined JD/BCL program with l’Université Laval and the following combined-degree graduate programs:
- JD/MSc (Computer Science)
- JD/MSc (Geology or Geophysics)
- JD/MA (History)
- JD/MBA (Business)
- JD/LLM (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)
Master of Laws (LLM)
Guided by dedicated research-focused faculty, students can pursue studies in areas as diverse as Business Law, Information Law, Intellectual Property, Environmental Law, Criminal Law, Tort Law, Legal History, Philosophy, International Law, Human Rights, Aboriginal Law, and Trade Law. Graduates are well positioned to pursue careers in academia, to grow in their chosen professions, or to pursue further degrees.
Master of Studies in Law (MSL)
The MSL provides the opportunity for a university graduate (without prior legal training and who is not seeking entry into legal practice) to explore a range of areas of law on a full-time or part-time basis. Students can select either a thesis-based program (five courses and a thesis) or a course-based program (eight courses and a major research paper).
Doctor of Philosophy
Western also offers an intellectually stimulating environment for the pursuit of a PhD. The primary aim of the program is to prepare promising scholars for careers as legal academics. Graduates of the PhD program are also well positioned for the workplace, government, or nongovernmental organizations that focus on law and legal policy.
Students who have been admitted to the LLM, MSL (thesis-based), or PhD program are eligible for admission to the collaborative graduate program in Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, which provides interdisciplinary instruction in this area of law.
Special Programs and Practice Experience
The Small Group Program
The Small Group Program lies at the heart of the Western Law experience. First-year students take one core course in a small group of 22 students, led by a professor and assisted by upper-year students who provide peer and academic support. The program provides an interactive and supportive learning environment, which enables students to develop their skills in legal analysis, research, and written and oral communication with personalized attention from their professors. In addition to promoting collegiality and building lifelong friendships, the Small Group Program gives students the confidence and analytical skills they need to become successful advocates.
January Intensive Courses
A Western Law innovation, January intensive courses are designed to provide an active learning experience for every student in the Faculty. First-year students concentrate on practical experiences that develop their research, writing, and oral advocacy skills. Upper-year students choose one limited-enrollment course from a broad range of options, typically taught by high-profile lawyers and visiting scholars from law schools around the world. Several of these courses include experiential components, such as externships, community placements, extended simulations, and site visits.
International Exchange and Internship Programs
Western Law has established exchange partnerships with 20 leading law schools in 16 countries around the world. Each year, we send students to the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Québec. More than 55 placements are offered every year, with two to four places available at each partner school. Course offerings are available in English at all partner schools (with the exception of l’Université Laval in Québec City.) Western Law values and embraces the international experience, believing that, in this era of globalization, exposure to another legal system is of tremendous importance.
Summer International Internships
Through our thriving International Summer Law Internship Program (ISLIP), students have the opportunity to intern with government departments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and private industries. Over the past 10 years, ISLIP has grown to now provide 17 internships in the areas of international and environmental law, business and trade law, and sports law. Internships are usually 10–12 weeks during May to July. Students receive a stipend to assist with travel and living costs.
Western Law offers a number of one-week intensive courses taught by world-renowned visiting professors. These courses change every year, allowing students to engage in the in-depth study of topics including business law, public law, common law, and legal theory. Enrollment in intensive courses is limited to facilitate interaction and individual attention.
Western Law runs numerous advocacy competitions where students develop practical skills and receive feedback about their performances from lawyers and judges. In addition to the competitions below, students also have the opportunity to participate in external provincial, national, and international competitions.
- Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Client Counselling Competition
- Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Labour and Employment Law Competition
- Chaitons LLP Corporate Restructuring Advocacy Competition
- Cherniak Cup Trial Advocacy Competition
- First-Year Appellate Competition
- Harrison Pensa LLP Contract Drafting Competition
- Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP Labour Law Advocacy Competition
- Lenczner Slaght Advocacy Competition in Legal Ethics and Professionalism
- Lerners LLP Cup (Appellate Advocacy)
- Torys LLP Negotiation Competition
Business and Law Speakers Programs
Since 2007 over 20 of the world’s foremost scholars in business and law, including two recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics, have visited Western Law to deliver special lectures. Students enrolled in the Torys LLP Business and Law Pre-eminent Scholars seminar have the opportunity to learn from and engage with these internationally renowned leaders as part of their JD studies.
Community Legal Services (CLS) is among the most progressive legal clinics in Canada and a leader in the cause of access to justice. Our clinic provides free legal services to low-income people in the London community from within the law school and through two outreach offices. Under the supervision of lawyers, students taking clinical courses handle cases dealing with a variety of areas of law, including criminal law, family law, wills, Small Claims Court, and landlord and tenant matters, among others. Students handle all aspects of the case from interviewing a client to drafting pleadings to conducting a trial. First-year students can gain experience as associate caseworkers who assist with the Public Legal Education Program, handle initial interviews with clients, and help caseworkers (upper-year students) with files. Approximately 125–150 students a year participate in the clinic where they receive invaluable experience that will enable them to be better lawyers when they enter the profession.
The Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC) is a division of Community Legal Services that provides mediation services to members of the community who wish to resolve disputes without recourse to the courts. The DRC also offers training to students. Many participating students receive formal academic credit for their work in CLS and the DRC.
The Western Business Law Clinic provides small start-up and early-stage businesses with student legal assistance overseen by practising lawyers who act as mentors. The clinic creates an environment for students to learn invaluable practical skills in the area of business law and gain exposure to a wide range of client files.
The Sport Solution Clinic is a program of AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s National and Olympic Athletes. The clinic offers Western Law students the opportunity to assist our high-performance athletes with a variety of internal administrative appeals, including team selection, discipline, and Athlete Assistance Program carding disputes.
Pro Bono Students Canada is a national program that was launched at Western in 1998. Law student volunteers are matched with community agencies that need legal services but cannot afford them. Volunteers complete legal research or other law-related projects for member organizations under the supervision of a lawyer mentor.
The Tort Law Research Group consolidates Western’s reputation as a leader in the study of tort law. Western has a long tradition of tort law scholarship beginning with Professor Emeritus GHL Fridman, a pioneer in the study of Canadian tort law. Currently one-quarter of all Western Law faculty members teach and publish in this area, including a leading treatise, The Law of Torts in Canada, and a leading casebook, Cases and Materials on the Law of Torts.
The Public Law and Legal Philosophy Research Group, an interdisciplinary initiative at the highest level, facilitates collaboration between Western’s public lawyers and philosophers and visiting scholars from throughout the world. Themes are explored through national symposia, culminating in the publication of edited collections by Cambridge University Press.
The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, edited by Western professors, is published biannually. Articles include abstract issues of legal and political thought as well as more concrete legal matters.
The Western Journal of Legal Studies is a student-run, online, open-access law review focusing on novel and useful contributions to Canadian and international law by students across Canada.
The Canada/United States Law Institute is a joint venture established in 1976 by Western Law and Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. The institute’s mandate is to foster mutual understanding and improved relations between Canada and the United States, achieved in part by exposing students and faculties at both law schools to the legal systems of the other country.
The John and Dotsa Bitove Family Law Library supports the teaching program and research activities of the Faculty of Law (both at the JD and graduate levels), the legal information needs of other faculties and departments at Western, and the local legal community. Library resources include
- experienced, knowledgeable library staff (two librarians and four library assistants)
- an excellent collection of primary Canadian, US, and UK legal materials; periodical literature in legal and related fields; and a large and growing treatise collection;
- access to well-respected online services, such as LexisNexis Quicklaw, WestlawNext Canada, CCH Online, Justis, Canada Law Book, and many others; and
- a convenient public computing cluster for scanning, PC computing, specialized CD-ROM product access, and printing.
Career and Professional Development Office
A Western law degree opens the door to both the traditional practice of law and a host of alternative career options. Our distinguished alumni can be found working across the globe and includes judges, lawyers in both private practice and government, politicians, business leaders, academics, journalists, and social advocates. The Career and Professional Development Office provides support and resources to help students realize their career objectives and succeed in today’s competitive job market. In addition to online and print resources, the office provides individual career counselling/coaching and runs a variety of programs, including résumé and cover letter writing workshops, networking seminars, job-search information sessions, and career-exploration programs. The two largest programs are Western Law’s annual Career Conference, which gives students the opportunity to meet with a wide range of employers, including national and regional law firms, government offices, nonprofit agencies, and in-house legal departments, and our Toronto On-Campus Interview (OCI) program. We also participate in joint Off-Campus Interview programs in Toronto to connect students with employers from Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, and Eastern Canada. Western Law graduates have been extremely successful in obtaining excellent employment opportunities both within Canada and abroad.
The Student Legal Society (SLS) represents all Western Law students to promote their interests and organize professional, academic, athletic, and social activities through more than 50 clubs and committees.
Law students can also take advantage of all Western University has to offer, including health and wellness support, additional campus-wide clubs, and Campus Recreation Center activities: aquatics, dance, fitness, and intramural sports.
The Faculty of Law is strongly committed to excellence and diversity. While we believe that excellence in academic studies is the best evidence of the ability to succeed in law school, we also believe that achievement in other areas may indicate potential for success. Accordingly, our admissions policy, which allows applicants to show their potential in a variety of ways, is designed to produce a mix of students with diverse backgrounds.
Categories of Admission
- Discretionary: Aboriginal, Access, Mature
- Canadian Armed Forces
- Minimum of three years of full-time (or equivalent) university study
- Competitive GPA: 3.7 (80 percent/A-) or higher
- Competitive LSAT score: 160 (80th percentile or higher)
- Highest LSAT score is used
- Oldest LSAT score accepted: June 2013
- Two letters of reference (one must be academic)
- Personal statement
- Autobiographical sketch
- Résumé (for Mature applicants)
- Relevant substantiating documentation for Access applicants
- Community involvement
- Extra- and co-curricular activities
- Awards, honours
- Rigorous research and writing experience
- Personal and professional achievements
- Leadership experience
- Graduate degrees
- Transfer (within Canada)
- Advanced Standing (from outside of Canada)
- Letter of Permission
- Through the Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS)
- Deadline for first-year applicants: November 1
- Deadline for upper-year applicants: May 1
- Fee: $100
- Offers of admission are made on a rolling basis beginning in December
Annual Expenses and Financial Aid
- Full-time tuition and fees (for 2016/17): $21,752
- Estimated books and supplies: $600–$1,200
- Living and other expenses will vary depending on individual needs
- Very reasonable housing costs in London and surrounding areas
- Performance- and need-based entrance scholarships are available for approximately one-third of the entering class
- Financial aid is available through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), bursaries, and loans
- In 2015/16, almost 60 percent of Western’s Law students were awarded almost $1.4 million in bursaries, awards, and scholarships.
Profile of Incoming Class of 2016
- Enrolled students: 176 (drawn from almost 2,100 applications)
- Diverse group of undergraduate programs represented
- Average age: 25
- General category statistics:
Mean “last 2” average: 84 percent
Mean cumulative average: 80 percent
Mean highest LSAT score: 163