The school profiles in LSAC’s Official Guide to Canadian JD Programs offer information about admission requirements, special programs, financial aid, and more. Each page also includes a link to the school’s website.
Official Guide to Canadian JD Programs
You can search for schools by province or filter schools by keyword using the search boxes below.
The responsibility for legal training in Canada is shared between the nation’s law schools and the law societies of the various provinces. Law schools are institutions of higher learning dedicated to the study of law as a legal discipline; provincial law societies are charged with assuring that legal services are provided to the public by qualified lawyers. Law societies operate the bar admission courses and continuing education programs for lawyers.
Most law schools share a common approach to training lawyers but differ in the emphasis they give to certain subjects and teaching methods, such as opportunities for independent study, clinical experience, legal internships, and involvement with government affairs. Many schools offer joint degrees as well; they may combine the law degree with other disciplines, such as business or public policy.
Canada’s Two Legal Traditions
In Canada, the French civil law tradition is dominant in Quebec and the English common law tradition is dominant in the other provinces and territories. In order to practice law in Quebec, it is usually necessary to obtain a civil law degree from a law school in Quebec or in the civil law program of the University of Ottawa. To practice law in common law jurisdictions, it is usually necessary to obtain a degree from one of the common-law law schools referred to on this website. Canada has a series of mobility agreements, as they are known, which have greatly facilitated the movement of lawyers, on either a temporary or permanent basis, between the various provincial jurisdictions. More detailed information about the protocols, and the requirements for practicing law, can be obtained from the law societies of the various provinces.
Canadian Aboriginal/Indigenous and Traditionally Underrepresented Applicants
Most law schools have active programs to foster a more diverse representation in the legal profession. Many schools have academic support programs for students. Refer to the law school description on this website or to each school’s calendar for additional information.
People of Aboriginal ancestry may also be eligible to apply for participation in the Program of Legal Studies for Native People. This program enables Canadian Aboriginal/Indigenous applicants to engage in a preliminary study of legal materials by attending a full-time summer course offered at the University of Saskatchewan. The program helps to prepare Aboriginal students for law school; successful completion of the program will strengthen their applications to Canadian law schools and may be, in some cases, required for admission.
The Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Legal Education
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by The Honourable Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, issued its final report. Recommendation 37 called upon Canadian law schools to incorporate Aboriginal Law and indigenous legal perspectives in the law school curriculum:
We call upon law schools in Canada to require all law students to take a course in Aboriginal people and the law, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and antiracism.
Aboriginal content has featured in the Canadian JD for many years now, but all Canadian law schools are now considering how they will best honour this call to action.
Admission to the Bar in Canada
In order to be admitted to the practice of law, the requirement in most provinces is that
- a candidate possess a law degree from a recognized law school, and
- a candidate serve a period of apprenticeship as an Articling Clerk under the supervision of a qualified member of the Bar in the province.
Articling usually involves working on a full-time basis with modest pay as a clerk in a law firm, a court, or the legal department of the government or a corporation. The length of this articling clerkship varies from ten months to one year, depending on the province. Each provincial law society also administers a bar admission course or set of bar admission examinations that must be completed successfully before a candidate may be admitted to the provincial bar. Bar admission courses and examinations cover a wide range of topics. Their emphasis is generally on practical knowledge and skills. The evaluations in these programs are designed to ensure that new members possess the knowledge, skills, and attitude expected of an entry-level lawyer in a competent and professional practice. Ontario has recently introduced a companion program to Articling. Known as the Legal Practice Program (LPP), it consists of a period of post-JD full-time skills-based study, together with a period of internship in a legal setting. At the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University, which has a particular mandate to train lawyers for northern, rural, and Canadian Aboriginal/Indigenous practice, the JD program has been given special accreditation to incorporate the LPP with the JD program itself with the completion of extra credits during the JD. For more information, contact The Law Society of Upper Canada .
Bar admission in Quebec usually requires graduation from a civil law school, followed by a term attending Bar School, and a period completing the Stage, which is the civil law equivalent to Articling.
Bar admission procedures and bar admission exams are being monitored and reevaluated in Canada. One should always contact the law society in the particular province concerning the structure and format of its individual course and examination prior to graduation from law school.
- Applying to Ontario Law Schools — Important Information
- Black Law Students Association of Canada
- Canadian Bar Association
- CanLII — The Canadian Legal Information Institute makes available primary sources of Canadian law, gathering legislative and judicial texts as well as legal commentaries from federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions.
- Federation of Law Societies of Canada : The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is responsible for regulating Canada’s 95,000 lawyers and Québec’s 3,500 notaries in the public interest.
- Indigenous Bar Association
- NALPCanada.com —The Association for Legal Career Professionals’ Canadian site provides the user-friendly Canadian Directory of Legal Employers (CDLE).