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Official Guide to Canadian JD Programs401 Red River Road, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1, Canada
The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University is one of Canada’s newest law schools. Located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and situated in the historic Port Arthur Collegiate Institute (PACI) built in 1909, the law campus overlooks Lake Superior and the Sleeping Giant.
We provide the highest standard of legal education, where knowledge of the law is fused with practical application.
Our program focuses on the realities of living and working in the North: On Aboriginal and Indigenous Law, Natural Resources and Environmental Law, and small firm practice with the Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC).
Our focus is on the following:
- Preparing our students for the practice of law immediately upon graduation by fusing the theory of law to the practice of law through skill development exercises under the IPC
- Aboriginal and Indigenous Law
- Natural Resources and Environmental Law
- A foundation in the essentials of small firm and solo practice
Our advantages are the following:
- Small class sizes
- Professors who have a passion for teaching and who challenge and engage our students
- IPC built on practical skill development exercises
- Students graduate practice-ready, without the need to article
Maamawi Bimosewag (They Walk Together) Indigenous Law and Justice Institute
As of April 1, 2021, we are the proud hosts of the Maamawi Bimosewag (They Walk Together) Indigenous Law & Justice Institute. The Institute's Director will lead us through this three-pronged journey. The first pillar of the Institute will focus on relationships – working with Indigenous communities and organizations to build capacity towards the revitalization of Anishinaabe and Métis law; the second pillar will involve land-based learning – developing curriculum and delivering a law camp to engage students, faculty, and community in Indigenous land law; and the final pillar will foster a lively research environment – engaging students, community-based researchers and faculty in Indigenous law and building on our existing Indigenous law conferences.
Our student body is comprised of individuals engaged in our three mandate areas from communities in Northern Ontario, Ontario, and other provinces. We are proud of our student body diversity and are committed to encouraging Indigenous applicants to our legal program. Due to our IPC, we cannot accept transfer or visiting students.
With our small class sizes, our professors and staff know all the students by name. Our professors are committed and passionate about teaching and they strive to challenge and engage our students.
The JD Program
The first-year program for all students is mandatory. In addition to core law courses (Contract Law, Criminal Law, Torts, Property Law, Constitutional Law, Legal Research and Writing), every student will have mandatory Aboriginal and Indigenous Law courses in both their first and second year, and Aboriginal and Indigenous law will be woven into all courses where appropriate.
Students will experience our innovative IPC designed to prepare them for all types of legal roles. With a focus on small firm practice, we support our students to become thoughtful and effective lawyers in all environments. Our students are experiencing success on Bay Street, clerking for the Supreme Court of Canada and the Superior Court of Justice, and working in smaller law firms, government offices and legal aid clinics across Ontario.
Upper-year electives cover a broad spectrum of interests, with many focused on issues pertaining to the North. We also have strong clinical experience courses. In addition to the required courses, you will take electives available to both second- and third-year students. Law electives will be selected from a variety of courses such as Commercial Law, Insurance Law, International Law, Critical Race Theory, Labour and Employment, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Trusts, Remedies, Advanced Criminal Law, Environmental Law, and many other topics.
The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law is home to two legal clinics: (1) Lakehead University Community Legal Services; and (2) Newcomer Legal Clinic. Students can participate in these clinics by enrolling in a clinical course. Under the direct supervision of lawyers, Student Caseworkers offer free legal services to low-income residents of Northwestern Ontario.
As part of the IPC, all students will have a full-semester Practice Placement in their third year. The Practice Placement is a great opportunity for our students to work alongside practicing lawyers and apply their skills in a legal setting.
Career Placement and Bar Passage
Our mandate is to prepare graduates for the practice of law in smaller centres and in rural regions of Canada where there is a shortage of legal practitioners. However, with a focus on skills training and practical application of the law throughout the 3-year program, our graduates will be a valuable asset to any firm or legal office, big or small!
Our Director of Student Services and Skills works with students to develop their job application packages including cover letters and resumes. We also work with students on developing their interviewing and networking skills. As part of the IPC, our students will also participate in a 4-month Practice Placement in their third year. The Practice Placement will place students in firms and legal offices across Ontario, allowing them the full experience of working in an area of law that interests them. Students will have the option to article after graduation if they wish, but all will be eligible to sit for the bar exams and will be called to the bar after graduation without the need to article.
Tuition and Aid
Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships
Tuition and ancillary fees for incoming 1L students in 2021–2022 totals $18,039.22. Entrance scholarships are offered to our top candidates based on GPA and LSAT scores, and are included with offers of admission. You do not apply for entrance scholarships; you are automatically considered.
Lakehead University offers over $11 million in funding each year through scholarships, awards and bursaries. The Student Awards and Financial Aid office's "MyAwards" database makes it easy for students to input their information and find out which scholarships, awards and bursaries they may be eligible for. We want to ensure all our students have the necessary financial information, support and resources to complete their education.
Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers
Admissions and Applications
All applicants must apply through the Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS).
We review all files holistically: we assess GPA and all transcripts, best LSAT score, personal statement, references, and an autobiographical sketch to determine best fit for law and our program. Competitive applicants will have a minimum 75–80 percent plus average in their overall undergraduate programs. The Admission Committee assesses applications in light of all the above criteria.
We strongly encourage Indigenous applicants from across Canada to apply to our program. Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University is committed to improving Indigenous representation in the Canadian legal community.
Applications open in August and close November 1.
First-round offers are usually extended in early December, and then rolling admission will continue until the class reaches capacity, usually in midsummer.
Admission is competitive as we receive a large number of applications each year.