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Official Guide to Canadian JD Programs350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
A Different Kind of Law School
At Ryerson University, our tradition is innovation. Situated in Canada’s largest urban area and financial centre, we are known for our dedication to meeting societal needs through career-relevant education and practical learning. In recent years, we added a focus on entrepreneurship to our academic teaching and research to better prepare students to meet evolving societal needs.
The Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University (Ryerson Law) builds on this distinctive history. We received preliminary approval of our program from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) in 2017. Based on this approval, we opened our doors to the first cohort of students in September 2020. Like all common law programs in Canada, with either full or preliminary approval, the Ryerson JD program is subject to the FLSC annual review process. A law program that is compliant with the National Requirement will be eligible for full program approval only once it graduates, or is about to graduate, its first class.
In addition, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) unanimously approved the designation of our JD program as an Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC). That means students who graduate from Ryerson Law will not be required to article or complete the Law Practice Program (LPP) to be licensed as lawyers.
The 4 Pillars
Ryerson Law is built on 4 key pillars:
- Innovation and entrepreneurship
- Increasing access to justice
- Equity, diversity and inclusion
- Sound academic grounding with innovative pedagogy
Our proven track record in innovation includes the legal field, thanks to our Law Practice Program (LPP) and the Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ).
The LSO established the LPP as a pathway to licensing. It was awarded to Ryerson because of our unique approaches to innovation and experiential learning. The LPP combines an innovative practical training component and a hands-on work placement. Over a thousand candidates have benefited from the new opportunities this pathway has created, with excellent post-completion employment results.
The world’s first legal tech incubator, the LIZ, supports innovative companies making significant improvements in the delivery of legal services through smarter, faster and better approaches. It takes advantage of the expertise of our flagship start-up incubator, DMZ, and adds a legal focus. The LIZ has already seen the incubation of 26 start-ups while offering its innovation services to outside organizations.
We are uniquely positioned to attract diverse students to our programs and contribute to greater inclusion in the legal sector. Equity, diversity and inclusion are among our core values: 50% of Ryerson students identify as racialized.
We also build on many other areas of expertise at the University. Numerous faculty across Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management and Ryerson’s Criminology Department hold advanced degrees in law and conduct legal research, and experienced law school administrators already work at the university.
The JD Program
Fall 2022 JD Projected Enrollment – 150 full-time
Fall 2021 JD Admissions
- 2521 applicants
- 152 enrolled first-year class
Fall 2020 JD Admissions
- 1953 applicants
- 171 enrolled first-year class
Ryerson University Overall Enrollment
- 198,000 alumni worldwide
- 44,000 full-time graduate and undergraduate students
- 62 undergraduate programs
- 55 PhD and Master’s programs
- MBA regarded as one of the top business programs in Canada (Canadian Business)
- DMZ at Ryerson regarded as one of the top university-based incubators in the world (UBI Global, 2018)
The Lincoln Alexander School of Law's Juris Doctor (JD) Program
We prepare and empower the lawyers of the future. The overriding purpose of our JD program is to train lawyers who can adapt to new trends by concentrating on practice-readiness in all of its forms. To do this, we leverage our distinctive strengths as a hub for entrepreneurial innovation and as a leader in equity, diversity and inclusion to develop a fresh educational perspective that combines theory, skills and practice.
The program’s first year covers the basics of a legal education, with all courses being mandatory. You gain a grounding in the law in a wide range of areas corresponding to the FLSC requirements. We apply a co-teaching model that combines the participation of faculty and practitioners in each course to emphasize the practice-readiness of the program. Each course also incorporates a range of evaluation methods to ensure students are gaining necessary practice-based skills, in addition to acquiring necessary knowledge.
A mandatory week-long intensive course starts each of the 2 semesters. The fall semester intensive course lays the foundation for legal education. The winter semester intensive course provides an opportunity to explore some of the technologies and innovative business practices that can help lawyers succeed in the age of the consumer.
The program’s second-year courses are a mix of mandatory and elective courses.
Mandatory course work includes:
- Business Law and Practice,
- Civil Procedure and Practice,
- Business of Lawyering and
- 2 technology-related courses (1 in legal analytics and 1 in legal design).
Business Law and Practice, and Civil Procedure and Practice involve several weeks of course work that meld substantive learning and mentored simulated practice relevant to each subject area. Much of the course work also employs “firms” comprising 7 students overseen by practitioners. This immersive approach prepares you for the type of focused learning expected of legal advisers in a variety of organizational roles.
Mandatory 1-week intensive courses again start the year’s 2 semesters. The fall semester intensive course introduces you to several coding languages. The winter semester intensive focuses on accounting basics and provides extensive practice in using Excel as a financial tool.
The program’s third year incorporates a semester featuring a mandatory placement in an organization where legal knowledge is used. Typical placements include law firms, sole practitioners, governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, corporations and not-for-profit organizations. You also complete a semester of course work in which you are offered a wide variety of exciting and engaging electives, allowing you to dig deeper into specific substantive areas of interest.
A mandatory intensive course starts the semester of course work. This intensive course helps you recognize and understand the impact of your own emotions and identify and address cultural biases. These abilities are critical to your success in all projects.
Ryerson’s Law Library is an innovative, student-centred facility that supports the JD program’s teaching, learning, and research needs in multifaceted ways. Its collection reflects the program curriculum, and the library has sufficient staff to provide services that support the pedagogical and research requirements of both students and faculty. The Law Library is integrated into the overall learning experience of students. It builds on the traditional academic skills and knowledge that have always been at the heart of legal education by helping to develop:
- An ability to use innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to develop better legal solutions — including an awareness of how modern business techniques and technology can lead change
- The interpersonal and leadership skills necessary to lead and succeed, whether working in teams, with other disciplines, or across jurisdictional boundaries
- The skills needed to work nationally and globally, both inside and outside the legal profession
Student Experience and Engagement
The Office of Student Experience and Engagement is the focal point for all co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law. Law students will have a chance to get involved with student government, clubs and societies, associations, optional and competitive mooting competitions, clinics, and other law-related extracurricular activities that will enhance and expand upon the academic curriculum.
The Mooting Program presents students with the opportunity to dive into a broad range of skills required within the profession. Students may engage in Moots centred on oral advocacy at the appellate level on a discrete legal issue or those that require you to communicate clearly and competently with a client who may speak a language different than your own. The Lincoln Alexander School of Law Moots bring to life the oral, written, and interpersonal skills law students will build upon and foster over their years.
Commencing in the first year at Ryerson, the Mooting Program will provide an invaluable opportunity to build skills, work with practitioners in the field, and collaborate with classmates as students work through simulated and novel problems, and groundbreaking legal issues of today. There will be a range of optional moots in the Fall (for all years), and competitive moots in the Winter term for upper year students.
In the second year at Ryerson, students will have the opportunity to enroll in JUR305 Moot and Advocacy. This course provides a range of skills necessary for effective advocacy in moot settings. Skills highlighted in the course include the interpretation and application of moot materials, legal research, written & oral advocacy, and teamwork.
The Lincoln Alexander School of Law continues to create opportunities for students to work within the Community, supervised by practicing lawyers, on a broad range of legal issues, and across multiple jurisdictions. Engaging with clients, applying your knowledge and skills, and working through legal and ethical issues, students will learn and experience what community lawyering is all about. The Lincoln Alexander School of Law community clinics will provide opportunities for learning and experiences in real-world settings.
Additional Co-Curricular Activities
In addition to student government and clubs, students will immerse themselves in law-related experiences that will span the national spectrum, working directly with people, communities, and technology, providing access to justice while building on their own skills, passions, and ideas. Some examples of these opportunities involve working with youth through pipeline initiatives, working with community clinics and organizations, and working on a range of projects through the newly formed Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) Chapter at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law.
PBSC is a national pro bono organization with Chapters at 23 law schools across the country. Its mission is to provide free legal support to people and communities facing barriers to justice. Each year, about 1,600 PBSC volunteers provide approximately 140,000 hours of free legal services to over 400 organizations, courts, and tribunals across the country. Students will be given the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of organizations in conjunction with the pro bono chapter at the law school.
Ryerson Law is built around the pillars of community and increased access to opportunities. Our Mentorship Programs are designed to support students through their law school journey by providing them with access to a community of mentors to help guide their law career.
Peer to Peer Mentorship
Ryerson’s Tri-Mentoring Program offers Peer to Peer Mentorship, providing peer matches with current 2L students at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law and upper-years from other Canadian Law School universities. Whether students need advice on exam writing skills, what extracurricular activities to get involved in, or just a conversation, the Peer to Peer Mentorship program is available.
Mentorship in the Field
This program aims to assist our law students in all aspects of their law school journey and beyond. Students will be provided with opportunities to connect and network with lawyers waiting to provide confidential guidance and support, and a window into life after law school.
Students interested in the program are encouraged to sign up at the beginning of each school year. With the Mentor in the Field Program, students are provided the option to be paired with someone of the same background. Students are also matched with lawyers from law firms, industry and government, based on their legal industry interests.
Crown Law Office - Criminal (CLOC) and the Lincoln Alexander School of LawMentoring and Inclusion Program
The CLOC mentorship program provides students with direct access to one of the premier criminal law offices in Canada. Mentors provide students with an introduction to all aspects of criminal practice, from arguing appeals in the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada, to providing advice on policy, to conducting jury trials.
If you are interested in living on campus, check out one of our newest residence buildings, HOEM. This building offers a suite-style residence experience with 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom units, with a 12-month lease. Spaces are available for graduate and law students.
The Off-Campus Housing Office provides Ryerson students with resources and information to facilitate their own housing search.
Career Placement and Bar Passage
The Lincoln Alexander School of Law offers career development services from the first year, engaging students in reflection and career planning from the very beginning. Our career services provides group and individual support to students as they participate in their program, with support both towards securing their third-year placement, as well as career guidance regarding summer, licensing, and other work opportunities. As Canada's newest Law School we are excited to have our first batch of graduates in 2023.
Tuition and Aid
Tuition and Fees
Tuition and fee amounts listed above are for the 2021/22 academic year and are subject to change for future years.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Ryerson Law is committed to diversity and inclusion and to building a robust scholarship and bursary program. Substantial awards are in place for students with financial need from historically underrepresented groups, or who demonstrate an aptitude for business and entrepreneurship.
We strongly encourage applications from a broad range of experiences, and invite students to visit our Scholarships & Awards page for further details.
Domestic students in Ryerson's JD program are eligible for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). Please visit our Fees & Financial Assistance page for more details.
In addition, students are encouraged to consider professional student lines of credit with their financial institution of choice.
Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers
We seek to create a vibrant and diverse academic environment that is focused on developing a new kind of lawyer: One who is innovative, adaptable and well equipped to meet evolving social challenges and shifts taking place in the Canadian legal market. Our assessment is grounded in 3 of our key pillars:
- increasing access to justice,
- stimulating technological innovation and entrepreneurship, and
- promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.
To ensure that our student body represents the fullest possible range of social, economic, ethnic and cultural perspectives, the Admissions Committee considers many factors. The goal of the Committee is to evaluate each applicant’s potential by completing a holistic review of the application through a diversity lens, without setting a minimum GPA or Law School Admission Test (LSAT) requirement.
The Committee considers:
- all postsecondary studies
- your best LSAT score
- Personal Statement (School Submission)
- reference letters
- resumé and Autobiographical Sketch
- online interview (completed through a separate link that will be sent after we receive your application from OLSAS)
Any information provided is considered in a manner consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
There are 2 applicant categories: General and Indigenous. You must choose the General category unless you feel you qualify for the Indigenous category.
We welcome and encourage Indigenous candidates to apply to our program. We are committed to improving access of Indigenous people to law school and increasing the representation in the field of law.
If you apply to the Indigenous category, you must include in your Personal Statement an outline of your relationship and connection to your community, which could include the impact of colonization on your family, or your connection to Indigenous culture. One of your reference letters can also corroborate your interest in, and identification with, your Indigenous community.
Note: If you wish to be considered as an access or mature candidate, select the appropriate category and review the Personal Statement (School Submission) requirements for including the relevant information in your application. We do not require additional/corroborating documentation and we request that you do not submit confidential medical, psychoeducational, legal or other related documents with your application.
You must have completed a minimum of 3 full years (30 one-semester courses or equivalent) in an undergraduate degree program at a recognized university. We will calculate your GPA using your 20 best one-semester (or equivalent) undergraduate degree courses. Non-degree and graduate studies will not be used in the GPA calculation. We do not set a minimum GPA requirement for consideration.
We calculate your GPA using the courses you completed by the end of the summer term in the year you apply. We do not recalculate it using the courses you completed during the admission cycle. Updated transcripts are not required unless requested.
We consider all eligible undergraduate degree courses in your GPA calculation regardless of term completed, course load or level of study. We also consider the courses you complete in additional undergraduate degree studies (e.g., additional degree programs, individual courses, special/visiting student).
We will not use your graduate studies, diploma, certificate, non-credit and vocational courses in your GPA calculation.
We will consider diploma-to-degree completion programs if your university transcript includes final grades for the minimum number of courses used in the GPA calculation.
Applicants With Fewer Than 3 Years of University
We encourage applications from candidates who can demonstrate, through non-academic experience, including employment, community involvement and other life experiences, the ability to complete our program successfully.
You are eligible to apply if both of the following conditions are met:
- You have not attended university or have completed fewer than 3 full years (or equivalent) of university studies (as of June 1 of the admission year).
- You have a minimum of 5 years of non-academic experience after high school (as of September 1 of the admission year).
Non-academic experience typically includes at least 5 years of full-time work experience and some combination of volunteer work, significant life skills and experiences. Non-university academic studies will also be taken into consideration and academic transcripts for all postsecondary studies are required.
The following documentation is required to complete your application:
- Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions you attended, including those as a visiting or exchange student or study abroad program
- Official LSAT score(s) and the dates of any 2021/2022 LSAT to be written
- Personal Statement
- Letters of reference (1 academic reference strongly recommended)
- Resumé or curriculum vitae (CV)
- Online interview
It is your responsibility to ensure that all documentation is submitted by the published deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
You are required to provide a full academic background, from the start of high school onward, in your OLSAS application. Transcripts for all postsecondary studies, including transcripts from studies as a visiting or study abroad/exchange student, must be submitted through OLSAS.
If you completed your undergraduate degree studies outside Canada and the United States, World Education Services (WES) must assess your transcript(s). All documentation must then be submitted through OLSAS. WES assessments are not required for graduate studies, studies completed as a visiting student, or on a study abroad/exchange program.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
You are required to take the LSAT. We consider your highest result, as reported by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), and we do not set a minimum LSAT score for admission consideration.
Your LSAC account number and the dates of any planned future tests must be submitted in your OLSAS application. It is in your best interest to ensure this information is submitted by the November 1 application deadline.
We strongly recommend that you write the LSAT by November 2021. The LSAT must be written in January 2022 at the latest, including the LSAT Writing. You may use LSAT scores only from the past 5 years (i.e., back to, and including, June 2017).
The LSAT consists of 2 portions:
- A Multiple Choice portion (scored)
- An LSAT Writing (formerly called the Writing Sample) (unscored)
You must complete both portions for your score to be released to OLSAS.
If you are a prior test-taker and you will be re-writing the LSAT, you do not need to complete the LSAT Writing again for your new Multiple Choice scores to be released to OLSAS.
Your Personal Statement (School Submission) is a critical part of your application. It will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee in conjunction with the responses to the mandatory online interview and the other application components.
In your statement you may wish to elaborate on any barriers that you have faced, including but not limited to cultural, socio-economic, medical or physical barriers, learning disabilities, or extenuating circumstances, and their impact on your life.
Additional/corroborating documentation is not required, and we request that you do not submit confidential medical, psychoeducational, legal or other related documents with your application.
Note: If you are applying in the Indigenous category, you will also need to include an outline of your relationship and connection to your community, which could include the impact of colonization on your family, or your connection to Indigenous culture.
The statement must be authored entirely by you and it must not exceed the maximum character length, including spaces. The statement has 2 parts:
- Part A (maximum 5,000 characters)
Tell us why you want to attend law school at this point in your life and, more specifically, why you want to attend the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University (Ryerson Law). Refer to our vision, values, curriculum and programming in your response. You should touch on at least 2 of our foundational pillars – increasing access to justice, stimulating technological innovation and entrepreneurship, and promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Part B (maximum 2,500 characters)
Tell us what you feel your strengths, challenges and relevant experience (e.g., lived experience, work experience and volunteer experience) can contribute to the program and student life at Ryerson Law.
Letters of Reference
You must provide 2 letters of reference. It is strongly recommended, but not required, that 1 of these letters be from an academic referee.
Referees should have extensive personal knowledge of you to make statements about your character, personal qualities, academic competencies, employment performance, volunteer contributions and other areas that may be of interest to the Admissions Committee.
You need to arrange for your referees to use the OLSAS Confidential Assessment Forms that are provided with the application. All letters of reference are confidential and must be submitted by the referee directly to OLSAS.
Note: If you are applying in the Indigenous category, you can have 1 of your reference letters corroborate your interest in, and identification with, your Indigenous community.
Resumé and Autobiographical Sketch
You must submit as part of your OLSAS School Submission an up-to-date resumé or CV. You should include (with applicable start and end dates, where relevant):
- Work experience
- Extracurricular activities, including volunteer work
- Academic background and credentials achieved
- Professional development (training/courses/certificates)
- Research, publications and major speaking events/conferences
While similar to a resumé or CV, the Autobiographical Sketch on the OLSAS application is a separate, distinct component that you must complete. Include a brief overview of all activities, generally from the end of high school onward. The standard categories include employment, volunteer activities, extracurricular activities, awards and accomplishments, and research. You may also include other activities you feel are relevant to your application.
After we receive your OLSAS application, we will send an invitation to the email address on your OLSAS application that grants you access to the online video interviewing portal and provides you with further information. Before beginning the interview, you can watch a brief video that introduces our program and explains how the online interview process works.
To ensure that you receive the email invitation, add email@example.com to your email contact list and regularly check your spam/junk folder.
The invitation email will include your deadline to complete the interview (generally 2 weeks from the invitation date). You must complete the online interview to be considered for admission.
An excellent command of spoken and written English is essential for success in law school. If your first language is not English and your postsecondary education is/was in a language other than English, proof of English-language proficiency may be required. Applicants will be contacted directly if additional documentation is required.