A Different Kind of Law School
Changes happening now and on the horizon are the driving force behind the creation of Ryerson University’s Law School. Ryerson Law students will learn to be multidisciplinary and business-minded. Ryerson lawyers will be technologically savvy, equipped with diverse work experience, and driven to expand the reach of justice for Ontarians.
Ryerson Law will prepare the lawyers of the future.
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, a focus on entrepreneurship has been added to our academic teaching and research to better prepare students to meet evolving societal needs. The Ryerson Faculty of Law builds on this distinctive history. We received preliminary approval of our program by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) in 2017. On the basis of this approval, we are excited to be opening 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 will be 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. For additional information on the Ryerson Faculty of Law, visit our website.
The overriding purpose of Ryerson Law’s Juris Doctor 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 will leverage Ryerson’s distinctive strengths as a hub for entrepreneurial innovation, and a leader in equity, diversity, and inclusion to develop a fresh educational perspective that combines theory, skill, and practice.
Ryerson Law is built on four main pillars:
- Innovation and entrepreneurship
- Increasing access to legal education and legal services for Ontarians and Canadians
- Equity, diversity, and inclusion
- Sound academic grounding with innovative pedagogy
Ryerson is positioned to bring a fresh new approach to legal education:
- Ryerson’s proven track record in innovation includes the legal field, thanks to our Law Practice Program (LPP) and the Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ). The LPP was established by the Law Society of Ontario 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 postcompletion employment results.
- The world’s first legal tech incubator, 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 Ryerson’s flagship start-up incubator, DMZ, and adds a legal focus. It has already seen the incubation of 26 start-ups while offering its innovation services to outside organizations.
- Ryerson Law also builds 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.
- Ryerson University is uniquely positioned to attract diverse students to our programs and contribute to greater inclusion in the legal sector. Equity, diversity, and inclusion are among Ryerson’s core values: 55% of Ryerson students identify as racialized.
- Experienced law school administrators already work at the university.
Ryerson’s Legal Innovation Ecosystem
We may be a new law school, but we are building on our strengths!
Our program will admit a cohort of 150 students a year. While we do not have current law student statistics, here is some information about Ryerson University, Canada’s market-facing innovation university:
- 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)
Ryerson Law’s faculty will include cross-appointed legal scholars already employed as faculty members at Ryerson and newly hired faculty members. Existing Ryerson faculty members who are to be cross-appointed will be in place by May 2019. The first group of newly hired faculty members will be announced in the spring of 2020.
Ryerson Law’s distinctive teaching model also makes heavy use of legal practitioners in all courses taught in both the first and second years of the curriculum.
Our innovative curriculum has been developed in consultation with the legal profession, the business community, and community organizations. Based on this input, we have a mandatory curriculum in the first two years, together with a mandatory professional placement in the third year. A primary goal throughout the curriculum is to shape practice-ready and future-ready talent to take on a broad range of possible opportunities.
Note: On April 25, 2019, the LSO unanimously approved the application by Ryerson University to have its Juris Doctor (JD) program designated 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 in order to be licensed as lawyers.
All first year courses are mandatory. Ten will incorporate faculty-taught lectures and practitioner-taught breakout sessions. These courses will cover everything from contract and constitutional law to legal research and writing, professionalism and ethics, and Indigenous law. In addition, students will participate in two week-long boot-camp courses, one laying the foundation for professional development and success by engaging in career planning, networking, and mentoring. The other provides an opportunity to explore some of the technologies and innovative business practices that can help lawyers succeed in the age of the consumer.
This year will feature 10 mandatory intensive modules cotaught by faculty members and practitioners, with lectures in the mornings and practitioner-supervised, practice-oriented projects in student “firms” in the afternoons. Topics covered in the modules will include business law, family law, social and legal innovation, intellectual property and privacy, estate law, and access to social justice. Students will also participate in two mandatory boot-camp courses, one focused on business finances and the other on coding.
In the third and final year of the program, the cohort will be divided into two groups who will spend alternate terms in professional placement and coursework in five elective areas, with these elective courses each taught by a single faculty member or practitioner. The placements will offer the chance for students to apply legal knowledge. Typical placements will include law firms, sole practitioners, governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, and not-for-profit organizations. Students will also participate in a mandatory boot-camp course on emotional and cultural intelligence.
Our Juris Doctor program will include a professional placement as well as immersive boot camps designed to teach students everything from coding to innovative business skills to the development of their cultural and emotional quotients.
Access to path-breaking ventures such as the world’s first legal tech incubator, as well as other exceptional experiential learning opportunities, will teach our graduates to be nimble, multidisciplinary, and business-minded.
At this time, we are also exploring joint degrees with other graduate programs at Ryerson — stay tuned.
Ryerson’s Law Library will be an innovative, student-centred facility that supports the JD program’s teaching, learning, and research needs in multifaceted ways. Its collection will reflect the program curriculum, and the library will have sufficient staff to provide services that support the pedagogical and research requirements of both students and faculty. The Law Library will be integrated into the overall learning experience of students. It will build 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
- On-campus Ryerson Residence Buildings: If you are interested in living on campus, check out one of our newest residence buildings, HOEM. HOEM 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. Apply for on-campus housing by June 3, 2020.
- Off-campus Housing Options: Connect with our off-campus housing office to learn more about housing options available, including one-on-one support in finding a unit.
Student Services and Career/Professional Development
Recognizing the importance of support for student success, we will offer access to a broad range of services, including financial counseling, academic advising, health and wellness coaching, and personal counseling.
Ryerson’s Faculty of Law will offer career development services from the first year, engaging students in reflection and career planning from the very beginning. Our career services will provide 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.
Full-time domestic tuition fees for fall 2020 are CDN $26,316, plus ancillary and related fees, contingent on approval by Ryerson’s Board of Governors
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Ryerson Law is committed to diversity and inclusion and to building a robust scholarship and bursary program. We strongly encourage applications from a broad range of experiences.
Substantial awards are in place for students with financial need from historically underrepresented groups, or who demonstrate an aptitude for business and entrepreneurship.
Current awards are listed below. We invite applicants to visit our website for continued updates.
- Torys LLP Scholarships for Indigenous Law Students: Awarded to full-time Indigenous students enrolled in the Ryerson Faculty of Law’s JD program with high academic standing. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.
- McCarthy Tétrault LLP Law School Scholarships for First-Generation Students: Awarded to full-time students enrolled in the Ryerson Faculty of Law’s JD program with high academic standing who are the first generation in their family to attend postsecondary education, with priority given to those who also identify as a “newcomer.” Applicants must demonstrate financial need, and awards will be made subject to a holistic review of their application. Students will be required to maintain good academic standing to be eligible for renewal.
- The Blakes Scholar Scholarship: Awarded to full-time students entering their first year at Ryerson Law School with high academic standing who demonstrate an aptitude for business or entrepreneurship. Additional election criteria may include membership in a historically disadvantaged group as outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and submit a 500-word statement detailing their business or entrepreneurial activities both inside and outside of their academic studies.
- The Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP Law School Scholarship: Awarded to full-time students enrolled in the Law School with high academic standing. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and membership in a historically disadvantaged group as outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Students will be required to maintain good academic standing to be eligible for renewal.
In addition, you are encouraged to consider professional student lines of credit with your financial institution of choice.
The Ryerson Faculty of Law seeks to create a vibrant and diverse academic environment. To ensure that our student body represents the fullest possible range of social, economic, ethnic, and cultural perspectives in our society, the Admissions Committee considers many factors. All files are reviewed holistically.
Applications for the first cohort at Ryerson Law are due through OLSAS by November 1, 2019. With the goal of making legal education accessible to a more diverse range of candidates, Ryerson Law will have a distinct approach to admissions.
- Applicants submit a portfolio with application, including a personal statement, résumé, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and results of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
- Applicants complete a mandatory online interview.
- Holistic approach considers GPA, a written statement, results of the interview, and LSAT score (with significant weighting given to the first three). Ryerson does not have a minimum GPA or LSAT requirement.
- It is preferred that applicants have at least a three-year undergraduate degree (consideration will be given to students with two years’ study with high academic and other performance).
- If applicable, applicants must submit proof of English-language proficiency.
- Highest score used
- Oldest score accepted is June 2015
- Strongly recommended that you write the LSAT by November 2019, and no later than January 2020
Note that the following documentation is required to support your application:
- Official transcripts from the postsecondary institutions you attended
- Official LSAT score(s)
- Your personal statement
- Confidential letters of reference
- Résumé or curriculum vitae
- Proof of English-language proficiency (if applicable)
- Your online interview
It is your responsibility to ensure that all documentation is submitted by the published deadlines.
- Application deadline: November 1
- Application available: August 23
- Application fee: $100 (You may request a fee waiver for the Ryerson portion of the application fee. To be eligible for consideration, you must show inability to pay for the service. You must use the fee waiver application form available at the Ryerson Faculty of Law’s website. This must be done prior to submitting the OLSAS online application.)
- Offers of admission are made on a rolling basis. Application files pending the November LSAT may be disadvantaged.
Ryerson’s JD program is built on a set of pillars that emphasize social innovations and its benefits. Social innovation requires that change happens at various levels, from individuals to institutions. It means being curious about the world and “doing things differently” to advance social goals, while being open to risk and having the capacity to respond to failure. Community engagement is often part of this process and includes working individually or collaboratively to creatively address these issues in a creative manner.
Resilience is an important life skill. Some people face more significant barriers than others in life and in entering the legal profession and demonstrate resilience in overcoming them.
Ryerson’s JD program includes elements such as boot camps on technology and innovation as well as on coding, and many of the mandatory courses have a technological component. You should feel free to discuss your comfort level with technology.
When applying to the program, you should feel free to discuss any aspect of your background that is relevant in this regard.