Western University Faculty of Law, Canada
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to Canadian JD Programs
About Western University
Western University, founded in 1878, is one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities. We deliver “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.
Since our first class graduated in 1883, we have become a vibrant center of learning. Today we offer over 38,000 students more than 400 undergraduate programs, complemented by an exceptional range of curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities in every Faculty. From our home in Southwestern Ontario and outward across every continent, we prepare future leaders to succeed.
Faculty of Law
Our Faculty of Law was established in 1959 and has a proud tradition of producing great leaders in a variety of fields. With an incoming class size of 185 students, among the smallest in Ontario, we form a collegial dynamic community committed to the success of our students and faculty.
In addition to our challenging and innovative curriculum, you can participate in many clinical programs, advocacy competitions, experiential activities and intensive seminars designed to hone your legal reasoning and practical skills.
The JD Program
AT Western Law, we offer a three-year Juris Doctor (JD) degree program, as well as combined graduate and undergraduate degrees in a number of disciplines. An Extended-Time JD program is also available.
Academic excellence is at the heart of Western Law. Our faculty scholarship is wide-ranging and boasts expertise in business law, constitutional law, international law, insurance law, intellectual property, family law, legal ethics and torts, among many other areas.
Our professors make important contributions to the law and public policy in Canada and the world through their scholarly research. They also value collegiality, providing you with significant opportunities to interact with them as academic and professional mentors.
Small Group Program
At the heart of the Western Law student experience is our Small Group Program. As a first-year student, you will take a core course with a small group of 20-22 students where you will be introduced to fundamental legal skills and provided with an invaluable support system and individualized attention from professors.
This unique program is further enhanced by teaching assistants who conduct hands-on legal research instruction in the library, assist with skills learning and act as mentors.
Our updated curriculum will expand your options and provide greater opportunities for advanced, active and experiential learning.
In first year, in addition to fundamental core courses, you will have the option of taking Corporate Law in the winter term, an opportunity that is unique among Canadian law schools. This will introduce you to the corporate form of organization early on, which is fundamental to many areas of legal practice. Taking corporate law in your first year will also allow you to take more specialized business law courses as early as the fall term of second year, if desired, and provide greater flexibility in your upper-year courses.
In upper years, you will gain additional opportunities to practise your professional writing skills through writing requirements that may include court documents like pleadings and facta, statutory interpretation and legislative drafting exercises, legal memoranda and contracts. You may also have the opportunity to enroll in week-long intensive courses in highly specialized areas of law, such as cannabis law.
Finally, curricular streams are available to provide you with informal guidance on the courses and co-curricular activities you may pursue in light of your interests and career aspirations. The streams will help you understand the relationships between and among courses and progress toward more advanced study in a particular area. They are:
- Business Law
- Criminal Law
- Government and Public Administration
- International Law
- Intellectual Property, Information and Technology Law
- Labour, Employment and Social Justice
Many curricular streams culminate in an optional capstone course in the winter term, depending on student interest. Capstone courses will assist you in making the transition from legal education to legal practice. They combine theoretical, practical and interdisciplinary components that will require you to apply the knowledge and skills you gained over your course of study.
January Intensive Period
Currently, a 3-week period in January is dedicated to providing an intensive active learning experience for every student in the Faculty:
- First-year students concentrate on moot court exercises that further develop their research, writing and oral advocacy skills.
- Upper-year students select 1 intensive course from a broad range of electives. Upper-year students can also participate in external moot competitions or internships/externships that include experiential components.
We value and embrace the international experience, believing that in this era of globalization, exposure to another legal system is tremendously important. Our extensive exchange and summer law internship programs provide you with an enhanced perspective and a keen understanding of the rule of law beyond our borders. We have an active international exchange program, with 20 partnerships in leading law schools around the world.
Each year we send students to law schools in multiple European countries, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Quebec.
Approximately 1 in 5 upper-year Western Law students participates in an exchange program, allowing them to benefit from expanded curriculum options, study legal issues from a new perspective and create a network of international contacts. Each year, we also welcome more than 25 visiting exchange students, adding a unique perspective to the classroom.
Through our thriving Western Law Internship Program (WLIP), you have the opportunity to intern with government departments, international organizations, corporations and firms. The WLIP allows you to expand your knowledge of international, domestic and comparative law issues while applying your legal skills in a professional environment. This enriched educational experience opens a new world of opportunities for you to succeed and prosper in an increasingly interdependent global system.
Global Sustainability Program
Our Global Sustainability Program is designed to train the next generation of leaders in the global mining industry. Students who complete the program will be able to identify the environmental, technological, business, social and legal aspects of global sustainability and apply sustainability theories to current and developing circumstances in the field of resource development. This certification is part of our commitment to teaching mining law best practices and providing our students with unique, interdisciplinary and practical opportunities to learn about this challenging sector.
We offer an HBA/JD (Hons. Business Administration/Juris Doctor) with the Ivey Business School and a BESc/JD (Bachelor of Engineering Science/Juris Doctor) with the Faculty of Engineering. These programs allow you to complete both degrees in 6 years (1 year less than if the degrees were pursued consecutively).
Submit applications for our undergraduate combined-degree programs directly to the Admissions Office at the Faculty of Law by May 1, 2022, for September 2022 admission. June 2022 LSAT scores are accepted.
We also offer a combined JD/LLB (Juris Doctor/Bachelor of Laws) program with l’Université Laval and the following graduate combined-degree programs:
- JD/MSc (Geology or Geophysics)
- JD/MA (History)
- JD/MBA (Ivey Business School)
- JD/LLM (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
Applications to the JD/MSc or JD/MA combined programs must be submitted to both programs separately. This can be done in 1 of 2 ways:
- Apply to both programs separately by the deadlines established by the Faculty of Law (November 1 for fall admission) and the Geology/Geophysics or History Graduate programs. The application for the JD program is available on the OLSAS website.
- Apply to the MSc or MA program by the deadline established by the Geology/Geophysics or History Graduate programs (before or after admission to first-year Law).
In either case, you must indicate on both applications your intention to pursue the combined‑degree program.
The JD/MBA program is a limited-enrollment program administered jointly by the Faculty of Law and the Ivey Business School.
The program is designed for candidates who envision a career in areas where business and law are integrated. It provides an exceptional education for highly motivated, talented students capable of managing the demands of 2 intensive programs simultaneously. In this program, you complete both degrees in just over 3 years instead of the 4 it would take if the programs were completed consecutively.
A minimum of 2 years of full-time quality work experience is required for the MBA program. If you apply to the JD/MBA and you have an LSAT score of 160 or higher, you are not required to write the GMAT. Your LSAT score will be considered by the Ivey Business School instead of the GMAT. You must write the LSAT by November 2021 to be considered for the JD/MBA program, since the MBA portion of the program begins in March 2022.
If you do not meet the work experience requirement for the MBA program, you will still be considered for our regular JD program.
After completing first-year law, you will take both MBA and law courses in your second and third years of study. This schedule allows you to be available for summer employment after first or second year.
Western Law offers students the opportunity to develop practical skills and gain valuable hands-on legal experience through various clinics and programs that support the community.
Community Legal Services: 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 and to Western University and Fanshawe College students. Working at CLS provides law students insight into the real-life practice of law. Under the close supervision of expert staff lawyers, students handle all aspects of legal cases, from interviewing a client to drafting pleadings, to conducting a trial. The clinic handles cases in the areas of criminal law, family law, employment law, landlord and tenant, public legal education, university appeals, small claims court matters, and human rights.
Dispute Resolution Centre: is an experiential program that provides hands-on training to students interested in developing mediation skills. Students meet regularly to participate in mock mediations with expert coaching by a lawyer. Student coordinators are also hired to facilitate this program during the academic year.
Pro Bono Students Canada: pairs law students with community agencies in need of free legal services. Agencies typically involved with PBSC include public interest and non-profit organizations, tribunals, legal clinics, and lawyers working pro bono on a particular case.
Sports Solution Clinic: offers Western Law students the opportunity to assist high-performance Canadian athletes in preventing and resolving sport-related legal issues, including administrative appeals, team selection, discipline and carding disputes. The Sport Solution clinic is the only program of its kind in North America and is available to all members of AthletesCAN.
Western Business Law Clinic: provides small start-up and early-stage businesses with pro bono student legal assistance overseen by practising lawyers who act as mentors. Students learn invaluable practical skills in the area of business law and gain exposure to a wide range of client files.
Career Placement and Bar Passage
Law is a very rewarding profession and the career opportunities for students with a legal education are limitless. Our Career and Professional Development Office (CPDO) operates year round to provide information and tools to help you success in today's competitive job market. As a Western Law student you will have access to:
Career Management Software and Program Tools:
- WERC (powered by 12twenty) - our comprehensive online career centre
- Interview Stream
- The Right Profile Attorney Assessment
One-on-One Career Coaching:
- Career planning and self assessment
- Job search strategies
- Application preparation (resume and cover letter review)
- Interview preparation (including mock interviews)
- Offer negotiation
Career Development Programming and Resources: We maintain an extensive library of career resources and run a wide range of webinars, panels, programs and workshops throughout the year designed to help you:
- explore legal practice areas and settings
- building your professional network
- navigate the recruitment process
- transition to practice
- prepare for the licensing process (including writing bar exams)
Recruitment Programs: We work with employers across Canada to organize a number of interview programs, including On-Campus Interviews (OCIs) for summer positions in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver and the Maritimes. While all Canadian law schools offer career services, what sets us apart is our collegial environment in which upper-year students and alumni take a real interest and active roles as career speakers and mentors.
Bar Passage Rates
The Law Society of Ontario does not publish official bar passage rates, but it is fair to say that over 90% of candidates who sit for the Ontario bar exams pass them.
Tuition and Aid
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Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers
The Admissions Committee is composed of the Associate Dean (Academic), Assistant Dean (Admissions and Recruitment), faculty members and third-year law students. While academic performance and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores weigh heavily in the Admissions Committee’s decisions, applications are reviewed holistically.
We are 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 admission policy, which allows you to show your potential in a variety of ways, is designed to produce a mix of students with diverse backgrounds. We attribute approximately one-third or our assessment to LSAT performance, one-third to academic performance, and one-third to your personal profile (personal statement, autobiographical sketch, reference letters, graduate degrees or other additional education, and LSAT Writing).
There are 2 major categories for admission into first year: General and Discretionary.
We require a minimum of three years of full-time (or equivalent) undergraduate university study, although the majority of admitted students have a four-year degree. We define one year of full-time study as 10 semestered courses. To be a competitive candidate in the General category, you should have a cumulative average of “A-” (80-84%) (grade point average [GPA] of 3.7) and an LSAT score above the 80th percentile. However, meeting these thresholds does not guarantee admission.
The Admissions Committee considers the highest LSAT score and cumulative GPA (including grades obtained on academic exchanges). However, if your cumulative GPA is not competitive, we will give greater weight to your last 2 years of full-time (or equivalent) undergraduate university study.
The Committee also considers factors other than grades and LSAT scores, including:
- personal and professional achievements,
- extracurricular engagement,
- volunteer activities and
- other life experience.
A full course load throughout your undergraduate academic career, research and writing experience, and graduate work are also very positive factors.
For detailed information about our Discretionary Categories (Access, Indigenous, and Mature, and Canadian Forces Access), please visit our website at: https://law.uwo.ca/future_students/jd_admissions/first_year_applications/applicant_categories.html