Osgoode Hall Law School
Internationally renowned as one of Canada's largest and most distinguished law schools, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University offers students an extraordinary legal education. We are a vibrant community and take pride in our highly intelligent, passionate and engaged faculty, outstanding students, dedicated staff and renowned alumni. Our innovative teaching program fosters a strong foundation in legal reasoning, diverse perspectives on law, and an understanding of law's transformative role in promoting a just society. We offer an unparalleled array of experiential learning opportunities to equip students with the practical skills necessary for successful careers in law, public policy, government, business and academia. Osgoode produces original and significant legal scholarship, and opens students' minds to the many ways in which they can make a difference.
Per jus ad justitiam: Through law to justice.
From our full-time professors to our part-time faculty of practising lawyers and judges from the Greater Toronto Area, Osgoode students have the opportunity to work with Canada's brightest and most distinguished legal minds. Osgoode's faculty members have achieved national and international distinction. Renowned as productive and innovative scholars, they are frequently called upon for public service, as members of public commissions and tribunals, and as advisers on vital and challenging issues. Although they bring with them a wide array of experience, perspectives, teaching approaches and evaluation methods, our faculty members are united in their supportive, open-door approach. They contribute to the diversity and pluralism of the learning experience at Osgoode and foster excellence in every facet of what they do.
The Student Body
The Law School attracts a vibrant, diverse and exceptionally talented student body, not only from Ontario, but from all regions of Canada and beyond. Through our general admissions category, we accept students with excellent academic records and signficant non-academic achievements, many of whom have graduate degrees in other disciplines. Through our Indigenous admissions category, we encourage applications from students who identify with and have a connection to an Indigenous community. Our admissions decisions are based on a holistic set of criteria including undergraduate grade point average (GPA), the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), non-academic achievements, as well as other relevant factors such as community engagement and leadership experience. Our admissions policy also encourages applicants to identify any barriers they have overcome in seeking to enter the legal profession. The admissions policy and procedure, supported by substantial entrance scholarships and bursaries, ensure excellence and rich diversity among our student body. Please see osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/juris-doctor/jd-admissions/ for admissions information including eligibility requirements, application components and application deadlines.
The Law School's size allows for an exceptionally rich and varied curriculum with opportunities to explore theoretical and policy perspectives integrated with substantive law, legal analysis and lawyering skills in a wide range of subject areas. Our first-year program is distinguished by its emphasis on relevant trends in legal practice and invites students to reflect on questions of professionalism and ethics. The curriculum combines strengths in traditional subjects with innovative offerings. With approximately 150 courses, seminars and special programs available in the upper years, students can create an academic program substantially tailored to their unique interests and career aspirations. Students may also participate in one of four optional curricular streams: International, Comparative and Transnational Law; Litigation, Dispute Resolution, and the Administration of Justice; Tax Law; and Labour and Employment Law.
With the creation of the Office of Experiential Education, the first of its kind at a Canadian law school, Osgoode institutionalized its position as a leader in experiential education. Osgoode is committed to providing students with a solid foundation of professional skills required to practise law and a keen appreciation of how the theory of law applies in practice. Students can complete a variety of experiential opportunities while at Osgoode. At a minimum, all students will complete one experiential course for academic credit and a law-related public interest placement. Beyond these requirements, students may explore many more of the diverse experiential education programs available. The Criminal Law Intensive and the Intensive Program in Poverty Law at Parkdale Community Legal Services began more than 40 years ago. They were the first programs in North America to provide intensive full-term, 15-credit clinical experiences in real workplaces. Building on their success, Osgoode has created a wide array of clinical programs that offer students the opportunity to experience first-hand the practice of law in many different areas. These programs, as well as lawyering and mooting competitions, allow students to acquire a diverse set of skills including counselling, negotiation, mediation, advocacy and legal research and writing. For a full list of our clinical and intensive programs visit this link: osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/juris-doctor/jd-program/clinics-intensives/.
Students may also put their legal knowledge into practice by participating in one of a number of summer internships funded at $10,000 per student. At present, Osgoode offers internships in social justice/public interest law, environmental law, health law, corporate law, Indigenous law, women and the law and advocacy. Students may also participate in internships through the International Legal Partnership, a student-driven, non-profit, non-partisan organization providing legal research and assistance for the Global South.
Students who seek to study the law in action, develop lawyering skills, engage in law reform and understand the law from a theoretical and policy perspective will find unparalleled learning opportunities at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Joint Programs and Exchanges
Osgoode offers joint degree programs with other faculties at York University: the JD/MBA with the Schulich School of Business, the JD/MES with the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change and the JD/MA (Philosophy) with York's Graduate Program in Philosophy. In addition, an exchange program with the Faculté de droit, Université de Montréal enables Osgoode students to study in Montreal for one semester, which is credited to the student's program at Osgoode, or for one year following graduation, to qualify for a LLB (Civil) degree. Various international exchange programs, with law schools in such countries as Australia, China, France, Japan, England, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and Italy, enable Osgoode faculty and students to study and visit abroad. Osgoode students also have the opportunity to participate in summer study-abroad programs in Germany, Israel, Italy and Malaysia.
Members of the Osgoode faculty are among the most productive and distinguished legal scholars in Canada, pursuing ambitious and diverse research programs. Students are instructed in the special techniques of legal research and writing which are essential to the educated lawyer. There are opportunities to undertake research in satisfaction of some course requirements as well as to engage in intensive supervised research programs. Students may also participate in the editing of the Osgoode Hall Law Journal and act as research assistants to faculty members. A number of research centres and research initiatives at the Law School are hubs for collaborative research. These include: the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice; the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies; the Critical Research Laboratory in Law & Society; the Jack and Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security; TheCourt.ca (an online resource for debate and data about the Supreme Court of Canada); the Jay and Barbara Hennick Centre for Business and Law; IP Osgoode; and the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution. Other key partnerships include the Law Commission of Ontario, the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, the Ontario Legal Philosophy Partnership, the York Centre for Public Policy and Law and the National Network on Environments and Women's Health.
Facilities and Technology
The Law School's bright, student-focused building complements the highest quality in legal education and student experience. A defining feature of the Osgoode building is the Law Library, the largest law library in Canada which is a superb resource for students and faculty alike. Osgoode is committed to being a leading Canadian law school in the use of computer technology, with fully electronic classrooms and wireless Internet connectivity throughout the Law School. Osgoode has a comprehensive E-Exam program, through which students can elect to type their exams using laptop or school desktop computers. Students are taught to navigate the latest electronic legal research tools by experts in the field.
Student Services and Supports
Osgoode is committed to creating an atmosphere that nurtures and supports academic, professional and personal success. Osgoode, in conjunction with York University, provides a full range of services and accommodations for students who face challenges because of physical, medical, sensory, mental health or learning disabilities. Osgoode was the first Canadian law school to have a Student Success and Wellness Counsellor – an in-house professional counsellor dedicated exclusively to supporting the well-being of Osgoode students. The Student Success and Wellness Counsellors provide individual counselling, referrals and crisis intervention services, and coordinate weekly yoga, mindfulness sessions and mental health awareness events. The Associate Dean (Students) is a full-time professor who provides support and resources to encourage the academic success of all JD students. This includes facilitating the Academic Success Program, which offers skills sessions and a Dean's Fellow program that matches an upper-year student mentor to each first-year course.
The Office of Student Financial Services (FSO) at Osgoode is committed to assisting students with financial concerns through the provision of information, resources and individual financial support. Last year, the Office awarded more than $5 million in total student funding through entrance and upper-year scholarships and awards, bursaries, course prizes, internship funding and graduation awards for students with high debt. The FSO also maintains an online database of available external funding opportunities for law students. As part of its commitment to increasing the financial accessibility of law school, Osgoode has introduced an income contingent loan pilot program. Each year, seven eligible incoming students do not have to pay tuition while at Osgoode; rather, their full tuition is covered through a combination of bursaries and loans. The students will repay the loan after graduation over a 10-year period, if their income affords them the ability to do so.
Osgoode's dedicated Career Development Office (CDO) assists students to define and achieve their career goals, through individual career coaching, résumé review, mock interviews, weekly drop-in sessions, job postings, programming and workshops and networking events. The CDO also runs a popular Peer Counselling program in which students in their final year act as mentors to first- or second-year students to provide employment-related advice.
Much of the life of the Law School is focused on extracurricular programs. Each year, Osgoode is fortunate to attract visitors distinguished in public, professional and academic life who address the Law School community in endowed lectureships and in programs organized by student groups. There is substantial representation of students in the decision-making processes of the Law School through the Student Caucus, and an active student leadership body known as the Legal and Literary Society. Many of our students live in Osgoode Chambers, the Law School's dedicated student residence, which provides a strong base for participation in a broad range of extracurricular programs. More than 100 students contribute as volunteers at the Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP), the student-run legal aid clinic, operating at the School. Others volunteer as mentors with local area high school students through the Law in Action Within Schools (LAWS) Program. The student newspaper, Obiter Dicta, is published bi-weekly. Talented students write, perform and produce an annual musical revue, Mock Trial. Students are selected to represent the Law School in national and international interschool mooting competitions.
There is a full range of athletic teams and activities including the Osgoode Touch Football League which attracts broad participation. As well, there are more than 40 student-led clubs including the Black Law Students' Association, the Business Law Society, the Health Law Association, the Environmental Law Society, the Osgoode Indigenous Students' Association, the Law Union, the International Law Society, the Osgoode Women's Network and many other political and special interest groups. Such activities enrich the student experience by providing opportunities for personal growth, community outreach and collegial engagement.
Osgoode Hall Law School provides a multifaceted educational environment in which students may develop and perfect their intellectual powers and practical skills to prepare for a broad range of stimulating careers in private practice, policy development, public administration, business, government, politics, social activism, the judiciary and academia.
Please visit our website at osgoode.yorku.ca for further information.