1. Preparing for Law School
Law is the profession of interpreting laws, applying them to client situations and providing legal advice. It involves informing clients of their legal rights and responsibilities and providing representation in situations such as negotiations, courts and tribunals. The legal profession involves a significant amount of research and preparation of legal documentation and contracts. There are many areas of law specialization, some of which include business, taxation, intellectual property, criminal, environmental, human rights, family, labour, cybersecurity and litigation law. Students can apply to law school without having a specialty in mind.
2. What University Background is Required?
Gaining admission to law school is competitive. Requirements to apply vary for each law school but start with a combination of a candidate’s GPA (minimum B+/A average) and LSAT score (minimum of 75-85th percentile). Admission committees also consider a candidate’s extracurricular activities and work experience. A strong personal statement and solid academic references from professors are also typically required. It is prudent to verify all information on admissions requirements directly with each faculty.
Many law faculties maintain separate admission categories for applicants who have significant work experience, are Indigenous or have disabilities. These access categories may have slightly different admission requirements. Each applicant is considered and compared with others in the same applicant category.
3. What is the LSAT?
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized test issued by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) to measure skills considered essential for success in law school. The LSAT is typically offered four eight times a year. The LSAT consists of four 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions, including reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning, along with a writing exercise. LSAT will be offered in two formats in 2023. Takers can choose to write the multiple choice portions using the online remotely proctored version in which proctoring software is installed on the applicant's computer. Alternately, in-person LSAT tests at specified test centres will also be available. Regardless of choice of test format for the multiple choice sections, there is also a written essay which is also remotely proctored and which can be written up to 8 days prior to the multiple-choice sections. Read more about the LSAT.
Use the official LSAT training materials offed in collaboration with the Khan Academy and the LSAT Law Hub which allows you unlimited practice tests on the actual LSAT interface. Most of these resources are free. You may also use a training company like Kaplan, PowerScore which have a variety of practice products and offerings for a fee.
Free LSAT preparation is offered through the U of T Law School Access Program, for high-potential, low-income, as well as Black and Indigenous undergraduate students and recent university graduates. Black students can also find LSAT Preparation and mentorship supports with U of T’s Black Future Lawyers Program.
4. How to Register for the LSAT
Applicants can register online by visiting the LSAC website. Check the LSAC website for test dates, formats, fees, and deadlines.
Check with each law school regarding deadlines by which the LSAT must be written and consider writing in advance of the application deadline to provide a buffer for a retake.
5. Applying to Ontario Universities
There are 20 law faculties in Canada, 8 of which are in Ontario where it is common to receive 2,500+ applications for 160-290 spots. Given the degree of competition, students are advised to consider and prepare for a variety of career options rather than having an exclusive focus on law. Once admitted, the cost of law school in Canada ranges greatly by institution. For the 2023-2024 year, the fees ranged between $9,443.69 (University of Ottawa) to $34,920.63 (University of Toronto). Financial aid is available at all schools.
The application process is handled centrally by the Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS).
- In addition to the online application, refer to each university’s admission requirements for supplementary information that might be required. Applications are due through OLSAS on November 1, 2023.
- It is recommended that applicants allow between 5-25 hours for preparation of their application and if a personal statement is required, allow plenty of time for editing and refining.
- The non-refundable OLSAS application fee is $200 Canadian, plus $115 for each school applied to.
TIP: Preview the online OLSAS application at least one year prior to applying to law school by creating a “dummy” account with a different email address. This will give you an idea of what is required and will help you understand the process of applying in the following year(s).
6. Faculties in Other Provinces and Abroad
Those considering law schools outside of Ontario or Canada should enquire about application processes for each faculty of law in those provinces/countries. An international law degree from another common law country does not automatically qualify you to practice in Canada. A number of accreditation steps are required before articling or its alternative the Law Practice Placement followed by the bar exams. For full details, consult the National Committee on Accreditation.
UTM Career Centre Resources
Speak with representatives from select faculties of law at the Graduate & Professional Schools Fair held by the Career Centre each September. See the Events Calendar on CLNx for more specific information including, event format, dates, and a list of faculties attending.
Law School Information Session: If you are thinking of a career in law, attend this information session on preparing your application for faculties of law in Ontario. This session is offered in-person and online. Registration via the CLNx or access the past year's asynchronous version via Quercus.
Law School Alumni Panel (A Career Centre and Alumni Relations joint event): Watch the recorded session of two inspiring alumna talk about their law careers.
Job Shadow Program: The Job Shadow Program at UTM is an opportunity for students to test drive a career by visiting a professional (job shadow host) in their workplace. Job shadowing will help students gain insight into an industry or career, better understand how classroom learning can be applied to work outside of academia, and learn more about the skills and educational requirements needed to follow their career interests.
“Mastering the Personal Statement Workshop” helps students to understand the process of writing a personal statement. Can’t make it to the workshop? Get started with our Mastering the Personal Statement e-module found on our website. You can also view the asynchronous version via Quercus.
Once you have a first draft of your personal statement, make an appointment to have it reviewed by calling (905) 828-5451
E-book Collection: See the sections on “What About Careers In?” for information on law-related careers and “Do I Have What I Need to Get Into Grad School?” for information on preparing for the LSAT and law school. These resources can be downloaded for 14 days.
Individual Appointments – Get advice and information to plan your law career, explore alternatives, gain relevant experience and critique your personal statement. Call (905) 828-5451.
Practicing Law in Ontario
To practice law in Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada requires successful completion of:
- An accredited three-year Juris Doctor (J.D.) program
- 10 months of articling – supervised work (usually paid) with a law firm or a Law Practice Placement (consisting of a 4-month training program and a 4-month placement)
- A self-study course on Professional Responsibility and Practice (approx. 30 hours to complete)
- Two full-day multiple-choice bar exams
Ontario Law Schools
- University of Toronto Law
- University of Ottawa Law
- Queen’s University Law
- University of Western Ontario Law
- University of Windsor Ontario Law
- Lakehead University Law
- Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson)
Tip: Detailed information about admission requirements and application procedures should be obtained from the individual faculties of law.
Always consult law faculties’ websites for the most up-to-date information. Contact law schools’ admissions offices to clarify specific questions not covered on their websites.
Information is subject to change. Consult the original sources for the most up-to-date information.
Updated July 2023