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OLSAS – Bora Laskin Faculty of Law (Lakehead University)


Refer to the application and the university's website for up-to-date program details.

About the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law

Located on the breathtaking shore of Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law is no ordinary law school.

Established in 2013 as the first law school to introduce the Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC), the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law has a proven track record of producing practice-ready graduates. With an incoming class of only 65 students, we provide an intimate and personalized legal education that allows our students to thrive.

Our JD program focuses on the realities of living and working in the North, as reflected in our 3 mandate areas:

  • Aboriginal and Indigenous Law
  • Natural Resources and Environmental Law
  • Sole/Small Town Practice with the IPC

Our advantages are:

  • New, innovative 1L Online Intensive option for first year offers a combination of online and land-based learning.
  • The IPC fuses practice with theory and exempts our law students from the Law Society of Ontario’s (LSO) articling requirement.
  • Opportunity for Specialization in Aboriginal and Indigenous Law.
  • Land-based learning opportunities through our Indigenous Law and Justice Institute, Mino-waabandan Inaakonigewinan. 
  • Small class sizes with professors who have a passion for teaching and who challenge and engage our students.

Experiential Learning Opportunities Through Clinic Courses

Students can engage with our student-led clinic, LUCLS. Founded in 2015, in partnership with Legal Aid Ontario and Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, one of the main goals at LUCLS is to provide a practical clinical education program for our law students.

Second- and third-year law students can work in the clinic, under the direct supervision of experienced staff lawyers (Review Counsel), for academic credit. Students have full carriage of files. Their work in the clinic allows them to gain valuable experience interviewing clients, drafting legal documents, negotiating with opposing parties and conducting motions, hearings and trials.

In addition to LUCLS, the Newcomer Legal Clinic was established with a grant from The Law Foundation of Ontario to serve the legal needs of immigrants and refugees in Northwestern Ontario. The Newcomer Clinic operates at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law and welcomed its first for-credit clinic course students in September 2021.

The Mino-waabandan Inaakonigewinan Indigenous Law and Justice Institute

The Mino-waabandan Inaakonigewinan Indigenous Law and Justice Institute is an academic research unit based out of the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University. The Institute was launched in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #50, which calls for the creation of Indigenous law institutes to support access to justice for Indigenous people and to revitalize Indigenous laws.

The Institute works with Indigenous communities and organizations by invitation to:

  • identify, articulate and develop Indigenous laws, legal principles and systems;
  • promote access to both Indigenous legal systems and the Canadian justice system by developing and delivering public legal education;
  • develop and strengthen curriculum at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law by promoting land-based teaching practices and increased cultural competency; and
  • produce academic research, including tools and publications, that supports the revitalization of Indigenous laws and access to justice.

Career Services

Our mandate is to prepare graduates for the practice of law in smaller centres and in rural regions of Canada where there is a shortage of legal practitioners. However, with a focus on skills training and practical application of the law throughout the 3-year program, our graduates will be assets to any firm or legal office, big or small.

Our Student Services department works closely with students to develop their resumés and cover letters, practice interviewing and networking skills, and promote professionalism.

The Student Services department keeps students up to date on job postings and professional development opportunities in the region, in the province and across Canada.

Program Information

The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law offers a 3-Year Full-Time Juris Doctor (JD) Degree.

New to the 2024 Entry: The 1L Online Intensive

For their first year of the JD program, applicants have an opportunity to apply to either the regular in-person JD program, or our new 1L Online Intensive. 

The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law is accepting an additional cohort of 25 students for the full-time JD program. This cohort will complete their 1L year through a combination of online learning and 4 weeks of intensive, in-person, land-based learning. Our Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC) and our commitment to Indigenous and Aboriginal Law are foundational of our unique law program, and this cohort will be able to engage with these mandates through this innovative curriculum. 

The 1L Online Intensive cohort will start their first week of law school alongside their in-person classmates in a combination of orientation and land-based learning, while building the fundamentals of Canadian Law. This is followed by a second week of land-based learning for the Online Intensive cohort only, all in the Thunder Bay area.

While the in-person cohort returns to the law school building in Thunder Bay, the Online Intensive cohort will return home to continue the semester online.

The JD curriculum remains the same as the in-person cohort, with all the same mandatory 1L courses. The Online Intensive cohort will return to the Thunder Bay area for 2 weeks during the Winter semester, to complete IPC assignments and participate in further land-based learning with Indigenous communities and partners. 

The 1L Online Intensive cohort will join their in-person classmates in second year and complete the rest of the JD program in-person. In their first year, the 1L Online Intensive students will pay an extra combined $6,000 in field school fees and tuition to support the land-based learning component. Regular tuition rates will apply for the remaining 2 years.

Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC)

The innovative IPC model of legal education fuses the theory of law with its practice. Students learn not only law, but also the necessary practice skills to use that law effectively. The IPC is aimed at integrating legal skills with substantive legal knowledge. Skills are taught progressively so that they build one upon the other, course by course, year by year.

Through the IPC (including the Practice Placement program), our students develop the various competencies required of all lawyer licensing candidates through the LSO, including but not limited to:

  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • Fact Investigation and Legal Research
  • Drafting and Legal Writing
  • Planning and Advising
  • File and Practice management

As part of the IPC, our students participate in a 4-month, unpaid Practice Placement in their third year.

The Practice Placement component of the IPC will place students in firms and legal offices across Ontario, allowing them the full experience of working in an area of law that interests them. Students will be given the opportunity to develop and refine, in a practice setting, relevant competencies and skills developed throughout the law program.


Students will have the option to article after graduation if they wish; however, upon the completion of the IPC and Practice Placement, and graduation from the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, students can sit for bar exams and be called to the bar without the need to article.

First-year Curriculum (1L)

The first-year program for all students is mandatory. Core law courses include:

  • Foundations of Canadian Law
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Torts
  • Property Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Indigenous Law
  • Indigenous Perspectives

Our students complete skills-based exercises in all their courses. By the end of first year, you will have written a factum, and completed an oral submission in Constitutional Law,  as well as a bail hearing and a sentence hearing in Criminal Law.  

You will also have the opportunity to write an opinion letter for Tort Law, complete a contract negotiation in legal teams for Contract Law, and draft key contract provisions. You can expect more IPC assignments as you progress through the JD program.

Students taking the 1L Online Intensive option will complete all the requisite mandatory courses and IPC assignments.

Upper-year Curriculum (2L & 3L)

Mandatory Courses

  • Aboriginal Law
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Civil Practice
  • Business Organizations
  • Administrative Law
  • Evidence
  • Wills & Estates
  • Family Law
  • Real Estate Law

Elective Courses

In addition to mandatory courses, students will take upper-year elective courses available to both second- and third-year students. These courses cover a broad spectrum of interests, such as:

  • Environmental Law
  • Animals, Environment & Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Tax Law
  • Public Health
  • Human Rights and International Law
  • Labour and Employment Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Remedies
  • Advanced Criminal Law
  • Other topics focused on issues pertaining to the North

Upper Year Writing Requirement

In their second or third year, all students must complete the Upper Year Writing Requirement, a scholarly paper with a value of at least 50% toward the final grade in a course. The paper will be completed under the supervision of a faculty member and should be between 7,500 and 10,000 words, including footnotes. The student must receive a minimum of 60% for the paper component of the course.

Aboriginal and Indigenous Law Specialization

All students have an opportunity to specialize in Aboriginal and Indigenous Law. The specialization is designed to provide students with the specialized knowledge and skills necessary to understand Indigenous peoples’ beliefs, cultures, histories, and legal and governance practices, as well as the sets of laws and legislation that govern Indigenous peoples’ lives.

To meet the specialization requirements, students must take 2.5 full-course equivalents (FCE), which include 1.5 FCE in mandatory courses and 1.0 FCE in approved upper-year electives.

Admission Requirements and Supporting Documents

You must successfully complete a minimum of 3 years of full-time undergraduate studies at a recognized university to be considered for admission (unless applying under the Mature category). Preference is given to those with a 4-year undergraduate degree. You may apply in the third or final year of your undergraduate degree program.

Competitive applicants will have a 75-80% or higher average in their overall undergraduate programs.

The Admissions Committee assesses applications based on all the criteria listed in this section. Admission is competitive as we receive many applications each year.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

You are required to take the LSAT, which is administered several times throughout the year in several locations across Canada and the United States, or remotely as the currently offered LSAT Flex option. It is not necessary to apply to the Faculty of Law prior to registering for the LSAT.

You must take the LSAT by January 2024; however, you are highly encouraged to write the LSAT by November 2023 to have the score reports available for the first round of offers.

If you write the LSAT more than once, the highest test result reported by the Law School Admission Council in the year you apply will be used for admission. LSAT scores within the past 5 years (on or after June 2019) may be used.

Lakehead University does not set a minimum LSAT score requirement. The weight given to the LSAT varies depending on fulfilling other elements of the application.

Personal Statement

You must complete the Personal Statement within your OLSAS application.

The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law is committed to the following 3 mandate areas:

  1. Aboriginal and Indigenous Law,
  2. Environmental Law and Natural Resource Law and
  3. Sole Practitioner/Small Town Law practice, including the IPC.

Discuss how any or all of our mandate areas fit in with your goals as a future lawyer. If applicable, also discuss any connection or previous experience you have with any or all of our mandate areas.

  • We recognize that it may be more difficult for Black and racialized applicants to situate their connection to the mandate areas given the long history of conceiving Indigenous-settler relations as a relationship between Indigenous people and white people.
  • In light of this history, we want to clarify that we invite reflections on Indigenous-Black relations and the role of racialized people in reconciliation and decolonization. We welcome the thoughts of applicants on the historical exclusion of Black and racialized communities from environmental protection and natural resource development. We also welcome applicants’ thoughts on the challenges and contributions of Black and racialized communities in small town practice or as sole practitioners.

The Personal Statement also provides you with the opportunity to discuss your strengths, capabilities and achievements that distinguish you as a desirable applicant. You may wish to include information about what led you to apply to study law, your preparedness for the study of law and your interest in the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law.

You may also wish to include information about any anomalies within your academic performance, highlight non-academic achievements and note any special circumstances that have contributed to, or adversely affected, your academic and non-academic success.

Your Personal Statement will be considered in the context of the rest of your application. It must be authored entirely by you and must not exceed 8,000 characters in length.

If you have asked to be considered for the 1L Online Intensive, you must complete an extra submission.

In addition to the information provided in your Personal Statement:

  • Clearly outline your preferences surrounding the 1L Online Intensive and/or admittance to the in-person JD stream.
    • This document can make reference to your personal situation, your preferred mode of learning or any other context the Admissions Committee might find helpful in reviewing your application.
  • If you have applied to both the Online Intensive and the in-person JD stream, clearly indicate your preference and why within this submission.


You must provide at least 2 letters of reference — 1 academic and 1 non-academic — however, 2 academic references are preferred.

Carefully consider your referees. 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.

Letters of reference must be confidential and submitted directly by the referee to OLSAS. You need to arrange for your referees to use the OLSAS Confidential Assessment Forms that are provided with the application.


Official transcripts are required for all postsecondary institutions you attended, including transcripts from studies as a visiting or exchange student. You must order all transcripts and they must be sent directly to OLSAS from the host institution.

Current and previous Lakehead University students must also provide official transcripts to OLSAS.

Transcripts from Foreign and Private Universities

You must have all official transcripts translated (if applicable) and evaluated by World Education Services (WES) if:

  • you were educated outside Canada or the United States,
  • you obtained a degree outside Canada or the United States or
  • you are currently completing an undergraduate degree from a foreign country.

A course-by-course evaluation specifying Canadian degree, grade and credit hour equivalency is required.

You are responsible for the costs associated with the transcript evaluation and any required translation.

WES evaluations are not needed for course work completed on exchange or Letter of Permission if transfer credits for courses are recorded on the home university transcript.

Currently, we are not accepting applications from international students. Applicants must have either Canadian permanent resident (landed immigrant) status or Canadian citizenship.

Language Proficiency

An excellent command of spoken and written English is essential for success. If English is not your first language, and you cannot verify having completed at least 1 year of full-time study at an accredited postsecondary institution where English is the official language of instruction, you are required to present proof of English-language proficiency by achieving appropriate standing on one of the tests listed under Lakehead’s English Language Proficiency Requirements. Ensure you review the requirements specifically listed for the Juris Doctor program.

Admission Categories

There are 4 application categories:

General Category

Use this category to apply, unless you feel that you qualify to apply in the EDIA, Indigenous or Mature categories.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility Category (EDIA)

The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law encourages applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including equity-deserving groups. This category is designed to identify outstanding applicants whose skills, abilities and experiences may not be fully recognized in the General category.

We acknowledge that traditional approaches to assess suitability for law school may not consider systemic and personal barriers an applicant may face. We invite applicants to apply under this category who have faced obstacles and inequities that may have affected their academic history, including, but not limited to, socio-economic factors, mental and/or physical disability, culture, creed, race, sexuality, family status and gender, among others.

Although all applicants are considered holistically, special attention will be given to this category to review files through an anti-racism and decolonizing lens, being especially attentive to unconscious biases. Applicants should explain why they are exceptional candidates for the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law and how their experiences and/or barriers have impacted them. This can be done through the Personal Statement or by attaching an additional Statement.

If possible, provide supporting documentation to support your statement. We understand that documentation may be difficult or impossible to obtain, depending on the circumstances. We ask applicants to exercise their best judgment when deciding what documentation is appropriate and important for the Admissions Committee to consider. We do not require confidential and private medical records to confirm a disability or medical condition; the documentation need only confirm the functional limitations, as it relates to the candidate’s application. 

Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) Category

We strongly encourage Indigenous applicants from across Canada to apply to our program. We are committed to improving Indigenous representation in the Canadian legal community.

To apply under the Indigenous category, you must be of Indigenous ancestry: First Nations, Inuit or Métis.

Applicants in this category are required to submit evidence of Indigenous identity, such as a copy of a status card or letter of support from an Indigenous organization, such as a band council or Métis community council.

You are also asked to outline in your Personal Statement your relationship to your community, including how you have contributed to, are connected to and identify with your community.

You must have a minimum of 3 years of university and must also take the LSAT exam.

Applications are reviewed holistically, as are all applications to the JD program.

Mature Category

We encourage applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. You may be considered under the Mature applicant category if:

  • you do not have a completed undergraduate degree or a university track record of academic performance that is normally competitive for law school admission.
  • you have 10 or more years of relevant work or non-academic experience since completing high school, which demonstrates that you have a strong potential to succeed in the program, despite not meeting the academic requirements of the General Application Category.

As with all applicants, your file will be reviewed holistically, taking into consideration your capacity for academic success and contribution to the law school and broader community.

As a mature applicant, you must submit an up-to-date resumé along with your Personal Statement.

You are required to submit 2 letters of reference, preferably at least 1 from an academic source. If you are unable to obtain an academic letter of reference, choose a reference that can speak to your abilities as they relate to law school, such as conducting research, writing, critical thinking, ability to work with others and time management.

Mature applicants must complete the LSAT exam and ensure that OLSAS receives all postsecondary transcripts.

Admission Information

Application Components

All applications and supporting documentation must be submitted to OLSAS. Documentation sent directly to our institution will not be considered. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applications open in August and close on November 1, 2023. Late applications will not be considered.

All applications must contain:

  1. OLSAS application
  2. Official transcripts for all postsecondary institutions attended
  3. Personal Statement (second submission if applying for 1L Online Intensive)
  4. Official LSAT scores
  5. References
  6. Autobiographical Sketch
  7. Supporting documentation, where necessary (Indigenous, Access and Mature Applicant categories)

We review files holistically. We assess grade point average (GPA) all transcripts, best LSAT score, Personal Statement, references and  Autobiographical Sketch to determine the best fit for law and our program.

We usually extend first-round offers in December and rolling admission continues until classes reach capacity, usually in early summer.

Offers of admission will be made to either the 1L Online Intensive or the in-person JD stream. If you apply for both, you will not be given a later opportunity to choose between the two.

Fee Waivers

You may request a fee waiver for the Bora Laskin portion of the application fee. We will assess requests using a fee waiver application form that you can obtain directly from the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law. The basic criterion for granting a fee waiver is the absolute inability to pay for the service.

Additional Information

Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships

Tuition for 2023-2024 is $17,989.05 plus ancillary fees of $1,355.90.

We offer entrance scholarships to our top candidates based on GPA and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores. You do not apply for entrance scholarships; you are automatically considered.

Lakehead University offers more than $11 million in funding each year through scholarships, awards and bursaries.

The Student Awards and Financial Aid office recently launched the myAwards database. This makes it easy for students to input their information and find out which scholarships, awards and bursaries they may be eligible for. We want to ensure all students have the necessary financial information, support and resources to complete their education.

Contact Information

Use Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) in the OLSAS application for inquiries about submitting your application and OLSAS receiving your documentation.

For questions about program and admissions requirements, contact us:

Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law
Telephone: 807-346-7862
Email: law@lakeheadu.ca
Follow us on X : @LawLakehead & Instagram @lakeheadlaw

Contact in Person

Bora Laskin Faculty of Law
401 Red River Road
Thunder Bay ON  P7B 1B4

Contact by Mail

Bora Laskin Faculty of Law
Lakehead University
955 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay ON  P7B 5E1

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