OLSAS – Bora Laskin Faculty of Law (Lakehead University)
University program information is subject to change. For the most up-to-date details, view the online application.
Last updated: August 24, 2017
- About the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law
- Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Career Services
- Admissions and Applications
- Language Proficiency
- Foreign and Private Universities
- Application Categories
- Application Procedures
- Contact Information
About the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law
The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University is Canada’s newest law school. Located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and situated in the historic Port Arthur Collegiate Institute (PACI) built in 1909, the law campus overlooks Lake Superior and the Sleeping Giant.
We provide the highest standard of legal education, where knowledge of the law is fused with practical application. Our program focuses on the realities of living and working in the North: On Aboriginal and Indigenous Law, Natural Resources and Environmental Law, and small firm practice with the Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC).
Our focus is on the following:
- skills training throughout the 3-year JD program, applying theory directly to the practice of law;
- Aboriginal and Indigenous Law;
- Natural Resources and Environmental Law; and
- a foundation in the essentials of small firm and solo practice with the IPC.
Our advantages are the following:
- small class sizes;
- professors who challenge and engage students and have a passion for teaching; and
- our IPC that fuses practice with theory – this means our students graduate practice-ready, without the need to article.
Our student body is comprised of a significant number from communities in Northern Ontario and those in Ontario and other provinces engaged in our 3 mandate areas. We are proud of our student body diversity and are committed to encouraging Aboriginal/Indigenous applicants to our legal program. Due to our IPC, we cannot accept transfer or visiting students.
With our small class sizes, our professors and staff know all the students by name. Our professors challenge and engage students and are committed to teaching the law. All full-time faculty are tenure-track professors.
The first-year program for all students is mandatory. Students are split into 2 sections for the majority of their classes. Every student will have mandatory Aboriginal and Indigenous Law courses in both their first and second year, and Aboriginal/Indigenous law will be woven into all courses where appropriate.
Students will experience our innovative program designed to prepare them for all types of legal roles. With a focus on small firm practice, we support our students to become thoughtful and effective lawyers in all environments. Our students are experiencing success on Bay Street, clerking for the Superior Court of Justice, and working in smaller law firms, government counsel offices and legal aid clinics across Ontario.
Upper-year electives cover a broad spectrum of interests, with many focused on issues pertaining to the North. We also have strong clinical experience courses. In addition to the required courses, you will take law electives available to both second- and third-year students. Law electives will be selected from a variety of courses such as Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Human Rights, Remedies, Advanced Criminal Law and other topics.
As part of the Integrated Practice Curriculum, all students will have a full-semester Practice Placement in their third year, with the other semester in class. At the end of the day, we seek to prepare our graduates, as best we can, for the practice of law.
Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships
Tuition for 2017-2018 is $17,708.39 plus ancillary fees. Entrance scholarships are offered to our top candidates based on GPA and LSAT scores. You do not apply for entrance scholarships; you are automatically considered.
Students may apply for the fall/winter bursary from September to October 15 through the Lakehead (MyInfo) student portal. Bursaries are awarded based on financial need.
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 a valuable asset to any firm or legal office.
Our Career Services program works with students in to developing their resumes, practice networking skills, and professionalism. Our students, as part of the IPC, will also participate in a 4-month Practice Placement in their third year. The Practice Placement 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 have the option to article after graduation if they wish, but all will be eligible to sit for the bar exams and will be called to the bar after graduation without the need to article.
Admission and Applications
We review files holistically; we assess GPA and all transcripts, best LSAT score, personal statement, references and an Autobiographical Sketch to determine best fit for law and our program. Applications open in August and close on November 1, 2017. Late applications will not be considered.
First-round offers are usually extended in early January, and rolling admission will continue until classes reach capacity, usually in mid-summer.
Admission is competitive as we receive a large number of applications each year.
You must successfully complete a minimum of 3 years of full-time undergraduate studies at a recognized university to be considered for admission. Preference is given to those with an 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 in light of all the above criteria. Admission is competitive as we receive a large number of applications each year.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
You are required to take the LSAT, which is administered several times throughout the year in a number of locations across Canada and the United States. It is not necessary to apply to the Faculty of Law prior to registering for the LSAT.
You must take the LSAT by February 2018; however, you are highly encouraged to write the LSAT by October 2017 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 OLSAS in the year you apply will be used for admission. LSAT scores within the past 5 years may be used (on or after June 2013).
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.
You must complete the Personal Statement with your OLSAS application. The Personal Statement provides you with the opportunity address their interest in our 3 mandate areas and to demonstrate the strengths, capabilities and achievements that distinguish you as a desirable applicant. The Personal Statement can include information about what led you to apply to study law, your preparedness for the study of law, your aspirations after graduation, and your interest in Lakehead University and the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law.
Please discuss each of our 3 mandates in your Personal Statement.
- Aboriginal and Indigenous law;
- Environmental and Natural Resource law; and
- Sole practitioner/small town law practice including the Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC).
You may wish to include information about any anomalies with 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.
You must provide at least 2 letters of reference: 1 academic and 1 non-academic; however, 2 academic references are preferred.
Please carefully consider your referees. Referees should have extensive personal knowledge of you in order 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 Reference 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 request and send official transcripts to OLSAS.
An excellent command of spoken and written English is essential for success. If English is not your first language, and you cannot verify having studied in an English-language school system for more than 3 full years, you are required to present proof of English-language proficiency by achieving appropriate standing on 1 of the following tests:
- TOEFL (internet-based)
- Minimum score: 103
- Minimum Individual Scores: Writing 28, Speaking 28, Reading 24, Listening 23
- Minimum score: 7
- Minimum Individual Scores: Writing 7, Speaking 7, Reading 6.5, Listening 6.5
Foreign and Private Universities
You must have all official transcripts translated (if applicable) and evaluated by World Education Services (WES) or an equivalent service in the following circumstances:
- if you were educated outside of Canada or the United States;
- if you obtained a degree outside of Canada or the United States; or
- if 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 evaluation and any required translation. WES reports 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.
There are 3 application categories:
Use this category to apply, unless you feel that you qualify to apply in the Access or Aboriginal/Indigenous categories. Mature applicants are welcome to apply in this category.
Aboriginal/Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) Category
We strongly encourage Aboriginal/Indigenous applicants from across Canada to apply to our program. Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University is committed to improving Aboriginal/Indigenous representation in the Canadian legal community.
To apply under the Aboriginal/Indigenous category, you must be of Indigenous ancestry: First Nations, Métis, or Inuit.
Applicants in this category are required to submit evidence of Aboriginal/Indigenous identity, such as a copy of a status card or a letter of support from an Aboriginal/Indigenous organization, such as a band council or a Métis community council.
Applicants are requested to outline in your personal statement your relationship to your community, including how you have contributed to, and are connected to, and identify with your community.
Applicants must have a minimum of 3 years of university. You must also take the LSAT exam.
Applications are reviewed holistically, as are all applications to the JD program.
Access Application Category
The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law encourages applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including equity-seeking groups. We will consider an applicant whose academic performance was affected, delayed or interrupted by a disadvantage or inequity as protected under the enumerated and analogous grounds of the Ontario Human Rights Code. Disadvantages and inequities may include, but are not limited to, socio-economic factors, both mental and physical disability, culture, creed, sexuality, family status and gender among others.
Under the Access category, and as part of your personal statement, you are required to describe how the disadvantage or inequity affected your academic record, and if possible provide supporting references and documentation. Please note that any disability-related documentation only needs to confirm the functional limitations of a candidate, as we do not require confidential diagnostic information.
All applications and supporting documentation must be submitted to OLSAS. The application deadline for the JD program is November 1, 2017. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
All applications must contain the following:
- OLSAS application
- Official transcripts for all postsecondary institutions attended
- Personal Statement
- Official LSAT scores
- Supporting evidence, where necessary
Supporting evidence, where necessary.
Please direct all application submission and documentation receipts inquiries to OLSAS at 519-823-1063.
For further questions about the program requirements and admissions requirements, contact us:
Bora Laskin Faculty of Law
401 Red River Road
Thunder Bay, ON
Bora Laskin Faculty of Law
955 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay ON P7B 5E1