OLSAS – Ryerson University

Note: This application guide contains information for Fall 2020 Admission.

University program information is subject to change. For the most up-to-date details, view the online application.

Last updated: August 22, 2019

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About Ryerson Law

Ryerson University

At Ryerson University, our tradition is innovation. Situated in Canada’s largest urban area and financial centre, we are known for our dedication to meeting societal needs through career-relevant education and practical learning. In recent years a focus on entrepreneurship has been added to our academic teaching and research to better prepare students to meet evolving societal needs. The Ryerson Faculty of Law builds on this distinctive history. We received preliminary approval of our program by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) in 2017. On the basis of this approval, we are excited to be opening our doors to the first cohort of students in September 2020. Like all common law programs in Canada, with either full or preliminary approval, the Ryerson JD program will be subject to the FLSC annual review process. A law program that is compliant with the National Requirement will be eligible for full program approval only once it graduates, or is about to graduate, its first class. For additional information, visit the Ryerson Faculty of Law website.

The Four Pillars

Ryerson Law is built on four main pillars:

  1. innovation and entrepreneurship;
  2. increasing access to justice for Ontarians and Canadians;
  3. equity, diversity and inclusion; and
  4. sound academic grounding with innovative pedagogy.

Ryerson’s proven track record in innovation includes the legal field, thanks to our Law Practice Program (LPP) and the Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ).The LPP was established by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) as a pathway to licensing. It was awarded to Ryerson because of our unique approaches to innovation and experiential learning. The LPP combines an innovative practical training component and a hands-on work placement. Over a thousand candidates have benefited from the new opportunities this pathway has created, with excellent post-completion employment results. The world’s first legal tech incubator, LIZ, supports innovative companies making significant improvements in the delivery of legal services through smarter, faster and better approaches. It takes advantage of the expertise of Ryerson’s flagship start-up incubator DMZ and adds a legal focus. It has already seen the incubation of 26 start-ups while offering its innovation services to outside organizations. Ryerson Law also builds on many other areas of expertise at the University.

Ryerson’s JD Program

Ryerson Law will prepare the lawyers of the future. The overriding purpose of our Juris Doctor (JD) program is to train lawyers who can adapt to new trends by concentrating on practice-readiness in all of its forms. To do this, we are leveraging Ryerson’s distinctive strengths as a hub for entrepreneurial innovation, and a leader in equity, diversity and inclusion to develop a fresh educational perspective that combines theory, skills and practice.

The program’s first year covers the basics of a legal education, with all courses being mandatory. You gain a grounding in the law in a wide range of areas corresponding to the FLSC requirements. A co-teaching model is applied that combines the participation of faculty and practitioners in each course to emphasize the practice-readiness of the program. A mandatory intensive week-long bootcamp starts each of the two semesters. The fall semester bootcamp lays the foundation for professional development and success by engaging in career planning, networking and mentoring. The winter semester bootcamp provides an opportunity to explore some of the technologies and innovative business practices that can help lawyers succeed in the age of the consumer.

The program’s second-year courses are also all mandatory. You undertake coursework in both semesters delivered by faculty in two-week intensive courses, or modules, melding substantive learning and mentored simulated practice relevant to each subject area, much of it employing “firms” comprising seven students overseen by practitioners. This immersive approach prepares you for the type of focused learning expected of legal advisers in a variety of organizational roles. Mandatory intensive one-week bootcamps again start the year’s two semesters. The fall semester bootcamp introduces accounting basics and provides extensive practice in using Excel as a financial tool. The winter semester bootcamp focuses on several coding languages.

The program’s third year incorporates a semester featuring a mandatory placement in an organization where legal knowledge is used. Typical placements include law firms, sole practitioners, governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, corporations and not-for-profit organizations. You also complete a semester of coursework in which you will be offered a wide variety of exciting and engaging electives, allowing you to dig deeper into specific substantive areas of interest. A mandatory bootcamp starts the semester of coursework. This bootcamp helps you recognize and understand the impact of your own emotions and to identify and address cultural biases that are critical to your success in all projects.

Note: On April 25, 2019, the LSO unanimously approved the application by Ryerson University to have its Juris Doctor (JD) program designated as an Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC). That means students who graduate from Ryerson Law will not be required to article or complete the Law Practice Program in order to be licensed as lawyers.

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Admission Process and Requirements

Ryerson Law seeks to create a vibrant and diverse academic environment. To ensure that our student body represents the fullest possible range of social, economic, ethnic and cultural perspectives, the Admissions Committee considers many factors.

All files are reviewed holistically. The committee takes into account your GPA and all transcripts, your best Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score, your Personal Statement, your reference letter(s) and an Autobiographical Sketch to determine your potential admission to our program. We also require you to complete an online interview (through a separate link that will be sent once you complete your OLSAS application), allowing you to provide us additional information about yourself and your interest in Ryerson Law. Any information provided is considered in a manner consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applicant Categories

  1. General Category
  2. Indigenous Category

Timelines

Applications for the 2020 academic year open in August and close on November 1, 2019. Application materials are forwarded from OLSAS to each law school you apply to. Starting in December, admission offers are made on a rolling basis as files are considered by the Admissions Committee.

Once all the places in the class are filled, which is expected to occur in mid-July 2020, a wait list will be created to replace any vacancies that occur. You will be advised via email about any acceptance or rejection. Note that you will be considered for admission scholarships once an offer of admission is issued.

Documentation

Note that the following documentation is required to support your application:

  • official transcripts from the postsecondary institutions you attended;
  • official LSAT score(s);
  • your Personal Statement;
  • confidential letters of reference;
  • resumé or curriculum vitæ (CV);
  • proof of English-language proficiency (if applicable); and
  • your online interview.

It is your responsibility to ensure that all documentation is submitted by the published deadlines.

For the documentation accompanying your application file to be complete, please take note of the following:

  1. Official transcripts are required for all postsecondary institutions you have attended. This includes transcripts from studies as a visiting or exchange student. Ryerson Law does not set a minimum GPA level in order to evaluate an applicant’s file. If you have undertaken undergraduate or graduate studies outside Canada and the United States, World Education Services (WES) must assess your transcript. All documentation must then be submitted through OLSAS for consideration.
  2. You are required to take the LSAT. Ryerson considers your highest result, as reported by the Law School Admission Council in the application. LSAT scores for the past 5 years (i.e., back to, and including, June 2015) may be used. To apply to enter the program in 2020, it is strongly recommended that you write the LSAT by November 2019. The LSAT must be written in January 2020 at the latest. Ryerson Law does not set a minimum LSAT score in order to evaluate your file.
  3. Your Personal Statement (School Submission) is a critical part of your application. It will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee in conjunction with your responses to the mandatory online interview and your entire application. The statement must be authored entirely by you and it must not exceed the maximum character length, including spaces. The statement has 2 parts.

    1. Part A (maximum 2,500 characters) serves as an opportunity to highlight what you see as your strengths, challenges and relevant experiences, and to give the Admissions Committee a sense of why you believe you would provide a positive contribution to Ryerson Law. Your answer to this part should touch on at least two of the following themes:
      • Ryerson’s JD program is built on a set of pillars that emphasize social innovation and its benefits. Social innovation requires that change happens at various levels, from individuals to institutions. It means being curious about the world and “doing things differently” to advance social goals, while being open to risk and having the capacity to respond to failure. Community engagement is often part of this process, and includes working individually or collaboratively to address these issues in a creative manner.
      • Resilience is an important life skill. Some people face more significant barriers than others in life and in entering the legal profession and demonstrate resilience in overcoming them.
      • Ryerson’s JD program includes elements such as bootcamps on technology and innovation as well as coding, and many of the mandatory courses have a technological component. You should feel free to discuss your comfort level with technology.
    2. Part B (maximum 2,500 characters) asks that you analyze a hypothetical scenario with ethical implications and provide an answer of how you would act in these circumstances.

    Note: If you are applying in the Indigenous category, you need to complete the supplementary essay (maximum 1,000 characters). Utilize this essay to discuss your ties to your Indigenous community.

  4. You must provide at least 2 letters of reference. It is strongly recommended but not required that one of these letters be from an academic. 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. You need to arrange for your referees to use the OLSAS Confidential Assessment Forms that are provided with the application. All letters of reference are confidential and must be submitted by the referee directly to OLSAS. If you are applying in the Indigenous category, you must provide proof of Indigenous ancestry or have one of your reference letters corroborate your interest in, and identification with, your Indigenous community.
  5. You must upload an up-to-date resumé or curriculum vitæ (CV) through OLSAS.
  6. An excellent command of spoken and written English is essential for success in law school. If your first language is not English and your postsecondary education is/was in a language other than English, proof of English-language proficiency may be required.
  7. Ryerson Law is leading the way in Canada as the first law school in the country to build in a mandatory online interview, administered in conjunction with Kira Academic, as a key part of its admission process. You are required to sign up for the online interview. Soon after submitting your OLSAS application, you will receive an email granting you access to the online video interviewing portal and further information. Before beginning the interview, you can watch a brief video that introduces Ryerson Law and explains how the online interview process works. Completion of the online interview is mandatory for consideration for admission by Ryerson.

Deferrals

Written requests for deferrals are considered on an individual basis, but only if you accept our offer of admission and pay the tuition deposit. Deferrals are granted at the discretion of the Assistant Dean.

Late Applications

Written requests for permission to submit a late application may be granted at the discretion of the Assistant Dean.

Applicants With Fewer Than 3 Years of University

Ryerson encourages applications from individuals who have demonstrated, through the length and quality of their non-academic experience, an ability to complete the JD program successfully. You are eligible to apply if each of the following conditions are met: You have not attended university or have completed fewer than 3 years of university (as of June 1 of the admission year); and you have a minimum of 5 years of non-academic experience (as of September 1 of the admission year).

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Scholarships and Financial Assistance

Ryerson Law is committed to diversity and inclusion and strongly encourages applications from a broad range of experiences.

To strengthen access and diversity in the student population, the university is building a robust scholarship and bursary program.

Substantial awards are in place for students with financial need from historically underrepresented groups, or who demonstrate an aptitude for business and entrepreneurship.

Current awards are listed in this section. We invite applicants to visit the Ryerson Faculty of Law website for continued updates.

  • Torys LLP Scholarships for Indigenous Law Students: Awarded to full-time Indigenous students enrolled in the Ryerson Faculty of Law’s JD program with high academic standing. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.
  • McCarthy Tétrault LLP Law School Scholarships for First Generation Students: Awarded to full-time students enrolled in Ryerson Faculty of Law’s JD program with high academic standing who are the first generation in their family to attend postsecondary education, with priority given to those who also identify as a “newcomer”. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and awards will be made subject to a holistic review of their application. Students will be required to maintain good academic standing to be eligible for renewal.
  • The Blakes Scholar Scholarship: Awarded to full-time students entering their first year of the Ryerson Faculty of Law’s JD program with high academic standing who demonstrate an aptitude for business or entrepreneurship. Additional election criteria may include membership in a historically disadvantaged group as outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and submit a 500-word statement detailing their business or entrepreneurial activities both inside and outside of their academic studies.
  • The Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP Law School Scholarship: Awarded to full-time students enrolled in the Law School with high academic standing. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and membership in a historically disadvantaged group, as outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Students will be required to maintain good academic standing to be eligible for renewal.

In addition, you are encouraged to consider professional student lines of credit with your financial institution of choice.

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Fee Waiver

You may request a fee waiver for the Ryerson portion of the application fee. To be eligible for consideration, you must show inability to pay for the service. You must use the fee waiver application form available on the Ryerson Faculty of Law’s website. This must be done prior to submitting the OLSAS application.

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Contact Information

Please direct all application submission and documentation receipt inquiries to OLSAS at 519-823-1063. For additional information on the Ryerson Law program or on admission requirements, visit the Ryerson Faculty of Law website or email Ryerson Law.

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