OLSAS – Ryerson University

Note: This application guide contains information for fall 2021 admission.

University program information is subject to change. View the application for the most up-to-date details.

Last updated: August 20, 2020

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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, we added a focus on entrepreneurship 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 from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) in 2017. On the basis of this approval, we opened 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 is 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.

In addition, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) unanimously approved the designation of our JD program as an Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC). That means students who graduate from Ryerson Law will not be required to article or complete the LPP to be licensed as lawyers.

The 4 Pillars

Ryerson Law is built on 4 main pillars:

  1. Innovation and entrepreneurship
  2. Increasing access to justice for Ontarians and Canadians
  3. Equity, diversity and inclusion
  4. Sound academic grounding with innovative pedagogy

Our proven track record in innovation includes the legal field, thanks to our Law Practice Program (LPP) and the Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ).

The LSO established the LPP 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 our flagship start-up incubator, DMZ, and adds a legal focus. The LIZ has already seen the incubation of 26 start-ups while offering its innovation services to outside organizations.

We are uniquely positioned to attract diverse students to our programs and contribute to greater inclusion in the legal sector. Equity, diversity and inclusion are among our core values: 55% of Ryerson students identify as racialized.

We also build on many other areas of expertise at the University. Numerous faculty across Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management and Ryerson’s Criminology Department hold advanced degrees in law and conduct legal research, and experienced law school administrators already work at the university.

Ryerson’s Juris Doctor (JD) Program

We prepare the lawyers of the future. The overriding purpose of our 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 leverage our distinctive strengths as a hub for entrepreneurial innovation and as a leader in equity, diversity and inclusion to develop a fresh educational perspective that combines theory, skills and practice.

First Year

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. We apply a co-teaching model that combines the participation of faculty and practitioners in each course to emphasize the practice-readiness of the program. Each course also incorporates a range of evaluation methods to ensure students are gaining necessary practice-based skills, in addition to acquiring necessary knowledge.

A mandatory week-long intensive course starts each of the 2 semesters. The fall semester intensive course lays the foundation for professional development and success by engaging in career planning, networking and mentoring. The winter semester intensive course provides an opportunity to explore some of the technologies and innovative business practices that can help lawyers succeed in the age of the consumer.

Second Year

The program’s second-year courses are also all mandatory. You undertake course work in both semesters delivered by faculty in 2-week modules, melding substantive learning and mentored simulated practice relevant to each subject area, much of it employing “firms” comprising 7 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 1-week intensive courses again start the year’s 2 semesters. The fall semester intensive course introduces accounting basics and provides extensive practice in using Excel as a financial tool. The winter semester intensive course focuses on several coding languages.

Third Year

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 are offered a wide variety of exciting and engaging electives, allowing you to dig deeper into specific substantive areas of interest.

A mandatory intensive course starts the semester of coursework. This intensive course helps you recognize and understand the impact of your own emotions and identify and address cultural biases. These abilities are critical to your success in all projects.

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Admission Process and Requirements

We seek 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 grade point average (GPA) and all transcripts, your best Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score, your Personal Statement, your reference letters, your resumé and an Autobiographical Sketch to determine your potential admission to our program. We also require you to complete an online interview, allowing you to provide us with 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.

There are 2 applicant categories: General and Indigenous. You must choose the General category unless you feel you qualify for the Indigenous category.

We welcome and encourage Indigenous candidates to apply to our program. We are committed to improving access of Indigenous people to law school and increasing the representation in the field of law. If you apply to this category you must include in your Personal Statement an outline of your relationship and connection to your community, which could include the impact of colonization on your family, or your connection to Indigenous culture. Evidence of Indigenous identity is required and can take the form of a copy of a status card, connection to community and culture, or a letter of support from an Indigenous organization.

Timelines

We make offers of admission on a rolling basis starting in December, with the bulk of the offers issued by mid-March, and wait list decisions issued in the spring/summer, after the April 1 confirmation deadline. We will issue application acknowledgements and online interview invitations by email after your application has been received from OLSAS. You must check the Communications section of your Ryerson’s Administrative Management Self Service (RAMSS) account for your official admission decision.

Requirements

You must have completed a minimum of 3 full years (or equivalent) in an undergraduate degree program at a recognized university. We will calculate your GPA using your 20 best single-semester (or equivalent) undergraduate degree courses. Non-degree and graduate studies will not be used in the GPA calculation. We do not set minimum GPA or LSAT requirements for consideration.

Applicants With Fewer Than 3 Years of University

We encourage applications from candidates who can demonstrate, through non-academic experience, including employment, community involvement and other life experiences, the ability to complete our program successfully.

You are eligible to apply if both of the following conditions are met:

  1. You have not attended university or have completed fewer than 3 years of university (as of June 1 of the admission year).
  2. You have a minimum of 5 years of non-academic experience after secondary school (as of September 1 of the admission year).

Documentation

The following documentation is required to complete your application:

  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions you attended, including those as a visiting or exchange student or study abroad program
  • Official LSAT score(s) and the dates of any 2020/2021 LSAT to be written
  • Personal Statement
  • Letters of reference (1 academic reference strongly recommended)
  • Resumé or curriculum vitæ (CV)
  • Online interview

It is your responsibility to ensure that all documentation is submitted by the published deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Notes:

  1. All official transcripts must be submitted directly to OLSAS.
  2. If you have undertaken postsecondary studies outside Canada and the United States, World Education Services (WES) must assess your transcript(s). All documentation must then be submitted through OLSAS. WES assessments are not required for studies completed as a visiting or exchange students or on a study abroad program.
  3. We will send invitations for the online interview to all applicants by email after the applications are received from OLSAS. To ensure that you receive your email invitation please add no-reply@kiratalent.com to your email contact list.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

You are required to take the LSAT. The LSAT consists of 2 portions:

  1. A Multiple Choice portion (scored) and
  2. an LSAT Writing (formerly called the Writing Sample) (unscored).

You must complete both portions for your score to be released to OLSAS.

Ryerson considers your highest result, as reported by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). You may use LSAT scores only from the past 5 years (i.e., back to, and including, June 2016). We strongly recommend that you write the LSAT no later than November 2020, and we will accept scores from the January 2021 test at the latest. We do not set a minimum LSAT score for admission consideration.

Personal Statement

Your Personal Statement (School Submission) is a critical part of your 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 5,000 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 2 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 intensive courses 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.

     
    Note: If you are applying in the Indigenous category, you need to include in this section an outline of your relationship and connection to your community, which could include the impact of colonization on your family, or your connection to Indigenous culture.

  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. You can view the scenario details in the School Submission section of the OLSAS application.

Letters of Reference

You must provide at least 2 letters of reference. A maximum of 3 reference letters can be submitted. It is strongly recommended, but not required, that 1 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.

Note: If you are applying in the Indigenous category, you can have 1 of your reference letters corroborate your interest in, and identification with, your Indigenous community.

Resumé

You must upload an up-to-date resumé or curriculum vitæ (CV) through OLSAS.

Online Interview

We are leading the way as the first law school in Canada to require an online interview, administered in conjunction with Kira Talent, as a key part of its admission process.

After we receive your OLSAS application, we will send an invitation to the email address on your OLSAS application. Before beginning the interview, you can watch a brief video that introduces our program and explains how the online interview process works.

The invitation email will include your deadline for completion of the interview.

English Proficiency

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.

Late Applications

We will grant requests to submit a late application only in the case of compelling and extenuating circumstances. You must submit your request in writing to Ryerson Law, including your OLSAS username, email address used in your account, reasons for late submission and corroborating documentation.

Deferrals

We will consider requests for deferrals of 1 year on an individual basis when there are reasonable grounds. Deferrals are granted at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.

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Scholarships and Financial Assistance

We are committed to diversity and inclusion and 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.

We strongly encourage applications from a broad range of experiences, and invite you to visit our Scholarships & Awards page for further details.

In addition, we encourage you to consider government financial assistance or a professional student line 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 submit the completed form and required documentation, showing an inability to pay for the service. You must submit your request by the posted deadline and prior to submitting the OLSAS application.

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Contact Information

Direct all application submission and documentation receipt inquiries to OLSAS at: 519-823-1063.

Ryerson Law Admissions
Email: law@ryerson.ca
Telephone: 416-979-5000, ext. 557762

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