OLSAS – Lincoln Alexander School of Law (Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly Ryerson University)

Last updated: August 16, 2022

University program information changes regularly. Refer to the application and the university’s website for the most up-to-date details.

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The University has recently announced its name change. Read more about the renaming of the Ryerson University.

About the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University

At Toronto Metropolitan 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.

Lincoln Alexander Law builds on this distinctive history. We received preliminary approval of our program from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) in 2017. Based on 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 Lincoln Alexander Law 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 Lincoln Alexander Law will not be required to article or complete the Law Practice Program (LPP) to be licensed as lawyers.

The 4 Pillars

Lincoln Alexander Law is built on 4 key pillars:

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

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: More than 50% of Lincoln Alexander Law students identify as racialized.

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

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

Law Practice Program (LPP)

The LSO established the LPP as a pathway to licensing. It was awarded to Toronto Met 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.

Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ)

The world’s first legal tech incubator, the LIZ, supports innovative companies that are 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.

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Lincoln Alexander Law’s Juris Doctor (JD) Program

We prepare and empower 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 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 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.

Each of the 2 semesters starts with a mandatory week-long intensive course. The fall semester intensive course lays the foundation for legal education. The winter semester intensive course provides an opportunity to explore some of the technologies and innovative business practices that can help lawyers succeed in an age where businesses and organizations are constantly evolving.

Second Year

The program’s second year is made up of a mix of mandatory and elective courses.

Mandatory course work includes:

  • Business Law and Practice,
  • Civil Procedure and Practice,
  • Business of Lawyering and
  • 2 technology-related courses (1 in legal analytics and 1 in legal design).

Business Law and Practice, and Civil Procedure and Practice involve several weeks of course work that meld substantive learning and mentored simulated practice relevant to each subject area. Much of the course work also employs “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.

The second year’s 2 semesters also start with mandatory 1-week intensive courses. The fall semester intensive course introduces you to several coding languages. The winter semester intensive focuses on accounting basics and provides extensive practice in using Excel as a financial tool.

Third Year

The program’s third year includes a mandatory 1-semester placement in an organization where legal knowledge is used. Typical placements include:

  • Law firms
  • Sole practitioners
  • Governmental organizations
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Corporations
  • Not-for-profit organizations

In their third year, students also complete a semester of course work in which they are offered a wide variety of exciting and engaging electives, allowing them to dig deeper into specific substantive areas of interest.

The semester of course work starts with a mandatory intensive course. 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 that is focused on developing a new kind of lawyer: One who is innovative, adaptable and well equipped to meet evolving social challenges and shifts taking place in the Canadian legal market.

Our assessment is grounded in 3 of our key pillars:

  1. Increasing access to justice
  2. Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship
  3. Promoting equity, diversity and inclusion

To ensure that our student body represents the fullest possible range of social, economic, ethnic and cultural perspectives, the Admissions Committee considers many factors. The goal of the Committee is to evaluate each applicant’s potential by completing a holistic review of the application through a diversity lens, without setting a minimum GPA or Law School Admission Test (LSAT) requirement.

The Committee considers:

  • All postsecondary studies
  • Your best LSAT score
  • Personal Statement (School Submissions)
  • Reference letters
  • Resumé
  • Autobiographical Sketch
  • Online interview (completed through a separate link that will be sent after we receive your application from OLSAS)

Any information provided is considered in a manner consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Application Categories

There are 3 applicant categories:

  1. General
  2. Access
  3. Indigenous
You must choose the General category unless you feel you qualify for the Access or Indigenous category.

Through your application to any category for the JD program, you must show that you:

  • have strong potential to complete the rigorous JD program.
  • have the ability to reason and analyze.
  • can express yourself effectively orally and in writing with professionalism and civility.
  • possess the skills and attributes necessary to cope with the demands of law school.

Meeting minimum standard does not guarantee you admission.

General Category

To apply under the General category, you must have completed a minimum of 3 full years (30 one-semester courses or equivalent) in an undergraduate degree program at a recognized university.

Access Category

Lincoln Alexander Law is built on 4 foundational pillars, including access to justice and equity, diversity and inclusion. In addition to the protected grounds listed in the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Admissions Committee considers serious illness or injury which impacted their studies, and severe economic hardship, to be barriers to education. Mature students are also considered under this application category.

The Admissions Committee will consider those who fall into the following subcategories:

  • Identify as:
    • a 2SLGTBQ+ person (includes Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, Pansexual, Queer and additional identities reflecting gender and sexual diversity such as non-binary, etc.)
    • a Black person (includes African Canadian, Afro-Caribbean, African American, etc.)
    • a person with a disability (includes, physical, sensory, learning and mental health disabilities, as well as chronic health conditions and persons who identify as neurodiverse)
    • a racialized person (sometimes referred to as “people of colour” or “visible” or “racial minorities” in Canada or the United States)
    • part of another historically disadvantaged group and/or underrepresented group
  • Mature student
    • To be eligible to apply as a Mature student you must:
      • be at least 26 years of age by September 1 of the year of admission; and
      • have a minimum of 5 years of uninterrupted non-academic experience after any full-time study in a significant employment capacity and/or some combination of volunteer work, significant life skills and experiences (as of September 1 of the admission year).
  • Significant injuries or illness
  • Socioeconomic status

All candidates must still show evidence of potential to succeed at law school. Grade point average (GPA), where applicable, and LSAT are still considered for this category and essential components of the holistic assessment.

If you wish to be considered as an Access candidate, select the Access category and all relevant subcategories. Provide an explanation in the text box identified for this purpose in your OLSAS application. You may also speak to your Access application in Part B of the Personal Statement (in the School Submissions section of your application).

Additional/corroborating documentation can be included where applicable. Upload any documentation supporting your Access application through Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) in your application.

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 the Indigenous category, you must include an outline in your Personal Statement that demonstrates your relationship and connection to your community and/or to Indigenous culture. You may also speak about the impact of colonization on your family, including if it impacts your connection to the community or your connection to Indigenous culture.

One of your reference letters can also corroborate your interest in, and identification with, your Indigenous community.

Those who identify as Indigenous and another category listed under the Access category can choose which application category they prefer.

Requirements

Unless you are applying under the Mature application category, you must have completed a minimum of 3 full years (30 one-semester courses or equivalent) in an undergraduate degree program at a recognized university. We will calculate your GPA using your 20 best one-semester (or equivalent) undergraduate degree courses. We do not set a minimum GPA requirement for consideration.

We calculate your GPA using the courses you completed by the end of the summer term in the year you apply. We do not recalculate it using the courses you completed during the admission cycle. Updated transcripts are not required unless requested.

We consider all eligible undergraduate degree courses in your GPA calculation regardless of term completed, course load or level of study. We also consider the courses you complete in additional undergraduate degree studies (e.g., additional degree programs, individual courses, special/visiting student).

We will not use your graduate studies, diploma, certificate, non-credit or vocational courses in your GPA calculation.

We will consider diploma-to-degree completion programs if your university transcript includes final grades for the minimum number of courses used in the GPA calculation.

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 with fewer than 3 years of university studies through the Access category if all 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 are at least 26 years of age by September 1 of the year of admission.
  3. You have a minimum of 5 years of uninterrupted non-academic experience after any full-time study in a significant employment capacity and/or some combination of volunteer work, significant life skills and experiences (as of September 1 of the admission year).

Non-university academic studies will also be taken into consideration and academic transcripts for all postsecondary studies are required.

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 2022/2023 LSAT to be written
  • Personal Statement
  • Letters of reference (1 academic reference strongly recommended)
  • Resumé or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Online interview

It is your responsibility to ensure that all documentation is submitted by the published deadlines. We will not consider incomplete applications.

Official Transcripts

You are required to provide a full academic background, from the start of high school onward, in your OLSAS application. Transcripts for all postsecondary studies, including transcripts from studies as a visiting or study abroad/exchange student, must be submitted through OLSAS.

If you completed your undergraduate degree studies outside Canada and the United States, World Education Services (WES) must assess your transcript(s). All documentation must then be submitted to OLSAS.

We do not require WES evaluations for graduate studies, studies completed as a visiting student, or on a study abroad/exchange program.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

You are required to take the LSAT. We consider your highest result, as reported by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), and we do not set a minimum LSAT score for admission consideration.

You must submit your LSAC account number and the dates of any planned future tests in your OLSAS application. It is in your best interest to ensure you submit this information by the November 1 application deadline.

We also strongly recommend that you write the LSAT by November 2022. You must write the LSAT in January 2023 at the latest, including the LSAT Writing portion. You may use LSAT scores only from the past 5 years (i.e., back to, and including, June 2018).

The LSAT consists of 2 portions:

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

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

If you are a prior test-taker and you will be re-writing the LSAT, you do not need to complete the LSAT Writing again for your new Multiple Choice scores to be released to OLSAS.

Personal Statement

Your Personal Statement (School Submission) is a critical part of your application. It will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee in conjunction with the responses to the mandatory online interview and the other application components.

Note: If you are applying in the Indigenous category, you will also need to include 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 in Part B of your Personal Statement.

The statement must be authored entirely by you and it must not exceed the maximum character length, including spaces. The statement has 2 parts:

Part A (maximum 5,000 characters)

Tell us why you want to attend law school, and, more specifically, why you want to attend the Lincoln Alexander School of Law.

How does attending Lincoln Alexander Law tie into your long-term goals? Refer to our vision, values, curriculum and/or programming in your response. You must touch on at least 2 of our foundational pillars in your response.

Part B (maximum 2,500 characters)

Tell us how you plan to contribute to the Law School and to the practice of Law as a whole. You can discuss any of the following considerations that are relevant to your application: Lived experience and work/volunteer experience that you will bring, and equity and diversity considerations.

This section of the Personal Statement offers you a chance to reflect on how you intend to contribute to the Law School and the practice of Law as a whole. This can include your distinct experience and point of view.

You may want to address the following suggested topics:

  • Tell us what you feel your relevant experience (e.g., lived experience, work experience and/or volunteer experience) can contribute to the program and student life at Lincoln Alexander Law.
  • Share how you have been impacted by the law and/or access to justice. How will you work toward providing access to justice on your law journey?
  • Reflect on your identity and its intersections (including but not limited to race, gender, socio-economic status, disabilities, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), demonstrating how they have shaped how you will contribute to the law.
  • Tell us about the challenges you have faced and how they shaped you to be able to contribute to the program and student life at Lincoln Alexander Law.
  • For candidates who did not pursue post-secondary education or have been out of an academic environment for years, how do you feel your background has prepared you for success in law school, and how has it prepared you to contribute to the Law School?

If you are applying under the Access category, you may speak to the basis of your sub-category application in this essay.

If you are applying under the Indigenous category, we ask that you speak to your relationship and connection to your community in this section.

Letters of Reference

You must provide 2 letters of reference. It is strongly recommended, but not required, that 1 of these letters be from an academic referee.

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.

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 one of your reference letters corroborate your interest in, and identification with, your Indigenous community.

Resumé

You must submit an up-to-date resumé or CV as part of your OLSAS School Submissions. You should include (with applicable start and end dates, where relevant):

  • Work experience
  • Extracurricular activities, including volunteer work
  • Academic background and credentials achieved
  • Awards
  • Professional development (training/courses/certificates)
  • Research, publications and major speaking events/conferences

Autobiographical Sketch

While similar to a resumé or CV, the Autobiographical Sketch in the OLSAS application is a separate, distinct component that you must complete.

Include a brief overview of all activities, generally from the end of high school onward. The standard categories include:

  • Employment
  • Volunteer activities
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Awards and accomplishments
  • Research

You may also include other activities you feel are relevant to your application.

Online Interview

After we receive your OLSAS application, we will send an invitation to the email address in your OLSAS application that grants you access to the online video interviewing portal and provides you with further information.

Before beginning the interview, you can watch a brief video that introduces our program and explains how the online interview process works.

To ensure that you receive the email invitation, add no-reply@kiratalent.com to your email contact list and/or safe senders list and regularly check your spam/junk folder.

The invitation email will include your deadline to complete the interview (generally 2 weeks from the invitation date). You must complete the online interview to be considered for admission.

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.

Applicants will be contacted directly if additional documentation is required.

Application Communications

We will send an application acknowledgement and a separate interview invitation to the applicant email address included in your OLSAS application.

We encourage you to add lawadmissions@ryerson.ca, noreply@ryerson.ca and no-reply@kiratalent.com to your email contact list and/or safe senders list, and to check your spam folder regularly to ensure that you receive important communications.

Admission decisions will be issued to the Communications section of your Ryerson’s Administrative Management Self Service (RAMSS) Student Centre. Offers of admission will also be posted on your OLSAS account for the confirmation process. We will include details about setting up your RAMSS account access in your acknowledgement email.

Tracking Your Application

You can track the status of all documents and LSAT scores in your OLSAS application.

A final admission decision will be posted in the Communications section of your RAMSS Student Centre. Refer to the timelines noted in the following section for more details.

Note: The Admissions tab in RAMSS is not active for law applicants.

Timelines

We will email application acknowledgements and online interview invitations after we receive your application from OLSAS.

We make offers of admission on a rolling basis starting in December and continuing until approximately mid-March. Wait list decisions are typically issued in March/April. All applicants receive an official admission decision.

If you receive an offer of admission to Lincoln Alexander Law, it is important to carefully read all pages of the offer letter. Toronto Met reserves the right to withdraw offers of admission made to applicants who:

  • fail to respond by the confirmation date specified in their offer,
  • make the applicable non-refundable deposit by the tuition fee deadline and/or
  • meet the conditions outlined in their offer of admission.

Late Applications

We strongly encourage you to submit your application and required documents ahead of the November 1 deadline.

To ensure a fair and equitable assessment for all, we will consider requests to submit a late application only in the case of compelling and extenuating circumstances.

Find instructions for requesting a late application.

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.

Find instructions for requesting a deferral.

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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 more details.

In addition, we encourage you to consider government financial assistance or a professional student line of credit with your financial institution of choice.

Read more about our Professional Student Line of Credit.

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Fee Waiver

You may request a fee waiver for the Lincoln Alexander Law 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 your OLSAS application.

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Contact Information

Direct all application submission and documentation receipt inquiries to OLSAS using Secure Applicant Messaging (SAM) in your OLSAS application.

Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University
Email: lawadmissions@ryerson.ca
Telephone: 416-979-5000, ext. 557762

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