Osgoode Hall Law School

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For the downtown Toronto building that originally housed the law school, see Osgoode Hall.
Osgoode Hall Law School
Osgoode Hall Law School crest.png
Crest of Osgoode Hall Law School
Motto Per Jus Ad Justitiam
Motto in English Through law to justice
Established 1889 (1889)
Type Faculty (law school)
Academic affiliation York University
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
43°46′15″N 79°30′16″W / 43.7707°N 79.5044°W / 43.7707; -79.5044Coordinates: 43°46′15″N 79°30′16″W / 43.7707°N 79.5044°W / 43.7707; -79.5044
Dean Lorne Sossin
Academic staff 182
Students 905[1]
Website www.osgoode.yorku.ca
Osgoode Hall Law School Wordmark

Osgoode Hall Law School is the law school of York University in Toronto and is the oldest law school in Ontario. It is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in Canada by Maclean's Magazine, ranking second among common-law schools in 2011, 2012 and 2013.[2][3][4][5][6] Named after the first Chief Justice of Ontario, William Osgoode, the law school was established by The Law Society of Upper Canada in 1889.

The newly renovated "Ignat Kaneff Building" which houses the law school

The law school is home to the Law Reform Commission of Ontario, the Osgoode Hall Law Journal, the German Law Journal, and the largest law library in the Commonwealth. Osgoode Hall Law School students may participate in a number of clinical and intensive programs, including the Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP), the Poverty Law Intensive at Parkdale Community Legal Services, the Criminal Law Intensive, the Innocence Project, and the Osgoode Business Clinic.[7]

The current dean of the law school is Lorne Sossin.[8]


University rankings
York University
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Common Law[9] 2
The first year class of Osgoode Hall Law School in 1944

For its first seven decades, Osgoode Hall Law School was located at Osgoode Hall at the corner of Queen Street and University Avenue near the University of Toronto. The law school was not affiliated with the University of Toronto since law schools at that time traditionally were not connected with a university. The Law Society of Upper Canada maintained control of professional legal education in Ontario until 1957. In 1969, after a decision by the Ontario Ministry of Education requiring law schools to be affiliated with a university, the Osgoode Hall Law School relocated to New Osgoode Hall, on the campus of York University.

The structures at Queen and University (the earliest dating from 1832) are still known as Osgoode Hall. They remain the headquarters of the Law Society of Upper Canada and house the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

The law school is responsible for numerous firsts in legal education in Canada. Osgoode was the first law school to introduce curricular streams in 2001, giving a student the opportunity to graduate with a concentration in a particular area of law, namely International, Litigation or Tax. Osgoode was the first law school to establish a combined law and business degree. Osgoode was the first law school to establish a combined law and environmental studies degree. Osgoode was the first law school to establish a student-staffed community legal services clinic (Parkdale Community Legal Services, in 1972). Osgoode was the first law school to develop innovative intensive programs and clinical teaching programs.[citation needed] In 2007 Osgoode's Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governance won the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Award for "Outstanding Program" in recognition of "high quality" of education. (http://www.yorku.ca/mediar/archive/Release.asp?Release=1287)On September 13, 2012, Osgoode Hall Law School announced that they would be the first Canadian law school to include an experiential education requirement into the JD curriculum. To coincide with this announcement, Osgoode also opened an Office of Experiential Education. The new curriculum commenced with the class of 2015.[10]

Renovation project[edit]

Osgoode Hall Law Library - Lower Level Stacks

In May 2007, Dean Monahan announced plans for an extensive renovation and extension of Osgoode Hall Law School's current premises. The project involves a renovation of the existing building, and addition of an additional wing.

Construction of the renovated building began in the summer of 2009. When completed the new building, designed by architect Jack Diamond, will introduce natural light to classrooms, lecture theatres, and social spaces. It will showcase classroom windows and a multi-story atrium that will serve as the living room or common area for the law school, uniting student space, faculty offices and the library. The library will be revamped to emphasize comfortable work-spaces, while maintaining its extensive holdings. Staircases will be removed to provide more "universal" accessibility, and student spaces, such as the cafeteria and student-run "Junior Common Room" will be thoroughly upgraded and relocated to prominent areas within the facility.

In recognition of his $2.5 million gift to The Building Osgoode Campaign, the building that houses Osgoode Hall Law School on the York University campus will be named the Ignat Kaneff Building after Bulgarian-born Canadian businessman, construction magnate and philanthropist Ignat Kaneff.[11]


In 2007, teams from Osgoode Hall Law School won several major mooting competitions in Canada.[12] During this same year they went on to win the Sopinka Cup, to be honoured by the American Trial Lawyer's Association for their excellence, and to win all three of the 1st prizes at the US Mediation Tournament.[13]

Clinical programs[edit]

Osgoode is well known for the breadth of its clinical programs, which include well known clinics such as the Innocence Project and the Community and Legal Aid Services Programme (CLASP). Other clinics include the Osgoode Business Clinic, the Advanced Business Clinic, the Aboriginal clinic, the Mediation Clinic, the Poverty Law clinic at Parkdale, and several more.

As of 2013, Osgoode offers the following clinical and intensive programs:[7]

  • Aboriginal Lands, Resources & Governments
  • Poverty Law at Parkdale Community Legal Services
  • Criminal Law
  • Immigration and Refugee Law
  • Intellectual Property & Technology Law
  • Advanced Business Law Workshops I (Corporate Finance & Governance)
  • Advanced Business Law Workshops II (Mergers and Acquisitions)
  • Anti-Discrimination Law
  • Mediation Clinic
  • Innocence Project
  • Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP)
  • Osgoode Business Clinic


Admissions to Osgoode is extremely competitive, with over 3,000 applicants competing for a place in Osgoode's first year class of 290 students in 2012. The median undergraduate cGPA of accepted students in 2014 was 3.64 (OLSAS 4.0 scale) and the median LSAT score was in the 85th percentile.[14] Holistic admissions processes take into account both Undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores, as well as "other relevant criteria" such as graduate degrees, work experience, and difficulty of prior academic studies.[15] While it is possible to be admitted with only three years of undergraduate university study, in practice the majority of successful candidates arrive to first year law at Osgoode already possessing one or more degrees.

Joint degrees[edit]

Osgoode Hall Law School offers a joint J.D./M.B.A.[16] program with the Schulich School of Business at York University, a combined J.D. and Master of Environmental Studies degree, and a combined J.D. and Master of Arts in Philosophy degree.

Osgoode is also one of the few law schools to offer the possibility of graduating with both an English Canadian J.D. and a Quebec LL.L. degree, enabling graduates to practice in the province of Quebec and providing graduates of this program with training in the Civil Law System in addition to common law. This program is offered in conjunction with the law school at the Université de Montréal.

Academic graduate programs[edit]

Osgoode is home to the largest academic Graduate Program in Law in Canada. Osgoode also hosts the only Professional Development Program in Canada, whose courses are taught at the satellite campus located at the Osgoode Professional Development Centre at 1 Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto. A variety of LL.M. and academic Ph.D. degrees in law are available. Osgoode Hall also offers non-academic, terminal Masters programs through a professional development course based-program; the program is frequented by practitioners of law looking to upgrade undergraduate credentials and is offered as a distance learning option, similar to the Athabasca University model.[17]

Notable alumni[edit]

Supreme Court of Canada justices

Other judges


See also[edit]


  1. ^ LSAC - JD: Canadian Law School Profiles. 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  2. ^ http://www.macleans.ca/education/uniandcollege/2013-law-school-rankings/
  3. ^ http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2012/09/07/the-2012-macleans-law-school-rankings/
  4. ^ 2011 Rankings - http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2011/09/15/the-2011-macleans-law-school-rankings/
  5. ^ 2010 Rankings - http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2010/09/16/ranking-canada%e2%80%99s-law-schools-3/2/
  6. ^ 2009 Rankings - http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2010/09/16/ranking-canada%e2%80%99s-law-schools-3/2/
  7. ^ a b http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/jd-program/upper-year-program/clinical-intensive-programs
  8. ^ "Professor Lorne Sossin will return to Osgoode as Dean on July 1, 2010". 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2010-04-31. 
  9. ^ "2013 Common Law University Ranking". Maclean's. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  10. ^ http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/node/7507
  11. ^ York University: Harvest what has been sown, philanthropist tells grads, 2010
  12. ^ "It's a triple-crown for Osgoode's mooting teams". Y-File: York's Daily Bulletin. York University. 2007-03-09. Retrieved 2001-04-17. 
  13. ^ "Osgoode Wins All Three of the First Prizes at U.S. Mediation Tournament". Osgoode Hall Law School. Archived from the original on 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  14. ^ "Osgoode Hall Admissions Brochure 2015-2016". Osgoode Hall. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Osgoode Adopts New Admissions Policy". Osgoode Hall Law School. 2007-03-19. Archived from the original on 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  16. ^ "Osgoode Hall Law School Changes Law Degree Designation from LLB to JD". Osgoode Hall Law School. Retrieved 2009-04-08. [dead link]
  17. ^ http://www.osgoodepd.ca/

External links[edit]