University of Toronto Faculty of Law

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University of Toronto Faculty of Law
Utoronto coa.svg
Established 1887, 1949 (in current state)
School type Public
Endowment $68 million CA$[1]
Parent endowment $1.539 billion CA$[2]
Dean Mayo Moran
Location Toronto, Canada
Enrollment 640[3]
Faculty 160

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law (U of T Law, UToronto Law) is the law school of the University of Toronto. The school's stature and prestige make it the most competitive and selective in Canada. Currently, the faculty offers the J.D. (formerly LL.B.), LL.M., S.J.D., M.S.L., and G.P.LL.M. degrees in law. Toronto Law has been ranked the number one among the common law schools in the country by Maclean's every year since the common law schools rankings have been published.

Originally founded in 1887, the Faculty is one of the oldest law faculties in Canada, although it was not until 1958 that the faculty was officially recognized as an accredited institution by the Law Society of Upper Canada. The modern law school was reborn in 1949. In 1958, when the Law Society of Upper Canada relinquished its monopoly on legal education in the Province of Ontario, the UofT law degree was recognized as a qualifying credential for the purpose of taking the Bar exams in Ontario .[4]

The law school has been ranked the number one law school in Canada by Maclean's for every year in which the magazine has published law school rankings, which started in 2007.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] The school was ranked 13th globally by the QS World University Ranking in the subject of law, along with a few select schools from US, UK, and Australia.[12] The median undergraduate GPA of students accepted into the J.D. program is 85.5% (based on best 3 years) and the median Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score is 167 (95th percentile) based on highest score written.[13] making the law school the most selective in Canada, and one of the most selective in North America. It has an acceptance rate of 13.5% and a yield rate of 70.1%,.[14] The Faculty features a 98% yield rate in the province of Ontario, representing about half of the country of Canada's English-language common-law population.[15] It has the highest employment rate and starting salaries for legal graduates in the country, taking the largest proportion of positions at Bay Street Seven Sisters firms in the country every year.[16] Over 95% of the school's JD graduates secure legal employment (as articling law students in Canada or licensed lawyers in jurisdictions where there is no apprenticeship such as US) before graduation, the highest in the country.[17] The Faculty of Law offers its students internship programs in pro bono work and international human rights law, and supports a range of legal clinics staffed by students as well as practitioners.

The Faculty of Law has close to 60 full-time faculty members, and 600 undergraduate and graduate students, giving it a student-faculty ratio of approximately 10:1."[18] Its "Distinguished Visitors" program brings 15-25 short-term visiting professors from the world's leading law schools to teach at the school each year. For 2012-13, visiting professors include: Zhenmin Wang, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Tsinghua University; Aharon Barak, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel; and David M. Malone, former Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations.

The Faculty of Law lies at the geographic centre of the University of Toronto. It is located at the corner of Queen's Park Crescent and Hoskin Avenue, south of the Royal Ontario Museum and slightly north of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Among its alumni are one Canadian Prime Minister, three leaders of the Liberal Party of Canada, three Chiefs of Staff to the Prime Minister, two Premiers of Ontario, two Mayors of Toronto, and seven Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, including three of the nine currently-sitting Justices (Louis LeBel, Rosalie Abella, and Michael J. Moldaver) - more than any other law school. The deans of the top three ranked law schools in the country (Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Queen's) are all Toronto Law graduates. Additionally, the deans of Oxford Law Faculty (top-ranked in Britain), Columbia Law School, the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, and the University of Alberta Faculty of Law are all currently U of T Law alumni.[19]

The current Dean of the Faculty of Law (as of January 1, 2015) is Professor Edward Iacobucci, himself a U of T Law graduate from the LL.B. program. [20]


University rankings
Global rankings
University of Toronto
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Common Law[21] 1
Joseph Flavelle House at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law

Although the University of Toronto Faculty of Law was established in 1887, it was not until 1949 that it adopted its current form. In the 1940s, the Faculty played the leading role in making legal education in Ontario into a modern academic degree course, rather than an apprenticeship.

In 1949, Cecil (“Caesar”) Wright assumed the deanship of the Faculty of Law. He first had to resign his post as Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, the seat of the Law Society of Upper Canada, rejecting the Law Society's apprenticeship model of legal education in favour of the University of Toronto's vision of a full-time legal education, hinging on the professional bachelor of laws degree and embedded within a university. Wright brought with him his colleagues John Willis and Bora Laskin, the latter of whom would go on to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Despite the Faculty of Law's academic program, the Law Society of Upper Canada refused to recognize it as a degree-granting institution for the purposes of accreditation. In the early 1950s, law students and their supporters petitioned the Law Society, and in 1953, a group of 50 student protesters marched on Osgoode Hall demanding formal recognition for the Faculty of Law. Finally, in 1958, after years of negotiation and discord, the Law Society began to give credit to graduates of the law school seeking admission to the Ontario bar.


Falconer Hall, 2009

Falconer Hall[edit]

Falconer Hall is home to many of the faculty's offices, including the Office of the Dean, and four seminar rooms. The third floor of Falconer Hall currently hosts the offices of most of the Faculty's scholars of law and economics, including one of the field's founders, Michael Trebilcock.

Flavelle House[edit]

The extension to Flavelle House which houses, amongst others, the Bora Laskin library, opened in 1991.

Flavelle House contains the faculty's principal classrooms, faculty and student common rooms, the Rosalie Silberman Abella Moot Court, as well as the Bora Laskin Law Library. The building was constructed in 1902 as the private residence of Sir Joseph Flavelle, and was left to the University of Toronto upon his death in 1939. It backs onto Philosopher's Walk (Toronto), which can be seen from many of the south and west-facing rooms.

Planned renovations[edit]

In 2011 the Faculty of Law launched a campaign to raise money for the renovation and expansion of Flavelle House, with a goal of raising $53 million.[22] The new building will be named the Jackman Law Building in honour of Henry N.R. "Hal" Jackman, who donated $11 million to the faculty's building campaign in 2012, the largest single gift the faculty has ever received.[23]

The renovations are planned to begin in the summer of 2013, and construction will last until 2015. During the construction, students at the faculty will attend classes at Victoria University's campus, across the street from Flavelle House.[24]

The completed Faculty of Law building will be composed of the conjoined Flavelle House, Laskin Pavilion, and Jackman Crescent, with the Queen's Park Forum connecting them all. It will be located at 78 Queen's Park facing onto the Legislative Building on Queen's Park and will have a view of downtown Toronto's skyline. It was originally planned to open in time for the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year, but has been delayed into the academic year due to permit issues with the city which have since been resolved.[25] The Faculty of Law building is situated across from Trinity College, Toronto, separated by Philosopher's Walk, formerly Taddle Creek. Its locations was formerly home to Toronto's Industrial Age Millionaire's Row, with many of the buildings, previously serving as mansions, donated to the University of Toronto in the intervening century. It is next to the Faculty of Music and just south of the Royal Ontario Museum, formerly part of the University of Toronto.


The Faculty of Law has about 60 tenure and tenure-track professors along with a group of visiting professors from around the world. Additionally, many leading practitioners come to campus, teaching many of the upper-year practice courses in their specialized fields.

Among the professoriate are many who are regarded as the leading the scholars in their fields who have also written the standard textbooks used by most students across Canada.[26] These include Stephen Waddams (Tort Law), Ernest Weinrib (Contract Law), Kent Roach (Criminal Law), Hamish Stewart (Evidence Law), Mohammad Fadel (Islamic Law), Colleen Flood (Health Law), Edward Iacobucci (Business Law), Ayelet Shachar (Immigration Law), Simon Stern (Innovation Law), Martin Friedland (Legal History), Arthur Ripstein (Legal Philosophy), and Michael Trebilcock (Legal Economics) to name a few.


The Faculty of Law offers a second-entry first-professional JD degree, as well as graduate LLM and SJD degrees for those already with JD degrees. For those without JD degrees interested in legal studies at the graduate level, there is the MSL.

The faculty had an acceptance rate of 13.5% and a yield rate of 70.1%.[14]

JD program[edit]

The JD degree is the faculty's primary program with about 200 students in every class and 600 in total.

Combined JD programs[edit]

In addition to the regular JD program, the faculty offers the most combined law degrees in Canada. These include the JD/MBA (business), JD/MGA (diplomacy), JD/MPP (government), JD/MSW (social work), JD/MA (arts and science), and JD/PhD (arts and science), among others. While about one-fifth of the class currently is enrolled in a combined program, the most popular is the JD/MBA with an enrollment of over 20 students per year, making up over 10% of the overall JD class. Its combined JD/MBA program is the largest in Canada and possibly the world with students subsequently going into corporate law, consulting, and investment banking.

Tuition and financial aid[edit]

Tuition fees for entering Juris Doctor (J.D.) students as of 2014-2015 are $30,230.00 (program tuition fees) plus $1,305.96 (program incidental, ancillary, system fees), totaling $31,535.96.[27] Although the Faculty of Law has, by far, the highest tuition fees of any law school in Canada, it also has a generous financial aid program, with the average student who qualified for aid only paying $15,421 in tuition fees in their first year.[28]

All students who have eligible unmet need according to the financial aid policies will receive assistance in the form of bursaries and interest-free loans. The most controversial part of the faculty's financial aid program, which was initially designed by students and administration collaboratively, is that it uses a "deemed parental contribution" as part of determining a student's unmet need. There is no deemed parental contribution below an income threshold that is around the average Canadian household income. The deemed parental contribution phases out with the age of the student.

The Faculty of Law is the only law school in Canada with a back-end debt relief program for graduates who choose to pursue low income employment. The "back end debt relief program" is targeted to relieve debt with respect to financial aid/interest-free loans that are recognized by the faculty; most third-party debt (lines of credit; credit cards; mortgage debt) is not recognized and is not eligible for faculty support.

Degrees granted[edit]

The Faculty of Law was the first law school in Canada to offer the Juris Doctor (J.D.) rather than the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B). The J.D. designation is intended to reflect the fact that the vast majority of the law school’s graduates enter the law school with at least one university degree. (In fact, approximately one quarter enter with one or more graduate degrees.) The J.D. designation does not, however, reflect significant changes in the law school's curriculum. The move to the J.D. was controversial at the time it was announced, though it has now gained wide acceptance and has been emulated by almost all Canadian law schools.

Grading system[edit]

The JD program uses a modified honours-pass-fail grading system, announced in 2011-2012 and implemented in 2012-2013. It followed[29] on Harvard Law School's[30] and Stanford Law School's[31] implementation announced in 2008-2009 and 2007-2008, respectively, of a modified pass-fail system first brought in place by Yale Law School decades before in the 1960s.[30][32] The grades awarded are High Honours (HH), Honours (H), Pass with Merit (P), Low Pass (LP) and Fail (F).[33] Toronto along with Harvard, Stanford, and Yale as well as UC Berkeley which has also had a similar system for decades, are the only law schools that use modified pass-fail systems in North America.[34] Students beginning law school prior to 2012 are grand-parented and continue to be graded under a modified letter grade system.[35] Students hoping to obtain 'honours' standing, indicating they finished in the top 10% of their class, can expect to require a mixture of High Honours (HH) and Honours (H) grades.[36]

Student organizations[edit]

Students manage a wide range of organizations and activities at the Faculty of Law. Activities include free legal clinics such as Downtown Legal Services, mooting, law journals, and interest oriented clubs. The umbrella organization for JD students at the Faculty of Law is the Students' Law Society. The umbrella organization for graduate students is the Graduate Students' Law Society. The student societies act as student governments, providing funding to student organizations and advocating on behalf of students to the faculty and administration.[37][38]

The four student-run law journals at the Faculty are:

Notable alumni[edit]

Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada[edit]

  • Bora Laskin (1936) - Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada (1973–1984)[39]
  • John C. Major (1957) - Puisne Justice of Supreme Court of Canada (1992–2005), Commissioner for the Air India Inquiry
  • John Sopinka (1958) - Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court, (1988–1997)
  • Ian Binnie (1965) - Puisne Justice of Supreme Court of Canada, (1998–2011)
  • Louis LeBel : (LLM) (1966) - Puisne Justice of Supreme Court of Canada, (2000–Present)
  • Rosalie Silberman Abella (1970) - Puisne Justice of Supreme Court of Canada (2004–Present)
  • Michael J. Moldaver (1971) - Puisne Justice of Supreme Court of Canada (2011–Present)




  • Martin Friedland (1958) - professor of criminal law, author
  • Ernest Weinrib (1972) - professor and noted private law theorist
  • Robert Prichard (1975) - Dean of the Faculty of Law (1984–1990), President of the University of Toronto (1990–2000)
  • George Triantis (1983) - Harvard professor and specialist in corporate law
  • Patrick Macklem (1984) - professor and specialist in labour, indigenous, and constitutional law
  • Ronald J. Daniels (1986) - Dean of the Faculty of Law (1995–2005), Provost and Vice President, Academic of the University of Pennsylvania, and current President of Johns Hopkins University
  • Kent Roach (1987) - professor and specialist in criminal and constitutional law
  • Stephen Waddams (1967) - professor and noted private law theorist



  1. ^ University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Gifts that have Made a Difference, retrieved August 5, 2012 
  2. ^ Figure does not include separate endowment funds maintained by individual colleges. U of T Endowments - Annual Financial Reports (PDF), Financial Services Department, 2011 
  3. ^ LSAC - JD: Canadian Law School Profiles. 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Maclean's Law School Ranking 2007
  6. ^ Maclean's Law School Ranking 2008
  7. ^ Maclean's Law School Ranking 2009
  8. ^ Maclean's Law School Ranking 2010
  9. ^ Maclean's Law School Ranking 2011
  10. ^ Maclean's Law School Ranking 2012
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 9 October 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ "2013 Common Law University Ranking". Maclean's. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "Faculty of Law Building Campaign Fact Sheet". Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  23. ^ Ciccocioppo, Lucianna (October 1, 2012). "Henry N. R. Jackman’s $11M Campaign gift is the largest donation in the history of the Faculty of Law". University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Victoria Campus is the Law School's Temporary Home". Ultra Vires. October 17, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b
  31. ^
  32. ^ Kalman, Laura, Yale Law School and the Sixties: Revolt and Reverberations (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2005)
  33. ^ [2]
  34. ^
  35. ^ [3]
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°40′N 79°24′W / 43.667°N 79.400°W / 43.667; -79.400