Western Law School
|Faculty of Law|
|Motto||Veritas et Utilitas|
|Motto in English||Truth and usefulness|
|Academic affiliation||University of Western Ontario|
|Location||London, Ontario, Canada
Western Law is a public law school located at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. Founded in 1959, its first Dean was former Supreme Court of Canada justice, the Honourable Ivan Cleveland Rand, who saw the school as developing "in the minds of its students the habit of thinking in terms of the dynamic tradition, in the broadest sense, of our law." The Dean of Law is Iain Scott, former Chair and Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Tétrault, who began his tenure on September 1, 2011. In 2011, The University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law changed its brand to Western Law.
The law school is situated in the southwest portion of Western's main campus and is housed in the Josephine Spencer Niblett building. While the school finds itself in the middle of the university's large campus, the law school is completely self-contained, offering students a lounge and café, moot court room and library. The John and Dotsa Bitove Family Law Library, located on the second floor of the law school, is the central information resource for students and faculty members of the faculty. The collection currently includes approximately 193,000 volumes and 45,000 microforms. Primary materials include a comprehensive collection of Canadian legislation and law reports, the principal British and American legal sources, and a growing collection of European and other international materials. The library also has an excellent collection of legal treatises and periodical literature. The building also enjoys wireless internet access and a computer lab.
Admissions and academics
Admissions to the law school is highly competitive. For the 2011 academic year, there were 2,700 applicants for the 175 first-year spaces. The median entering grade was 84% (3.7 GPA) and the median LSAT score was 162 (86th percentile).
Over the years, Western law has been an innovator with respect to legal education. In 1998, the law school initiated the "January term", now replicated at many other law schools. The law school altered its academic year from a semester system to a trimester system, with the "January term" consisting of a four-week semester wherein students enroll in a single intensive course. The format allows the school to attract distinguished Visiting Professors to Western.
The school also has numerous exchange programs with law schools around the world. Upper year students have the opportunity to study abroad for one semester for credit to their Western J.D..
Western Law has one of the most active exchange programs  of any law school in North America with one in five students participating in an exchange. Reciprocally, Western Law welcomes approximately 30-40 visiting exchange students annually from around the world.
Western Law, in conjunction with other faculties on campus also offers joint degree programs, including combined business and law degrees, combined law and engineering degrees and combined law and Ph.D. degrees.
The school year 2009-10 marked Western Law 50th anniversary.
Centres and clinics
The law school houses a number of student-staffed legal centres and clinics, which provide services to different segments of the community, while providing law students with practical legal experience.
Pro Bono Students Canada
Pro Bono Students Canada is a national program that was launched at the University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law in the 1998/1999 academic year. The function of the program is to match law student volunteers with community agencies with a need for legal services but with insufficient resources to compensate legal counsel. Agencies typically involved in Pro Bono Students Canada include public interest and non-profit organizations, tribunals, legal clinics and lawyers working pro bono on a particular case. Law student volunteers complete legal research or other law-related projects for member organizations over the course of the academic year under the supervision of a lawyer mentor. The Western program is one of the biggest National chapters.
Community Legal Services
Community Legal Services (CLS) provides free legal advice and representation to members of the community, and to Fanshawe College and Western students. CLS is funded by Legal Aid Ontario, Fanshawe Student's Council, the University Students Council, and the Faculty of Law.
Over 100 students work at CLS over the course of the academic year under the supervision of three experienced lawyers. Students carry their own files, and gain valuable experience in client correspondence, legal research and drafting of pleadings. Students also have the opportunity to appear at court on behalf of CLS' clients, arguing motions, appearing in criminal court and conducting Small Claims Court trials. Further, students that take upper-year advanced litigation practice courses, also work at CLS for academic credit.
Dispute Resolution Centre
The Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC) is a not-for-profit organization that provides mediation services to residents of London and Middlesex County who wish to resolve their disputes quickly, efficiently and inexpensively.
Operated by Western Law students under the supervision the Faculty at the University of Western Ontario, the DRC can help develop solutions to conflict in an organized and informal way. The DRC mediates disputes in varied types of conflicts, such as landlord/tenant, consumer/merchant, interpersonal/relationship, private contract and separation disputes.
The Sport Solution is a joint project of Athletes CAN and the Dispute Resolution Centre at Western Law. The program is nationally available and provides assistance in resolving sport-related problems and offers support throughout the dispute resolution process.
Sport Solution also offers athletes guidance on how to avoid conflict and understand the fair administration of sport. The centre responds to the needs of athletes on a full range of issues and can provide information about national sport organization (NSO) procedures, athlete agreements, appeals and arbitrations and corresponding with NSOs.
Business Law Clinic
The Western Business Law Clinic strives to alleviate the burden of legal complexities put on aspiring entrepreneurs by providing small start-up and early stage businesses with affordable legal counsel. At the same time, the clinic creates an environment for students to learn invaluable practical skills. The clinic provides small or start-up businesses with legal representation on transaction matters including business structure, finance, intellectual property protection, product liability, employment law, government regulations, contracts, taxation, guarantees and personal liability and environmental issues.
The school publishes two law journals: the faculty-edited Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, and the student-edited University of Western Ontario Journal of Legal Studies. The student newspaper is the occasionally printed Amicus Curiae.
The law school is home to many student-run clubs, including a student newspaper called Amicus Curiae and various interest-based clubs. The main student governing body of Western Law is the Student Legal Society (SLS) who oversees numerous clubs including:
- Aboriginal Law Club
- Black Law Student Association
- Business Law Society
- Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights
- Christian Legal Fellowship
- Criminal Law Students Association (CLSA)
- East Asian Law Students Federation
- Entertainment and Sports Law Association
- Gender and the Law Association (GALA)
- Health Law Club
- International Law Association (ILA)
- Labour Law Society
- Jewish Law Students' Association
- Mature Students Club
- OutLaw Western
- Phi Delta Phi
- South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA)
- Student Environmental Law Association
- Western Law Advocacy Club
- Western Intellectual Property Association
- Western Law Karaoke Club
- Western Law Review Association
- Women in the Law
Every other Wednesday during the school year, SLS organizes social outings for law students at large bars or night clubs. Known as "Dennings", they are named after Alfred Denning, the legendary judge from England's Court of Appeal. A few hours before each Denning, the Mature Students Club hosts "Puisne Dennings" at a nearby pub geared towards more conversation and discourse.
The law building houses a student lounge containing a flat screen television with satellite feed and a foosball table. A Starbucks operates in the part of the law building known as "Chambers". Law students also have access to all the amenities of the larger university campus.
Western Law students participate in many intramural sports, competing with other faculty and residence based teams on campus. Students also participate in the yearly "Law Games" against teams from other law schools across Canada. Western organized the 2007 edition of these games.
- Winders, Jason (26 January 2012). "Western rolls out new branding". Western Law. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- "Graduate Programs". Western Law. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Martin, Chip (13 April 2009). "Western Law marks 50 years". The London Free Press.
- "Student Legal Society: Clubs". Western Law. Retrieved 21 June 2012.