Schulich School of Law

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Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University
Schulich School of Law crest.png
Motto Latin: Lex Fons Lucis
Motto in English
"Law is the source of light"
Type Public Law School
Established October 30, 1883
Dean Camille Cameron
Academic staff
Students 486[1]
Location Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Campus Urban
Colours Black and Gold          
Nickname Dal Law
Schulich School of Law Logo.png

The Schulich School of Law is a faculty of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Formerly called Dalhousie Law School, it was established in 1883, making it the oldest university common law school in the British Commonwealth. It is the largest law school in Atlantic Canada and attracts students from all parts of Canada and abroad. The law school is a member of the North American Consortium on Legal Education. The school was renamed the Schulich School of Law in October 2009 after receiving a $20 million benefaction from Canadian businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich.[2]


Dalhousie Law School lays claim to being "the first university-based common law school in the Commonwealth."[3] Unlike Ontario's Osgoode Hall, which was first established in 1862 under the auspices of the Law Society of Upper Canada and subsequently shut down several times before re-opening in 1889, Dalhousie Law School sought to treat the study of law as a liberal education. It was not, as Osgoode was, an outpost for the province's professional law society where the law was "merely a technical craft."[4] In fact, at that time the establishment of a full-time professional university common law school was so radical and the School's influence so great that legal historians cite Dalhousie Law School's founding as the beginning of the first period of common law education in Canada that laid the basis for law school as it is known today.[5]

Dalhousie's early experiments in legal education eventually served as the foundation on which numerous common law schools based their curricula across Canada. For instance, in W. Wesley Pue's Story of Legal Education in British Columbia, which chronicles the establishment of the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law some 62 years after Dalhousie Law School first opened its doors, Pue notes that:

"Dalhousie" serves as a sort of code-word among legal educators in Canada, much as "Harvard" does in the United States of America. It invokes a vision of intellectually ambitious, rigorous, and scholarly approaches to education for the profession of law. In British Columbia, the transformation from part-time to full-time study involved the implementation of a model of legal education that was "Dalhousie" in all respects.[6]

This rigorous training in legal education became synonymous with the tenure of Dalhousie Law School's founding Dean, Richard Chapman Weldon. In discussing the motivations that led to the establishment of a full-time common law school, Weldon described the "'legitimate ambition' of 'generous spirits who wish their country well' to build a law school 'that shall influence the intellectual life of Canada as Harvard and Yale have influenced the intellectual life of New England.'"[7] Weldon himself demonstrated this commitment to public service time and again, both as Dean of Dalhousie Law School and as a Canadian Member of Parliament.[8]

Based on Weldon's comments in his inaugural address at the opening of the School, it is perhaps not surprising that Dalhousie Law School has shared a storied connection with its counterpart at Harvard University. Although Dalhousie was influenced early on by the high standards of academic excellence set by Harvard Law School, it placed a decidedly unique emphasis on the subjects of public law, constitutional history, and international law, fields that were notably absent from Harvard's curriculum in the 1880s.[9]


University rankings
Global rankings
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Common Law[10] 6

The school is ranked in the top three Canadian law schools in Corporate Knights' 2011 Knight Schools Survey.[11] Maclean's 2013 ranking of Canadian common law schools placed the school sixth out of 16. It was the first Canadian law school awarded the Emil Gumpuert Award by the American College of Trial Lawyers for excellence in trial advocacy training.[12]


On September 30, 2009, Dalhousie University President Tom Traves and Dean Phillip Saunders announced that philanthropist Seymour Schulich presented a $20 million gift designated entirely for the Faculty of Law. In honour and recognition of Schulich's support, the Faculty of Law was renamed the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. The greatest portion of the donation will create 41 new scholarships, each averaging $12,000.[13]


The Weldon Law Building, Dalhousie University

The school is situated in the Weldon Law Building, on Studley Campus. The building is named after the first Dean of the school, Richard Chapman Weldon. Originally completed in 1966, it has been renovated three times. On August 16, 1985, a lightning strike caused a short in the electrical system which started a fire that destroyed the top floor of the building which housed the library.[14] The new Sir James Dunn Law Library opened in 1989. The most recent refurbishment took place in 2004, with the James and Barbara Palmer Wing.

Degrees offered[edit]

Students attending the Schulich School of Law may undertake a regular Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree or elect to concentrate their J.D. in one of four specific areas: health law, business law, marine and environmental law, and law and technology.

In January 2011, the Senate voted to change Dalhousie's law degree designation from a Bachelor of Laws to a Juris Doctor.[15]

In addition, the school has a number of combined-degree programmes: J.D./M.B.A., J.D./M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration), J.D./M.L.I.S. (Master of Library and Information Studies), J.D./M.H.A. (Master of Health Administration) and J.D./M.J. (Master of Journalism).

The law school also offers postgraduate studies which lead to the degrees of Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor in the Science of Law (J.S.D.)

As an accredited law school in Canada, graduates of the Juris Doctor Programme are eligible to proceed to bar admission and articling program throughout the country.


The average Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score of students accepted into Dalhousie's JD program is 161. In 2013, 170 students were admitted from a pool of over 1,400 applicants.[16]

Institutes and legal aid service[edit]

The law school is the home of the Health Law Institute, Law and Technology Institute, and the Marine & Environmental Law Institute.[17][18][19]

The Dalhousie Legal Aid Service was founded in 1970 and provides important legal services to the Halifax area. It brings together third-year law students, practising lawyers and community actors to serve the less fortunate segment of the community. It is the oldest clinical law program in Canada and the only community law clinic in Nova Scotia.[20]

Student life[edit]

Domus Legis Society[edit]

Domus Legis logo.png

Law student life at Dalhousie is known for its collegiality and tradition. The student-run Domus Legis Society (better known as Domus Legis) is Canada's oldest social society for law students, and has operated since 1965. It was created by Dalhousie law students "to promote good fellowship among congenial men and women at the Faculty of Law of Dalhousie University; to encourage a high standard of professional work; and to assist by every honourable means the advancement of its members."[21]

The Domus Legis continues to be run by students of the Schulich School of Law independent of the university administration. It receives some support from alumni, and from Canadian law firms. The society adheres to a constitution and is run by an executive composed of students from the Faculty of Law who are elected annually. Despite its independence, the Domus Legis has close customary ties to faculty, alumni, visiting justices and the Dean, who is given honorary designation as "Member #1."[21]

Over the years, traditions have grown to include the customary signing of the Domus Legis Society's walls by law graduates and visiting dignitaries. The last of this tradition is proudly displayed in the Weldon Law building student lounge with the "Homeless Class of 2005." The original building that housed the society was located at 1255 Seymour Street, however it was demolished in January 2004. When the executive was finishing the final cleaning-out of the house in January 2004, the slogan "usque ad mortem bibendum" was re-discovered on the back of the Domus' exterior sign. Derived from Latin, "usque ad mortem bibendum" translates as "Drink Till You Die."[21] After the demolition, Domus Legis' many traditions still live on, including the weekly "Domus Night" which takes place every Thursday and the annual Halloween party which attracts law students and other faculties. Efforts to acquire a new home for Domus Legis continue along with Alumni support. The name "Domus Legis" derives from Latin, meaning "House of Law."[21]

Domus Legis membership is open to all students of the Schulich School of Law.[21]

Dalhousie Law Students Society[edit]

The Dalhousie Law Students Society is the elected student government of Schulich School of Law. It is composed of seven executive members, a representative from each section in first year, three representatives each from second and third year, a Black students representative, an Aboriginal students representative, a Chair and a Secretary. The society represents the student voice in all aspects of the law school including social, financial, athletic and academic areas.[22]

Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies[edit]

Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies logo.png

The Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies is a non-profit, academic law journal that publishes work from current law students and recent alumni in Canada and throughout the world.

Established in 1991, the Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies is a forum that promotes reflection and debate about contemporary legal issues. As one of the only publications of its kind in Canada, the Journal serves as a unique vehicle for law students to publish their work.

The DJLS is published once per academic year and maintains a broad subscription base that includes law firms, law school libraries, corporations, government departments, alumni, and legal professionals from around the globe. The Journal is also indexed in the HeinOnline database.

An entirely student-run publication, the DJLS is managed by an editorial board, and over seventy volunteers comprising students from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie assist in production and publication.

It is distinct from the Dalhousie Law Journal which is a peer-reviewed journal produced by faculty, rather than students.[23]

The Weldon Times[edit]

The Weldon Times is a law student run newspaper.

Notable alumni[edit]

Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University has produced a number of accomplished alumni in the course of its history, including over 300 judicial appointments to every level of court in every province of Canada. The law school's alumni, for example, constitute 20 percent of the Federal Court of Canada and 25 percent of the Tax Court of Canada.[12] Notable alumni include:

Prime Ministers[edit]

Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada[edit]

Justices of international courts[edit]

Other notable justices[edit]

Law-makers / politicians[edit]

Academics / scholars[edit]

  • Innis H. Christie (1962) – law dean; one Canada's "great labour law scholars"[37] and a central figure in the establishment of employment law in Canada.[38]
  • Murray Fraser (1960) – law scholar, founding dean of University of Victoria Faculty of Law
  • Edgar Gold, OC (1973) – Australian-Canadian expert in international ocean law and marine and environmental policy
  • Vincent C MacDonald (1920) – law dean, academic, justice, and a leading Canadian constitutional law scholar in the Post-War Period[39]
  • Elisabeth Mann-Borgese – internationally recognized expert on maritime law and policy, founding members of Club of Rome, a global think tank based in Zurich, Switzerland
  • W. Kent Power, QC – founding chief lecturer at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law;[40] first to advocate permanent law reform commissions in Canada;[41] helped shape Western Canadian common law tradition.
  • Sidney Smith (1920) – law professor; law dean; President of University of Toronto; former Secretary of State (External Affairs); introduced Harvard case method into Canadian legal education[42]
  • Richard Chapman Weldon – Professor of Law, Founding Dean
  • F. Scott Murray – law scholar and historian

Business / corporate law[edit]

Legal activists[edit]


Lieutenant Governors[edit]


Arts and pop culture[edit]

List of deans[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law". 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  2. ^ "Dalhousie law school receives $20M gift". CBC News. October 16, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Schulich School of Law - Dalhousie University". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  4. ^ Waite, Peter B. The Lives of Dalhousie University: Lord Dalhousie's college. McGill-Queen's Press, 1994, p. 140.
  5. ^ [1] Archived July 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Pue, W. Wesley. "Chapter 7: Law’s Content." The Story of Legal Education in British Columbia. UBC Law: History. 1995. Retrieved 2012-01-31.
  7. ^ Bourne, C.B. Canadian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 12. UBC Press, 1974, p. 92.
  8. ^ WELDON
  9. ^ Waite, Peter B. Lord of Point Grey: Larry MacKenzie of U.B.C.. UBC Press, 1987, p. 36,
  10. ^ "2013 Common Law University Ranking". Maclean's. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Sustainable MBA". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  12. ^ a b "About - Schulich School of Law - Dalhousie University". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  13. ^ Marilyn Smulders (October 15, 2009). "Introducing the Schulich School of Law". Dal News. 
  14. ^ "The Buildings of Dalhousie University - Weldon Law Building - Building History". 1967-03-18. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  15. ^ "Media Centre - Dalhousie University". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  16. ^ "APPLYING TO THE SCHULICH SCHOOL OF LAW" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  17. ^ "Health Law Institute - Dalhousie University". 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  18. ^ "Law & Technology Institute - Dalhousie University". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  19. ^ "Schulich School of Law - Dalhousie University". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  20. ^ "About Dalhousie Legal Aid - Dalhousie Legal Aid Service - Dalhousie University". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  21. ^ a b c d e Retrieved September 18, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  22. ^ "Dalhousie Law Students' Society". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  23. ^ "Schulich School of Law - Dalhousie University". Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  24. ^ Mulroney: The Politics of Ambition, by John Sawatsky, 1991
  25. ^ "Brian Mulroney". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  26. ^ a b "ARCHIVED - Clark-Biography-First Among Equals". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  27. ^ [2] Archived May 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ "Who was F.W. Howay? - FW Howay School". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  29. ^ "Judge Frederick William Howay". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  30. ^ "Clan MacKay in the Military". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  31. ^ [3] Archived March 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ [4] Archived February 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  33. ^ "Peter MacKay ~ Representing Central Nova". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  34. ^ [5] Archived August 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ Vega, Janice. "Political News Blog". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  36. ^ [6] Archived January 17, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ "Inaugural Innis Christie Labour & Employment Law Symposium | Doorey's Law of Work Blog". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  38. ^ "ARTICLE: Charting the Boundaries of Labour Law: Innis Christie and the Search for an Integrated Law of Labour Market Regulation". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  39. ^ A History of Canadian Legal Thought: Collected Essays - R. C. B. Risk, G. Blaine Baker, Jim Phillips, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  40. ^ Annuaire Canadien de Droit International. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  41. ^ "1 - The Emergence of an Idea - Law reform agencies - The International Cooperation Group". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  42. ^ Essays in the History of Canadian Law: In honour of R.C.B. Risk - David H. Flaherty, Jim Phillips, Osgoode Society. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  43. ^ Robert Bothwell. "Henry Borden". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  44. ^ "Happy birthday to the University of New Brunswick -". 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  45. ^ "Dalhousie Law Alumni Reunion Dinner 2005." Heresay. 2006: 22. Print.
  46. ^ [7] Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  47. ^ Retrieved January 9, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  48. ^ "The Hathaway Corporation Principals". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  49. ^ "Members of the Commission". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  50. ^ "About - Elizabeth May for Saanich-Gulf Islands". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  51. ^ "The road less travelled." Heresay. 2006: 8. Print.
  52. ^ [8] Archived October 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  53. ^ "Henry Sylvester Williams". 100 Great Black Britons. Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  54. ^ [9] Archived March 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  55. ^ "John Robert Nicholson". Retrieved 2015-07-11. 
  56. ^ "Deans of the Law School - Schulich School of Law - Dalhousie University". Retrieved 2015-07-10. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°38′13″N 63°35′30″W / 44.63694°N 63.59167°W / 44.63694; -63.59167