Jackman Law Building - view from Bennett Gates

Updated September 2012

Introduction

Welcome to the Faculty of Law’s web page dedicated to informing current and future law students about our exciting plans to build a new state-of-the-art law school building.

This page will be updated as the building project progresses; please stay informed by visiting often.

See also the New Building Construction page for the latest news about the construction process and plans.

Key dates at a glance

  • Summer 2013:           Transition to temporary law school space; building commences
  • 2013-2015:                  Building phase
  • 2015-16 Academic Year:           Transition from temporary law school space to new building

See also the Construction Timeline page for details about the timing of the construction process.

The consultation process

Throughout 2006 and 2007 the Faculty of Law engaged in numerous consultations with all of its key stakeholders, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, the broader university community, the local community, the legal profession, and other key partners to clearly identify the need for the new building and determine the scope of the program to be delivered by the selected architects. After an international design competition, the design from the firm of Hariri Pontarini was selected in 2007.

A Design to “Make the Spirit Soar”

The Design

The Hariri Pontarini and B+H Architects design for the Jackman Law Building envisions a site with three distinct elements: a new multi-storey wing on Queen's Park Crescent; an extensive interior renovation to the Bora Laskin Law Library; and a light renovation to historic Flavelle House.

The new building will increase our space by 50%, adding 66,000 square feet to our campus. The building is designed to accommodate our existing program, with some room for future growth; it does not contemplate an increase in student enrolment.

The design features new classroom, office and student service areas (bringing together Admission and Financial Aid, Records, and Career Services). The Laskin Library, upgraded with current technology and research tools, includes an information commons, quiet areas for reading and research and group study rooms.  A new Student Commons area will provide space for student government, clubs, journals and informal gatherings. The renovated space in Flavelle will feature a conference centre balancing the historic heritage of the law school’s buildings with new technology and furnishings.

The Need

Over the last ten years, three separate external reviews - in 2001, 2006 and 2010 - have identified the physical facilities as the only major threat to the Faculty of Law's success and reputation, both nationally and internationally.

These concerns are echoed by students, who have identified the current law school buildings as the #1 cause of student dissatisfaction in each of the past four years.

The current state of the physical plant at U of T law has a serious impact on the delivery of key priorities at the law school:

  • Space limits student access to professors and courses through restrictions on class size imposed by the lack of flexible classroom space
  • Co-curricular program expansion has increased the size of the administrative staff, but without space to house them, much of the program delivery occurs off-site
  • Student groups are active at the law school, but compete for a limited amount of space for clubs, meetings and events, which limits their activities
  • Space also limits the opportunity for extra-curricular events at the law school, which can dampen both faculty-student interaction and the peer-to-peer experience

"Solve the building issue, and we are confident that Toronto can continue to build its distinctive voice in the worldwide legal academic community. Failure in this effort would be a setback."

- External Review, 2010

Victoria University is the transitional space for the law school during the construction period

The transitional space for the law school during construction of the new Jackman Law Building will be at Victoria University, across the street from the Faculty of Law.

See the transitional Space During Construction (2013-2015) page for full information and FAQs.

Ongoing Student Consultation and Input

The Faculty of Law is committed to ensuring that the transition to the temporary location and the building process in general, is as smooth as possible, with minimal impact on the law student experience.

To this end, we have struck a Building Project Student Committee, which, starting in September 2012, will meet monthly with the Dean and Assistant Dean Students to discuss student priorities concerning the temporary law school space, and the new building.

Ongoing updates will be posted here and on Headnotes.

FAQs

What will the Faculty offer to help maintain continuity and student cohesion during construction?

Victoria College, close to the existing law school buildings, will accommodate our need for library and classroom space.  Falconer will remain open throughout construction and the administration will work to address any concerns about the impact of the construction. See the Interim Space During Construction page for full information and FAQs.

Where can I find pictures of the new design?

The monitor in the lobby of Flavelle house has renderings of the new building, and images can also be viewed on the law school’s website.

Why does the law school need a new building?

Three separate external reviews since 2000 have all pointed to the lack of adequate physical facilities as the single greatest detractor to the law school in terms of recruitment and overall satisfaction for the students, faculty and staff.

When is construction scheduled to begin? When is construction scheduled to end? 

Construction will begin in late June 2013.  Construction is projected to take 24 months, and we are targeting the opening of the new building to the 2015-16 academic year.

During the construction phase, which offices/spaces will be affected?

The project has three components: a new Crescent Wing that will fit behind Flavelle and between the Laskin Library and Queen’s Park, following the contour of Queen’s Park Crescent; there will a  complete renovation and re-cladding of the Laskin Library building, and some renewal of the ground floor of Flavelle House. See the Interim Space During Construction page for full information and FAQs.