Are there a certain number of spaces reserved for Indigenous application category JD students?

No. There are no ‘quotas’ or minimum or maximum number of reserved spots reserved for any applicant category.

How many students of Indigenous descent attend the Faculty of Law each year?

On average, seven Indigenous students enter the Faculty of Law each year, for a total of approximately 21 across all three years.

Are there minimum GPA and LSAT scores for an applicant to be competitive?

There are no strict cut-offs with regard to GPAs and LSAT scores for any applicant. As mentioned above, Our JD admissions process is designed to identify exceptional students who will bring a broad and complex set of life experiences to the study of law.

We give a full reading to your application with equal emphasis on your LSAT, academic record and person profile. The review process is context sensitive, which means that we look at all of these factors together.  While academic records and LSAT scores play a role in our assessment, we rely on the essays for information that cannot be conveyed by numbers.

We encourage students with apparently less competitive LSAT scores and undergraduate records to apply, since every year we admit a significant number of students whose files when considered in proper context merit offers of admission.

What sort of financial aid options are available for Indigenous JD students?

The Faculty offers a generous Financial Aid Program to eligible students. In addition, there are several bursaries and scholarships available to Indigenous students through the University of Toronto’s First Nations House. There are also several external scholarships available throughout the year to Indigenous students. These opportunities are advertised by the Manager, Indigenous Initiatives as applications for each become available. Indigenous applicants and current JD students can learn more about funding their education by referring to the Indigenous Student JD Funding Guide or contact the Indigenous Initiatives Office for more information. 

What opportunities are there for JD students to work directly for Indigenous communities?

The Faculty has a fellowship program for Indigenous students called the June Callwood Program. This fellowship offers community-based paid internships that allow students to gain practical experience in Indigenous community organizations. Students who are interested in the international aspects of Aboriginal law are encouraged to propose internship projects working with international Indigenous communities through the Faculty’s International Human Rights Program. The Faculty offers a clinical opportunity with Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS), where JD students can earn credit while gaining practical experience working with ALST's lawyers on either Gladue matters or victim advocacy files.

Also, students enrolled in the JD Program at the University of Toronto are eligible to apply to the Osgoode Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources, and Governments.  Finally, our Indigenous Initiatives Office works with our Career Development Office to ensure that job opportunities with Indigenous communities and firms are kept up-to-date.

What sort of personal supports are available to Indigenous JD students?

The Manager, Indigenous Initiatives develops and implements a range of innovative and responsive initiatives designed to foster the success of prospective and current Indigenous students at the Faculty of Law. The Coordinator provides specialized support to Indigenous students, hosts outreach and recruitment events, connects the students with Indigenous alumni for mentorship and career connections, and cultivates strong strategic relationships with external and internal organizations.

The Dean offers an Academic Success Program to all 1L students who are experiencing academic difficulties or who wish to gain confidence in exam or paper writing. Upper-year Student Advisors are hired to provide one-on-one academic mentoring sessions (both in person and via email) and deliver group study skills workshops. These advisors have demonstrated academic excellence in the first year curriculum. The ASP is a free and confidential service. Students may access the program as individuals or in small study groups. They also may be referred to the program by a small group professor on the basis of student performance on writing assignments.

First Nations House (FNH), located at the St. George Campus at the University of Toronto, is a dynamic place where Indigenous students from many Nations across Canada can seek culturally appropriate services. The Office of Aboriginal Student Services and Programs at FNH support incoming and returning Indigenous students in all U of T programs, and provides students the opportunity to create a space where Indigenous people from across Canada and the United States can work and grow in a community environment.

Are there any job opportunities specifically for Indigenous students?

Yes. Indigenous students are able to apply for the June Callwood Program, which offers community-based paid internships that allow students to gain practical experience in Indigenous community organizations. In addition, the Manager, Indigenous Initiatives Office receives summer job and articling postings specifically for Indigenous students from various firms and organizations, which are forwarded to the students and the Career Development Office.

As an Indigenous student, do I have to commit to practicing Aboriginal law?

No. Our Indigenous alumni have gone on to practice in every different area of law. Others have gone on to do policy work or have become members of the judiciary.

What sorts of mentorship opportunities are available at the Faculty?

The Faculty has an alumni mentoring program that is open to all JD students, and is a tremendous opportunity for students to connect with the law school’s Indigenous and other alumni, learn more about the legal profession and explore the various opportunities that a legal education can provide. The program coordinator endeavors to match mentees and mentors on as many criteria as possible, including areas of practice, interests and other personal characteristics.  Indigenous students are have the option to request a mentor of Indigenous descent.

The Peer Mentorship Program pairs first year students with upper year mentors. Mentors act as a source of guidance for matters of both academic and non-academic nature. The Peer Mentorship Program strongly believes that the establishment of a relationship between first year students and upper year students is essential to fostering an inclusive community within the law school. First-year students are given the option of requesting an Indigenous peer mentor.

Additionally, the Indigenous Initiatives Office hosts events where Indigenous students can connect with Indigenous lawyers, including a welcome dinner at a distinguished alumni’s home, an opportunity to attend the annual Indigenous Bar Association Conference and various speaking engagements hosted by lawyers and academics. Upper-year students in the Indigenous Law Students Association tend to serve as informal mentors for the first year Indigenous students.

What makes U of T a great choice for Indigenous applicants?

The Indigenous Initiatives Office at the Faculty of Law offers a wide variety of classroom and experiential learning opportunities to students who are interested in Indigenous issues. Competing in the Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Moot, editing the student-run Indigenous Law Journal, engaging with leading Indigenous legal scholars, and putting student’s legal knowledge to work on behalf of Indigenous communities are just a few examples of the unique ways the Faculty of Law engages Indigenous students in the issues that matter to them.