Spending time with lawyers and law students has changed the way I think about the law. As a future Crown Attorney, I am glad that I got a chance to spend time with my future colleagues.
- 15 year-old student, Central Technical School

IntroductionHigh school student in the LAWS program being tutored by a law student volunteer

LAWS is an innovative collaborative academic and extracurricular education program aimed at supporting, guiding and motivating high school students who face challenges in engaging successfully with school and accessing postsecondary education.  These challenges include:

  • Living in low-income neighbourhoods;
  • Facing difficult personal/family circumstances; and/or
  • Being the first in their families to consider postsecondary education.

LAWS was launched in 2005 as a partnership between the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and the Toronto District School Board.  In 2011 the partnership was expanded to include Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.  LAWS is presently working with students from six Toronto high schools – Central Technical School, Harbord Collegiate Institute, Monarch Park Collegiate, Danforth Collegiate & Technical Institute, Northview Heights Secondary School, CW Jefferys Collegiate Institute and Westview Centennial Secondary School.

LAWS students in the midst of a mock trial at Central Tech


LAWS provides a range of interactive learning experiences that expose students to legal issues, the justice system and the legal profession. By using legal education as an academic tool, we help students succeed in their studies and become more informed, engaged and active citizens. We work extensively with community partners, including law students, professors, lawyers, judges, justices of the peace, courts, law firms, legal aid clinics, and public interest organizations.

LAWS is broken down into three program streams:

  • Core LAWS Program
  • Newcomer Youth Program
  • Aboriginal Youth Program

Through our programming, we aim to encourage access to postsecondary institutions and increase the diversity of the legal profession, in order to better reflect, serve, shape and strengthen Canadian society.

Law student tutoring high school student in the LAWS programHighlights

LAWS is a multifaceted program that provides high school students with an enriched academic and extracurricular experience, including:

  • An academic curriculum infused with law and justice themes:  An integrated three-year cohorted program is implemented throughout the students’ course curricula beginning in grade 10.
  • Extracurricular clubs and programs:  Afterschool clubs provide fun, engaging and meaningful opportunities for students to learn practical skills, bring classroom learning to life, and meet and work with law students and justice sector volunteers.
  • Weekly after-school tutoring sessions:  University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Osgoode Hall law students volunteer to provide weekly support and mentorship to LAWS students, with respect to personal, academic, and career issues. 
  • Opportunities to interact with legal professionals:  Students observe the law in action and spend time with positive role models through job shadowing experiences, mentoring programs, career fairs, in-class workshops, court visits and paid summer jobs with legal employers. 
  • Exposure to postsecondary education:  Students regularly attend events at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Osgoode Hall Law School, visit other local college and university campuses, and learn about postsecondary programs and admission policies.

LAWS students in the midst of a mock trial at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law

For More Information

Visit the Law in Action Within Schools website at www.lawinaction.ca.

LAWS is grateful for the generous support of the Law Foundation of Ontario.


Eleonora Dimitrova
Director – Law in Action Within Schools