Why UVic Law?
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The UVic Law Difference
- Educational Excellence in a Supportive Environment
- Inspired Instruction
- A Welcoming and Diverse Community
- Co-operative Legal Education Program
- Environmental Law
- Indigenous Initiatives
- International Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Summer Session Programs
- Concurrent Degree Programs
- Graduate Program
- Student Involvement
- Superb Location
- Financial Support
- Law Careers Office
UVic Law has consistently been ranked as one of the finest law schools in Canada* and is widely respected for its unwavering dedication to academic excellence and to fostering a supportive learning environment. While adhering to those fundamental tenets, the school continues to introduce vital new initiatives to adapt to the changing expectations of students. The Faculty also recognizes that the law must be understood within a wider context of social, political, historical and economic perspectives.
The program allows students to pursue individual educational and career objectives under the guidance of exceptional professors, supportive mentors and internationally renowned scholars. Together, they have helped to create a learning environment that is progressive, enriching and intellectually stimulating.
UVic Law's academic standards are high. Students who are accepted into the Faculty will find that a great deal is expected of them in terms of effort and commitment. However, they will also discover a learning environment that is collegial and predicated on an atmosphere of mutual respect and co-operation. Students are encouraged to set ambitious goals, while competing against themselves rather than their classmates.
By the time they graduate, UVic Law students will have acquired the skills, knowledge and judgment needed to embark on fulfilling careers within the legal profession or to pursue associated careers in the public or private sectors. This challenging yet supportive environment is designed to help students set their own professional goals and realize their own visions of success.
*Source: Canadian Lawyer
In a recent survey, a remarkable 97 per cent of first-year law students at the University of Victoria judged their learning experience to be "good" or "excellent".* Much of that success is attributable to UVic Law's supportive learning environment, as well as the leadership and expertise of its outstanding instructors and respected legal scholars.
The objective is not only to teach the principles of law, but to help students understand the role of law in society and its application in the wider community.
Admission to first-year law studies is limited to just over 100 students. Students therefore have numerous opportunities to work closely with faculty members and their peers on special projects and in small groups, seminars and moots. They are also encouraged to take advantage of mentoring opportunities and to participate in student government and faculty-student committees.
*Source: 2007 Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE)
One of the unique aspects of legal education at the University of Victoria — and one of the many reasons why students choose to attend UVic Law — is the commitment to a collaborative, inclusive and accessible learning environment.
UVic Law recognizes that attracting outstanding students from a variety of social, cultural, ethnic and educational backgrounds results in an atmosphere of diversity and openness. This atmosphere is one of the school's greatest strengths and ultimately enriches the learning experience of every UVic Law student. The Faculty continually searches for ways to ensure that legal education and professional opportunities remain open to all talented students.
UVic Law is committed to diversity and equity initiatives in its admissions and hiring policies. Working closely with students and staff, the Faculty has developed equity plans concerning women, Aboriginal persons, visible minorities, disabled persons, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirited, transgendered and queer (GLBTTQ) people. In conjunction with the UVic Law Students' Society (LSS) and other organizations, the Faculty of Law supports the efforts of the Dean's Advisory Committee on Ethnicity and Culture, the Black Law Students' Association of Canada, the Indigenous Law Students' Association, In the Alternative (a GLBTTQ organization) and the UVic Association of Women and the Law.
UVic Law is proud to provide its students with exciting opportunities to apply the knowledge they've gained in the classroom to practical situations through a variety of hands-on learning experiences. The Faculty of Law offers the only common law co-operative education program in Canada, as well as three clinical term programs.
The co-op program formally integrates a student's academic studies on campus with work experience in government and the private sector — within Canada or overseas. Co-op students alternate their study terms with full-time, paid work assignments, where they gain practical experience with three different types of employers and make valuable connections within the legal community. These challenging and rewarding placements allow participants to enhance their intellectual, professional and personal development, explore potential career options prior to graduation and gain confidence to succeed in their chosen profession.
Clinical Term Programs
The Law Centre offers a full-term, experiential learning environment where students manage caseloads involving real clients, under the supervision of the centre's director and staff lawyers. The program emphasizes the Faculty's focus on integrating legal knowledge, legal skills and community service.
Through the Environmental Law Centre Clinic, students have the opportunity to study legal principles, conduct research and engage in public interest advocacy projects related to environmental law issues. The centre provides legal information and assistance to local, provincial and national environmental groups.
The Business Law Clinic brings together a dynamic combination of senior law students and community-based entrepreneurs. Students utilize their skills and knowledge to help owners of small businesses assess their legal obligations and satisfy regulatory requirements.
Apart from involvement in these clinics, students can volunteer with a variety of clubs and student-led groups, including the Victoria chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada, the law school's Legal Information Clinic and the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund to gain additional practical experience.
- puts academic studies into perspective
- exposes students to non-traditional areas of practice
- enables students to evaluate their aptitudes and interests, explore career options and adjust their career paths
The UVic Environmental Law Centre (ELC) was created in 1995 and is home to Canada's first public interest environmental law clinic. ELC students study theory, conduct research and get involved in public interest projects directly related to environmental law issues.
The ELC provides legal information and assistance to local, provincial and national environmental groups, sponsors conferences and workshops, and publishes law reform papers and citizen handbooks on emerging environmental topics.
Recent Environmental Law Centre initiatives include:
- a comprehensive legal analysis of a report examining the future of salmon farming in British Columbia
- legal memoranda for Edible Strategies, targeting food and agricultural policy reform
- publication of cleanair.ca: a citizens' action guide, a hands-on primer on the science and law of air pollution that is supported by a web site maintained by ELC students
- draft legislation entitled The Global Warming Solutions Act, intended to set targets for reducing emissions in BC
- various reports for BC's First Nations communities, related to Aboriginal forestry and water rights
The ELC conducts research and supports public advocacy efforts related to environmental issues
UVic Law has made major commitments over the past decade to expand its Indigenous law programming and attract Indigenous students. As a result, the Faculty is now recognized as a Canadian leader in Indigenous legal education. The Faculty recognizes that there is also an urgent need within the Canadian legal community for a broader understanding of Indigenous legal issues. To address this need, it offers or supports:
- an endowed Professorship in Aboriginal Justice and Governance
- a special admission category for Aboriginal students
- an Academic and Cultural Support Program
- an annual four-day Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Camp
- annual participation in the National Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Moot
- a range of courses dedicated to Aboriginal law, plus components of other courses that deal with Aboriginal legal issues
- an Aboriginal Equity Policy
- the Indigenous Law Students' Association
- a National Chair in Aboriginal Economic Development in the faculties of Business and Law.
UVic's First Peoples House provides a welcoming and supportive space for the community and an academic and cultural centre for Indigenous students, faculty and staff.
Click here for a tour of First Peoples House.
Canada's legal, economic and cultural ties with other nations are critically important to this country and its citizens. The Faculty of Law has therefore developed valuable expertise in the fields of international and comparative law.
UVic Law has a well-established international exchange program and provides exciting opportunities for students to work in legal environments throughout the world. The Faculty offers student exchange opportunities in the Pacific Rim region, Europe, Africa and elsewhere around the globe.
UVic Law has close ties with several international research organizations on campus, including The Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI), which serves as a multidisciplinary public policy research centre and resource facility for the University of Victoria and the wider community.
The Faculty of Law has a well-established international exchange program and provides exciting opportunities for students to work in legal environments throughout the world.
As part of UVic Law's ongoing commitment to students involved in the co-op program, the Faculty offers courses every summer session. These include mandatory upper-level courses as well as topical courses on legal issues of national and international significance. A different program concentration is selected each year, with past themes including Environmental Law, Intellectual Property Law, Indigenous Legal Studies and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The summer session is also open to a limited number of Canadian and international students who are not involved in the co-op program or who are studying at another law school. Most Canadian law schools offer transfer credit for UVic Law's summer session courses.
UVic Law is committed to enhancing the Faculty's national and international reputation by offering summer terms focused on topical areas of the law and by meeting student needs through flexible course offerings.
The Faculty of Law offers two double degree programs for students interested in expanding their education in other disciplines during their legal studies. Please refer to the web sites listed below for detailed information on these programs.
- J.D.+M.B.A. Double Degree program - Juris Doctor / Master of Business Administration
- J.D.+M.P.A. Double Degree program - Juris Doctor / Master of Arts in Public Administration
J.D for Civil Law Graduates, for students who have completed their civil law degree requirements in Quebec
UVic Law demonstrates its commitment to studying and teaching law and its relationship to society by including a variety of interdisciplinary components in the curriculum.
Students who have successfully completed a J.D. or LL.B. program can further their legal education by applying for entry into the Faculty's highly successful, interdisciplinary graduate program. UVic Law offers graduate programs leading to a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Law and Society or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Law and Society.
These programs have a strong interdisciplinary focus and structure, building upon the Faculty's reputation for examining law within the wider social context. The primary areas of concentration in the graduate curriculum include:
- Aboriginal Law and Indigenous Rights
- Constitutional Law
- Environmental Law and Policy
- Legal History
- Legal Theory, especially Feminist and Critical Legal Theory
- Market Regulation (for example, Employment and Labour Law, International Private and Public Law, and Commercial Law)
UVic Law students are committed to exploring their interests both inside and outside of the classroom. There are numerous opportunities to participate in small groups, seminars, moots and special projects — all of which foster excellent collegial relations among faculty, staff and students.
The law school encourages students to get involved with joint faculty/student committees and in student government. They also have the opportunity to participate in a wide array of extracurricular activities, from clubs (related to their legal interests) to intramural sports. There is a strong sense of shared experience and civic attachment at UVic Law that continues well beyond graduation.
UVic Law students are extraordinarily involved in all aspects of the law school, including serving as voting members on Faculty committees.
The University of Victoria campus is located in a city that is consistently rated as one of the most livable and beautiful communities in the world. Situated on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island, Greater Victoria is a major government centre and world-renowned tourism destination.
An appreciation of nature and participation in exhilarating outdoor activities are vital aspects of the "Vancouver Island lifestyle." The region boasts one of Canada's mildest climates, with opportunities for surfing, kayaking, hiking, rowing, cycling, windsurfing, golfing and sailing all within easy reach.
Those who are fortunate enough to live, study and work in this incredible environment tend to look at the world a bit differently. That refreshing perspective is reflected in the wide range of legal education programs offered at UVic. Respect for the land's traditional stewards has also inspired the Faculty of Law to become a leader in environmental law, Aboriginal law issues and public policy initiatives.
The stunning beauty of the Pacific Ocean coastline surrounds the city and the University of Victoria campus.
The UVic Faculty of Law appreciates the generous support of donors who contribute each year to our growing scholarship and bursary endowment, which assists a significant number of incoming and continuing students each year. Through the efforts of our in-house Alumni, Development and External Relations Office, the Faculty of Law is continually seeking out additional sources of financial support for its students.
Scholarships and bursaries assist the Faculty in attracting the best and brightest applicants to its undergraduate and graduate programs, and ensure that qualified students are able to attend and remain in law school regardless of their financial means or social circumstances.
An in-house Financial Aid Office provides advice and assistance to students throughout the year. For more information, see UVic Law's Tuition and Financial Aid. UVic Law has also established the Dean's Emergency Loan Fund to provide no-interest loans to students who require short-term financial assistance to remain in the program.
Awards criteria and a complete list of available bursaries and scholarships may be found at the Office of the Registrar and Enrolment Services
Thanks to the generous support of individuals and organizations, the endowment has grown considerably in recent years and allows UVic Law to offer an outstanding program of student financial assistance.
The diversity of courses offered by UVic Law means that students can prepare themselves for a multitude of professions. The Faculty has a full-time Law Careers Officer who provides assistance and advice regarding career planning, résumés, cover letters and interview skills. One-on-one sessions, group information sessions and workshops are hosted in conjunction with professionals working in the field.
The Law Careers Office (LCO) provides information on legal careers with government, public interest groups, labour organizations, businesses, provincial and federal courts, international consultants and conventional law practices. Information on clerkships, internships and graduate school admission is also available.
The role of the LCO is to help students discover which career paths are best for them, either with a traditional law firm or in an alternative legal career. A UVic Law degree is extremely versatile and students will find that the skills and experience they develop are highly prized in a wide variety of professions.
UVic Law is proud of its alumni and pleased that the strong connections they forged with faculty members, staff and other students are still maintained today. Graduates have become influential members of the legal community and make significant contributions to many different fields of study. Prospective law students who would like to contact alumni to hear how UVic Law has influenced their lives and careers can arrange to speak to graduates by sending an email to email@example.com.
UVic Law graduates successfully pursue legal careers throughout Canada due to the Law Careers Office's national focus.
The Faculty of Law admits a relatively small first-year class each fall. It has three different admission categories (Regular, Special Access and Aboriginal) to ensure that the student body reflects the diversity found in Canadian society. To qualify for admission to first-year law, applicants must complete a minimum of three years (45 units) of an undergraduate program leading to a bachelor's degree at a recognized institution and they must also write the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
Admission decisions for the Regular category are made on a competitive basis, with a student's cumulative GPA weighted at 70 per cent and the LSAT score weighted at 30 per cent. Extracurricular activities, community involvement, work experience and personal characteristics are also considered.
Fifteen positions are reserved for applicants in the Special Access category. To qualify, an applicant's academic achievements must have been adversely affected by: cultural or economic factors; family (or similar) responsibilities; a physical, medical or learning disability; or other relevant factors. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of their occupational endeavours, academic performance and LSAT scores, as well as their cultural and public service activities.
Each year, eight to 10 positions are reserved for applicants from First Nations, Métis or Inuit backgrounds. Applicants will be considered individually on the basis of academic performance, LSAT scores, employment history and letters of reference, as well as past, present and future connections with the Aboriginal community.
Applications for first year can be found online at: www.law.uvic.ca/apply.php and must be submitted by December 1. Please refer to the admissions section for detailed information about the academic program and the admission process. The Law Admissions Office welcomes your inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A student-centred focus, supportive learning environment and commitment to teaching law as a humane profession have contributed to UVic Law's reputation as one of Canada's premier law schools.