Faculty of Law

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Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

First Year

Queen’s Law represents a long tradition of commitment to academic excellence, community spirit, and service to society. We offer our students innovative instruction, interdisciplinary combined‑degree programs and courses, superb clinical programs and a strong broad curriculum informed by global perspective. We are renowned for the strength of our curriculum in public law, criminal law, family law, clinical programs and mooting, and our more recent hiring is building strength in international law, business law, employment and labour law, health law and the broader curriculum.

If you have any questions about the Admission process at Queen’s Law, please contact jd@queensu.ca.

Admission Standards

Academic Requirements

All applicants in the General category must have successfully completed a minimum of three full years of course work in a degree program at a postsecondary institution that provides an academic environment and education that prepares students for potential success in advanced study at Queen’s. Visit the University Secretariat website for the Senate Policy on the Basis of Admission for Advanced Study and the interpretation guidelines.

The Admissions Committee reviews the nature and content of the undergraduate and graduate programs undertaken. Enrollment at full course load, scholarships,awards and prizes received, the level of the degree obtained (i.e., honours vs. general), consistency and improvement in academic performance, and successful completion of graduate work are weighed positively.

Mature Applicants If you completed three years of postsecondary course work at a recognized institution and are at least 26 years of age and have a minimum of five years of non-academic experience, you are eligible to apply for admission in the Access category as a mature applicant. The minimum age and minimum non‑academic experience requirements must be met by September 1 of the year of admission. An exception to the minimum academic requirement of three years of undergraduate studies may be made if you are a mature applicant whose life experience and other application materials demonstrate your potential to successfully complete legal studies. You may have undertaken university education either before or after entry into the workforce, provided there is a five-year period of non-academic experience.

First Year LSAT Requirement

You are required to take the LSAT. LSAT scores for the past five years may be used. The Faculty engages in a rolling admissions process commencing after the OLSAS admission deadline at the beginning of November. First-round offers are made throughout the months of January, February and March with an acceptance deadline of April 1. Subsequent rounds of offers continue until the start of the academic year in September. For admission in the first round, you must have written the LSAT by the December test date. The February test score is the latest score accepted for admission in the current admission cycle. It is strongly recommended that you write the LSAT by the December test date to have the score reports available to the Admissions Committee when first-round offers begin in January. The Admissions Committee initially considers the average score for ranking applicants for scholarship purposes and ordering the files for decision by the Committee. The Admissions Committee will rely on the highest score achieved at the time of the admission decision.

First Year Language Proficiency and TOEFL

An excellent command of spoken and written English is essential for success in law school. A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score is required if you are not fluent in English. If you completed at least three years of full-time study at a recognized university and took courses for which English was the official language of instruction, you may request an exemption from the TOEFL requirement. A request for exemption must be supported by an academic letter of reference that attests to your fluency in written and spoken English.

Test results from the iBT TOEFL are preferred. Under the old TOEFL scoring system, no applicant with a TOEFL score of less than 600/250 and a TWE of less than 5.0 was considered. Standards for the new TOEFL iBT are a minimum total score of no less than 100, with a minimum of 24 on the Writing section, no less than 22 on the Speaking section, no less than 24 on the Reading section and no less than 20 on the Listening section.

For further information, please see the TOEFL website.

Admission Categories

There are three major categories of admission into first year: the General category, the Aboriginal category and the Access category. The first-year class consists of about 200 students. Most students are admitted in the General category. Recently, up to 12 percent of students admitted to the first-year class have been from the Aboriginal and Access categories.

General Category

Your academic record and LSAT score are weighed most heavily in this category. The other Admissions Philosophy criteria are weighed carefully in making distinctions between applicants who are equally competitive on these bases. Competitive applicants will have at least an “A-” average (80–84 percent, GPA 3.7) in the last two years of their undergraduate degree program at a full course load. If you did not complete a university degree, you must complete at least three full-time years of undergraduate degree program work at a recognized institution by the time of registration in September 2015. A cumulative undergraduate average of less than a “B+” (77–79 percent, CGPA 3.30) and an LSAT score of less than 157 (70th percentile) are not competitive for admission in the General category, unless graduate degree work was completed successfully. Meeting the minimum criteria for admission makes you eligible for consideration but does not guarantee you admission.

Aboriginal Category

Queen’s Faculty of Law is committed to increasing Aboriginal representation within the legal profession and therefore welcomes applications from Canadian Aboriginal people. Applications will be considered based on your interest in, and identification with, your Aboriginal community, as well as other factors, including academic performance, results of the LSAT, employment history, letters of reference and a personal statement. This material will form the basis upon which the Admissions Committee will judge whether you are able to undertake the JD degree program successfully.

You must have successfully completed at least three years of postsecondary education at a recognized institution. To satisfy the basis of admission to any advanced-entry professional or graduate degree program at Queen’s University, it is expected that previous academic credentials are from an institution providing an academic environment and education that prepares you for potential success in advanced study. If there is strong evidence of academic ability in the application, an exception might be made to the standard requirement of three years of full-time academic work at a recognized institution. Meeting the minimum standard makes you eligible for consideration but does not guarantee you admission.

The personal statement submitted in support of your application should explain your interest in and identification with your Aboriginal community. A copy of your status card can be submitted as your identification with an Aboriginal community. Alternatively, a non-academic letter of reference should be provided to corroborate the basis of the claim to Aboriginal status. You are also required to provide an academic letter of reference.

The Admissions Committee may admit you to the Aboriginal category unconditionally or subject to successfully completing the Program of Legal Studies for Native People offered each summer at the University of Saskatchewan. Queen’s Faculty of Law supports this program and considerable weight is placed on your evaluation by the Director of the program. The Admissions Committee will endeavour to make decisions on completed applications early in the admissions cycle for this category to allow time for those with conditional offers to apply for admission to the Program of Legal Studies for Native People, provided that you have written the LSAT by the December test date. 

Access Category

Queen’s Faculty of Law is committed to enhancing diversity in legal education and the legal profession. To this end, the Faculty encourages applications from candidates whose backgrounds, qualities or experiences allow them to make unique contributions to the law school community, the legal profession and society in general. The Admissions Committee will consider your disability, educational and financial disadvantage, membership in a historically disadvantaged group, age, life experience or any other factor relating either to educational barriers you faced, or to your ability to enrich the diversity of the law school community and the legal profession. You must supply documentation supporting your claims in this regard.

In the Access category, you must demonstrate that you have strong potential to complete the JD program. Traditional measures of academic performance and LSAT scores may be given comparatively less weight in this category, while non-academic experience and personal factors confirming your special circumstances or unique qualities may be given comparatively more weight. You must demonstrate that you have the ability to reason and analyze, to express yourself effectively orally and in writing, and that you possess the skills and attributes necessary to cope with the demands of law school. The extent and quality of your work or life experience may be a better indicator of your suitability and capacity for success in law school, than your academic achievement.

Applications in the Access category are encouraged, but please be aware that a cumulative undergraduate average of less than a “B” (70–74 percent, CGPA 3.0) and an LSAT score of less than 151 are normally not competitive for admission.

First-Year Admissions: Combined Studies
You will be applying through OLSAS by November 1 for admission to first-year JD degree studies at Queen’s Law.

Students pursuing a JD degree only need to apply through OLSAS. If you are interested in a combined degree program, you need to apply for both components of that program.

JD + Master of Arts (Economics):

  1. Apply through OLSAS for the JD program.
  2. Tick the “Combined Program” selection on the OLSAS application.
  3. Apply to the Queen’s School of Graduate Studies for Master of Arts (Economics) admission, in addition to your OLSAS JD application.

JD + Master of Business Administration:

  1. Apply through OLSAS for the JD program.
  2. Apply to the Queen’s School of Business for MBA admission, in addition to your OLSAS JD application. You may do this concurrently with your JD application, or at any time during your first year of JD studies.

JD + Graduate Diploma in Business:

  1. Apply through OLSAS for the JD program.
  2. During your first year of JD studies, apply to the Queen’s School of Business for the Graduate Diploma in Business program. Students achieving a B-level or higher in their Graduate Diploma may apply those credits towards future completion of an MBA.

JD + Master of Public Administration:

  1. Apply through OLSAS for the JD program.
  2. Tick the “Combined Program” selection on the OLSAS application.
  3. Apply to the Queen’s School of Graduate Studies for Master of Public Administration admission, in addition to your OLSAS JD application.

JD + Master of Industrial Relations:

  1. Apply through OLSAS for the JD program.
  2. Tick the “Combined Program” selection on the OLSAS application.
  3. Apply to the Queen’s School of Graduate Studies for Master of Industrial Relations admission, in addition to your OLSAS JD application.
Application Documentation

It is your responsibility to ensure that your application materials and supporting documents are complete. Applications that are incomplete will not be considered. The application is due to OLSAS by November 1. Please indicate on the OLSAS application if you are writing the LSAT after the deadline date. Reference forms must be forwarded to OLSAS and not submitted directly to Queen’s Law by you or by your referee.  Please provide the following documentation in support of your application to first-year studies:

i official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended, including those attended as a visiting student on exchange or on a study abroad program;

ii official LSAT score(s);

iii a personal statement (see below);

iv confidential letters of reference (see below); and

v supplementary documentation to support the basis of the claim in the Aboriginal and Access categories, as necessary.

Personal Statement

The personal statement allows you to highlight your academic, personal, professional and extracurricular accomplishments, and your interest in studying law at Queen’s. Your personal statement can be used to complement material included in your autobiographical sketch. The personal statement must be authored entirely by you and must not exceed 6,000 characters in length. The Admissions Committee finds the personal statement to be helpful, along with letters of reference, the autobiographical sketch and verifiers, to identify scholarship prospects among applicants who are competitive on the basis of grades and LSAT scores.

In the Aboriginal and Access sub-categories, please use your personal statement to address the basis of your sub-category claim and provide corroboration of these circumstances through relevant supporting documentation.

Part-time studies applicants: Outline in the personal statement your reasons for wanting to study part-time.

In the General category, use your personal statement to address special circumstances that adversely affected performance in a particular course, a particular term or even a particular year, and provide corroboration of these circumstances with supplementary documentation. These circumstances include (but are not limited to) illness, involvement in varsity or professional sports, family obligations during periods of study, tragedy or other unfortunate events that negatively affected portions of your academic program. Depending on the extent of the adverse impact, such circumstances may support a basis of claim for disabled or disadvantaged in the Access Category.

Supplementary Documentation

General category: If you have experienced circumstances that adversely affected your performance in a particular course, a particular term, or even a particular year, such as short‑term illness, involvement in varsity or professional sports, burdensome family obligations, tragedy or other unfortunate events that negatively affected a portion of your academic program, please provide documentation of the circumstances. Depending on the extent of the adverse impact, such circumstances may support a basis of claim to disadvantage or to disability in the Access category.
 
Aboriginal category: Please submit a copy of your status card or a non-academic letter of reference to corroborate your identification with an Aboriginal community.
 
Access category:

  • Disabled applicants should provide corroboration and independent assessment of the basis of the claim through recent letters from physicians, counsellors, psycho-educational experts or others, as appropriate.
     
  • Disadvantaged applicants should provide corroboration of the basis of the claim. If the claim is based on responsibility arising from the illness of a dependent family member, evidence of the illness, dependency and responsibility for care should be provided by a third party knowledgeable of the family circumstances. If the claim is based on working to support oneself or others, then you should provide documentation of the hours worked on a regular basis throughout the academic year. Since many applicants work part-time to help finance postsecondary education, the amount of work should be at least 30 hours of work a week while undertaking full-time postsecondary education.
     
  • Mature applicants should provide a non-academic letter of reference to support the basis of the claim. Mature applicants in the Access category should provide a detailed resumé of their work and other experience, including current position or status.

Letters of Reference

Please provide one academic reference. No more than three letters of reference may be filed to support an application. All letters of reference are confidential and must be submitted by the referee directly to OLSAS.  Please arrange for your referees to use the OLSAS Confidential Reference forms that are provided with the application. These forms include your OUAC/OLSAS Reference Number and require the referee to indicate in what capacity they are acquainted with you.

General category: Provide a maximum of two academic references. You may file a third non‑academic letter of reference.
 
Aboriginal category: Provide at least one academic reference and corroboration of your interest in, and identification with, your Aboriginal community.
 
Access categories: Provide at least one academic letter of reference. If you are claiming continuing illness or a disability, provide corroboration and an independent assessment of the basis of the claim through psycho‑educational assessments, or letters from teachers, physicians, counsellors or others, as appropriate.

Mature category: Provide one academic and one non‑academic letter of reference and a current resumé.

Transcripts

Official transcripts of all postsecondary institutions attended, including transcripts from studies as a visiting or exchange student must be ordered and sent through OLSAS. Notarized English language copies of foreign language transcripts must be accompanied by an evaluation of foreign credentials specifying Canadian degree, grade and credit hour equivalency.

Foreign and Private Universities

If you are completing undergraduate studies outside of North America, you must have your foreign transcript assessed by World Education Services (WES) or an equivalent service. If you have undertaken graduate studies outside of Canada and the United States, you are not required to have your foreign transcript assessed by WES or an equivalent service, although such assessment may be requested. Candidates from the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) are not required to have their foreign transcripts assessed by WES or an equivalent service.

WES assessments are not needed for course work completed on exchange or Letter of Permission, if transfer credits for such courses are recorded on the home university transcript.

Official transcripts of all postsecondary institutions attended, including transcripts from studies as a visiting or exchange student must be ordered and sent through OLSAS. Notarized English language copies of foreign language transcripts must be accompanied by an evaluation of foreign credentials specifying Canadian degree, grade and credit hour equivalency.

Personal Information and File Retention Policy

Your files are kept for one year after the initial application in the event that you re-apply. Thereafter, if you do not register, your files are destroyed, unless we receive information about misconduct in the application process. Applicant information provided in electronic format and remitted by OLSAS is collected in our admissions database. This information will be saved in our admissions database for at least 10 years to permit longitudinal or statistical studies, reports or queries pertinent to recruitment, admissions, diversity of the applicant pool and registrant populations, enrollment management, retention and academic progress. Information pertaining to admitted applicants who register at Queen’s may be used for the purpose of participating in correlation studies conducted by the Law School Admission Council to assess the predictive value of the LSAT score and grades at the time of admission in relation to performance in first‑year law. The application documentation submitted on admission is retained as part of the student file for students who are admitted and register at Queen’s Faculty of Law. Such information is held confidentially in the Student Services Office and used in accordance with the privacy and access to information policies of Queen’s University. Personal information may be disclosed to regulatory authorities, law enforcement officials or other persons when authorized or required by law. For details, see the Office of the University Registrar’s website. Questions may be addressed to the Assistant Dean of Students in the Faculty of Law.

Caution

Provision of false or misleading information or failure to provide material information will invalidate the application and will result in immediate rejection or in the revocation of admission and/or registration. You may also be reported to the LSAC Subcommittee for Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admissions Process for further action.