If you’re wondering how to get into Ottawa Law, we’re got you covered! Ottawa Law welcomes students from all backgrounds in a commitment to creating strong leaders in the field of law. Ottawa Law offers some of the best law school extracurriculars in legal research and community service to cultivate the attributes necessary for professional work. This institution offers a wide range of law programs and areas of focus, making it one of the best law schools in Canada. In this article, we will go over program highlights, mission statement, tuition and costs, and admissions statistics to help you apply to this competitive program.

Disclaimer: Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa.

Article Contents
10 min read

Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Strategic Plan Available Programs The Academic Curriculum Admissions Statistics Tuition and Scholarships How to Apply to Ottawa Law Selection Factors Acceptance and Waitlist Contact Information FAQs

Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Strategic Plan


Available Programs

Ottawa Law has a variety of common law programs that they offer to students in French or English. The advantage of the French JD program is that students can market themselves as formally educated bilingual speakers, which can expand career prospects considerably, given that Canada has two official languages, and Ottawa is located just across the border from Québec, where the legal system is French. Note that this article focuses on the English and French Juris Doctor programs, as they both have the same admissions and course requirements. Students studying in one language can take courses in the other language as part of the same program. Let’s take a closer look at each program:

The Academic Curriculum

Ottawa Law builds on the foundations of the first- and second-year courses mentioned in the previous section by providing a more stimulating environment in the third year. During this year, students have the opportunity to finish course requirements that weren’t fulfilled in their second year. The only required courses in the upper years are civil procedure, administrative law, business organizations, and the second constitutional law course. Because there are only a few mandatory courses, students can choose the direction of their studies based on interests and career objectives.

During the second or third year of study, students will complete a major paper and an oral advocacy requirement. Students will have an opportunity to write a major paper in any of the optional courses in common law. The major paper is typically between 5,000 and 10,000 words. The paper can be an original thesis, reform proposal, or critique of a legal issue; alternatively, papers may integrate the existing literature relating to a chosen field of law for the purpose of providing clarity. The paper will count for no less than 50% of the grade of the course in which the paper is written. The paper itself will receive a pass or fail grade. To fulfill the oral requirement, students can take any of the approved courses. Examples include moot court competition, appellate advocacy, intellectual property law moot, trial advocacy, and criminal justice trial advocacy.

The foundation of the Ottawa Law JD curriculum is its commitment to active learning. You don’t have to take their word for it: Ottawa Law offers over 400 internships to students each year. These experience-driven programs allow students to put their in-class learning into practice. Students can choose programs in the following categories: mentorship, law practice, fellowship and travel bursary, clinics, moot competitions, Pro Bono Students Canada, and legal research and writing. For internships, opportunities include the Department of Justice Internship, Student-Proposed Internship, and Ontario Court of Justice Practicum Internship.

Admissions Statistics

According to law school admissions statistics from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the Ottawa Law JD program received 2,637 applications in a recent year, with 320 enrollments. In the French JD program, 185 applications were received, with 80 enrollments. According to the admissions data, Ottawa Law is not one of the easiest law schools to get into in Canada and will require a strong application that stands out. If you think you will need help preparing your materials, you might consider Canadian law school admissions help.

Enrollment Rate:

In this class profile, 1% of students were Indigenous, 60% were women, and 10 provinces were represented.

Tuition and Scholarships

Ottawa Law offers scholarships to students in the JD program in both French and English. If you want to apply to one of the programs, the deadline is May 1st of each year. Most of the scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, but they also consider factors such as financial need. If you are awarded a scholarship, you will receive a notification from the program, so make sure you check your student profile frequently after you apply.

There are, however, some scholarships that do not require an application. For these, all eligible common law students will be considered based on the application they submit for their program. Some of these include the Chad Bayne Entrance Scholarship in Engineering and Law, the Christine-Thomlinson Admission Scholarship, and the Common Law Professional Training Scholarship.

Some scholarships are awarded based on reviewed evidence of social justice efforts and community service. These criteria will be measured in a separate application that you must submit for each scholarship in this category. Some of these include the Audrey P. Ramsay Entrance Scholarship, the Bertha Wilson Scholarship, and the Common Law Class of 2003 Bursary.

Ottawa Law also offers scholarships based on financial need only. To be considered for any of these programs, students must submit a single application separate from their admissions application. Some of the scholarships in this category include the Arnon Corporation Entrance Scholarship, the Bruce Feldthusen Scholarship, and the Catherine Helen MacLean Memorial Entrance Bursary.

Ottawa Law has one of the more costly JD programs, according to LSAC. The average tuition costs in a recent class profile were $18,592 CAD with an additional average of $762.73 for incidental fees. The current estimated textbook and casebook fees are $1,200. Estimated additional costs such as room and board are between $11,000 and $14,000.

The University of Alberta Faculty of Law, Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, and University of Calgary Faculty of Law all offer programs with lower estimated tuition costs. As such, students who are interested in the Ottawa Law JD program are encouraged to apply for one of the scholarship programs or aim for one of the merit-based options. For scholarships based on participation in social justice or community service initiatives, your best option is to find a law school extracurricular that can equip you with the experience to qualify for a scholarship. Ideal options include pre-law internships, debate team, student government, or sports.

How to Apply to Ottawa Law

To apply to Ottawa Law, you must submit an application through the Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS), a division of the Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC). You will have to make an account and fill in information for your personal background. Ottawa Law receives thousands of applications each cycle but only admits roughly 360 of the strongest candidates. This means that when you’re applying to the JD program, you will have to be precise with your submission inclusions. If you’re wondering how to study for the LSAT, you can start by taking an LSAT diagnostic test once you’re familiar with the format to see how you perform. Note that applicants who are applying to the French JD program will not have to submit an LSAT score, as the LSAT is not currently offered in French.

Follow these steps to ensure you have fulfilled all the requirements before you submit an application:

Here’s some information regarding applicant category that can help you select the right one for your OLSAS application:

The deadline to apply for English programs with the first semester starting the following fall is November 1. The deadline to apply for French programs with a fall start date of the same year is March 1. To avoid any late applications, which will be discarded unless special permission has been granted, you will have to organize all the necessary documents required for your applicant category. We take a look at these requirements in more detail in the next section.

Selection Factors

On its website, Ottawa Law states that they evaluate applicants based on all the mandatory admissions documents and information in their OLSAS application. These will include your academic performance (transcripts), LSAT report and writing sample, two reference letters, personal statement, and autobiographical sketch. If you want help organizing your application materials, consider law school admissions consulting.

Transcripts: Your transcripts are used to evaluate your academic performance, particularly your GPA. Ottawa Law will calculate your cumulative GPA by combining all the grades you earned during every university undergraduate semester and dividing the total number of grade points by the number of credits. Because every year will count, you will want to make sure you maintain a solid GPA throughout your entire undergraduate studies. If you’re wondering how to get into law school with a low GPA and you’re still completing your undergraduate degree, you should know that Ottawa Law will not automatically disqualify an applicant based on a minimum GPA, but most successful applicants will have a cumulative GPA of 3.7. To maintain a desirable GPA, ask your instructors for feedback on your assignments and join a study group to keep you accountable for your grades.

LSAT: Programs use your LSAT score primarily to test your legal reasoning ability, which is a trait you must possess to improve your chances of getting accepted. You must take the LSAT by January at the latest; note that this is considered late, and your application will be at a disadvantage. To prevent this, it is recommended that you take the test by November; this will allow you to prepare during the summer when you have more time. Ottawa Law will use your highest LSAT score if you’ve taken the test more than once. It’s worth repeating that students applying to the French JD program will not have to submit an LSAT report and writing sample, as the LSAT is not currently offered in French.

Letters of recommendation: You will be required to submit two law school letters of recommendation. One of your letters must come from an academic source unless you’re a mature applicant. If you’re an Indigenous applicant, one of your references should speak to the connection you share with your Indigenous community. Regardless of the applicant category you choose, everyone should choose their referees carefully. You will need to find individuals who can speak to your skills and personality as they relate to your future studies and law career. Your academic referee should be someone who taught you in a class and who can discuss your performance relative to the other students in that particular class. You can submit two reference letters from an academic source if you wish to. If you choose to submit a letter from someone who isn’t in academia, then you should avoid using friends or family. Your best options for a non-academic referee include an employer, manager, supervisors for internships or placements, coaches, tutors, or volunteering coordinators.

Personal statement: Your law school personal statement is your chance to make your case to admissions that you’re someone who can succeed in their program and in your career. Ottawa Law doesn’t ask for a law school optional essay or use a law school interview to get to know applicants better; your personal statement is your only chance to make an impression.

Ottawa Law evaluates personal statements based on your ability to demonstrate the following: capacity for creative or original thinking, strong communication skills, and potential to manage. Because Ottawa Law wants to know if you can contribute meaningfully to their program and community, an admissions committee is looking for involvement in the following capacities: extracurriculars, community involvement, career experience (especially for mature applicants), diverse experiences or perspectives, interest in Ottawa Law, and career aspirations. For French applicants, you should provide evidence of French-language academic history and your reasons for wanting to pursue Ottawa’s French-language common law program.

To make your personal statement stand out, use terminology found in the program curriculum. This means you should research the program to find the values they espouse and use this information to connect your ambitions with Ottawa Law. For example, Ottawa Law mentions that they value strong engagement with the community in their strategic plan. In your personal statement, talk about a community service project you worked on or mention a club in which you contributed something positive.

Autobiographical sketch: Your autobiographical sketch gives you an opportunity to discuss your personal background in more depth. You will want to address formative experiences that led to personal growth or inspiration to pursue a career in law. Do not provide any information that is mentioned in your personal statement or in the blurb you provide in your OLSAS account.

Acceptance and Waitlist

In the document which you will receive via email if you’re accepted into Ottawa Law, you will find the conditions of your acceptance, including the average you need to maintain to keep your spot in the program starting next fall. You will also receive instructions for how to accept the offer, which you can do on your Ottawa Law student profile. Make sure you read over the conditions and deadlines thoroughly before you accept the offer.

Students can accept an offer from Ottawa Law at any time once it’s received. When students receive an offer, they must review their letter, which will be sent electronically with the steps they need to take to officially accept the offer. This document will also contain a deadline for accepting the offer and submitting a tuition deposit. If students do not accept the offer before the deadline underscored in the letter, this will result in the offer being rescinded. For applicants who received an offer of acceptance before May 15, the tuition deposit must be paid by June 1. For offers made after May 15, the deadline for tuition deposit and acceptance can change, so make sure you accept offers as soon as possible and pay the deposit immediately after you receive an offer.

On July 1, provisional acceptances to the first-year JD program will automatically become firm acceptances. On August 1, provisional acceptances to the upper-year JD program will automatically become firm acceptances.

Note that Ottawa Law no longer publishes their waitlist, which will persist throughout the summer; applicants who are waitlisted will not be informed of their position in the waitlist.

Are you preparing your law school application and wondering how to stand out from the crowd of applicants? Watch this video:

Contact Information

For admissions

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 613-562-5800 ext. 3270

Faculty of Law, Common Law Section

Address: Fauteux Hall

57 Louis Pasteur St

Ottawa, Ontario

K1N 6N5

Phone: 613-562-5794

Official website: https://www.uottawa.ca/faculty-law/


1. Is the Ottawa Law JD program competitive?

Ottawa Law receives roughly 3,000 applications each application cycle, but there are only about 360 seats available. With an enrollment rate of 12.2%, Ottawa Law is considered competitive.

2. How do I apply to Ottawa Law?

You need to apply through OLSAS. This will require that you create an OLSAS account and fill in the information in the form.

3. What application materials are required to apply?

You need to submit two reference letters, a personal statement, transcripts, and an autobiographical sketch.

4. How do I accept an offer?

You will receive an email with a letter of acceptance enclosed. This letter will contain instructions for accepting the offer with a deadline for both accepting and submitting the tuition deposit.

5. Who can I use as my referees for my reference letters?

You should have at least one from either a professor or an instructor. Avoid using friends, family, or a partner. The best options include a manager, supervisor, tutor, or volunteering coordinators.

6. Do I need to submit an LSAT report if I’m applying to the French JD program?

No, you do not need to submit an LSAT report and writing sample if you’re applying to the French JD program, as the LSAT is not currently offered in French.

7. What should I write about in my personal statement?

Ottawa Law is looking for applicants who demonstrate original thinking, community involvement, career experience, interest in Ottawa Law, diverse perspectives, and career aspirations.

8. What should I write about in my autobiographical sketch?

You should write about your personal background using significant anecdotes that connect your formative experiences with your career aspirations. Avoid writing about anything that you include in your personal statement.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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