Lakehead’s Faculty of Law Receives Approval for Canada’s First Integrated Practice Curriculum

November 22, 2013 ­­— Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University’s Faculty of Law has received approval from the Law Society of Upper Canada for its Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC), the first in Canada to integrate legal professional training into a law degree.

The Faculty of Law’s model of legal education fuses the theory of law with the practice of law. In addition to learning law, students will also acquire the necessary practical skills to use the law effectively.

“Our curriculum is aimed at integrating legal skills with substantive legal knowledge,” said Professor Lee Stuesser, Founding Dean of Lakehead’s Faculty of Law. “Skills are taught progressively and coordinated so they build one upon the other – course by course, year by year.”

“We’re extremely pleased that there are new, innovative pathways providing licensing candidates with choices in fulfilling the licensing process,” says Law Society Treasurer Thomas G. Conway. “I want to commend Lakehead University on this groundbreaking initiative.”

Students enrolled in Lakehead’s Law Program will complete IPC training and placements within their three-year degree.

“Integrating legal skills into the Juris Doctor program is exactly what was proposed by the Carnegie Report into legal education in 2007,” Professor Stuesser explained. “It also mirrors the training and placements offered in other professional programs such as medicine, nursing and education.”

Incorporating IPC and placement into Lakehead’s Law degree program furthers the Faculty of Law’s mission of serving Northern Ontario and providing better access to justice in rural Canada. It will also prove beneficial for students in the program.

The focus of Lakehead’s Law Program is to have students graduate ‘practice ready’ for work in the North and main street Canada. This means that students need to be knowledgeable in Aboriginal law, resource law, and the realities of small firm practice.

“The Faculty of Law at Lakehead will take full advantage of the small class sizes by offering a meaningful experiential education to all of our students. Skills are taught at Lakehead in small classes using hands-on, face-to-face instruction,” said Dr. Rod Hanley, Lakehead University Provost and Vice-President (Academic).

Students will search for placements within Northern Ontario and smaller centres – areas where articling positions are not plentiful but the need for new lawyers is high.

Lakehead Law students will have 18 credit hours of instruction per semester, amounting to 108 credit hours over six semesters of study. A minimum of 90 credit hours is set by the Federation of Law Societies to earn a Law degree. Other Ontario Law programs require between 90 and 96 credit hours.

Lakehead’s IPC will not cost students additional fees or time. The existing tuition will include the IPC training and placement. Graduates of Lakehead’s Law program will not need to article or complete any other course of study.

For information about Lakehead’s IPC, click here:

Lakehead University’s Faculty of Law is Ontario’s first new law school in 44 years, and welcomed its charter class of students in September 2013.


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Lakehead University is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. More than 8,700 students and 1,850 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards. For more information about Lakehead University, visit