Ultra Vires


Sneak Peek: LSSO Report Results


During the 2013-14 academic year, the Law Students’ Society of Ontario (a newly formed advocacy group for Ontario law students) did a really big survey. The survey sample included students from the following schools: Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Western, and Osgoode. Some of you may even remember it. The survey covered many things about us, from how much debt we have, to how much we resent our respective school choices, to what career pressures we face, to how gay we are, to how socially stratified we are, and even how much we trust our student leaders (don’t worry, Natalie Lum-Tai, results are pretty good). Ultra Vires got a sneak peak at the results, and while a fuller report is to follow, we present a few interesting tidbits here.

  1. Survey respondents have a higher proportion of South Asian and Arab students than the general Canadian population, but a smaller proportion of Black, Filipino, Aboriginal, and Latin American students.
  2. 39% of law school entrants have pre-existing debt, indicating that debt and high tuition continue to be a significant barrier to entry to the profession.
  3. The majority of students indicated that the cost of attending law school had a significant impact on their career outcome objectives or caused them to diverge from their original reason for pursuing a law degree in the first place (ex. choosing Bay Street over social justice to pay debt). Unsurprisingly, this occurred most often at Osgoode and the University of Toronto – the two most expensive law schools.
  4. Most students at the University of Toronto feel that the administration is not concerned about the costs of rising tuition, but that law school student leaders are.
  5. Windsor students are more likely to have $90,000 or more student loans than University of Toronto students.
  6. Osgoode students are most likely to regret their choice of law school (27%), followed by the University of Toronto (23%). Windsor students are the least likely to regret their choice (despite their large debts, as per item 5).
  7. Out of 2L and 3L students, black students have the most debt as compared with other racial identities. Out of 1L students, “other minorities” (i.e. not white, South Asian, black, Chinese, Southeast Asian) have the most debt, followed closely by black students.
  8. University of Toronto students are the least likely, out of the five surveyed law schools, to agree that financing is a source of stress. This is surprising considering we have the highest average debt per student.
  9. Students across all five schools were unimpressed the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario government, and the Canadian Bar Association / Ontario Bar Association’s concern with financial barriers to law school. Of all the organizations above, LSUC drew the most dissatisfaction from students.
  10. An Ottawa student is the most likely (out of the Ontario law schools) to agree that her administration does not care about rising tuition. They are also most likely to think that law school tuition is unfairly high. Ottawa’s tuition is roughly $15,500.

*Correction: This article previously stated that 61% of law school entrants have pre-existing debt, and has since been corrected.


Recent Stories