Western Law

Business Law in the Global Environment

"...the School adopted as its goal to be the pre-eminent law school in Canada focussing on business law in the global environment. This remains the School’s ambition."
(From Western Law’s Strategic Plan)

Robert Shiller
Economist and author Robert Shiller of Yale University, co-recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics, delivers the first annual Beattie Family Lecture in Business Law Read More

Western Law’s focus on business law in the global environment is unique among all Canadian law schools. As Canada’s premier business law school, our vision of  business law is multi-dimensional, encompassing a wide range of economic, critical, public law and social justice perspectives. Indeed, our strength in business law complements our nationally and internationally recognized strengths in many other areas, including, among others, international and comparative law, law and philosophy, public law, and intellectual property information and technology law.

Unparalleled Programs and an International Focus 

Our approach to business law is characterized by national leadership and international perspective. Our commitment to expose our students to the world’s most influential business law scholars is complemented by our curricular offerings covering a wide-range of subjects on the cutting-edge of regulatory and practical business law issues.

In the 2015-16 academic year, Western Law will offer first-year students the option of taking Corporate Law in the Winter Term. This option, unique among Canadian law schools, will allow interested students to begin taking more advanced courses immediately in the fall of second year.

Torys LLP Corporate & Securities Law Forum

Thanks to a generous gift from the Torys LLP law firm and Western Law alumni at that firm, Torys LLP has established or contributed to a unique series of ongoing corporate law initiatives at Western Law. Learn more

Canada’s Finest Visiting Business Scholars Program

Western Law’s pre-eminence in Canadian business law studies is reflected in its visiting business and law speakers programs. These programs are, without question, the finest in the country and are second to none anywhere in the world. Top international scholars and business leaders visit Western Law each year to speak to our students or teach intensive specialized courses, under the auspices of our signature business law visitors programs: the Torys LLP Business and Law Pre-Eminent Scholars series, the annual Beattie Family Lecture in Business Law, the McCarthy Tétrault LLP Law and Economics course and the Richard H. McLaren Visiting Professorship in Business Law. Business law visitors to Western Law since 2007 have included two Nobel prize winners, a former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and senior business law professors from the world's leading law schools, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Chicago, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Northwestern, Oxford, Cambridge, Melbourne, and Tokyo.

Torys LLP Business and Law Pre-eminent Scholars Series

This succesful speaker series brings some of the world’s most influential corporate law scholars to Western Law. The series encourages diversity of academic perspectives and brings an international approach to the study of business law. Western Law is very grateful for the generous support of Torys LLP for funding one of the top business law speaker series in North America. 

Ian Ayres
Yale Law School
Alan Schwartz
Yale Law School
Henry Hu
University of Texas Law School
Bernard Black
Northwestern Law School and the Kellogg School of Management
Hideki Kanda
University of Tokyo
Donald Langevoort
Michael Trebilcock
University of Toronto Faculty of Law
Ian Ramsay
Hal Scott
Jay Westbrook
University of Texas
Myron Scholes
co-recipient of 1997 Nobel Prize in Economics
Roberta Romano
Yale Law School
Henry Hansmann
Yale Law School
Reinier Kraakman
Robert Daines
Ronald Gilson
Lynn Stout
William Bratton
Douglas Baird
University of Chicago
Brian Cheffins
Merritt Fox

Beattie Family Business Law Lecture

Intensive Program

Western Law and the Richard Ivey School of Business 

The Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario is one of the world’s leading business schools, and Western Law regularly collaborates with our colleagues at the Ivey School. Western Law, for example, offers two joint programs with the Ivey School: the Concurrent HBA/JD program and the JD/MBA program which, we are proud to say, was the first three-year JD/MBA program offered in Canada. 

In addition, we have a Joint arrangement with the Ivey School whereby second and third year law students and MBA students may cross-register in courses offered by the other faculty.  This reflects the natural community of interest shared by the law and business schools in much of what we do.

We also recognize the important interplay between business law scholarship and the private practice of law. Western Law regularly organizes events featuring some of the country’s most prominent practitioners discussing leading edge developments.

And of course, the law school is also home to the Western Business Law Clinic, which provides small start-up and early stage businesses with affordable legal counsel, while at the same time creating an environment for students to learn invaluable practical skills.

Western's Business Law Tradition

For many years, the majority of our graduates have begun their working lives in large law firms with corporate practices, principally in Toronto and other large Canadian cities, but also in major international financial centres such as New York and London (U. K.). Our alumni today include some of the most well-known and highly respected business law practitioners in the nation.

Western Law boasts a long tradition of leadership in the research and study of business law. In the 1960s, Earl Palmer and Dan Prentice (who later became the Allen and Overy Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Oxford) developed the first published teaching materials in Canada on corporate law.

In the 1970s, former Dean David Johnston (now the Governor General of Canada) wrote the first Canadian text on Securities Regulation. More recently, Prof. Richard McLaren’s multi-volume works on Secured Transactions and Commercial Reorganization have become recognized as the leading treatises in their areas in Canada. Similarly, Prof. Bruce Welling’s treatise, Corporate Law in Canada: The Governing Principles, now in its third edition, is the only work of its kind in Canada.

We also offer expertise in the fields of commercial law, international business law, industrial relations law, and insurance law. Prof. Tom Telfer's research and teaching interests include bankruptcy law, secured transactions and consumer law. Prof. Chi Carmody teaches and writes in the areas of international business transactions and trade law. Prof. Carmody also serves as Canadian Director of the Canada-United States Law Institute. Prof. Craig Brown's book, Insurance Law in Canada, (now in its 7th student edition) is the country's leading insurance law text.

 Western is also a recognized leader in the fields of intellectual property, information and technology law, offering an extensive program of courses in these subjects, and an opportunity for interested students to complete an Area of Concentration in this area as well.

The Western Advantage

Our depth of faculty expertise, our rich array of academic and practical educational opportunities, and our keen appreciation for the breadth and diversity of all dimensions of the modern law school curriculum along with an abiding commitment to a vision of law that is mindful of the goals of human development and the demands of social justice, make the business law program at Western Law an exciting, dynamic and enriching experience for our students, faculty and friends.

Christopher NichollsProfessor Christopher Nicholls is the director of Business Law at Western and oversees the area of concentration in business law. This area of concentration is designed to allow students to develop knowledge and expertise in business law and policy. Prof. Nicholls joined the Faculty in 2006 and brings a wealth of expertise—both professional and academic—to the business law area. Professor Nicholls is the author of numerous articles and monographs in the business law area as well as five books: Corporate Finance and Canadian Law,Mergers, Acquisitions and other Changes of Corporate Control,Corporate LawFinancial Institutions: the Regulatory Framework, and (with Jeff MacIntosh of the University of Toronto) Securities Law.