Reference Letters

How many reference letters does Western Law require?
We require two reference letters. One of which must be academic (from a university instructor). The second letter may also be academic or it may be non-academic, e.g., from an employer, coach, or someone else who can provide an objective assessment. You should avoid letters from family members, friends, or peers as they are perceived to be not as objective as other references. If you are a Mature applicant you may submit two non-academic references if you cannot obtain an academic reference.

Can I provide more than two reference letters?
OLSAS permits this, but if more than two are submitted, our Admissions Committee will read only two.

How are reference letters submitted?
References are submitted online as part of the application process. Once you add your referee's information in your application, click Save and Continue. You will then see a list of Actions appear. You must select “Send Email” to notify your referee about completing their online reference in a secure environment. If you provide an email address for your referee, they are required to complete the reference online. Ensure that your referee is prepared to use the online form before entering an email address. If the referee does not have an email address, download the form and forward it to them. They must then send the form with their accompanying letter to OLSAS using regular mail.

When are reference letters due?
They are expected at OLSAS by November 1 for first-year applications and May 1 for upper-year applications. Contact your referees early to give them sufficient time to submit the letter before the deadline. Internal combined-degree applicants should ask referees to send their letters directly to the Law Admissions Office via email to

What should my referee include in the reference letter?
While this is entirely up to your referee, we do have some suggestions. A reference letter should include how the referee knows you, for how long, and in what capacity. Academic referees can discuss how your academic performance compared with other students they have taught or supervised, your strengths and specific evidence of those strengths based on personal observation, and personal knowledge of your personality, character, or work ethic that demonstrate skills, habits, or qualities that would be helpful in legal study. Non-academic references can touch on similar themes, depending on the nature of the relationship between you and the referee. Guidance is provided to referees on the OLSAS Confidential Assessment Form.