Quick Facts

  • As a truly national program, the NLC Summer Program accepts students from all across Canada.
  • The NLC Summer Program is held at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.
  • The NLC Summer Program (formerly Program of Legal Studies for Native People) is in its 43rd year of preparing Aboriginal students for law school. When it first began in 1973, there were only 4 Aboriginal lawyers and 5 Aboriginal law students in Canada.
  • Aboriginal people are severely underrepresented in the legal profession, and they continue to face social and economic challenges in pursuing legal education. We estimate that in the last 40 years, over 1000 Aboriginal people have graduated with a law degree, although not all graduates practice law (many work in related fields of government, NGOs, research, policy development, and education). If Aboriginal people were proportionately represented, there would be over 3300 Aboriginal people practicing law today. The shortage of Aboriginal professionals in law suggests that there is still a long way to go before Canada has an equitable and diverse legal profession. 
  • Since the program started in 1973, over 1300 students have completed the program, and over 1000 have enrolled in law school. More than 750 of our graduates have finished law school, and over 70 are still enrolled. That means that the NLC Summer Program has a great track record of over 80% of students achieving success in law school.
  • Across Canada, about 75% of all Aboriginal lawyers started their legal education with the NLC Summer Program.  
  • The program's alumni have become lawyers, judges, government officials and professors, and many pursue graduate studies in law.
  • It takes three years to earn a law degree. The NLC Summer Program is the first step in students' legal education.
  • The NLC Summer Program works with law schools across Canada to ensure that more Aboriginal students are accepted into law school; universities know that graduates of the program will be prepared for the challenges of law school and they can admit Aboriginal students who have alternative (not only score-based) qualifications and an NLC Summer Program background.
  • Most law schools recognize the NLC Summer Program's Property Law course as equivalent to a first year law course and grant a first-year credit for sucessful completion of the course.
  • Aboriginal traditions, such as talking circles, sweetgrass ceremonies, feasts, and round dances, are incorporated into the program.
  • Customary Law is a strong component of the NLC Summer Program; students have access to an Elder for culturally appropriate guidance, counselling, and support.
  • Teaching assistants organize extracurricular activities: sports games, movie nights, and potlucks.