Klarissa Jeiel: Where Law Meets Design

Law School Vocab/Jargon

Hello! Here are some of the most common terms, abbreviations, and acronyms used in law school a.k.a law school vocab that you’ll want to know as a pre-law (or non-law) student. 0L A pre-law student. 1L A first year law student. 2L A second year law student. 3L A third…

Hello! Here are some of the most common terms, abbreviations, and acronyms used in law school a.k.a law school vocab that you’ll want to know as a pre-law (or non-law) student.


A pre-law student.


A first year law student.


A second year law student.


A third year law student.


A non-3L law student in their last year of law school (usually someone who has taken more than 3 years to complete law school because they are doing law school part-time or are in a joint program like the JD/MBA Combined Degree).


“Alternative Dispute Resolution.” A method of resolving disputes between individuals or groups of people outside of court.


“Analytical Reasoning.” The official name for what most law students refer to as logical games on the LSAT. See “LG.”


A program (usually 12 months long) that law students are required to complete upon obtaining a JD to become a lawyer. It is intended to provide practical legal experience under the supervision of a principal.


“Best 2.” Your GPA during the best two years of undergraduate study.


Can be used to refer to the “Bar Exam” (see below) or the legal profession generally- as in “be admitted to the Bar.”

Bar Exam

An exam that law students have to take after completing their JD to be admitted to the law profession.


Another term for “Litigator” (see below).

Call Day

The designated day for law firms to call students to invite them for an interview.

Case Law

Law that comes from the written decisions of judges in court; judge-made law.

Case Brief

A summary of a legal case.


A textbook that contains judicial decisions.


“Condensed Annotated Notes.” A summary of legal concepts, cases, and other materials learned in law school courses. Commonly referred to as outlines in the U.S.


“Canadian Bar Association.” A professional association for lawyers in Canada.


“Cumulative GPA.” The weighted average for all semesters of your undergraduate study.

Cold Call

When a professor randomly calls on you to ask you a question in class.


Short for Criminal Law. A law school course on criminal law.

Const/Con Law

Short for Constitutional Law. A law school course on the Constitution and government function.

Civ Pro

Short for Civil Procedure. A law school course on the rules and procedures that courts follow when resolving disputes through civil litigation.


“Extracurriculars.” A student’s extracurricular activities; activities outside of class (e.g. club participation, sports, volunteering, etc.)

Fact Pattern

The scenario or facts of a case that you will be asked to apply the law to.


“Fact, Issue, Law, Analysis, Conclusion.” A framework that’s widely used for briefing a case or organizing an exam answer. Similar to IRAC (see below).

First Choice Language

When law students tell a firm that they are their “first choice” firm for employment. First choice language is usually given/used during the Recruit (see below).


“Getting to Maybe.” A popular book on how to do well in law school exams written by law professors.


Students who try really hard in law school; overachievers.

Hard Factors

Numerical factors important to the law school admission process (i.e. your LSAT and GPA).


Harvard, Yale, Stanford.


“Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion.” See FILAC.


“Intent to Call.” A firm notifying a student of their intention to call during Call Day (see above) to extend an interview offer.


“Juris Doctor.” A law school degree required to become a lawyer in Canada and most other places.


An abbreviation for Contracts.


“Last 2.” Your GPA in the last two years of undergraduate study. Also known as graduating GPA.


Courtroom lawyers whose work involves speaking in front of judges and dealing with the process of going to court (e.g. drafting pleadings).


“Logical Games.” A section on the LSAT with game-like questions that tests your ability to order and group information.


A Master of Laws degree. A graduate degree that lawyers who have obtained their JD (see above) can pursue to gain knowledge in a specialized area of law.


“Letter of Permission.” A letter given to a student who wishes to complete an academic term at another law school.


“Letter of Recommendation/Reference.” A letter required to apply or transfer to some law schools. It’s typically written by someone who can attest to a student’s academic/work performance.


“Logical Reasoning.” A section on the LSAT that tests your ability to reason and deduce facts from other facts presented in a short passage.


“Law Society of Alberta” or “Law Students’ Association.”

  • Law Society of Alberta – the independent body that acts as a regulator of the legal profession
  • Law Students’ Association – a student group in law school devoted to making the law student experience better by organizing different social events, representing students, providing support & resources, etc.)


“Law School Admission Council.” The organization that administers the LSAT (see below).


“Law School Admission Test.” A standardized test that most law schools require in order to be admitted.

Moot/Mooting/Moot Court

An activity at most law schools where students participate in a simulated court hearing (usually of an appeal). This involves writing a factum and delivering oral arguments in front of a panel of judges.


The act of interacting with law firm representatives and other people during a social event to build connections.


“On Campus Interview(ing).” When law firms visit law schools to conduct interviews with their students.


“Ontario Law School Application Service.” A centralized application service for law schools in Ontario.


“Pro Bono Students Canada.” A national student program in Canada that provides free legal information and support to people facing barriers to justice.


“Practice Readiness Education Program.” A nine-month course administered by the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) that law students must complete during their articling program to be admitted to the Bar.

Pro Bono

Short for “Pro Bono Publico” (Latin for “for the public good”). Legal services usually performed voluntarily and free of charged.


“Personal Statement” or “PowerScore.”

  • Personal Statement – An essay required by most law schools for admission.
  • PowerScore – an LSAT PrepCourse known for their LSAT prep books called “PowerScore Bibles.”


“Queen’s Counsel.” A designation given to lawyers who have made exceptional contributions to the legal profession or public life.

Ratio Decidendi

Latin term meaning “the reason” or “rationale for the decision.” It refers to the legal rule or principle that the court relied on to come to its decision in a case. It is binding on lower courts.


“Reading Comprehension.” A section on the LSAT that tests your ability to process and understand large amounts of information.


“Supreme Court of Canada.” The highest appeal court in Canada.


“Supreme Court of the United States.” The highest appeal court in the United States.


A lawyer who performs legal services outside of the courtroom including drafting wills and contracts, handling real estate transactions, incorporating businesses, etc. Compare with Litigator (see above).


“Student Legal Services.” A non-profit organization made up of student volunteers that provides free legal information and services to low-income individuals.


“Students Not Actually In Law School.” A derogatory term that some law students apparently use to refer to other students not in law school who are typically found hanging out in the law library and other designated law student spaces.

Soft Factors

Soft factors. All other factors excluding your GPA and LSAT that could play a role in getting you admitted to law school. For example, extracurricular activities, personal statement, volunteer work, etc.


When law students work/intern at (usually) a law firm during the summer.

The Recruit

Usually used to refer to the “1L Recruit” but could mean any law school recruit when students are recruited by law firms for a summer or articling position.


A civil wrong.


A law school course on civil wrong and litigation between private individuals.


“Thompson River University.” A university in Kamloops, British Columbia.


“University of British Columbia.” A university in Vancouver, British Columbia.


“University of New Brunswick.” A university in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

U of C

“University of Calgary.” Sometimes referred to as “UCalgary.” A university in Calgary, Alberta.

U of A

“University of Alberta.” Sometimes referred to as “UAlberta.” A university in Edmonton, Alberta.

U of M

“University of Manitoba.” A university in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

U of O

“University of Ottawa.” A university in Ottawa, Ontario.

U of S

“University of Saskatchewan.” A university in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

U of T

“University of Toronto.” A university in Toronto, Ontario.


“University of Victoria.” A university in Victoria, British Columbia.


“University of Western Ontario.” A university in London, Ontario.


“Waitlist(ed).” When a student is placed on the waitlist because he/she is of interest to the law school but for one reason or another, was not offered admission.

Note: This page will be updated regularly with added terms, abbreviations, and acronyms and might include jargon specific to UofA law or Canadian law schools in general.