Leading in law across time

1821 – 1867

Country house on a hill

The first decades

The first decades of the Faculty were marked by a pioneering spirit. After a few years of courses taught piecemeal in lawyer William Badgley’s offices, enterprising students pushed for a more substantial course of study. Their petition to McGill’s administration in 1848 was a principal catalyst for the eventual formal establishment of the Law Faculty […]

1868 - 1913

A growing influence

The period from 1868 to 1913 was a springboard for many of the luminaries who, after their time at McGill’s Faculty of Law, would go on to influence the development of Quebec and Canada in profound ways. The people who called the Faculty home during this time, such as Sir Wilfrid Laurier, would go on […]

1914 - 1938

Upheaval and modernization

This period, 1914 to 1938, was one of upheaval and modernization for McGill’s Faculty of Law, as it was for the whole world. In 1914, Annie MacDonald Langstaff became the first woman to earn a law degree from McGill. Langstaff’s graduation shaped the coming decades, inspiring increasing numbers of women to attain law degrees, to […]

1939 - 1952

From Chancellor Day Hall to the world

During this time period, McGill Law found its place at home and abroad. At home, the Faculty finally received a permanent location on campus when it was given Old Chancellor Day Hall in 1948. From its new home, the Faculty continued to grow in prominence within Canada. The student body swelled with returning veterans who […]

1953 - 1967

Trailblazers in law and beyond

The period of 1953-1967 was a time of seminal change and advancement, during which the McGill Faculty of Law achieved many firsts for Quebec and for Canada. F.R. Scott led the first successful lawsuit against a sitting head of government at the Supreme Court of Canada; Marie-Claire Kirkland became the first woman elected to the […]

1968 - 1980

An age of renewal

The period of 1968 to 1980 was one of renewal: both the Faculty of Law and the student body underwent significant changes and embarked on new paths. During this time, students studied law pursuant to a new program, engaged in creative ways of making their voices heard, and were taught by an increasingly diverse group […]

1981 - 1990

Leaders and pathbreakers

Strong leadership marked the period of 1981 to 1990. Roderick A. Macdonald led the Faculty as dean from 1984-1989 and is remembered as one of the boldest, most creative, and kindest leaders the Faculty has had, especially in his role as mentor to professors and students alike. Students were also taking the lead at the […]

1991 - 1998

Shaping new landscapes

McGill Law’s involvement outside of Faculty walls defined the period of 1991 to 1998. McGill faculty and alumni were involved in international events, from Russia’s Civil Code reform to participating in the International Criminal Tribunal. The McGill Law community also left their mark on Quebec politics, as they were involved in both the 1995 Quebec […]

1999 - 2007

Global leadership in law

The period of 1999 to 2007 was one of exciting innovation for McGill’s Faculty of Law. Most notably, the transsystemic program was launched, replacing the National Programme. Henceforth, all McGill law students would graduate with degrees in both the civil and the common law, having been selected for admission to the Faculty from a single […]

2008 - 2021

Increasing diversity and new perspectives

The period from 2008 until the present day has been marked by an increase in diversity of perspectives at McGill’s Faculty of Law. Following the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Faculty of Law has increased its efforts to be active participants in the process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada. In […]