Osgoode alumni give back by establishing $1.2-million Davies Fellows Award to create positive change in the legal profession

York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School receives transformative contribution to its No Barriers campaign from alumni working at leading Canadian law firm Davies

TORONTO, March 1, 2023 – York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, one of Canada’s leading law firms, jointly announced today a $1.2-million Davies Fellows Award that is designed to break down barriers to legal education.

The new bursary is created with donations from Osgoode alumni at Davies with matching funds from the law school.

Every year, the bursary will help support one first-year student in the law school’s juris doctor (JD) program, who has demonstrated financial need and exceptional promise.

The successful candidate’s personal and professional achievements will include overcoming obstacles related to financial means, racial, cultural, gender inequalities, mental health, and/or physical or learning challenges. The recipient will be known as a Davies Fellow.

The award is renewable for the student’s second and third years in the JD program, provided the student remains in good academic standing and continues to demonstrate financial need and exceptional promise.

“We count among our lawyers at Davies, individuals who have overcome obstacles to achieve excellence in the profession, and we recognize that we have an opportunity to expand access to a legal education to students from equity-deserving groups,” says Osgoode alumna and Davies senior partner Patricia Olasker.

She adds that the initiative reflects the firm’s commitment to creating a more inclusive legal profession by removing barriers that stand in the way of students of exceptional promise. “Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is a core value of our firm, and the creation of the Davies Fellows Award is an impactful way for us to turn our values into action.”

“I am so grateful for the amazing support our alumni working at Davies have given to this initiative, which will see generous alumni donations matched by Osgoode to help reduce systemic barriers to law school for students from equity-deserving groups who will, in turn, change the face of the legal profession,” says Mary Condon, dean of Osgoode. “The creation of the award is a transformative contribution to the law school’s No Barriers campaign, which aims to make Osgoode one of the most diverse and inclusive law schools in Canada.”

As the first Canadian law school to adopt a holistic admissions policy 15 years ago, Osgoode has been a leader in making legal education more open, inclusive and diverse, the dean adds.

Images from the cheque-presentation event available for download:




About Osgoode Hall Law School

Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, founded in Toronto in 1889, is among the oldest, largest and most diverse law schools in Canada, with an accomplished alumni community of more than 18,000 worldwide.  

About York University

York University is a modern, multi-campus, urban university located in Toronto, Ontario. Backed by a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners, York brings a uniquely global perspective to help solve societal challenges, drive positive change and prepare its students for success.

About Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Davies is a leading Canadian business law firm focused on high-stakes matters. The firm is pre-eminent across each of its practice areas, including mergers and acquisitions, securities, tax, litigation, and competition law. Davies has made equity, diversity and inclusion a fundamental component of its corporate culture and is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives both within and beyond its doors.    

Media Contacts:

John Schofield, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Osgoode Hall Law School, 416-736-5820, jschofield@osgoode.yorku.ca.

Gloria Suhasini, York University Media Relations, 647-464-4354, suhasini@yorku.ca