Professional Skills Micro-Courses

A group of students in a classroom.

In another innovative first for Canadian legal education, Osgoode has launched a unique collection of one- and two-credit courses for JD students focused on specific areas of legal practice.  

Osgoode’s JD program combines rigorous legal education with direct, hands-on experience to prepare you for your future career. We also understand the importance of learning to navigate the day-to-day realities of practising law – whether at a firm, in a corporate environment, with a not-for-profit or in the public sector. That’s why we’ve once again led the way among Canadian law schools by creating the first program of micro-courses aimed at developing specific professional skills.

Designed to complement the foundational knowledge provided by the core JD curriculum, our collection of Professional Skills Micro-Courses gives you a head start on mastering the practical decisions and inevitable challenges – from managing finances to building relationships with clients – that are part of any legal career.

Open to all upper-year students (see How Micro-Courses Work), these expert-led courses are delivered online, in person and in hybrid formats. Valued at one or two credits each, they’re an ideal way to round out your course of study in years two and three of the JD.

At Osgoode, we don’t draw a hard line between law school and “the real world.” Integrated into our JD program are unrivaled opportunities to gain firsthand legal experience. And now our unique micro-courses enable you to start developing professional skills today that you’ll use throughout your career.

How Micro-Courses Work

  • JD students in their second and third years can take up to four Professional Skills Micro-Courses
  • Designated as seminars, these one- and two-credit courses entail at least 13 hours and 26 hours of instruction, respectively.
  • Courses may be delivered in person, online (synchronously or asynchronously) or in a hybrid combination of both modes. The format of each course is determined with the instructor when it is approved for the program.
  • Micro-courses have no final exams or major research papers. Students are evaluated by a variety of methods and receive either letter grades or a credit/no credit designation.

Current Micro-Courses

AI and Technology in Legal Practice

This course takes an in-depth look at how artificial intelligence and other technological innovations are transforming the practice of law. As you gain hands-on experience with the major applications and platforms used by legal professionals, you’ll explore everything from digital practice management tools and workflow automation to the growing use of AI in legal research, analysis and decision-making support.

After introducing the theoretical building blocks of AI, the course reviews developments such as machine learning, natural language processing, predictive analytics and automated assistance, examining their applications in the legal environment. You’ll also discover the latest tools for streamlining case management, enhancing client communications, managing information flow and improving financial performance and operational efficiency.

Legal Practice Dynamics

This wide-ranging course introduces the actions and strategies required to become a successful legal practitioner. You’ll gain the skills and tools needed to launch your law career and thrive in any environment, whether at a firm, as part of an in-house team or in the public sector. Through experiential learning centred around a fictitious law firm, the course explores all facets of everyday legal practice, including communication (meetings, feedback, difficult conversations); practice management (delegating, managing case files and dockets, fostering productivity); human resources (mapping your career path, mentoring, being managed and “managing up”); collaboration and teamwork; and performance management.

Substantive knowledge of the law is crucial – but it’s only one aspect of becoming a legal practitioner. This course will help you build a broader foundation for success.

Mental Health, Wellness and the Legal Profession

Grounded in the fundamentals of psychotherapy, this micro-course provides the analytical insights and practical tools you’ll need to navigate mental health challenges in legal practice – and to constructively intervene when appropriate. Exploring theoretical perspectives through experiential learning, the course covers a broad range of topics, including fostering awareness of self; the mind-body connection and the importance of nutrition, fitness and sleep; nurturing healthy relationships; clarifying values and communicating needs; coping mechanisms for stress and burnout; managing anxiety and treating depressive symptoms; and resilience in the face of adversity and trauma.

Through talks, exercises and group discussions, you’ll develop invaluable skills while sharing your own ideas and emotional experiences in a spirit of exploration and trust.

Financial Literacy for Lawyers

As you progress in your legal career, the advice you provide to clients will often require you to analyze and interpret financial statements. This course will help you gain a basic understanding of financial reporting and accounts, along with the various ways such information can be leveraged in legal practice.

Topics covered include an introduction to accounting; current Canadian standards for the profession; the components of a balance sheet and their applications; an in-depth exploration of income and cash flow statements; and how to interpret and leverage financial disclosure documents. The course’s interactive exercises help you deepen your understanding of financial concepts and processes and then apply your new knowledge in legal work.