Theodore “Ted” Rachlin Fellowships support U of T Law students in the pursuit of academic and professional excellence

Sep 22, 2021

The Rachlin family establishes a fund for JD students in honour of U of T alumnus Ted Rachlin.

The Faculty of Law Building features rows of vertical concrete fins between the windows, and a green space with walkway..

At the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, student fellowships are among the Faculty’s top priorities to attract and recruit the best students to the JD program.

With limited opportunities for first-year students to intern at law firms, the faculty is committed to helping students find meaningful, rewarding summer experiences after the first year of their program that complement and enhance their studies. Fellowships build confidence, networks and skills

Named after U of T alumnus Theodore “Ted” Rachlin, Q.C., the newly established Rachlin Fellowships will be awarded to select JD students with their offer of admission, in addition to any eligible financial aid support.

The $2-million fund has been made possible through gifts from the Rachlin family, the Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation and matching funds from the University.

“Fellowships go beyond complementing our students’ learning,” said University Professor and Dean Jutta Brunnée, the James Marshall Tory Dean’s Chair. “These unique experiences build the confidence, networks and skills that will help them advance their future career.”

Ted Rachlin loved the law and was deeply involved in professional associations

A portrait of Ted Rachlin wearing formal courtroom attire.
Theodore “Ted” Rachlin (JD 1957), Q.C. Photo by Macdonell Photography

Ted Rachlin (JD 1957) was admitted to the Ontario bar in 1959 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1975. He was a long-time member of the American Association for Justice (formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association) and was the first Canadian to serve on its board of governors.

For many years Rachlin taught new lawyers in the bar admission course. He was a founding member and past president of the Advocates’ Society and was an invited Fellow of both the ATLA and the International Society of Barristers.
Rachlin’s family says he loved the law and continued to practice plaintiff and defence personal injury and insurance litigation right up to his death at age 86. They added:

“Ted loved to help people, right wrongs and to ensure that innocent accident victims received fair compensation so that they could continue to live productive and rich lives. He also helped insurers determine what was fair to compensate each victim given their unique circumstances. He was an advocate respected by all for his commitment to his clients, regardless of their economic or social circumstances.”

Tort law has far-reaching effects on everyone in Canada

A tort claim is a civil (non-criminal) claim for damages (compensation) from the wrongdoer by the victim of a wrongful act that resulted in physical, emotional, psychological or financial injury. Car accidents, medical malpractice, over service of alcohol, product liability and other accidents are all examples of situations that can result in a tort claim.

Tort law is a very important part of Canada’s legal system. Personal injury, insurance and other tort litigation makes up the largest share of civil matters before our courts. It has far-reaching effects for every person, regardless of age, gender, profession or social status.

In recent years, Canadian tort law has continued to evolve to address current social issues and modern technology.

Rachlin Fellows will design their own unique summer fellowship opportunity in tort law/access to justice by partnering with the faculty’s world-renowned legal scholars.

“Rachlin Fellows will contribute to the pursuit of academic and professional excellence at U of T Law,” says Dean Brunnée.

By Nina Haikara