The Law School has no permanent classrooms, employees or assets, and the admissions process has no formal education requirements. The Akitsiraq Law School focuses on the practical abilities of potential students based on life experience and work history. The program is strongly supported by legal professionals and by members of the Nunavut Judiciary through in-kind and volunteer services, developing effective programs and bringing legal resources from across Canada to teach each Akitsiraq cohort.Akitsiraq operates on a cohort model. Students are admitted in distinct cohorts, forming strong supportive units which learn and live together over the four years of the program. Only one cohort is in process at any time, with students moving together through the initial years and into the more advanced studies, relying on teaching from temporarily assigned professors from the judiciary, southern Canadian Universities, and the legal profession at large. In this way resources can be secured and opportunities developed appropriate to the cohort at each point in their learning and consistent with the small population based from which they are drawn.
The program for Akitsiraq I was taught as a modified law curriculum. The focus in the first year was to ensure academic success for the students. The University of Victoria Faculty of Law developed a Legal Research and Writing Course, which included an enhanced study skills component. The first year also exposed students to contract, criminal law and Legal Processes courses.
In the remaining three years, Akitsiraq I students were required to complete all the standard law courses. The Faculty of Law developed specialized elective courses for this program tailored to legal issues in the Canadian Arctic and the Inuit, including Inuit law, environmental law, northern resource land and management, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. The expertise of local elders and educators incorporated Inuit Traditional Law and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit throughout the four-year program. Students were encouraged to participate during their final year in courses at the University of Victoria or other major Canadian University.
The Akitsiraq II program has continued to develop this approach, planning for two academic and one work term each year. In addition, Akitsiraq II students will have the opportunity to participate with their contemporaries at the University of Ottawa Common Law Faculty each year in the intensive three week January intersession. The introductory program anticipated for June–July 2011, is designed to orient students to the study of law, identify skill areas where additional support will be focused in the early program years, and provide a broad introduction to the classic first year study areas, as well as an initial exposure to the interface between Inuit Law and the Canadian legal tradition.
In order to practise as a lawyer, graduates of the program are required to article to a practising lawyer and pass a Bar Admission Test administered by a Canadian law society
Akitsiraq I program was largely funded by the Government of Nunavut through the Departments of Education, Human Resources and Justice. Student financial support was based on salaried sponsorships through various agencies including the Government of Nunavut, the Department of Justice, and several not for profit Inuit organizations. Student funding incorporated a requirements for attendance and post-graduation commitments to remain in their territory or province of origin (most were from Nunavut) and work for a minimum of two or four years following graduation. As of 2010 all Akitsiraq I graduates are working or studying for graduate degrees in Nunavut (9), or in positions related to Nunavut (2) .
The Akitsiraq II process has been funded to date by the Department of Justice Canada, in-kind supports from Justice Nunavut, Nunavut Arctic College and the resources of the University of Ottawa. The Society has contributed many hundreds of hours of volunteer support. The student funding model for Akitsiraq II has been designed to be individually based, with paid work-terms and diverse student financial supports, as well as the potential of incorporating specific program supports.