How to Become a Lawyer in Canada
To become a lawyer, you have to complete a four-year university program and a law degree at a recognized law school. Some law schools prefer that the applicant has an undergraduate degree while others only require that you have completed 2 years of university study. The whole period of study takes between six and eight years.
In general, it is recommended that you take courses that will develop and enhance your skills in oral and written communication, logical reasoning, and critical analysis. If you have already chosen a field of law that you want to pursue a career in, you may think of taking courses that will help to this end. For example, if you want to go into business law, it pays to take classes in economics, management, or a related field. Universities do not have a specific pre-law curriculum, so you may want to take those courses you find interesting. It is neither a disadvantage nor an advantage to take law-related courses. Naturally, it is important to get good grades. It does not matter what university you attend, but law schools pay close attention to your grades and overall performance. Regarding trends in grades, upward trends are obviously positive while downward trends should be avoided.
Other factors law schools consider include community involvement, your personal statement, work experience, and letters of recommendation. Some schools may also have separate categories of admission for Aboriginal students and mature students.
Canadian law schools can be divided into civil law and common law schools. Common law schools are, for example, University of Alberta, University of Victoria, and University of Ottawa. Civil Law Schools are Universite de Sherbrooke and McGill University, among others. As part of the application process, you have to take the Law School Admission Test, which measures verbal reasoning and reading skills. The minimum acceptable score varies from one school to another. You may have to take this test more than one time, and the top law schools in Canada require high LSAT scores. You may take the test before you complete your undergraduate degree, and this depends on when you would like to enter your law school of choice. Once you get your LSAT score and you are satisfied with it, it is time to apply to law schools. If you want to go into a specific field, you may apply to schools that are well regarded in this field. Obviously, you should continue getting good grades, and you may want to work or volunteer at a law firm in your free time or during the summer months. This way, you will make good impression on potential employers.
Once you complete your program of study, you should pass the Canadian Bar Exam. Your province of residence manages this exam and to take it, you should contact your local Bar Association. Persons who have passed the exam in the US and want to practice in Canada are also required to take the Canadian Bar Exam.
Upon passing the exam, the next step in the process is to take care of the licensing requirements. Among them are paying a licensing fee, taking an ethics exam, as well as meeting residency requirements. Once you have done these, you are licensed and prepared to practice law in your province of residence. You can choose from a number of fields of law, including environmental law, tax law, contract law, and others. Before you accept a position, you should do some research and examine the firm you plan to work in. Make sure you understand what your compensation and responsibilities will be.