How long is law school in Canada? If you are aspiring to become a lawyer in Canada, and searching for the answer to this question, then first you have to be aware of the prerequisites that Canadian law schools ask for.
Initially, you have to complete your graduation from high school, and after that, a minimum of three years of undergraduate studies should be completed before you can start applying for law schools.
Many Canadian law schools consider you to be eligible if you either have a three or four-year undergraduate degree from certified higher education institutions worldwide.
Typically the duration for completing law school in Canada is three years. Let us get into the details and find out all that is required to become a lawyer in Canada.
1. Getting a Bachelor’s Degree is a Must
Once you graduate from high school, getting a bachelor’s degree from a university is a must to become a lawyer. There is no requirement for a bachelor’s degree in a particular stream.
It is sufficient to get a bachelor’s degree in any stream for getting admission into Canadian law schools. Your degree might be even a BSc – which stands for Bachelor of Science, BA – which stands for Bachelor of Arts, or BBA – which stands for Bachelor of Business administration.
In case, you hold a degree in BA Criminology and Policing, you may be familiar with the views of law enforcement and also criminology.
Most law schools in Canada permit students with degrees from any recognized college or university worldwide. This is such a good convenience. So if you are a law student, then you need not worry.
In case you are graduating from college which is in the United States, you need not worry as you are eligible to apply for a law school in Canada.
2. Take the LSAT Test
After acquiring your undergraduate degree, you must take the LSAT test before you start applying to law school. This is the requirement in both Canada as well as the US.
Though LSAT is not required for law schools based in Quebec, it is still better to go ahead with the test.
Speaking of LSAT, it is best if we have a brief about it.
3. What Do You Mean by LSAT?
LSAT is nothing but Law School Admission Test. The reason you take this test is to determine whether you have the required skills to succeed in your first year of law school.
The required skills are namely comprehension skills, reading as well as writing skills. The results of this test help the people responsible for admission as well as the candidates to realize how prepared are they for entering law school.
The LSAT is the sole test that helps candidates in identifying if law school is the one for them. You can find a few law schools too that accept other tests for admission.
However, if you want your admission chances high for a law school, do take the LSAT test.
4. What will an LSAT Test Contain?
The first part of an LSAT has four sections of multiple-choice questions. They contain comprehension reading and reasoning which includes both analytical and logical.
The next part is the LSAT writing which includes writing an essay. You can complete the writing part before going for the multiple-choice questions.
5. How to Apply for LSAT?
If you want to take this test, you can apply online and take it at any of the testing centres across Canada. This test is conducted all year long eight times.
In the test, you need to write a sample on the topic provided. You will receive this with your application, and also the LSAT score.
6. A Little About the Range of LSAT Score
Your LSAT score will be in the range between 120 and 180. Your percentile assignment will be based on other candidates who also took the test at the same duration as you.
If you are not content with your LSAT score, you are always welcome to attempt it again. You should also enquire with the law school that you are applying to about the way they consider multiple scores.
Some law schools may consider the average of your scores while some may consider your top or least scores.
7. Start Applying for Law Schools
Canada boasts 18 common law schools. Of these, you can find 8 in Ontario and more than hundreds in the United States, and also worldwide.
While choosing a law school, you have to keep in mind certain factors namely the travel time from your home to the law school, the strength of the admitted students, the size of the law school, and the school’s philosophy.
8. Fill Out the Law School Applications
After you have selected the law school, start filling out the application forms. The requirements for entrance vary in each law school.
The common details that law schools require are namely your academic transcripts, your LSAT score, and your statement, and some law schools may ask for reference letters.
It is also important to be aware of the deadline for applying to the law schools which you have chosen.
9. How Long is Law School in Canada?
The preliminary common law degree in Canada is a Juris doctor or JD. The JD degree requires three years to complete. If you want to enter this program, then undergraduate education is necessary.
It is not a graduate degree program but instead an undergraduate degree program.
10. What Awaits You in Your First Year?
Most Canadian law schools follow the same routine in the first year of law school. You will be introduced to courses in various laws namely Constitutional law, Contracts law, Criminal law, and Property law.
Apart from these, more specialized courses are also taught to you in your first year that covers interesting things about law. You will also be introduced to specialized training in the areas concerning legal research and writing.
You can also compete in extracurricular tasks. You can find numerous students taking part in trial advocacy as well as competitions involving client counselling.
You can also see them volunteering at legal clinics or NGOs. This is an opportunity for them to get to know people with the same interests and discover the way to put their legal training aside from education.
11. What to Do in the Summer Following Your First Year?
There are summer jobs available in the legal field after the completion of the first year, and you can opt for them. Some of these jobs involve working at a legal clinic or conducting research for a professor.
Some students work in domains other than the legal field part-time, yet volunteer work for gaining legal experience.
12. What will You Encounter in Your Second Year?
This is the year when you can select the courses from your area of interest. Also, many law schools will conduct a mock trial, also known as moot, and you may have to be a part of it.
In this mock trial, students like you will play the role of a lawyer on a fictional case, and your professors and lawyers will judge you.
This will happen during your first year or higher years of the law program.
13. What to Do in the Summer Following Your Second Year?
After your second year of law school, you can work in law firms, legal clinics, or even at government legal departments where you can perform legal research.
This provides you with an opportunity to gain knowledge about various legal employers, and then decide to practice the law of your choice.
In summer, most students try for articling positions and undergo articling interviews. You can also try the same.
14. What will You Encounter in Your Third Year?
You are in the final leg of your law school and you can utilize this year to the maximum by accepting a leadership role in clubs, or even at any of the extracurricular activities in your school.
You can opt for specialized courses and analyze lengthy research papers in areas that are of interest to you. There are also exchange programs in which you can take part.
15. Next Step After Acquiring Your Law Degree with Flying Colors
If you want to practice law in Canada, completing only your law degree is not enough.
For you to get into the bar in any of Canada’s territories or provinces, you must write and clear the provincial bar exam, and do either of the following.
You must article, or finish the law society of Ontario’s law practice program if you are residing in Ontario.
16. What is Articling?
This is the final stage of your formal legal education and occurs before you are licensed for practicing law. Articling helps you to know the various areas of law before you get licensed for practicing law.
17. What is a Law Practice Program?
This is the substitute for articling. If you are in Ontario, and a licensing candidate, you have to opt for either of the two: The first being the completion of Ontario’s law practice program, and the second being to articulate.
Only if you do either of these, you will fulfill the experience training part of the lawyer licensing process.
18. More About Ontario’s Law Practice Program
This program consists of a training course as well as a work placement. Both are for 4 months. You should complete both if you are opting for the experience training of LLP (Law practice program).
The program is offered in both English as well as French.
19. How is Bar Admission Done in Ontario?
If you are a licensed candidate, you will be admitted to the bar only after you successfully write the Barrister as well as the Solicitor exams.
Ontario’s law society administers both of these.
The Barrister exam is for evaluating your knowledge of public law, family law, civil law as well as Criminal law.
The Solicitor exam is for evaluating your knowledge in real estate law, business law, wills, planning, and administration of estates.
However, both exams are conducted to test your knowledge of ethical and professional responsibilities and whether you have the potential to build and keep up the lawyer-client relationship.
20. What if You Are an American Law School Graduate?
If this is the case, and you are aspiring to become a lawyer in Canada, you can apply to Canada’s Federation of law societies to get accreditation as well as the apt visa.
Your educational background along with your professional experience will be assessed to find out if you are eligible to practice law in Canada.
21. What is the Next Step After You Become a Lawyer in Canada?
Once you become a lawyer in Canada, you have various fields of law from which you can choose. However, there are three major categories given below:
21.1. Public Interest Law
If you opt for this, you can work for a public interest group namely the African Canadian Legal Clinic, or you can even perform legal aid work at a legal clinic.
21.2. Practicing Law Privately
Here you may have your clients who may be individuals or organizations. Typically some lawyers will be specialized in a particular area of law namely family law, corporate law, environmental law, and others.
21.3. Practicing for the Government
Here the government is your client. Here you may be a Crown attorney indicting criminals or you may work for the ministry of labour or health.
22. What if You Don’t Prefer to Practice Law?
You don’t have to worry if you don’t want to work in a legal profession as studying law opens doors to various job opportunities.
Once you earn your law degree, you will not only be prepared to become a lawyer in Canada but also have the strength and talent to shine in any profession.
You may try your hand in business, journalism, or any profession where good oral as well as written communication skills are necessary.
You can also choose a profession where you can put your analytical skills and logical skills to use, and provide solutions to problems efficiently.
There are other careers too namely Compliance officer, Business analyst, Consumer advocate, Policy analyst, banking and finance, Immigration officer, Negotiation as well as Conflict resolution, and much more.
There are also joint programs offered to boost your career paths.
Now that you have got a clear answer to the question of how long is law school in Canada, why wait further? Get an undergraduate degree, and there are several Canadian law schools from which you can choose and start to study law.
Check for law school admission in your preferred Canadian law school, and finally become a lawyer in Canada.
A good tip: Canadian lawyers typically earn well.