Law School Discussion

Differences in Canadian law schools

Differences in Canadian law schools
« on: October 18, 2009, 08:42:16 PM »
From my understanding there is a pretty large distinction in job prospects for graduates of the better American law schools and the worse ones.  Is there the same sort of thing for Canadian schools? 

Is there a big enough difference in perception of the law school to, for example, push one away from UofC or UofA if you were interested in natural resources law and to UofT or McGill?  How big a difference is it for something like IP between UBC and UVic when both schools tell me that they have extremely good IP programs.  As if any school would say that they don't.

Re: Differences in Canadian law schools
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2009, 10:37:42 AM »
There is significantly more parity between Canadian law schools - that is to say that there are no truly "bad" law schools, and that you will find a job in almost any region with a LLB or JD from any Canadian law school.

Also, the Canadian legal market is significantly smaller than the American market with fewer grads produced per annum. The implication is that as a lawyer, you are still guaranteed a pretty prosperous career in Canada with a lower chance of post-graduation unemployment (though peak salaries tend to be slightly lower than in the US). The restrictions of graduates are largely an artificial product of the CBA and other legal professional associations, not excluding Canadian legislation that requires that law schools be affiliated with an accredited university. (also the process to register a new law school is a long and arduous one)

As for your second question, there are differences in how well reputed Canadian law schools are for different legal concentrations. For example, Queen's is particularly well known for it's Criminal law program while Osgoode focused more on the Administrative and Public law fields. The western provinces (particularly Alberta) tend to specialize in the energy driven (oil) businesses. Dalhousie and UofT are particularly good for IP. UofT will guarantee you a well rounded education in any legal field.

That being said however, a Canadian JD allows for great flexibility to maneuver within the legal market. You graduate as a general practitioner (assuming you pass the bar requirements) and are licensed to practice in any field. Your post graduation job will likely determine which fields you eventually specialize within. Choose OCIs carefully.


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Re: Differences in Canadian law schools
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2009, 10:16:58 PM »
Agree with previous poster--Canadian schools have a lot of parity. Canada has a lot fewer law grads per capita, which means that the sub-median people will do a lot better and still find more meaningful legal work that the US.

Also, schools are more regional. For example, BC has only UVic and UBC. They are both seen as quite good schools, and the grads from both will tend to do pretty well, especially when compared to a lower US law school.

Re: Differences in Canadian law schools
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2010, 11:01:04 AM »
As an American citizen, how easy would it be for me to find a job in Canada after graduation from a Canadian Law School? I have been giving serious consideration to attending a law school in Canada. My fear is I will not be able to stay after I graduate. Does anyone know how it works?


Re: Differences in Canadian law schools
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2010, 07:56:53 PM »
The short answer:
You would have an easier time finding work in the US with a Canadian JD than vice versa.

The NCA sets notoriously difficult standards for foreign lawyers to practice in Canada. This obviously includes American lawyers. However, due to mutual agreements between Canada and certain American states (e.g. NY and CA), you can literally sit for the state bar without having to pass equivalency exams.

As for working in Canada without citizenship. That may be difficult. If you're a landed immigrant (resident alien), you may not have difficulty (otoh, employers may care).

Re: Differences in Canadian law schools
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 10:52:16 AM »
For a person to practice in Canada does their legal education has to be from an ABA school or does it not matter?