Becoming a lawyer is a long process, with many steps along the way. It will take hard work and lots of determination. The possibility of a respected, well-paying career with the opportunity to make an impact in the world is a great motivator for all the effort, however.
1.Get Your Canadian Undergraduate Pre-Law Major
Most Canadian law schools require that you have a bachelor’s degree, or have completed 90 credit hours (three years) towards a bachelor’s degree, prior to entering law school. Check the LSAC Official Guide to Canadian Law Schools for your chosen school’s admission policies regarding undergraduate education.
Because Canadian education is regulated on a provincial level, there are no national accreditation bodies for Canadian colleges and universities. Government organizations recognize certain colleges and universities within their jurisdiction. There are certain national associations that establish quality standards and regulate colleges and universities, including:
- Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC)
- Association of Commonwealth Universities
- Degree Quality Assessment Board of British Columbia
- Campus Alberta Quality Council
- Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario
- Manitoba-Saskatchewan Universities Program Review Audit Council
- Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission.
If your undergraduate institution is accredited by one of the above-mentioned organizations, you should be assured that Canadian law schools would accept your undergraduate education as valid.
Requirements and Standards
Again, each Canadian law school has its own requirements and standards regarding the undergraduate education you must complete before applying to law school. Most have credit requirements, while others may require certain courses to be taken. Check with your law school’s policies for more information.
A Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in any field (or acceptable work towards such a degree) is usually sufficient for entry into a Canadian law school. Check with the individual law school that you are interested in attending its policies.
2.LSAT (Law School Admission Test) in Canada
You must pass the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test before you will be accepted into any LSAC-member Canadian law school. This standardized entrance test is given four times annually.
How to prepare
You can access free study materials, such as practice tests and sample questions and answers, at the LSAT website. Other preparation material for the LSAT in Canada includes:
LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Canada:
- LSAT Prep Courses, Oxford Seminars, Locations Across Canada
- LSAT Prep, Richardson Prep Center, Toronto
- Free Sample LSAT Test, LSAT Center, online
There are three key areas tested on the LSAT:
- Reading Comprehension – Long, complex passages resembling information you will encounter in law school and in the law profession are presented. You must answer questions based on your ability to understand, make inferences, and draw conclusions from these passages.
- Analytical Reasoning– Your abilities to see relationships and draw conclusions are tested here.
- Logical Reasoning– You must identify the strengths and weaknesses in given arguments in this section of the LSAT.
Although not scored as part of the LSAT, you must also produce a writing sample on a given topic. This will be sent to the law schools to which you apply for their review
3. Go to Law School in Canada
The next step in the process of becoming a Canadian lawyer is to go to law school. View the LSAC Official Guide to Canadian Law Schools for application procedures for the law school in which you intend to apply for admission. There are two legal traditions in Canada: French civil law, dominant in Quebec; and English common law, dominant in all other provinces and territories.
If you intend to practice law in Quebec, you must graduate from a Quebec law school. If you intend to practice in an English common law jurisdiction in Canada, you must graduate from one of the common-law schools in the other provinces/territories. Canada has mobility agreements among the provinces/territories that allow lawyers licensed in one common-law jurisdiction to practice in another common-law jurisdiction.
Ontario Law Schools
If you are applying to any law school in Ontario, you must apply online through the Ontario Universities Application Centre. Instructions will be given on what is needed, such as undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, community involvement, personal statement, and LSAT scores, when you apply.
Law Schools in Other Provinces
Each law school has its own admission policies and requirements. Check with your individual law school for its expectations.
The Law Society of Upper Canada
The Law Society of Upper Canada, which represents Ontario, requires that you graduate from a law school approved by Convocation in order for your law education to be provincially recognized. All schools listed under “Law Schools in Canada” below are approved by Convocation.
Barreau du Québec