And Now You Wish to Become a Lawyer?

Here are some steps you should take to accomplish this goal as of May 16, 2022:1. High School: Graduate with a diplomaComplete your high school education, regardless of your educational background.

May 16, 2022 update

Here are some steps you need to take to accomplish this goal.

1. Obtain your high school diploma.

Regardless of the global educational system you are in, finish high school. g Grades 12 in Ontario, 12 in the US, A/AS in GCE/GCSE, CAPE, IB, etc.   

Students in grades 10 to 12 can participate in the UofT LAW Youth Summer Program (summer law camp) to gain early exposure to the law. For more information, visit ysp.utoronto.ca/law.

2. Pursue an undergraduate (Bachelor's) degree after high school.

Direct entry from high school is not permitted into Canadian law schools. Continue your higher education (post-secondary) studies after high school. Any undergraduate degree serves as good practice for attending law school. g BSc, BBA, BComm, BEng, and BA BKin, BMus, BPHE, etc.

People with degrees in engineering, biochemistry, English literature, political science, economics, and other fields can be found at the University of Toronto's law school. Choose a program for your first undergraduate degree that you will enjoy because there is no subject that is better than another for getting into law school. Although you are not required to complete your undergraduate studies at the university where the law school is located, it is preferable to select the school that is the best fit for you. Please visit the undergraduate admissions webpage and contact the undergraduate admissions office with any questions if you want to think about earning your first undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto.

Complete your degree

Eligibility
Typically, undergraduate degrees are meant to be finished in three or four years of full-time study. Most Canadian common law schools generally require completion of coursework equivalent to three academic years of undergraduate study in order to be admitted.

The general eligibility requirements are three- or four-year undergraduate degrees from accredited, recognized higher education institutions worldwide. To be sure, check with the desired law schools.


Competitiveness
Even if the law school you are applying to does not require it, having your undergraduate degree will make your application more competitive, especially for those with three-year degrees.

The majority of law students at the University of Toronto have at least a four-year degree and have completed undergraduate studies in either Canada or the United States. In recent years, about three very exceptional applicants from that North American education have been admitted without completing a four-year undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate students can join Black Future Lawyers (BFL).

Our Black Future Lawyers initiative, which seeks to give students an early exposure to the legal community and prepare them for admission into law school, is open to students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs at universities and colleges. Membership in this program is free of charge. Please visit bfl.utoronto.ca to view the variety of opportunities and supports available.

3. Take the LSAT for admission to law school.

The LSAC is an independent, non-profit organization with headquarters in the US that developed and delivers this standardized test.

The standard LSAT is required by nearly all Canadian and US law schools, and since it is offered online, it can be taken in any nation with dependable internet service. The LSAT created specifically for entry into law schools in India and the LSAT created specifically in Spanish for law schools in Puerto Rico are both invalid.

The test is administered up to eight times per test cycle in Canada and the United States, in the months of June, August/September, October, November, January, February, March, and April.

There are two sections to the LSAT, and both must be finished:

      • A number of sections with multiple-choice questions and issues written at a testing facility to gauge your understanding of the material as well as your capacity for logical and analytical thought, and
      • For the test score to be made available to law schools, a brief essay must be written separately from the multiple-choice section.  

It is not dependent on the subject(s) you study in school to perform well on the LSAT because it does not test factual knowledge of law or any other subject area.

The test may be taken more than once. However, you should inquire about how the law schools you are interested in handle multiple test administrations. While some law schools take the highest score, others average the scores. Since there are typically fewer conflicts with their academic schedules, many applicants choose to take the test in June after their third year or during the first term of their fourth year of undergraduate study.

The UofT Law School Access Program (LSAP) and free test preparation

The creator of the LSAT test, LSAC, offers a free official online training course. For a fee, preparation classes and practice exams are provided by private organizations. Check them out carefully to see which ones are reputable and trustworthy.

The U of T Faculty of Law offers the Law School Access Program (LSAP) once a year during the summer to high-potential undergraduate students, including those with limited financial resources. Visit law.utoronto.ca/lsap to take a free LSAT prep course and receive assistance with applying to law school.

Apply to law school.

Conduct research to find the law schools you should apply to.

There are hundreds more common law schools in the US and abroad in addition to the 18 common law schools in Canada, eight of which are in Ontario.

You will take into account a variety of factors when choosing a law school, such as the school's size, proximity to your home, the type of law it specializes in, the demographics of its student body and faculty, and whether it offers French courses or a degree. and the school's guiding principles

You must specifically take into account whether you will likely be admitted to that specific school based on your LSAT score, accomplishments, and other qualities. Additional special programs are provided by various law schools. For instance, you can pursue "combined" degrees in law and social work or law and business administration at the University of Toronto law school.

Learn more about the University of Toronto Faculty of Law's JD admissions requirements.

Fill out the application.

The Ontario Law School Application Service manages all applications to law schools in Ontario. The online OLSAS application must be completed. OLSAS processes the applications, which are then sent to all the law schools the applicant has applied to for a decision on admission.

There are various entrance requirements for each law school. However, they all request your academic records, LSAT results, and a personal statement of some kind. Numerous law schools also demand recommendation letters. The first week of November of the year before you want to start law school is typically the deadline for applications to law schools in Ontario. All deadlines for law schools outside of Ontario are different.

5. Obtain a law degree.

Duration of Program
The Juris Doctor, or JD, is the first-level common law degree in Canada, and it requires three years to complete. Despite the fact that entry requires prior undergraduate education, the program is an undergraduate degree program rather than a graduate degree program.  

Law first year
Most Canadian law schools have a similar first year of study. Students enroll in introductory courses in subjects like contracts law, property law, criminal law, and constitutional law. Additionally, there are specialized programs designed to educate first-year students about various fascinating legal fields. Additionally, first-year law students receive specialized instruction in legal writing and research.  

First-year students can participate in a variety of extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities. Numerous students engage in student-led clubs and social activities at the law school, volunteer at legal clinics or non-profit organizations, compete in trial advocacy and client counseling events, and more. This is a fantastic way to meet people with comparable interests and learn how to use your legal training outside of the classroom.

Summer following first year.
After their first year, a select few students work summer jobs in the legal industry. For instance, students might conduct research for a professor or work at a Legal Aid Clinic. The majority of students work in fields other than law, but they still engage in volunteer work to gain legal experience.

Law second year
There are numerous opportunities to select your own courses in second year based on your areas of interest. Most law schools also require students to take part in a "moot," which is a mock trial in which students play the roles of "lawyers" on a made-up case and are "judged" by professors and attorneys, either in their first year of the program or in the later years.

After the second year, summer
After their second year of law school, many students work in law firms, government legal departments, or legal clinics conducting legal research. It is a useful way to become familiar with various legal employers and determine what area of law, if any, you want to practice. Students apply for and participate in articling interviews over the summer.

Law third year
Your final year of law school is the time to take on a leadership position in clubs, committees, journals, or other extracurricular activities offered by the law school. Students work on extensive research papers in their areas of interest and enroll in more specialized courses. Students can take part in exchange programs as well. For instance, the U of T law school offers exchange programs with numerous universities worldwide. Exchanges are available, among them to the West Indies, Singapore, and Australia.

6. Following the completion of your law degree

Obtaining a legal practice license

In Canada, earning a law degree alone does not qualify a candidate to practice law (i.e., become a lawyer). You must also take and pass the provincial bar exams in addition to one of the following in order to be admitted to the bar in one of Canada's provinces or territories:

  1. or "Article"
  2. Complete the Law Practice Program offered by the Law Society of Ontario (previously the Law Society of Upper Canada) in Ontario.

Articling
The final stage of your formal legal education is articling, which takes place before you are granted a license to practice law. In Ontario, "articling" entails spending ten months working under the guidance of a qualified and licensed attorney.             

Before obtaining a license to practice law, articling is a great way to get experience in various legal fields. Candidates for licensure may complete their "articles" in a government office, a nonprofit legal clinic, a sole practitioner's office, or an internal legal department. In Ontario, articles can be finished full-time or part-time, between one or more employers, and anywhere in the world. In order to fulfill the requirement for an internship, candidates may also choose to "clerk" for a judge.  

The Law Practice Program (the substitute for an internship)
In Ontario, candidates for licensure have two options for completing the experiential training requirement of the lawyer licensing process: either article-based training or the Law Society of Ontario's Law Practice Program (LPP). The LPP is made up of a four-month training program and a four-month internship. Candidates who choose the LPP experiential training path must complete both the training program and the work placement. From late August or early September until the end of April, the program is offered. Ryerson University offers a program in English, and the University of Ottawa has a program in French.  

Exams for Admission to Bar
In Ontario, candidates for licensing are admitted to the "bar" after passing the three-times-per-year (November, March, and June) Barrister and Solicitor examinations, which are administered by the Law Society of Ontario. Both tests require independent study and last around seven hours. The public law, criminal procedure, family law, and civil litigation practice areas are assessed on the barrister examination for legal knowledge.  

Legal knowledge in real estate, business law, wills, trusts, and estate administration and planning are evaluated in the solicitor examination. Both tests evaluate a candidate's understanding of their professional and ethical obligations as well as their capacity to establish and uphold the lawyer-client relationship.

Being an attorney

A lawyer may select from a wide range of legal specialties. The many options are frequently broken down into three groups:

    1. The Public Interest in Law
      Working in the public interest can involve working for a nonprofit organization like the Women's Legal and Education Action Fund or the African Canadian Legal Clinic, or providing legal services at a clinic like the Metropolitan Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic.
       
    2. Practice in Private
      When you work in private practice, you have individual clients who could be either individuals or businesses. Working in either a large firm (over 100 attorneys) or a small firm could be involved in this. Attorneys frequently focus on one particular area of the law, such as family law, criminal defense law, corporate law, or environmental law. However, some people have full-service practices where they specialize in a variety of practice areas and provide services.  
       
    3. Government
      When you work for the government, it functions as your client. This could entail pursuing criminal cases as a Crown Attorney or working for a ministry like the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Labor.

Not sure if you want to be a lawyer Fear not. There are countless options, and law school will give you an education unlike any other. After earning your degree, you'll have the knowledge and abilities needed to start a career as a lawyer, but you'll also have the mental fortitude and skill set needed to succeed in almost any field, such as business, politics, or journalism. and almost any other profession that calls for excellent oral and written communication abilities, the capacity to approach tasks in a clear, reasoned, and logical way, as well as the capacity to think through and successfully solve problems. Lawyers go on to work as professors, politicians, CEOs, union leaders, agents, doctors, teachers, and so many other professions. One of the best educations you can receive is a law degree; the opportunities are limitless.

Read an article about non-practicing attorneys in the Canadian National Post.

Visit our website at for more details about the Career Development Office at U of T Law.
www.law.utoronto.ca/programs/cdo.html

Additional Information

Prepared by the JD Admissions Office and Career Development Office of the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

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