In addition to accreditation, upgrading your skills through a bridging program or other courses and workshops is an important part of your journey to become a lawyer in Canada. You have to have strong skills in the fields of language, communications, legal research and writing, technology and others. Canadian legal employers also expect you to be optimist, resilient, flexible, assertive and innovative.
You may have strong technical skills, but often that is not enough to get a job or maintain it afterwards. You may need more training or skills upgrading, especially with regards to your soft skills.
Having strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages – English or French – is extremely important for your future in Canada. Whether you choose to focus on learning or improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you live. You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find other free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through the school boards or settlement agencies.
There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as job-specific language training and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT) in Ontario. And, if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better employment opportunities.
As a lawyer practicing in Canada, you will be expected as well to have strong legal research and writing skills. Take the time to understand the requirements and to develop this skill.
Employers will expect you to have good technology skills as well, such as online research, electronic applications, electronic data sharing and transfer etc. Many community agencies and public libraries offer computer courses and workshop which you can attend for free or for a very affordable fee.
Bridging programs are a helpful way to transition from your international experience and training to the Canadian workplace.
Osgoode Professional Development’s NCA Exam Prep Course
This course is specifically designed for foreign qualified lawyers planning to write the National Committee on Accreditation’s Examinations. It offers instruction in the following subjects: Foundations of Canadian Law; Canadian Constitutional Law; Canadian Administrative Law; Canadian Criminal Law.
Many immigrants take further education after coming to Canada. Some want to change careers or enhance their careers with a Ph.D or MBA.
There are 23 law schools in Canada: seven in the Western Region, eight in Ontario, five in Quebec and three in the Atlantic Region.
All of these schools offer a professional degree in one or both of Canada’s two systems of law (Common Law; Civil Law). They also offer a variety of programs: the juris doctor (J.D.) and traditional bachelor of laws (LL.B); professional degrees leading to the practice of law, graduate studies in law, and various joint programs. Some offer their programs in English only, others in French only, while others offer partially or fully bilingual programs.
In Ontario, there are several law schools that offer specific programs to help internationally trained lawyers with the accreditation process. The following maybe of interest to you:
Osgoode Hall Law School
In B.C., the University of British Columbia offers the Master of Laws (Common Law) Program LL.M (CL). This year-long, course-based professional program provides foundational training in the common law and in Canadian law for foreign trained or non-common law trained lawyers.
To learn more about the programs and admission criteria of the other law schools in Canada, click on the name of a university listed below:
University of Alberta – Faculty of Law
University of Calgary – Faculty of Law
Dalhousie University – Schulich School of Law
Lakehead University – Faculty of Law
Université de Laval – Baccalauréat en Droit
University of Manitoba – Robson Hall Faculty of Law
McGill University – Faculty of Law
Université de Moncton – Faculté de Droit
Université de Montréal – Faculté de Droit
University of New Brunswick – Faculty of Law
University of Ottawa – Common Law
Université d’Ottawa Faculté de droit – Section de droit civil
Université du Québec – Faculté de Science Politique et de Droit
Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
University of Saskatchewan – College of Law
Université de Sherbrooke – Faculté de droit
Thompson River University – Faculty of Law
University of Victoria – Faculty of Law
University of Western Ontario – Western Law
University of Windsor – Windsor Law
Ryerson University – Faculty of Law
University of Toronto – Faculty of Law
Click here for links to Canadian Universities and Colleges.
Bredin Centre for Learning
Centre for Skilled and Internationally Trained Professionals
A no cost program that helps internationally trained professionals understand and successfully move through the licensure and credential process in Canada. Those who are not part of a regulated profession will be provided with up-to-date information of their profession. Bredin staff will support IEPs through the process and assist them with finding employment that is directly related to their education.