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ohgodsohungry

Oxford Grad, Foreign National - Articling/NCA Timeline

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Hi,

 

You have already got advice re your first point that I thought was helpful.

 

despite the entertaining bickering above, nobody answered your second and third points!! The nerve.

 

2. government jobs are typically more difficult to get for articling.  they are limited, their interviews typically consist of substantive law questions and, depending on the city you want to live in, the jobs may just not be available there.

 

3. yes, you should do the NCA exams as soon as possible.  there are significant delays with getting approval.  A bunch of my friends just wrote an exam in January and they just received their results this week.  I also believe that the NCA places a cap on the maximum amount of exams that you can write at any given time - which I believe is 4.  therefore, you should get started on them as soon as possible.

 

Feel free to ask if you have any more questions

 

There isn't a limit to the amount of exams you can take at one time:

http://flsc.ca/national-committee-on-accreditation-nca/exam-rules-and-schedules/

-see (5)

 

You can also take the NCA's in Asia if the NCA approves the testing centre.  It will also cost more, I am not sure how much it is, you will need to contact them for the fees.

 

Most people take 2-3 exams in a sitting.

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Artsy:

 

Right. He's neither a local of Oxford nor of Berkeley and he's not a Canadian who went away for study and returned.

Edited by kcraigsejong

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Some of them that come to mind include: U of T, Osgoode, U of Ottawa, U of Victoria, UBC (online distance learning program), UNB, etc.

UBC still has the classroom-based LLMCL: http://www.allard.ubc.ca/master-laws-llm-common-law-program-curriculum

 

The online program only covers 4 classes and doesn't lead to a degree (I think): http://www.allard.ubc.ca/admissions/distance-learning-program

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There isn't a limit to the amount of exams you can take at one time:

http://flsc.ca/national-committee-on-accreditation-nca/exam-rules-and-schedules/

-see (5)

 

You can also take the NCA's in Asia if the NCA approves the testing centre.  It will also cost more, I am not sure how much it is, you will need to contact them for the fees.

 

Most people take 2-3 exams in a sitting.

Seconded. I knew one guy who did 7 in one sitting. You can arrange invigilators overseas (I wish I'd known that earlier - would have written at University of London).

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UBC still has the classroom-based LLMCL: http://www.allard.ubc.ca/master-laws-llm-common-law-program-curriculum

 

The online program only covers 4 classes and doesn't lead to a degree (I think): http://www.allard.ubc.ca/admissions/distance-learning-program

 

Yes I am aware of that, but OP seems to be looking for a cheaper alternative to complete his courses. He only has 5 to complete and he already has an LLM. Might not be in his interests to be doing another LLM that has lesser significance than the one he already has from Berkeley. 

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To the initial questions posed, I can say that working as an LA as a foreign national isn't unheard of. During my articles I knew a law grad from a European country was hired as a file clerk. There's turnover in those positions and there are lawyers that don't mind employing/supporting someone like yourself. What you really need is a connection. Whether it's to a previous Oxford grad, someone from Singapore, any kind helps. 

Even just applying to positions and explaining your situation clearly in your cover letter. If that doesn't get you anywhere you can switch gears and focus on more in-person networking.

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Government jobs may have a preference for citizens. As Bob pointed out, you could be very marketable at business firms.

 

Re: the clusterfuck above. Again, Canadians going abroad is very different than locals moving to Canada. It's not a difficult concept to grasp.

As far as I know, federal government does not have a requirement for Canadian citizenship for most (all?) counsel positions. Canadian residency should be sufficient in most cases. It's sufficient for the two current open counsel positions that are public competitions. 

 

With a public competition, you'd be going through the federal hiring process. As long as you tick the box for who can apply (Canadian citizen or Canadian PR) you would be assessed based on your qualifications regardless of citizenship. 

 

This assumes you have a license already though, so it's not super helpful for someone being admitted to a Canadian bar. 

Edited by lluzifer

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As far as I know, federal government does not have a requirement for Canadian citizenship for most (all?) counsel positions. Canadian residency should be sufficient in most cases. It's sufficient for the two current open counsel positions that are public competitions. 

 

Although residency is sufficient for hiring, the Government of Canada generally gives citizens preferential treatment. As is noted on the listings for the two open counsel positions, "preference will be given to veterans and to Canadian citizens, in that order".

 

https://emploisfp-psjobs.cfp-psc.gc.ca/psrs-srfp/applicant/page1800?poster=1029645

Edited by PerisoreusCanadensis
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Thanks everyone for all of your responses - they have actually been incredibly helpful, and I will be taking my NCAs in advance in Delhi before I land in Toronto. Have gotten a few private messages encouraging me to update this as I go through the immigration process to be instructive for other people who may be in my position (and I hope there are more - Canada seems like a great place to move to!) and I will make sure to do so.

 

I have one query that Torontonians may be able to assist me on, although it is not strictly law-related. I am planning to come to Toronto with 20k CAD (give or take a few thou). Do you think this will last me long enough to find a paid Articling Position? I am also open to survival jobs if I need to supplement my income. I also plan to live alone (in a studio), which I understand will set me back 1 - 1.2k/mth for rent. I just want to get a sense of how much living in Toronto costs assuming I intend to live like a typical broke 20+ person (cooking mostly, drinking very rarely etc.). Am making a fairly big gamble quitting a stable well-paying job in Singapore to fly across the world to job-search, so I want to make sure I am coming over with enough cash!

Edited by ohgodsohungry
more stuff

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If you stretch 20k, it might last you a year without working. It won't be pretty living though.

 

Why not get a part time gig while looking? With that, you can probably get by for 2 years ish, which - for someone with your qualifications - should be enough to find articling (not that it isn't possible to find it sooner, just conservative planning)

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On 2017-04-22 at 10:03 AM, ohgodsohungry said:

Thanks everyone for all of your responses - they have actually been incredibly helpful, and I will be taking my NCAs in advance in Delhi before I land in Toronto. Have gotten a few private messages encouraging me to update this as I go through the immigration process to be instructive for other people who may be in my position (and I hope there are more - Canada seems like a great place to move to!) and I will make sure to do so.

 

I have one query that Torontonians may be able to assist me on, although it is not strictly law-related. I am planning to come to Toronto with 20k CAD (give or take a few thou). Do you think this will last me long enough to find a paid Articling Position? I am also open to survival jobs if I need to supplement my income. I also plan to live alone (in a studio), which I understand will set me back 1 - 1.2k/mth for rent. I just want to get a sense of how much living in Toronto costs assuming I intend to live like a typical broke 20+ person (cooking mostly, drinking very rarely etc.). Am making a fairly big gamble quitting a stable well-paying job in Singapore to fly across the world to job-search, so I want to make sure I am coming over with enough cash!

I highly doubt you'll be able to survive on $20k in Toronto. Would not recommend it at all.

I do, however, suggest that you contact some big law firms to see if they are hiring any foreign legal consultants. If you have something that you could offer them, I'm sure they'll be happy to take you in with some sort of sustainable income for the time being.

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On 08/04/2017 at 10:48 AM, ohgodsohungry said:

Hello everyone,

 

I'm a Singaporean who holds a law degree from the University of Oxford and an LLM (International Law) from the University of California, Berkeley. Just last month I put in an application for permanent residence to Canada through Express Entry - I have been wanting to move to your beautiful country for ages due to dissatisfaction with living in Singapore (it is a very conservative place!) Hopefully I will receive the PR by mid-year, but I am trying to make long term plans now. I aim to live and work in Toronto. I was wondering if you all could help on the following:

 

1) Would someone with my qualifications face significant challenges with the Articling/Job process? I understand that people with UK law degrees face some discrimination in the job market, but I'm not sure if my status as a foreign national will change the perception somewhat.

 

2) I am particularly interested in public interest work. Are articles in Government positions/NGOs uniquely difficult to get? I do not speak French, although I am trying to learn. 

 

3) In terms of timeline, do you think it would be advisable for me to complete the NCA exams BEFORE I make a landing in Canada? I aim to land in February 2018 and was wondering if I should take the exams in late 2017 first so I can immediately compete for Articling positions. However, it will cost me over 2000 CAD for a return flight to Toronto along with accommodation just to take the tests early. On the other hand, if completing the NCA exams before I land will enable me to get a job a lot quicker, then perhaps in the long term that will save me more money and it will be worth it. Are positions as Legal Assistants difficult to find - if not, perhaps I can just wait until I land before taking the March exams and work as a Legal Assistant while waiting for the results.

 

Thank you for your responses!

Hello! I am currently sitting the NCA exams in Australia. It has been an absolute pain in the a- to organise, and quite expensive to pay to be supervised on home soil, but it is definitely possible. I bought e-books mainly and found publishers that could source the books without expensive international postage. The sooner you start studying, the better, as there is a lot of material to get through (especially if you working full time). If you want to discuss the NCA exams at all, send me a message. Completing the process overseas has been quite isolating but rewarding. It is very interesting to compare to the laws of Australia (and I imagine the UK and Singapore), especially if you are interested in human rights. Cheers.

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Hello all,

Thanks all for the great discussion and comments here. Just checking in again to ask a couple of questions relating to the licensing process. I've gotten my Canadian permanent residency locked up (happy to answer any questions about this if anyone is interested!), completed my NCAs and the next step is to register for the Barrister/Solicitor exams for the 2018-2019 licensing period. I'm given a choice of either registering for the March 2018 exams, or for a later slot (July/November 2018 etc). I'm making a February 2018 landing in Toronto and will commence hunting for articling then. I have two questions:

  1. Will there be any articling positions available for an August 2018 start if I start looking in February 2018? I know that most of the big full-service firm positions will have been snapped up a year ago, but I am also interested in articles in litigation boutiques, government, criminal defence, or an NGO. 
  2. Does it matter when I do the bar exam at all, or only if I want to get called/commence articling by a certain date? For example, if I fail to get an articling position for an August 2018 start, am I correct to say that I am under no pressure to clear the bar exams in March 2018 - or is there a sense in which employers will look more favourably on someone who has cleared all the licensing hurdles? 
  3. This may be jumping the gun a bit, but I understand that some employers will include payment of licensing fees as part of their offer package. Does this include all fees or just the amount for Articling (2800)? If it is all fees, if I've already paid for some of the fees (eg for the exams) before I accept the offer, do I still get reimbursed for that amount? Understand that this may differ from firm to firm, but a general idea of what firms mean when they say 'licensing fees will be paid for by the firm' would be useful.

Apologies in advance if this is detailed elsewhere. I've scoured the LSUC site but it's difficult to find clear information on timelines that I can apply to my situation.

Edited by ohgodsohungry
forgot a question

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1. Articling positions come up at all points in the year, some even in the fall. If you haven't started articling by some date in August, (this year it was August 8th), you're not eligible for the June call to the bar. But that's the only thing affected.

2. The licensing year starts in April, and the exam materials change every year (slightly). There's really no benefit to writing the 2017-18 licensing exam in March first, because if you fail you're going to have to buy the new materials and study all over again. I don't think any firm really cares when you write the bar exams. [Note - I'm not sure if the Law Society is going through with the plan they concocted last summer where they split out the bar exams to one before and one after articling, and they made it such that you have to pass the first bar exam before you can start articling - you're going to want to check into this, because the bar exams for 2018-19 might be very different than 2017-18.]

3. Only the minority of jobs pay your licensing fees, and most of the jobs that do were scooped up in 2L by summer students. Most jobs in a small firm or government office won't pay these. But yes, the idea at these firms that pay your fees is that they reimburse you for the out-of-pocket expenses incurred.

Edited by beyondsection17
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8 hours ago, ohgodsohungry said:

I know that most of the big full-service firm positions will have been snapped up a year ago, but I am also interested in articles in ... government

If you're planning to stay in Ontario, I think you'd face slim pickings for government articling positions if you are starting your search in February. I'd reckon 2/3 of government articling positions in Ontario are with the provincial government, which does all (or nearly all) of its articling hiring on the same schedule as the large firms, i.e. almost a year before the August start date. My impression is that municipalities and DOJ are similar but I could very well be wrong on that.

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I don't know whether this is common, but my (big-law) firm has hired at least one or two foreign trained lawyers during OCIs. These lawyers are typically in the midst of the NCA process when they are hired and have completed the process by the time that they summer. They then either take a year off or begin articling immediately after the summer.  

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