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  1. University of Alberta. Not really a transfer - started from scratch and was very glad I did. The social and professional networking made for the best 4 years of my life, and the alum connections are helping my career. Way better than law school too. So yah, don't ditch your current real university for a downgrade.
  2. Before going to a real university I did almost year (part-time) at UFV because it was local, and I had no life direction at ~18. It just felt like a glorified high school so I just could not take it even remotely seriously. Most people I know who went to Athabasca only did so to study their ass off and boost terrible high school marks so they could transfer to my university. Either way, any of these institutions will do you no favours, and you'll still have to study your ass off just the same. Sure, some MIGHT be easier in terms of work load or marking, but you'll lose the proper university student experience.
  3. Hi there - Canadian educated and now working at a firm in London (UK). I'm planning on picking up my 5th and 6th regular rotation suits after Christmas, both from an amazing company called Suitsupply. They have stores in Montreal and Toronto. The suit I have from them already fits like a glove with minor tailoring, and they have the full made to measure option which I will be also getting later in 2019 for something a little more outlandish. Price points - if you're looking for regular wearing business suits at less than $500 CAD regular price, enjoy looking scruffy after one year and full on replacing it in two. This has been mentioned a number of times but cannot be stressed enough; a suit is an investment. My first suit was regular price $800-900 not including tailoring to get it to fit perfectly. That was 10 years ago during my freshman undergrad days and I'm still wearing it. It's a charcoal wool suit from the fancy suit room at the Bay (Southgate, Edmonton). I did buy it about 45% off by using an HBC credit card (they had a promotion of 15-20% off of purchases from the Bay for the first month I set it up), plus buying it during their men's spring fashion sale. TL/DR: don't cheap out, but if you need to look for big sales not small regular prices. For popular brands in Canada, I would avoid Boss suits or anything from Moores - the construction is usually garbage (all fused jacket panels etc - even with higher price points). Samuelsohn is probably my favourite brand to look for in Canada - for retail locations usually a Harry Rosen will be your best bet with some local tailors (Blair Shapera in Vancouver, Sam Abouhassan in Edmonton, etc). They're also often on sale. Business suits should always 100% wool for any colour and/or pattern. My favourite suits now, the "Napoli" cut from Suitsupply, comes in a number of super 110 Italian wools. Super 110 is a fantastic work horse fabric in that you can wear it 2-3 times a week and not have the seat melt away. Higher thread counts, in addition to being way more expensive, are definitely too fragile for regular work use. I'd say a heavy super 130 (~280 gram weight) would be the highest I am would go if you can afford it, but those kind of suits are usually in the 4 figure zones.
  4. Wow! Definitely got off topic on this one. But definitely a great and important conversation to be had when discussing studying abroad. Bringing this back a little to discussions about graduate recruitment at UK law firms: You spotted an important point to qualifying as a solicitor of England and Wales. Most big firms (again, the ones that are willing to sponsor those who require visas) fund the GDL if required, the LPC and often provide a maintenance grant to help with some cost of living. Usually around £6-8K a year during both the GDL and LPC if you're living in London, £4-6 if you're at a big firm outside of London. During the two year TC you will have billable hour requirements/targets at most firms, but in reality the vast majority of your time will be written down and not charged out to clients. As a result, it costs a big London firm £200k or more to get a graduate qualified these days. So yes, if you are offered a TC it is with the full intention that you will be kept on afterwards unless you're completely useless, which does happen. The magic circle firms have a rep for only having retention rates around 65-85%, but that's because many do the TC, realize that working for those behemoth firms isn't the life for them, and bail to in-house or smaller/regional firms as a newly qualified. It's also affected by major market shifts, as we all can understand. For example, Brexit really hurt NQs looking to qualify into Corporate M&A or Finance departments, but opened up a whole bunch of seats in dispute resolution and competition! Another issue effecting the NQ retention rates is that there's a massive wage war going on between the London outposts of elite American firms, and the established British brands. For example, Kirkland Ellis and Akin Gump pay their NQs £50k a year more than Herbert Smith Freehills and Macfarlanes, which many consider to be two of the most prestigious non-MC firms to work at in the City.
  5. Thank you for the break down of the numbers. I figured my first post was long enough. To be honest, I am not sure what the hire rates of Canadian JD grads are so I wasn't sure if it would be THAT big of a surprise. The legal sector has been growing more than expected, the last recent figure was 5728 TCs across the UK in 2015-2016. Just over half of those were in London. There were ~430 pupillages available, with 320 spots in London. The next biggest city for pupillages was Manchester, with 24 on offer. This is a major concern faced by both Canadians I've studied with here as well as the vast majority of British kids I know. It's definitely worse for those wishing to become barristers. The last numbers that came out showed that at least 80% of all pupillages at top 50 barrister chambers went to graduates with credentials from Oxford or Cambridge. The vast majority of the London commercial bar has the famous Oxford BCL. It's been estimated that Oxford and Cambridge grads account for maybe 20-25% of all TC offers in London. There were 300+ LLB graduates in total from my year, 2016, and I don't know of a single one that has yet to secure a pupillage (I know a good number who went on to do the £19,000 BPTC in London, and are still searching... most of the wannabe barristers all graduated with incredible marks). I think less than 5% of my class had secured a TC or even an internship before graduating. I'm sure the number is a little better these days for my class, but law grads from my university are known to be paralegals for 2-3 years before bagging a TC offer or wind up in the civil service. Keep in mind that my law school has a pretty decent reputation, and is easily a top 20 UK institution. I know of 7 or 8 kids who bagged TCs from leading firms, including Linklaters, Clifford Chance, and the London office of Latham & Watkins. This should also be considered by Canadians who don't have dual citizenship. It's mainly the top 50 firms that are willing to sponsor people for visas, but obviously not all will. University choice and grades are both incredibly important, and that goes for both Canadian degrees and UK degrees. A McGill or Toronto grad with a LLB from a leading UK university (especially Oxbridge, although they call it a BA Jurisprudence at Oxford and a BA Law from Cambridge) will be very popular. It should be noted that you get to skip a LOT of hoops if you're already a qualified Canadian lawyer. I haven't looked at it in a while, but I believe if you're qualified in a common law jurisdiction for 2 years or more you can do the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme, which is just exams, and apply for an associate role at any firm as a qualified solicitor (again, assuming sponsorship for visa if required). I've heard of a few Canadians doing this at Slaughter and May, Clifford Chance, and Herbert Smith Freehills. I think they still paid a few of them in relation to their actual number of years of lawyer experience vs just classing/paying them as newly qualified.
  6. Hello students and professionals! Long time reader, first time registered member and poster. As the title suggests I am a Canadian currently residing in the UK, with a view to qualify as solicitor/solicitor advocate and permanently stay here! I am happy to answer any specific questions, but thought I would give a little insight to those considering alternatives to studying/practicing in Canada. First off, a little about me. I am in my (very) late 20s, and hold a BA in social sciences from a big Canadian university, and completed a two year "senior status" LLB from a UK university. I worked for a little bit as a paralegal after graduating, and now back in education doing the dreaded "LPC". This is the ungodly expensive, practical training course that solicitors must do; you learn how to file claims at court, how to execute wills, legal drafting, and all the technical "lawyer" stuff. The British LLB is a true undergraduate degree so it focuses on the theoretical side of the law, hence the requirement for such a course. People interested in becoming a barrister to the BPTC, which is even more ungodly expensive. I am in the final stages of training contract interviews at a leading UK law firm headquartered outside of London. For those who don't know, training contracts (TCs) are two-year articles. Through my own work experience, law firm insight evenings, and friends and colleagues here in the UK, I have connections and experiences with a good number of major law firms. First thing Canadians are normally surprised to hear about with regards to law life in the UK: it's HUGE... maybe even worth describing as YUGE. Yes, the UK population is roughly double of Canada, but the law of England and Wales is easily this nation's best export. There's usually around 5000+ TCs on offer a year, and a further 400-500 pupillages (the one year articles for wannabe barristers). The Magic Circle firms are massive: Linklaters' London office has around 1100 lawyers. For the longest time Clifford Chance occupied an entire 1,000,000 sqft office, which was a full 33-floor tower. They sublet a few floors out to a German bank these days for extra revenue. Some of their offices contain gyms, health clinics, restaurants, and Clifford Chance has a full size pool. Allen & Overy has a basketball court, multiple restaurants, and essentially a night club in its office. I'm interviewing with a "regional" firm that houses over 400 lawyers in one office, and their partners all take home around the half million mark (in GBP...do the conversion to CAD). If you qualify at any of the top 100 firms in the UK, you're in great standing for a profitable career. The next surprise that Canadians hear about is that you don't need a real law degree to become a lawyer! For example, my LLB from a UK top 20 law school is often undermined by a BA in fine arts from Cambridge/Oxford at the magic circle/leading international firms. BA in fine arts will just do the 1 year law conversion course, the GDL, then undertake the LPC. This a specific example, but it none the less means you'll be competing with LLB graduates from 85 qualifying law degree providers, plus every other university graduate interested in becoming a lawyer. In fact, many young kids with legal dreams are choosing to do a non-law degree like History at a good university, as it is much much easier to get higher grades. They then use their higher grades from a good university to get interviews. I chose to do the LLB instead of the GDL as it helps to have a UK institution behind your name, and the 2 year LLB provides me with the option to go back to Canada should everything go completely tits up here. Some admissions: 1) I have really struggled to get my foot in the door in this country. The application process at most firms is long, taxing, and insanely over subscribed. For example, Clifford Chance receives nearly 1000 applications a year just for the 60 spots on their two-week internships. They offer ~80 TCs a year and have well over 2000 applications for those. I got good marks on my LLB by UK average standards, but dead-average marks for most (realistic) training contract applicant standards. I've submitted damn near 100 applications (these 13+ page online forms and assessments they all make you do) over the last 4 years and I am FINALLY getting to final interview stages with a realistic chance of getting an offer. Other Canadians who were on the same programme as me and got higher marks also found interviewing tough, but have been more successful than me and secured places at great firms. 2) I am originally from the Vancouver area and I cannot believe how expensive this country is (not just in London). If your funds are from Canada, prepare to dig DEEP. I have definitely been surviving off an ever increasing loan. Groceries are extortionate, with the exception of dairy products. Utilities can be pricey, but phone bills are way better than Canada. If you wish to live comfortably, the prices raise exponentially. 3) Staying in this country is easier for me as I have dual citizenship. For this reason I cannot provide any insights into the visa process. 4) I have lived only in Southern England (and now, right in London). I have no idea what its like in Manchester or Liverpool, other than I cannot understand any of their accents. Through working, family connections, and general travels throughout my life I am familiar with Bristol, Oxford, Reading, London, the good parts of Kent, and a few areas of Birmingham. Do let me know if you have any questions about UK law life!
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