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Best school in Canada for criminal law?

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I'm not primarily choosing what law school off which is the strongest in criminal law (or at least seen as the strongest), but it would help make a decision. I heard it's between Osgoode and Queen's. I read that from old research online, couldn't find anything respectable made recently that made me think one way or another. I was thinking of practicing law mostly in the western region in Alberta, but I could go all over Canada I guess.

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If you are planning on practicing in Alberta you should go to law school in Alberta. You will get a perfectly fine criminal law education at U of C or U of A.

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Yeah. Speaking as a criminal defence lawyer, I'll add that there's so little to choose from between schools that I wouldn't factor this in even as one among various criteria. Wherever you end up, there will be a student clinic of some kind (volunteer there) and upper year courses in evidence, Charter issues, etc. (take them). You'll have as good an experience as you can practically get in terms of building a foundation in criminal law.

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Yeah. Speaking as a criminal defence lawyer, I'll add that there's so little to choose from between schools that I wouldn't factor this in even as one among various criteria. Wherever you end up, there will be a student clinic of some kind (volunteer there) and upper year courses in evidence, Charter issues, etc. (take them). You'll have as good an experience as you can practically get in terms of building a foundation in criminal law.

So I should just go to the U of A?

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So I should just go to the U of A?

 

I don't really know enough about your circumstances to say that definitively. But I'd say go to whatever school makes sense absent the question of criminal law. If you want to practice (at least probably) in Alberta, I'd go to a school in Alberta.

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In terms of networking, given how few criminal law enployers advertise for articling, it's a good idea to go to school where you plan to work. Gives you that much more opportunity to meet local practitioners over those three years and make connections that may lead to employment.

 

This is not the only consideration. But it should be considered.

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Considering how little advantage one school would give you over another in criminal law I would strongly consider tuition in my decision. For example, you can get an excellent legal education at UBC for the cost of one year of U of T tuition. I believe both the Alberta schools are relatively inexpensive (by comparison) as well.

 

Of course lots of people change their minds about what they want to do during law school, so you might want to think about that possibility as well because your choice of law school may help you land the type of job you want in other areas of law, or other legal markets.

 

And if your parents are paying and the tuition issue is moot then pick a school you like and go there!

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In terms of networking, given how few criminal law enployers advertise for articling, it's a good idea to go to school where you plan to work. Gives you that much more opportunity to meet local practitioners over those three years and make connections that may lead to employment.

 

This is not the only consideration. But it should be considered.

I'm not sure I know where I want to work. I could stay in Alberta because my family is here, but not all of my friends are staying so I'm not really stuck in one part of the country. All I know is that I want to be a criminal lawyer, both as a defense attorney and as a prosecutor.

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I'm not sure I know where I want to work. I could stay in Alberta because my family is here, but not all of my friends are staying so I'm not really stuck in one part of the country. All I know is that I want to be a criminal lawyer, both as a defense attorney and as a prosecutor.

 

I'm a current U of C student. If you're interested in criminal law, U of C or U of A are unique in the country. Alberta has a unique set up, in the legal professions act or some other provincial piece of legislation, that allows law students to appear as agent in provincial court. You don't just get clinical work, you get in-court experience and pretty much as much as you want through Student Legal Assistance at U of C or its equivalent at U of A. For instance I was just in court earlier this month co-chairing an impaired driving trial. Some students are in court almost weekly. 

 

Other schools might be able to offer better profs or more courses, I don't know. I like my profs and had plenty of courses to choose from in criminal/constitutional/human rights law areas. The Alberta schools offer the best practical exposure to criminal law. And its good networking because the criminal bar lives at the courthouse and you can't help but meet people if you're there doing SLA work. I highly recommend U of C if you're interested in criminal law. 

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I'm a current U of C student. If you're interested in criminal law, U of C or U of A are unique in the country. Alberta has a unique set up, in the legal professions act or some other provincial piece of legislation, that allows law students to appear as agent in provincial court. You don't just get clinical work, you get in-court experience and pretty much as much as you want through Student Legal Assistance at U of C or its equivalent at U of A. For instance I was just in court earlier this month co-chairing an impaired driving trial. Some students are in court almost weekly. 

 

Other schools might be able to offer better profs or more courses, I don't know. I like my profs and had plenty of courses to choose from in criminal/constitutional/human rights law areas. The Alberta schools offer the best practical exposure to criminal law. And its good networking because the criminal bar lives at the courthouse and you can't help but meet people if you're there doing SLA work. I highly recommend U of C if you're interested in criminal law. 

 

Well, for provincial offences maybe...though Osgoode does have the Fair Chance Project. But certainly other schools, including UoT, have (partially) legal aid funded student clinics that allow students to have carriage over criminal files and run full trials/appear in court on behalf of clients. 

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UVIC has the law centre, which replaces a full semester of classes with clinical work (I understand students usually get to run full [minor?] cases on their own). It is also nice if you are at all concerned with clinical work conflicting with studying since you get to dedicate a whole semester to just it.

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I'm a current U of C student. If you're interested in criminal law, U of C or U of A are unique in the country. Alberta has a unique set up, in the legal professions act or some other provincial piece of legislation, that allows law students to appear as agent in provincial court. You don't just get clinical work, you get in-court experience and pretty much as much as you want through Student Legal Assistance at U of C or its equivalent at U of A. For instance I was just in court earlier this month co-chairing an impaired driving trial. Some students are in court almost weekly. 

 

Other schools might be able to offer better profs or more courses, I don't know. I like my profs and had plenty of courses to choose from in criminal/constitutional/human rights law areas. The Alberta schools offer the best practical exposure to criminal law. And its good networking because the criminal bar lives at the courthouse and you can't help but meet people if you're there doing SLA work. I highly recommend U of C if you're interested in criminal law. 

That seems very interesting. Getting first-hand experience would be such an advantage. I think I'm going to go the U of A if I can.

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Well, for provincial offences maybe...though Osgoode does have the Fair Chance Project. But certainly other schools, including UoT, have (partially) legal aid funded student clinics that allow students to have carriage over criminal files and run full trials/appear in court on behalf of clients. 

 

 

I'm talking about Criminal Code offences. We regularly do drug offences, impaired driving, anything under the criminal code where the Crown proceeds summarily and is not seeking jail time. 

Edited by BortSimpson

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I'm talking about Criminal Code offences. We regularly do drug offences, impaired driving, anything under the criminal code where the Crown proceeds summarily and is not seeking jail time. 

 

OK, then I don't know where you get the idea that UoC/UoA are distinct in that regard. Those are the same eligibility criteria used by the student clinic at the University of Toronto, for instance. http://downtownlegalservices.ca/our-services/criminal-division/

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