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WilliamFaulkner

American (Dual Citizen) Prospective Applicant

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Hey y'all --

3.9x, 169 LSAT applicant thinking about making a life up north because... America. 

A few quick questions that are probably googleable, but forgive me:

1) Are there portable degrees in Canada? In America, graduates from the Top 14 law schools are sought by employers nationally. Is that so in Canada, and if so which schools qualify?

 

2) Explain articling to me like I am 5.

 

3) What do gunners go after in Canada? Big law, clerkships, same as America?

 


Go Oilers!

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Hello! 

1. I'm a total noob but as far as I understand it, law in Canada is very regional - essentially you go where you want to practice. If you want to work in Vancouver, go to UBC. If you want to work in Toronto, go to a good school in Ontario. If you want to go do global NGO type things, go to McGill (and be sure to brush up on your French!). 

University of Toronto is quite prestigious in Canada and has an especially "portable", as you put it, degree - if you have no idea where in Canada you want to work then U of T is the best place for you to get anywhere that you want. Also, if you ever feel homesick, NYC firms OCI at U of T and approximately the top 10% of U of T students go do their articling (and work for some years) in the US. Also all Ontario JDs allow you to write the New York, California and Massachusetts bar exams straightaway. 

2. Articling is a period of time after you graduate law school where you essentially act as an apprentice (see: padawan) in a law firm for 10 months, where you're essentially trained by veteran lawyers how to apply all that you've learned in law school to actual work. Here is a good explanation of it: https://www.lsuc.on.ca/articling/

3. I don't see so many people talking about clerkships here as I do in the US, but people certainly go after them, especially Supreme Court clerkships (which McGill has a monopoly on). Gunners go for biglaw, usually in Toronto. Biglaw in Toronto is referred to by the street on which most of the top law/finance firms are situated on, Bay St. 

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12 minutes ago, Prospero said:

Hello! 

1. I'm a total noob but as far as I understand it, law in Canada is very regional - essentially you go where you want to practice. If you want to work in Vancouver, go to UBC. If you want to work in Toronto, go to a good school in Ontario. If you want to go do global NGO type things, go to McGill (and be sure to brush up on your French!). 

University of Toronto is quite prestigious in Canada and has an especially "portable", as you put it, degree - if you have no idea where in Canada you want to work then U of T is the best place for you to get anywhere that you want. Also, if you ever feel homesick, NYC firms OCI at U of T and approximately the top 10% of U of T students go do their articling (and work for some years) in the US. Also all Ontario JDs allow you to write the New York, California and Massachusetts bar exams straightaway. 

2. Articling is a period of time after you graduate law school where you essentially act as an apprentice (see: padawan) in a law firm for 10 months, where you're essentially trained by veteran lawyers how to apply all that you've learned in law school to actual work. Here is a good explanation of it: https://www.lsuc.on.ca/articling/

3. I don't see so many people talking about clerkships here as I do in the US, but people certainly go after them, especially Supreme Court clerkships (which McGill has a monopoly on). Gunners go for biglaw, usually in Toronto. Biglaw in Toronto is referred to by the street on which most of the top law/finance firms are situated on, Bay St. 

No articling in the US. They go there as junior associates.

Not true, though McGill does place a lot of clerks.

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8 minutes ago, providence said:

No articling in the US. They go there as junior associates.

 

In Toronto's guidebook for 2018 it says 11% of their graduates complete their articling in New York City. 

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2 minutes ago, Prospero said:

In Toronto's guidebook for 2018 it says 11% of their graduates complete their articling in New York City. 

I don't know why it says that, but you don't article in the US. I'm from the US. You write the bar and you start practicing.

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9 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I also don't know where they're getting 11% from. From 2012 to 2016 they averaged 4.9%. 

Where did you get that number? 

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9 hours ago, Prospero said:

Hmm...well there was a 3.7% jump between 2015 and 2016. Maybe the class of 2017 (not posted) had a similar jump and 11% went to NYC. Good find though. 

If that's the case, it's terrible planning to use a huge outlier as your basis for making a $100,000+ investment. 

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56 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

If that's the case, it's terrible planning to use a huge outlier as your basis for making a $100,000+ investment. 

I am by no means gunning for NYC Big Law alone. I have a T14 acceptance from the only school that has gotten back to me yet, so if I am inspired to chase US Big Law I think I have a pathway to do so.

 

I mentioned big law/clerkships to see what the sought after positions are in Canada. Are there any schools akin to the T14 that send near all of their graduates to sought after positions? And what are those positions?

 

Thanks for all the responses.

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Sorry I do not mean to change the subject, but I guess the answer to this information may be of use to OP as well, but

Let's say you go to an Ontario school and end up working at a NYC firm after grad. As many people do, they come back after X years. I know they have to write the bar in Ontario, but do they just skip over the articling? 

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1 hour ago, WilliamFaulkner said:

I am by no means gunning for NYC Big Law alone. I have a T14 acceptance from the only school that has gotten back to me yet, so if I am inspired to chase US Big Law I think I have a pathway to do so.

 

I mentioned big law/clerkships to see what the sought after positions are in Canada. Are there any schools akin to the T14 that send near all of their graduates to sought after positions? And what are those positions?

 

Thanks for all the responses.

What do you mean by sought after? There is no law school in Canada where nearly all of the students WANT to do biglaw or clerk. Every student bodyas a variety of interests and what is sought after by one person may not be by another. 

If you’re asking which school is the most prestigious in Canada, do a search - it’s been discussed to death on here. 

If you want to work in biglaw in NYC, go to a T14 school to maximize your chances. 

Most Canadian grads aren’t interested in biglaw in the US. If you go to school here and pursue that, you need top grades, probably ideally from U of T or McGill. Also there are definitely schools where a higher percentage of students go to Bay - U of T being in the lead. You’d definitely want to be in Ontario or McGill to maximize your chances. 

 

 

Edited by providence
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13 hours ago, WilliamFaulkner said:

Hey y'all --

3.9x, 169 LSAT applicant thinking about making a life up north because... America. 

Are you a Canadian citizen, eligible to work in Canada?  Once upon a time, this probably wouldn't have been much of an issue - an American citizen with a law degree should be able to get a NAFTA visa to work as a lawyer pretty readily.  But with President Ass-Clown threatening to rip up NAFTA....  I mean, no doubt you can go through the standard process of getting a work permit (I do think foreign students who study in Canada can get a temporary permit for up to 3 years after they graduate) or become a permanent resident, but it is a process that you'll need to think about (and, depending on where you end up, potential employers might not be inclined to help you with that process).  

1 hour ago, BayStreetOrBust said:

Sorry I do not mean to change the subject, but I guess the answer to this information may be of use to OP as well, but

Let's say you go to an Ontario school and end up working at a NYC firm after grad. As many people do, they come back after X years. I know they have to write the bar in Ontario, but do they just skip over the articling? 

AT least in Ontario, the LSUC will abridge articling for foreign lawyers who have some minimum threshold of experience in other common law jurisdictions (I think now it's 10 months) - so you still have to write the bar (and the NCA) but don't have to article.  BUT, the LSUC was making noise about limiting how much they would abridge based on foreign credit (I don't think it went anywhere but haven't really been following it, so people will want to check that themselves) - in any event, whatever their practice now, its always a risk that they'll change their policies by the time you want to return (the LSUC changes their policies on licensing as often as some people change their underwear).  

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OP, now is a good time to take a minute and think about what you want to do with your life.

Do you want to argue in court a lot, or do you want primarily an office job?

Do you want to deal with corporate clients and issues, or are you interested in criminal law or family law or immigration law? Is real estate your thing? Is there any area of interest (or definitely not of interest) at this point in time?

Do you see yourself working in house with a company managing an array of issues affecting a single client?

Do you see yourself opening up a small shop in your hometown?

There is a certain logic in wondering what “gunners” go after. The idea being that if most of the keen and knowledgeable students are aiming for X it’s objectively a worthy goal. But you don’t live objectively. Your life is a subjective experience. So aside from a vague comfort that your big law goal is objectively acceptable to your peers, it’s not really helpful to you as an individual to make your life decisions. 

I am sure you have put more thought into this than your posts here lay out - obviously you have. Not trying to assume otherwise. But if you are looking for useful feedback, personalizing your plans a little bit more will improve the answers you get here. 

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I'm with Hegdis, and debated replying for a while. So I'm going to lead with the meanest thing that occurred to me, and then ratchet back from there. For someone who claims to want to get away from America because America, the questions you've asked and the assumptions contained within them are just so damn American. And that's what I'm struggling with.

Exactly because not everyone wants the same thing etc., asking which school is best at getting to that mythical panacea is a nonsense question. But to cut down your question to its essential element, the school that will impress most people most immediately is U of T. So that's as close as you'll get to a universal best. After that, folks differ, but McGill, Osgoode, and UBC are usually in the next few schools referenced.

The problem you'll face, in addition to apparently not knowing what you want, is that Canadian society - not just law school, but society at large - is just less stratified than American society. As I often tell students who get all hot for American legal culture, if you really want to go where the winners win big and the losers lose hard (note - the one goes hand-in-hand with the other) then go to America. Canada has our own issues with wealth distribution, etc., no question. And compared to some nations it's probably pretty bad here. But compared to America, I think you're in for some culture shock.

I agree, you should go back to basics. Figure out what you want, and ask how you can get it (and if you can get it) in Canada. Asking how you can be sure to get to the top of the heap and to get whatever it is that everyone wants most, before you even know what that is ... yeah dude. That's the most American thing anyone could possibly have said.

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