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Iyaiaey

Is there a stigma even for high ranking UK law schools?

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4 hours ago, providence said:

Putting your LSAT on a resume is a no-no. GPAs too. 

You mean for practicing lawyers in Canada?  what about articling students and students try to article?  How do they know you meet their grade criteria with no gpa or lsat?

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7 hours ago, Diplock said:

Without being snide, it really boils down to this. Unless I'm drastically missing something here, you are asking about foreign law schools exactly because you fear you won't gain admission to any Canadian programs. And then you are saying "but what if I go to a program that's hard to get into?" By definition you are asking about programs that are accepting Canadian applicants that aren't getting into any domestic law schools. By definition they have weaker admissions standards. How in the world are you going to find a program that accepts students who don't get in anywhere in Canada, but still has strong admission standards?

I believe the source of this double-think is that students applying to these programs prefer to believe that rather than applying lower standards, these schools are just ... I don't know, fairer, broader-minded, more imaginative ... than law schools in Canada? As in "I didn't get into a school with lower standards - I just got into a school more willing to see the real me!" Well, you can believe that if it makes you feel better. But fundamentally, when you try to tell me that at a job interview, all I hear is "I believe that I know better than the Deans, Faculty, and Admissions Committees at all Canadian law schools what a good law student should look like." And in reply to that attitude I think "I prefer to hire someone who is confident, but not someone who is arrogant to the point of self-delusion."

The choice to attend a foreign law school, if you have exhausted other options, is complex. It's not necessarily a bad decision. But one final time. If you honestly hope that most Canadian employers are going to be bamboozled by the school's name and imagine that you went to LSE for some reason other than a lack of domestic options, it's not likely to happen. And once it's agreed that an employer is going to look at your application and think "couldn't get into any law school in Canada" they aren't likely to follow that thought with "good thing they got into a law school where they do a better job of selecting strong applicants than all us stupid Canadians!"

And yes, for the record. It's harder to get into Windsor law school than it is to get into any of U of T's supposedly "prestigious" undergraduate programs. Any law school in Canada requires at least a moderately strong LSAT and a GPA that reflects a record of achievement for multiple years of undergraduate study. No one in the real world imagines that's easier than collecting strong grades for a couple of years in high school.

I've already gained admissions to 4 Canadian law schools, 3 in Ontario and none of them are Lakehead.  I wouldn't say I'd get into any Canadian law school, U of T and UBC rejected me.  I got into Western but rejected by Queens.  It is not like I couldn't get into a Canadian Law School.  I'd get into the many of the L2/B2 schools.

Your assumption while wrong about me is, generally I agree is not unfair because most of the people considering UK law schools are not considering good ones -they are pointing to low standard schools like leicester that even Brits hold in low regards.  They are as you describe using it as a back door.

 

Wait, a legal employer would really think that going to LSE was taking the easy way, even though it would be much harder?  Most Canadian law grads, even in U of T or UBC would not gain admission to it.  It seems the law market works in a very different way (much more smaller minded for lack of a better word) than many other industries.  Going to a foreign school in the UK that was well ranked would not be a barrier at all in corporate finance when I worked in it.  No one would say Canadian with a Warwick MBA, probably couldn't cut it in Canada.

 

I find it very odd, but I accept your explanation.

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OP - I went to law school in Canada and now work in the US.

I don’t think it’s useful to think about there being a “stigma” about attending good UK law schools. As you point out, magic circle firms and US firms with London offices will hire these graduates. And I’ve seen many of these people make their way to New York offices of large US law firms. I expect some come directly to the US although I can’t recall having interviewed anyone like that myself.

The purpose of law school from an employer’s perspective is to sort talent.  Law firms in Canada are roughly aware of how class rank at a given Canadian law school equates to class rank at another Canadian school. The disadvantage of going to a UK school is that employers in Canada are less experienced at judging the talent pool at UK law schools.  A lot of them won’t be bothered to figure out how you ranking 34/257 at LSE equates to a top 15% student at Western. The only firms that may have any experience with LSE’s talent are going to be large, corporate firms. 

When you’re a Canadian law student coming to New York the only firms you have a real shot at are the large, corporate firms here. Counterintuitively, you’re MORE likely to be hired at Paul Weiss as a top 10% student at McGill than at some firm you’ve never heard of. That’s partly because Paul Weiss has an HR department that can sort out your visa but it’s also because they have interviewed McGill students over the years and come up with a view about its talent. Gym Tan Laundry LLP has not. 

So you’re going to be at some disadvantage versus Canadian graduates because a lot of employers will “opt out” of figuring out what your qualifications mean or, in the absence of any means of valuing them accurately, apply a haircut.  By its nature coming from any path that is less well trodden is generally a disadvantage. 

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6 hours ago, providence said:

And that's why it can be difficult to transfer between provinces, get an articling position in a province where you didn't study, etc, and people are usually encouraged to figure out where they want to work and go to law school there.

Where you choose to go to school when you apparently have options to stay here is not your "origin." Race or nationality are protected grounds. This isn't that. I am not saying they are presumed to be insufficient or incompetent. As was pointed out by others. they just may be missing the edge and extra degree of comfort and familiarity a domestic grad has. To use a more extreme example, you're not incompetent if you weren't the gold medalist (at a Canadian school), you just weren't the gold medalist, and most if not all employers would rather hire the gold medalist over the B student, all other things being equal. Hiring the gold medalist over the B student is "discriminating" against the B student, but grades are not a protected ground so that's ok.

I just finished my NCA's. Honestly, the concepts are so similar between UK and Canada, and reviewing/applying/using legislation is really what you learn in law school. As long as you don't come out of a UK law school with a sense of entitlement and are willing to do some legal aid work for shitty pay while doing your NCA's first, then you'll start making connections. Of course I always encourage to stick to a Canadian school, but my peers and I who are willing to hustle a bit haven't struggled finding an employer to take us on to article.

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Nobody learns anything useful in law school. All law schools are the same from that perspective.   The employer risk is unknown talent pool. 

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4 hours ago, Iyaiaey said:

You mean for practicing lawyers in Canada?  what about articling students and students try to article?  How do they know you meet their grade criteria with no gpa or lsat?

You never, ever share your LSAT score on a resume or bring it up in an interview once admitted to law school. Even mentioning it to people in conversation is generally looked at negatively. It’s not relevant to getting a job, while grades in law school are.

Firms who care about your grades will ask for your transcripts and/or class rank. You can also put on your resume any law school awards or designations ie. Dean’s List/Honours etc. 

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7 minutes ago, providence said:

It’s not relevant to getting a job, while grades in law school are.

 

8 minutes ago, providence said:

You never, ever share your LSAT score on a resume

I agree it's in poor taste but I can't believe you're speaking in such absolutes.

It absolutely is relevant if employers are discounting your law school grades from a decently reputable law school just because it's not Canadian. Otherwise Canadian employers are performing a catch-22 - we will assume you weren't competent enough to go to a Canadian law school and that's why you went abroad, and we won't let you prove otherwise. Good luck out there.

Come on.

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6 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

 

I agree it's in poor taste but I can't believe you're speaking in such absolutes.

It absolutely is relevant if employers are discounting your law school grades from a decently reputable law school just because it's not Canadian. Otherwise Canadian employers are performing a catch-22 - we will assume you weren't competent enough to go to a Canadian law school and that's why you went abroad, and we won't let you prove otherwise. Good luck out there.

Come on.

As stated by others and myself previously, the problem with non-Canadian schools is not primarily, or not just, because employers assume lower entrance stats. It’s also what you learned. It’s also (mostly, I’d say) unfamiliarity and the difficulty of evaluating/ranking/comparing foreign-trained students with Canadian ones.

The risks of putting your LSAT score on your resume outweigh any potential benefits. With all due respect, you’re still a student. I know many lawyers who hire, in very different areas of law and types of firm and yes, I am very confident in saying that none of them would want to see an LSAT score on a resume. Don’t ever do that, anyone reading this. If you want to go abroad but are worried about being  negatively affected by it, you will be, whether or not you put your LSAT score on your resume. Do an exchange in undergrad and/or law school and/or a gap year instead. Study law where you want to practice law. 

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13 minutes ago, providence said:

As stated by others and myself previously, the problem with non-Canadian schools is not primarily, or not just, because employers assume lower entrance stats. It’s also what you learned. It’s also (mostly, I’d say) unfamiliarity and the difficulty of evaluating/ranking/comparing foreign-trained students with Canadian ones.

The risks of putting your LSAT score on your resume outweigh any potential benefits. With all due respect, you’re still a student. I know many lawyers who hire, in very different areas of law and types of firm and yes, I am very confident in saying that none of them would want to see an LSAT score on a resume. Don’t ever do that, anyone reading this. If you want to go abroad but are worried about being  negatively affected by it, you will be, whether or not you put your LSAT score on your resume. Do an exchange in undergrad and/or law school and/or a gap year instead. Study law where you want to practice law. 

I've been very open about me wanting employers' views on this. But that doesn't mean I can't criticize those views.

If putting the LSAT is such a risk, and there is an illegitimate hiring bias against foreign trained lawyers, then perhaps that practice should be challenged. No I'm not talking about a court challenge. But dialogue is important around this issue, especially since the Canadian legal market seems to be more protectionist than others.

The LSAT and undergrad GPA should help with comparing foreign law grads with Canadian ones, assuming some form of class rank is available. Most employers I speak to very much emphasize that law school isn't about the substantive law you learn, but rather about teaching how to learn the law. Assuming a competent university and law faculty, this shouldn't be doubted. The NCA and Bar process should dispel worries about any substantive gaps in knowledge, to the extent they exist. If not, then the process needs to be overhauled since it's evidently not doing its job.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I've been very open about me wanting employers' views on this. But that doesn't mean I can't criticize those views.

If putting the LSAT is such a risk, and there is an illegitimate hiring bias against foreign trained lawyers, then perhaps that practice should be challenged. No I'm not talking about a court challenge. But dialogue is important around this issue, especially since the Canadian legal market seems to be more protectionist than others.

The LSAT and undergrad GPA should help with comparing foreign law grads with Canadian ones, assuming some form of class rank is available. Most employers I speak to very much emphasize that law school isn't about the substantive law you learn, but rather about teaching how to learn the law. Assuming a competent university and law faculty, this shouldn't be doubted. The NCA and Bar process should dispel worries about any substantive gaps in knowledge, to the extent they exist. If not, then the process needs to be overhauled since it's evidently not doing its job.

You can always provide undergrad transcripts if you wish, and some employers will request them. That’s not a problem - it’s putting the LSAT down that is. 

Plus the issue isn’t comparing people before school - it’s doing so during and after school, which is done by law school grades and class rank, not undergrad grades and LSAT.

Edited by providence

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9 minutes ago, providence said:

which is done by law school grades and class rank, not undergrad grades and LSAT.

Ok I've said this before and respectfully, I'm getting tired of it.

That difficulty arises because people don't know what the input is, and rightfully presume the student went abroad because they had to. If they didn't, then that difficulty no longer exists, since class rank should be elucidating in that regard, even between a foreign school and Canadian school.

But anyway, I'll stop beating that dead horse.

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I mean, sure, put your LSAT on your application if you want. It’s weird as heck but you do you. I doubt an employer will have the desired reaction, namely acknowledging that you would have been admitted to a Canadian school but decided to go abroad for other reasons. Instead I think it would double down how unusual a candidate you are. He went to the UK and he puts his LSAT on his job application too. Very strange.

 

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1 minute ago, Ryn said:

I mean, sure, put your LSAT on your application if you want. It’s weird as heck but you do you. I doubt an employer will have the desired reaction, namely acknowledging that you would have been admitted to a Canadian school but decided to go abroad for other reasons. Instead I think it would double down how unusual a candidate you are. He went to the UK and he puts his LSAT on his job application too. Very strange.

 

Sure. And I agree it's weird. But perhaps in these circumstances we should be working towards normalizing it? 

People move abroad to study for all sorts of reasons. It's unfortunate, and I think bad for both applicants and employers to miss out on productive work from qualified candidates because of incorrect assumptions.

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1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Sure. And I agree it's weird. But perhaps in these circumstances we should be working towards normalizing it? 

People move abroad to study for all sorts of reasons. It's unfortunate, and I think bad for both applicants and employers to miss out on productive work from qualified candidates because of incorrect assumptions.

It depends... :twisted:

Seriously, I agree with others that the normal, default, standard position (from what I've read/heard and it makes sense to me, usual caveats I'm not at a law firm or in FT practice etc.) is it's weird to put your LSAT score on your resume, advert to it in any way, etc. So including it is a no-no. But I agree with you there may be exceptions, the most obvious being:

(1) they ask for it; EDIT: see e.g. this 2011 ATL (US) example for a K&L Gates job listing asking for LSAT score: https://abovethelaw.com/2011/02/kl-gates-still-cares-about-your-lsat-score/

(2) one is reliably and credibly informed that in a particular area it's normal to include it (I've heard through secondhand third-party hearsay there might be some US places like this... :rolleyes:) - a more usual example is some places it's usual to include a photo for job applications generally, whereas in Canada and USA it's not; or

(3) one thinks that the upside exceeds the downside risk - e.g. if one is virtually certain that one won't receive an interview at a particular firm because of bias against foreign-educated graduates unless one addresses it. This falls within the general exception to the rule against referencing problems with one's application, if one thinks it's address it or no interview, then one may as well take a shot and address it (be it low marks, foreign education, being a notorious criminal - though Shon Hopwood was a famous jailhouse lawyer so that may have been a plus - whatever). In this case, if someone genuinely thought it a good idea and worthwhile, I'd be more inclined to mention it in a cover letter/email than on the resume (e.g. "Despite my perfect LSAT score of 180, I had a strong desire to study overseas, because English accents are the best, but now wish to return to live and work in Canada, because I also learned that Scottish and Cockney accents are the worst."). My favourite simplified example of choosing to address weakness is someone I knew who had a glowing reference letter from a prof in a course they had a D in, they thought it better to address the poor mark in the field that interested them, despite highlighting the poor mark, they thought benefits outweighed the risk.

Edited by epeeist
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3 hours ago, providence said:

As stated by others and myself previously, the problem with non-Canadian schools is not primarily, or not just, because employers assume lower entrance stats. It’s also what you learned. It’s also (mostly, I’d say) unfamiliarity and the difficulty of evaluating/ranking/comparing foreign-trained students with Canadian ones.

The risks of putting your LSAT score on your resume outweigh any potential benefits. With all due respect, you’re still a student. I know many lawyers who hire, in very different areas of law and types of firm and yes, I am very confident in saying that none of them would want to see an LSAT score on a resume. Don’t ever do that, anyone reading this. If you want to go abroad but are worried about being  negatively affected by it, you will be, whether or not you put your LSAT score on your resume. Do an exchange in undergrad and/or law school and/or a gap year instead. Study law where you want to practice law. 

I think the bolded sentence is what it comes down to for a lot of us.  I've never been in a position to hire a student and my organization would probably never hire a student, but I think it's the unfamiliarity that makes it difficult. 

I think it's safe to say that most of us have heard of Oxford and Cambridge, but I also think it's fair to say that a lot (maybe even most) lawyers don't know the first thing about the other schools.  I have no idea if these schools are any good.  While I may view your undergrad transcript and see a decent GPA, it still doesn't tell me anything about your law school or what you learned. 

I think it's the unfamiliarity that makes it so easy to just trash those resumes like so many firms do.  I know what a B average means from a Canadian law school.  I don't have a clue what those UK grades actually correlate to and I don't know that I would be motivated enough to do the research on the school and their grading to educate myself when there's tons of resumes from Canadian grads in front of me. 

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1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Sure. And I agree it's weird. But perhaps in these circumstances we should be working towards normalizing it? 

People move abroad to study for all sorts of reasons. It's unfortunate, and I think bad for both applicants and employers to miss out on productive work from qualified candidates because of incorrect assumptions.

Normalize it for whom? For the rare person who had a high LSAT and good grades but chose to go abroad but not to Oxford, Cambridge or an Ivy? How many of those are there really? Most people who went abroad not to the previously mentioned schools won’t have good stats and won’t want to share them, and people who went to school in Canada don’t need to be agonizing about what employers think of their LSAT 3 years later. There are very few people this would benefit. 

I also have the feeling LSAC has some kind of rule that you can only use LSAT scores for applying to law schools and not for any other purpose, but it’s been a while. 

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I am going to say that while the law societies have taken steps to screen foreign lawyers who want to practise in Canada by creating the NCA exams, these exams are not “equivalent” to three years in a Canadian law school. So students going and learning the law of some other country for three years and then writing a handful of exams at the end of it should not delude themselves that they are competitive in terms of being educated on Canadian law (a major consideration for any employer).

In my view, the NCA should be about foreign lawyers - people who bring actual experience-based skill sets as practising counsel - coming to Canada for whatever reason: family, work opportunity, etc.

That the NCA is now routinely used as a sort of workaround from subpar students who want to backdoor into the Canadian market because they didn’t have the dedication or brains to get the grades/LSAT to get into a Canadian law school is a bad thing. It is not a coincidence that the weakest (and periodically ridiculous) applications I have received from students are predominantly sent in by foreign law school students. 

Two things:

1. YES there are exceptions. They are exceptional.

2. Access categories at Canadian law schools are an excellent net to catch people who would normally have made the cut but for whatever excellent reason.

 

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I have the perfect solution to put this whole LSAT on the resume issue to bed. 

Instead of putting it on your resume have it tattooed somewhere conspicuous on your body. When the potential employer asks "What does that 180 on your hand mean?" You can then casually slip it into the conversation. "Oh that was my LSAT score. I could have gone to U of T had I wanted" 

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17 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

I am going to say that while the law societies have taken steps to screen foreign lawyers who want to practise in Canada by creating the NCA exams, these exams are not “equivalent” to three years in a Canadian law school. So students going and learning the law of some other country for three years and then writing a handful of exams at the end of it should not delude themselves that they are competitive in terms of being educated on Canadian law (a major consideration for any employer).

In my view, the NCA should be about foreign lawyers - people who bring actual experience-based skill sets as practising counsel - coming to Canada for whatever reason: family, work opportunity, etc.

That the NCA is now routinely used as a sort of workaround from subpar students who want to backdoor into the Canadian market because they didn’t have the dedication or brains to get the grades/LSAT to get into a Canadian law school is a bad thing. It is not a coincidence that the weakest (and periodically ridiculous) applications I have received from students are predominantly sent in by foreign law school students. 

Two things:

1. YES there are exceptions. They are exceptional.

2. Access categories at Canadian law schools are an excellent net to catch people who would normally have made the cut but for whatever excellent reason.

 

I guess it depends where your foreign degree is from too. I just completed the NCA's and went to school in the UK, none of the subjects were really that dissimilar. 

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4 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

 

I agree it's in poor taste but I can't believe you're speaking in such absolutes.

It absolutely is relevant if employers are discounting your law school grades from a decently reputable law school just because it's not Canadian. Otherwise Canadian employers are performing a catch-22 - we will assume you weren't competent enough to go to a Canadian law school and that's why you went abroad, and we won't let you prove otherwise. Good luck out there.

Come on.

 

3 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Ok I've said this before and respectfully, I'm getting tired of it.

That difficulty arises because people don't know what the input is, and rightfully presume the student went abroad because they had to. If they didn't, then that difficulty no longer exists, since class rank should be elucidating in that regard, even between a foreign school and Canadian school.

But anyway, I'll stop beating that dead horse.

 

1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Sure. And I agree it's weird. But perhaps in these circumstances we should be working towards normalizing it? 

People move abroad to study for all sorts of reasons. It's unfortunate, and I think bad for both applicants and employers to miss out on productive work from qualified candidates because of incorrect assumptions.

I disagree with your perspective here. If someone studies law abroad with the intention of working in Canada after, then in most cases, either (a) they didn't have the grades to get into a Canadian law school, or (b) they could have gone to a Canadian law school, but made the choice to go somewhere that is widely known to create hurdles. They accepted the risk, and arguably made a questionable decision. Both circumstances give rise to, I think, a reasonable basis for skepticism. 

If there are truly unique considerations at play - there wasn't initially an intention to move to Canada and circumstances changed, or something required a move to another country for three years but not longer than that for some reason - those can be expressed in a cover letter, and I think would be taken seriously by an employer. Certainly, my firm has interviewed, and made offers to, articling candidates who went to law school abroad, who had unique considerations. But that's not the case for the majority.

I'm also not convinced by your comment about how bad it is "to miss out on productive work from qualified candidates because of incorrect assumptions". Sure, maybe you're passing on a candidate who would have done a good job - but there are plenty of Canadian student options who are equally, if not more, likely to do a good job, without the employer hassle of figuring out how to read/assess foreign credentials.

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