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Keith123

Headed to the U.K. in the fall

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Hi all,

I'm a Canadian headed to the U.K. this fall to complete a 2 year LLB and wanted to get some of your opinions and insights into this route.

I've read quite a few forums on here talking about the difficulty in returning to Canada after completing your law degree abroad, so I'm weighing my options.

I'm currently debating two routes. The first, applying to an LLM course in Canada after my LLB in the U.K., forgoing the NCA's or staying and taking the LPC in London. I have dual citizenship and given the difficulties in securing an articling position being foreign educated, I'm wondering what my best route is.

My questions are:

  • Is it any easier to secure an articling position in Canada if I obtain an LLM from a Canadian University? I'll have a year to network, obtain a law degree from a Canadian university, etc.
  • How do U.K law firms view Canadians who decide to to stay and practice law in the U.K. following their degree? Is there a similar stigma, do they not care at all?
  • In your opinion, given I have dual citizenship, should I stay in the UK or try my luck in Canada after an LLM?

 

 

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Posted (edited)

You'll find answers to those questions on this forum; lots of ppl have asked similar questions already. The consensus, I think, is that going to the UK for law school and coming back is a more difficult, less certain, and more expensive route than just attending a Canadian law school, no matter how you slice it. Some people have done it successfully though.

Edited by conge

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13 hours ago, Keith123 said:

Hi all,

I'm a Canadian headed to the U.K. this fall to complete a 2 year LLB and wanted to get some of your opinions and insights into this route.

I've read quite a few forums on here talking about the difficulty in returning to Canada after completing your law degree abroad, so I'm weighing my options.

I'm currently debating two routes. The first, applying to an LLM course in Canada after my LLB in the U.K., forgoing the NCA's or staying and taking the LPC in London. I have dual citizenship and given the difficulties in securing an articling position being foreign educated, I'm wondering what my best route is.

My questions are:

  • Is it any easier to secure an articling position in Canada if I obtain an LLM from a Canadian University? I'll have a year to network, obtain a law degree from a Canadian university, etc.
  • How do U.K law firms view Canadians who decide to to stay and practice law in the U.K. following their degree? Is there a similar stigma, do they not care at all?
  • In your opinion, given I have dual citizenship, should I stay in the UK or try my luck in Canada after an LLM?

 

 

I've made some posts about my experience on some other threads.

1) I went to Osgoode following my 2 years at UBham. I can confidently say that having an LLM helped me to land my articling position at my top choice firm. I did not have any law firm/ lawyer connections & simply networked. If you have connections or a job lined up, I know a lot of current lawyers who quickly pumped out the NCAs and started their positions. However, I also know people who wrote the NCA exams instead of obtaining an LLM, with no connections and were still able to find positions. Networking is everything. You have to sell why you are the best candidate over those who studied law in Canada. Keep in mind your networking should start before you finish law school (very possible to do so by applying to summer/articling positions from the UK and following your provincial law society's application deadlines for formal rounds).

2) I have friends who are Canadian that stayed in the UK. The process over there is also quite difficult. You can have amazing extra curricular activities and grades and not even get an interview. It's all about networking events and your application cover letter. I don't think there is as much of a stigma behind Canadian and applying to a UK firm. The UK is very open to people from anywhere-- there is a ton of international students that come to study law in the UK. But obviously, like in Canada, UK firms like hiring students who studied three years in the UK versus someone who only studied two and didn't have to take all the required courses that the 3 year students had to.

3) Whether you want to stay in the UK or come back to Canada is up to you. You have to work just as hard to obtain a position there as you would coming back to Canada. You're not a "lawyer" right out of law school in the UK. You must do 1 year in a program post-law school which specializes in the type of lawyer you want to be (solicitor or barrister). You must then complete 2 years training before becoming a solicitor or barrister. Keep in mind those 3 years only make you a solicitor OR a barrister-- not both. If you want to be both (which many people in the UK don't do), you have to go through the process for the specialty you did not originally complete (another 3 years-- not sure if there are any exceptions to this). If you are interested in law that combines work as a solicitor and barrister-- then you may want to stay in Canada. I completed my law school in 2018 and graduated from Osgoode with a LLM last month. I commence articling next month and I am on track to getting called to the bar in June 2020. As I have previously mentioned, I did not have any connections and did the work on my own to obtain a position at my top choice law firm. It wasn't a walk in the park, but it also wasn't impossible. No matter where you choose, you'll have to work hard and go above and beyond to stand out to law firms. 

Feel free to message me and I can go into more detail.

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13 hours ago, conge said:

You'll find answers to those questions on this forum; lots of ppl have asked similar questions already. The consensus, I think, is that going to the UK for law school and coming back is a more difficult, less certain, and more expensive route than just attending a Canadian law school, no matter how you slice it. Some people have done it successfully though.

I agree that going to the UK and coming back for most people is more difficult and less certain. However, I did not find the UK route to be more expensive. 

Here's some examples of tuition for law schools in Ontario:

  • UofT is approximately $34,561 a year
  • Osgoode is approximately $28,649
  • Western Law is approximately $23,850
  • Lakehead Law is approximately $18,733
  • Windsor Law is approximately $16,851

I attended law school at UBham (second largest city in the UK--for rent purposes). With the conversion from CAD to pounds (2016-2018) I spent approximately $21,000- $24,000 CAD per year on tuition. Just like the numbers listed above for Ontario law schools, this does not include rent or additional costs-- however after speaking with friends who completed law school in Canada (from the above law schools), our debt amounts are about the same (when calculating my two years abroad plus the one year at Osgoode ($26,000) for my LLM). Of course if you write the NCA exams instead of completing an LLM, you will not be spending as much as a student who took the same route as me or a Canadian law student, especially those who studied at the more expensive schools. 

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12 hours ago, Jacq said:

I agree that going to the UK and coming back for most people is more difficult and less certain. However, I did not find the UK route to be more expensive. 

Here's some examples of tuition for law schools in Ontario:

  • UofT is approximately $34,561 a year
  • Osgoode is approximately $28,649
  • Western Law is approximately $23,850
  • Lakehead Law is approximately $18,733
  • Windsor Law is approximately $16,851

I attended law school at UBham (second largest city in the UK--for rent purposes). With the conversion from CAD to pounds (2016-2018) I spent approximately $21,000- $24,000 CAD per year on tuition. Just like the numbers listed above for Ontario law schools, this does not include rent or additional costs-- however after speaking with friends who completed law school in Canada (from the above law schools), our debt amounts are about the same (when calculating my two years abroad plus the one year at Osgoode ($26,000) for my LLM). Of course if you write the NCA exams instead of completing an LLM, you will not be spending as much as a student who took the same route as me or a Canadian law student, especially those who studied at the more expensive schools. 

Wow. I did not realize that Canadian law schools have gotten so expensive. I graduated just 7 years years ago, but my entire student loan debt was about the price of two years of tuition (just tuition) at UofT...

Tuition  is getting out of control. Especially when you consider starting salaries of lawyers pretty much everywhere except large firms in large cities. 

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26 minutes ago, conge said:

Wow. I did not realize that Canadian law schools have gotten so expensive. I graduated just 7 years years ago, but my entire student loan debt was about the price of two years of tuition (just tuition) at UofT...

Tuition  is getting out of control. Especially when you consider starting salaries of lawyers pretty much everywhere except large firms in large cities. 

I completely agree-- tuition prices are getting out of hand.

After 3 years of law (2 years abroad and 1 year at Osgoode), including tuition, additional costs for things such as outings, groceries, clothing, etc., and all the costs that come with travelling (I traveled to 15+ countries while I was there), I have under $130k on my student line of credit. 

I have friends who just completed their third year at UofT and with the cost of tuition, rent, and other additional costs, they are sitting at around $170k in debt. 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/3/2019 at 12:54 AM, Jacq said:

I agree that going to the UK and coming back for most people is more difficult and less certain. However, I did not find the UK route to be more expensive. 

Here's some examples of tuition for law schools in Ontario:

  • UofT is approximately $34,561 a year
  • Osgoode is approximately $28,649
  • Western Law is approximately $23,850
  • Lakehead Law is approximately $18,733
  • Windsor Law is approximately $16,851

I attended law school at UBham (second largest city in the UK--for rent purposes). With the conversion from CAD to pounds (2016-2018) I spent approximately $21,000- $24,000 CAD per year on tuition. Just like the numbers listed above for Ontario law schools, this does not include rent or additional costs-- however after speaking with friends who completed law school in Canada (from the above law schools), our debt amounts are about the same (when calculating my two years abroad plus the one year at Osgoode ($26,000) for my LLM). Of course if you write the NCA exams instead of completing an LLM, you will not be spending as much as a student who took the same route as me or a Canadian law student, especially those who studied at the more expensive schools. 

I went to OZ for L2 and L3 and I received $21K bursaries.

My net tuition was lower than Ottawa.....

Do UK law schools offer bursaries to foreign students? 

Edited by Luckycharm

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

I went to OZ for L2 and L3 and I received $21K bursaries.

My net tuition was lower than Ottawa.....

Do UK law schools offer bursaries to foreign students? 

I dont think so, i considered this route as well as i too am a dual citizen. All the schools i talked to said they would still consider me a foreign student as i have not lived there the last 3 years. Some schools did offer Canadian specific bursaries though.

Edited by AJD19

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, conge said:

Wow. I did not realize that Canadian law schools have gotten so expensive. I graduated just 7 years years ago, but my entire student loan debt was about the price of two years of tuition (just tuition) at UofT...

Tuition  is getting out of control. Especially when you consider starting salaries of lawyers pretty much everywhere except large firms in large cities. 

Yeah, thinking about this now... tuition goes up by like 2-5% each year? And starting salaries of lawyers do not, even in large cities. OSAP has only decreased since I've started receiving it... and same with financial aid (the school I go to decided to issue out loans first before bursaries this year). It's ridiculous but that is the way the market works since students like myself (chumps) are willing to pay.

Edited by wtamow
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2 hours ago, wtamow said:

Yeah, thinking about this now... tuition goes up by like 2-5% each year? And starting salaries of lawyers do not, even in large cities. OSAP has only decreased since I've started receiving it... and same with financial aid (the school I go to decided to issue out loans first before bursaries this year). It's ridiculous but that is the way the market works since students like myself (chumps) are willing to pay.

I felt the same way when i got out of law school; in hind sight, it was a very good investment. I hope you see it the same way when you're a few years out. 

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10 hours ago, wtamow said:

Yeah, thinking about this now... tuition goes up by like 2-5% each year? And starting salaries of lawyers do not, even in large cities. OSAP has only decreased since I've started receiving it... and same with financial aid (the school I go to decided to issue out loans first before bursaries this year). It's ridiculous but that is the way the market works since students like myself (chumps) are willing to pay.

Law tuition is going down 10% in Ontario this year due to a government-mandated cut. It will be frozen the year thereafter.

And quite frankly, why would prices go down? The demand highly outnumbers supply. As such, there is price inflation.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/3/2019 at 11:26 AM, Jacq said:

I completely agree-- tuition prices are getting out of hand.

After 3 years of law (2 years abroad and 1 year at Osgoode), including tuition, additional costs for things such as outings, groceries, clothing, etc., and all the costs that come with travelling (I traveled to 15+ countries while I was there), I have under $130k on my student line of credit. 

I have friends who just completed their third year at UofT and with the cost of tuition, rent, and other additional costs, they are sitting at around $170k in debt. 

Unless Mom and Dad are bailing you out, or you marry into money quick, you're both completely fucked. 

 

Edited by QuincyWagstaff

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1 hour ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

Unless Mom and Dad are bailing you out, or you marry into money quick, you're both completely fucked. 

 

LOOL

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1 hour ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

Unless Mom and Dad are bailing you out, or you marry into money quick, you're both completely fucked. 

 

My grand Aunt passed away 2 months after I graduated and took my loan disappeared 3 months later...

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Posted (edited)
On 7/2/2019 at 11:04 AM, Keith123 said:

Hi all,

I'm a Canadian headed to the U.K. this fall to complete a 2 year LLB and wanted to get some of your opinions and insights into this route.

I've read quite a few forums on here talking about the difficulty in returning to Canada after completing your law degree abroad, so I'm weighing my options.

I'm currently debating two routes. The first, applying to an LLM course in Canada after my LLB in the U.K., forgoing the NCA's or staying and taking the LPC in London. I have dual citizenship and given the difficulties in securing an articling position being foreign educated, I'm wondering what my best route is.

My questions are:

  • Is it any easier to secure an articling position in Canada if I obtain an LLM from a Canadian University? I'll have a year to network, obtain a law degree from a Canadian university, etc.
  • How do U.K law firms view Canadians who decide to to stay and practice law in the U.K. following their degree? Is there a similar stigma, do they not care at all?
  • In your opinion, given I have dual citizenship, should I stay in the UK or try my luck in Canada after an LLM?

 

 

1. Is it any easier to secure an articling position in Canada if I obtain an LLM from a Canadian University?

It could be easier to secure an articling position with an LLM, but it is by no means an easy task. It mainly depends on how willing you are in reaching out to other lawyers and using the resources available at your university to secure a position. Note that there are a lot of low-paying and unpaid articling positions, so getting one isn't as difficult as you may think. However, getting a paid position will require effort on your part. 

2. How do U.K law firms view Canadians who decide to to stay and practice law in the U.K. following their degree? Is there a similar stigma, do they not care at all?

From what I've heard, law firm recruiters tend to view favourably upon Canadian graduates, since they are more mature than their fellow coursemates (and generally with more work experience). This can work to your advantage, but it is difficult to secure a training contract as an international student. Since you have dual citizenship, this wouldn't be a problem for you. 

I don't think there is any similar stigma in the UK, given that there are a fair share of UK-educated Canadian lawyers working in London. As long as you have excellent grades, pass the initial assessment tests and interviews, and fulfill their requirements, you have a decent shot at the Magic Circle firms and other international firms.

3. Given I have dual citizenship, should I stay in the UK or try my luck in Canada after an LLM?

I think you still have time to decide on this until your final year. It's too early to decide which path you want to take. However, I think it's more beneficial for you to stay in the UK, given your status and the potential stigma that you may get if you return to Canada. If you end up getting a training contract, you are better off staying in the UK. Coming back to Canada should be a backup option.

Edited by dilemma
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31 minutes ago, dilemma said:

 the Magic Circle firms

 I can't believe that's a thing

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11 hours ago, JaysFan364 said:

Law tuition is going down 10% in Ontario this year due to a government-mandated cut. It will be frozen the year thereafter.

And quite frankly, why would prices go down? The demand highly outnumbers supply. As such, there is price inflation.

This is the first year it is going down, and financial aid and OSAP are being cut accordingly.

I'm not saying prices should go down. I'm saying that I wish salaries would go up. Which, it appears, they might...

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On 7/3/2019 at 12:36 AM, Jacq said:

I've made some posts about my experience on some other threads.

1) I went to Osgoode following my 2 years at UBham. I can confidently say that having an LLM helped me to land my articling position at my top choice firm. I did not have any law firm/ lawyer connections & simply networked. If you have connections or a job lined up, I know a lot of current lawyers who quickly pumped out the NCAs and started their positions. However, I also know people who wrote the NCA exams instead of obtaining an LLM, with no connections and were still able to find positions. Networking is everything. You have to sell why you are the best candidate over those who studied law in Canada. Keep in mind your networking should start before you finish law school (very possible to do so by applying to summer/articling positions from the UK and following your provincial law society's application deadlines for formal rounds).

2) I have friends who are Canadian that stayed in the UK. The process over there is also quite difficult. You can have amazing extra curricular activities and grades and not even get an interview. It's all about networking events and your application cover letter. I don't think there is as much of a stigma behind Canadian and applying to a UK firm. The UK is very open to people from anywhere-- there is a ton of international students that come to study law in the UK. But obviously, like in Canada, UK firms like hiring students who studied three years in the UK versus someone who only studied two and didn't have to take all the required courses that the 3 year students had to.

3) Whether you want to stay in the UK or come back to Canada is up to you. You have to work just as hard to obtain a position there as you would coming back to Canada. You're not a "lawyer" right out of law school in the UK. You must do 1 year in a program post-law school which specializes in the type of lawyer you want to be (solicitor or barrister). You must then complete 2 years training before becoming a solicitor or barrister. Keep in mind those 3 years only make you a solicitor OR a barrister-- not both. If you want to be both (which many people in the UK don't do), you have to go through the process for the specialty you did not originally complete (another 3 years-- not sure if there are any exceptions to this). If you are interested in law that combines work as a solicitor and barrister-- then you may want to stay in Canada. I completed my law school in 2018 and graduated from Osgoode with a LLM last month. I commence articling next month and I am on track to getting called to the bar in June 2020. As I have previously mentioned, I did not have any connections and did the work on my own to obtain a position at my top choice law firm. It wasn't a walk in the park, but it also wasn't impossible. No matter where you choose, you'll have to work hard and go above and beyond to stand out to law firms. 

Feel free to message me and I can go into more detail.

Great, thanks for the reply!

Some terrific insights into this route, appreciate it.

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8 hours ago, dilemma said:

1. Is it any easier to secure an articling position in Canada if I obtain an LLM from a Canadian University?

It could be easier to secure an articling position with an LLM, but it is by no means an easy task. It mainly depends on how willing you are in reaching out to other lawyers and using the resources available at your university to secure a position. Note that there are a lot of low-paying and unpaid articling positions, so getting one isn't as difficult as you may think. However, getting a paid position will require effort on your part. 

2. How do U.K law firms view Canadians who decide to to stay and practice law in the U.K. following their degree? Is there a similar stigma, do they not care at all?

From what I've heard, law firm recruiters tend to view favourably upon Canadian graduates, since they are more mature than their fellow coursemates (and generally with more work experience). This can work to your advantage, but it is difficult to secure a training contract as an international student. Since you have dual citizenship, this wouldn't be a problem for you. 

I don't think there is any similar stigma in the UK, given that there are a fair share of UK-educated Canadian lawyers working in London. As long as you have excellent grades, pass the initial assessment tests and interviews, and fulfill their requirements, you have a decent shot at the Magic Circle firms and other international firms.

3. Given I have dual citizenship, should I stay in the UK or try my luck in Canada after an LLM?

I think you still have time to decide on this until your final year. It's too early to decide which path you want to take. However, I think it's more beneficial for you to stay in the UK, given your status and the potential stigma that you may get if you return to Canada. If you end up getting a training contract, you are better off staying in the UK. Coming back to Canada should be a backup option.

Thanks, appreciate the insights!

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On 7/3/2019 at 12:54 AM, Jacq said:

I agree that going to the UK and coming back for most people is more difficult and less certain. However, I did not find the UK route to be more expensive. 

Here's some examples of tuition for law schools in Ontario:

  • UofT is approximately $34,561 a year
  • Osgoode is approximately $28,649
  • Western Law is approximately $23,850
  • Lakehead Law is approximately $18,733
  • Windsor Law is approximately $16,851

I attended law school at UBham (second largest city in the UK--for rent purposes). With the conversion from CAD to pounds (2016-2018) I spent approximately $21,000- $24,000 CAD per year on tuition. Just like the numbers listed above for Ontario law schools, this does not include rent or additional costs-- however after speaking with friends who completed law school in Canada (from the above law schools), our debt amounts are about the same (when calculating my two years abroad plus the one year at Osgoode ($26,000) for my LLM). Of course if you write the NCA exams instead of completing an LLM, you will not be spending as much as a student who took the same route as me or a Canadian law student, especially those who studied at the more expensive schools. 

Crazy to think tuition AND accommodation for a 2 year LLB in the UK would be cheaper than attending UofT. Especially when you take into account international student fees and conversion rates. 

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