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sana05

LLM in Canada

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Hello.

I'm a lawyer from India, I plan on coming to Canada for my LLM and thereafter pass the NCAs and hopefully the bar exams and practice for a bit. 

I know this is more of an undergrad targeted webpage, however, it would be great if I could get some help with regards to how law schools in Canada rank when it comes to law specifically with regards to a LLM program?

Also what would be the best school to go to and also end up networking enough to land an articling position? Is it achievable to do so as an international lawyer or should one not get their hopes high and spend a truckload of money?

Thanks in advance!

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This isn't legal advice, but you should be discussing the immigration issues with an experienced lawyer in that area before planning on this path. 

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I agree with @erinl2

 

Are you planning on meeting the NCA requirements by completing an LLM? Have you already received a NCA assessment?

If I am correct, I believe there are limited LLM programs to choose from that meet the NCA requirements. I am most familiar with Osgoode (Toronto) LLM, University of Toronto GPLLM, University of BC LLM, and a program at University of Alberta that allows you to take JD classes to meet the NCA requirements, but you do not obtain any additional degree. Depending on where you are moving in Canada, you may be affected by location of these programs. 

Your NCA assessment will tell you how many exams you need to complete. This may affect which programs are best for you. For instance if you commence UofT's GPLLM (which I understand to be a program with a strict course schedule-- no additional choice in courses/electives), you may need to write additional NCA exams outside of the program. 

If you're considering cost-- completing an LLM is obviously going to cost you a lot more than writing your NCA exams. However, you will be obtaining an LLM from a Canadian Law School, able to meet classmates, attend University exclusive networking events, and obtain guidance from Professors and the administration.

It is possible to obtain an articling position after obtaining a law degree from a foreign country, but where you complete your LLM will not automatically get you an articling positions. The University might introduce you to more networking opportunities, but you will need to reach out on your own and do whatever networking possible to help you obtain an articling position. If you are moving to Ontario, you may also want to consider the LPP (Law Practice Program) through Ryerson University to meet the articling requirements. 

I would suggest reading through the NCA website and the law society website of the Province you will be moving to. I would also reach out to the NCA and ask for more information about the LLM programs offered in Canada that meet the NCA requirements. 

 

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It will be incredibly difficult for you to find a job with a degree from India. There is substantial stigma against both foreign graduates and foreigners generally in the Canadian legal market. 

On an aside while I have never met anyone who successfully "made" it as a lawyer in Canada from a country like India, I have taken a number of cab rides from people who immigrated with that hope. 

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10 hours ago, erinl2 said:

This isn't legal advice, but you should be discussing the immigration issues with an experienced lawyer in that area before planning on this path. 

Hey, have already done that. Thanks. 

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5 hours ago, Jacq said:

I agree with @erinl2

 

Are you planning on meeting the NCA requirements by completing an LLM? Have you already received a NCA assessment?

If I am correct, I believe there are limited LLM programs to choose from that meet the NCA requirements. I am most familiar with Osgoode (Toronto) LLM, University of Toronto GPLLM, University of BC LLM, and a program at University of Alberta that allows you to take JD classes to meet the NCA requirements, but you do not obtain any additional degree. Depending on where you are moving in Canada, you may be affected by location of these programs. 

Your NCA assessment will tell you how many exams you need to complete. This may affect which programs are best for you. For instance if you commence UofT's GPLLM (which I understand to be a program with a strict course schedule-- no additional choice in courses/electives), you may need to write additional NCA exams outside of the program. 

If you're considering cost-- completing an LLM is obviously going to cost you a lot more than writing your NCA exams. However, you will be obtaining an LLM from a Canadian Law School, able to meet classmates, attend University exclusive networking events, and obtain guidance from Professors and the administration.

It is possible to obtain an articling position after obtaining a law degree from a foreign country, but where you complete your LLM will not automatically get you an articling positions. The University might introduce you to more networking opportunities, but you will need to reach out on your own and do whatever networking possible to help you obtain an articling position. If you are moving to Ontario, you may also want to consider the LPP (Law Practice Program) through Ryerson University to meet the articling requirements. 

I would suggest reading through the NCA website and the law society website of the Province you will be moving to. I would also reach out to the NCA and ask for more information about the LLM programs offered in Canada that meet the NCA requirements. 

 

This has been super helpful, thanks.

I've gone through the NCA requirements and the website. All I really want to know is what would be the best law school to go for keeping aside meeting the NCA criteria? 

 

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I think it also depends on what law school you graduate from in India. I personally know a few people from India working in big law firms at Bay Street. However, they had work experience in India backing them up. 

I would just like to know if you were to rank Canadian law schools based on their LLM programs, how would that list go?

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4 hours ago, Mal said:

It will be incredibly difficult for you to find a job with a degree from India. There is substantial stigma against both foreign graduates and foreigners generally in the Canadian legal market. 

On an aside while I have never met anyone who successfully "made" it as a lawyer in Canada from a country like India, I have taken a number of cab rides from people who immigrated with that hope. 

I think it also depends on what law school you graduate from in India. I personally know a few people from India working in big law firms at Bay Street. However, they had work experience in India backing them up. 

I would just like to know if you were to rank Canadian law schools based on their LLM programs, how would that list go?

Edited by sana05

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I know many lawyers from India working for small firms or soles in the Toronto and Peel regions (many in Brampton and Mississauga). Having prior experience practicing law does seem to help the corporate lawyers land in-house positions with corporations, banks, and financial institutions. It's an uphill battle as there are many foreigners now entering the Canadian legal market but doable. 

To answer the OP's question, avoid the Osgoode LLM at all cost. Try to get into U of T or UBC. Most foreign trained lawyers doing an LLM in Canada go to Osgoode and they accept everyone (LLM not JD), so it dilutes the reputation of the degree. 

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1 hour ago, Deadpool said:

I know many lawyers from India working for small firms or soles in the Toronto and Peel regions (many in Brampton and Mississauga). Having prior experience practicing law does seem to help the corporate lawyers land in-house positions with corporations, banks, and financial institutions. It's an uphill battle as there are many foreigners now entering the Canadian legal market but doable. 

To answer the OP's question, avoid the Osgoode LLM at all cost. Try to get into U of T or UBC. Most foreign trained lawyers doing an LLM in Canada go to Osgoode and they accept everyone (LLM not JD), so it dilutes the reputation of the degree. 

Thank you so much. What about completing my NCA exam requirements before I go for an LLM? 

From my research the top law schools seem to be U of T, UBC, McGill, Osgoode and Queen's? 

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if you complete NCA exam. but you don't have to do LLM.

LLM is more about functionality . 

LLM can be a academic pursue. 

LLM can be used to  help you waive the NCA challenge exams requirement in a sense.

As for UofT, Global LLM (focus on Canadian law concentration)

Curriculum

The GPLLM curriculum 

The program consists of ten courses. Starting in 2018-19, GPLLM students will have increased flexibility to tailor the program to their individual circumstances and professional pursuits. Under the new program rules, students will complete 50% of their courses (5 courses) from the Canadian Law concentration, including one required course, and will have the flexibility to take the rest of their courses from any concentration with program approval. Please see the following pages for course descriptions for the Canadian Law concentration, the Business Law concentration, the Innovation, Law & Technology concentration, and the Law of Leadership concentration.

Canadian Law Courses 

*Please note that not all courses will necessarily be available every year.

  • Foundations of Canadian Law (required)
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Canadian Administrative Law
  • Canadian Constitutional Law
  • Canadian Criminal Law
  • Property Law
  • Tort Law
  • Contract Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Applied Legal Research and Writing (open only to students in this concentration)

 

https://gpllm.law.utoronto.ca/programs/canadian-law-global-context

 

.

Maybe UT global or UBC LLM common Law serve better to waive NCA exam requirements. But UT

GPLLM

$58,830

$2,213.52

$61,043.52

UT  Tuition is 61043 for internationl students, half amout for domestic.

UBC LLM common law  tuition is roughly around 30000 for international students. UBC LLMCL is non thesis one year LLM program. 

http://www.allard.ubc.ca/master-laws-llm-common-law-program-tuition-fees-scholarships

 

As for Mcgill LLM, its thesis program is more like a traditional research program rather than NCA exam waive program.  Its non thesis program also is consisted of 9 credits +15 research credits, more than half amount not for NCA use.

 

https://www.mcgill.ca/law/grad-studies/masters-programs/llm-general-law

LLM Thesis and Non-Thesis requirements (based on program revision as of Fall 2018)

  Master of Laws with Thesis Master of Laws Non-Thesis
Credits 45 credits
(30 research credits + 15 course credits)
45 credits
(15 research credits + 30 course credits)
Required courses

9 credits:
CMPL 641 - Theoretical Approaches to Law 
CMPL 610 - Legal Research Methodology 
LAWG 601 - Communication 1 
LAWG 602 - Communication 2

9 credits:
CMPL 641 - Theoretical Approaches to Law 
CMPL 610 - Legal Research Methodology 
LAWG 601 - Communication 1 
LAWG 602 - Communication 2

Research Thesis
30 credits:
CMPL 612 - Master's Thesis 1 
CMPL 613 - Master's Thesis 2 
CMPL 614 - Master's Thesis 3 
CMPL 615 - Master's Thesis 4 
CMPL 616 - Master's Thesis 5 
CMPL 617 - Master's Thesis 6 
 
Research project
15 credits:
CMPL 655 - Research Project 1
Complementary credits Elective courses (6 credits)
 

Elective courses (21 credits)

 

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12 hours ago, Mal said:

It will be incredibly difficult for you to find a job with a degree from India. There is substantial stigma against both foreign graduates and foreigners generally in the Canadian legal market. 

On an aside while I have never met anyone who successfully "made" it as a lawyer in Canada from a country like India, I have taken a number of cab rides from people who immigrated with that hope. 

I don't know how difficult it is, but I certainly know some foreign born and foreign-trained lawyers in Canada.  Of course these are criminal defence lawyers, but still.

@sana05 No one is going to be able to answer your question for the simple fact that LLMs are not highly regarded in Canada.  Having an LLM from any school doesn't really make you a more desirable candidate than someone who does not have an LLM.

Do you have permanent residence in Canada, or otherwise have the right to work in Canada?  If you do not, there might be some value in obtaining a LLM as the time spent studying can be used towards getting your permanent residence.

Now, an LLM may be of some other benefit to you.  Maybe you'd just really like to dig deep and study some issue of law (of the few people I know who got LLMs, they don't regret the experience even though they say it didn't help their career).  Maybe you look at it as an opportunity to improve your english.

But if you're just looking for help in obtaining a job, an LLM isn't it.  You're better off just doing the NCA right away,

 

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8 hours ago, sana05 said:

This has been super helpful, thanks.

I've gone through the NCA requirements and the website. All I really want to know is what would be the best law school to go for keeping aside meeting the NCA criteria? 

 

I think that depends on what type of LLM you are interested in. If the LLM is not to complete the NCA requirements you could get an LLM in anything from International Business Law to an LLM in Basic Legal Theory. Depending on the specific program you are interested in, that will narrow down which schools offer that specific LLM Program. I'm not sure if this is helpful but I found this list online: https://llm-guide.com/schools/americas/canada

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5 hours ago, Deadpool said:

To answer the OP's question, avoid the Osgoode LLM at all cost. Try to get into U of T or UBC. Most foreign trained lawyers doing an LLM in Canada go to Osgoode and they accept everyone (LLM not JD), so it dilutes the reputation of the degree. 

I'm interesting in hearing more about this comment--would you be able to expand on it (specifically why to avoid Osgoode LLM at all costs)?

As of 2016/2017 when many students applied to the three programs from my class, UBC and Osgoode appeared to be the most difficult to get into (smaller programs, more reputable programs (been around for a lot longer), many people waitlisted, or rejected). UofT's GPLLM (specifically this program, not other LLMs) was often discussed negatively throughout my classmates and Alumni as it has previously caused issues for students wanting to satisfy the NCA requirements, was more expensive, and didn't allow for students to choose their own electives. It also appeared to have specific application requirements (such as a min. 2 years related work experience, which many students did not have in my program) and yet I'm almost positive that everyone who chose to apply from my class received offers. It also doesn't allow for students to meet their NCA requirements by June of their year of study because of the strict schedule-- thus students could not write the June Bar exams (Ontario), and were not allowed to participate in the formal articling recruitment/ commence articling in July/August after finishing their studies.

I'm not too familiar with the UBC program as I never personally considered it, but from what I have heard many students are content with it. I personally am very content with my choice to complete the LLM program at Osgoode--but I am very interested in hearing your thoughts so that I may share them with others. 

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57 minutes ago, Malicious Prosecutor said:

I don't know how difficult it is, but I certainly know some foreign born and foreign-trained lawyers in Canada.  Of course these are criminal defence lawyers, but still.

@sana05 No one is going to be able to answer your question for the simple fact that LLMs are not highly regarded in Canada.  Having an LLM from any school doesn't really make you a more desirable candidate than someone who does not have an LLM.

Do you have permanent residence in Canada, or otherwise have the right to work in Canada?  If you do not, there might be some value in obtaining a LLM as the time spent studying can be used towards getting your permanent residence.

Now, an LLM may be of some other benefit to you.  Maybe you'd just really like to dig deep and study some issue of law (of the few people I know who got LLMs, they don't regret the experience even though they say it didn't help their career).  Maybe you look at it as an opportunity to improve your english.

But if you're just looking for help in obtaining a job, an LLM isn't it.  You're better off just doing the NCA right away,

 

Thanks a ton, this has been really insightful.

Just one more thing, so if I had to choose between two ways of going about getting done with my accreditation, that are: 

Get enrolled in an LLM program that helps me fulfill my NCA requirements and then find an articling position through the career services provided by said law school and the networking I do during the course of the LLM program. 

OR

Just complete my NCA exams and enroll into the LPP program and hope for the best. 

I'm only 23, so age is on my side. I'm willing to struggle and work really hard to get to a decent job over a prolonged time period, if need be. 

What according to you would be the better way to go about it? 

THANKS A TON, again!

 

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25 minutes ago, Jacq said:

I'm interesting in hearing more about this comment--would you be able to expand on it (specifically why to avoid Osgoode LLM at all costs)?

As of 2016/2017 when many students applied to the three programs from my class, UBC and Osgoode appeared to be the most difficult to get into (smaller programs, more reputable programs (been around for a lot longer), many people waitlisted, or rejected). UofT's GPLLM (specifically this program, not other LLMs) was often discussed negatively throughout my classmates and Alumni as it has previously caused issues for students wanting to satisfy the NCA requirements, was more expensive, and didn't allow for students to choose their own electives. It also appeared to have specific application requirements (such as a min. 2 years related work experience, which many students did not have in my program) and yet I'm almost positive that everyone who chose to apply from my class received offers. It also doesn't allow for students to meet their NCA requirements by June of their year of study because of the strict schedule-- thus students could not write the June Bar exams (Ontario), and were not allowed to participate in the formal articling recruitment/ commence articling in July/August after finishing their studies.

I'm not too familiar with the UBC program as I never personally considered it, but from what I have heard many students are content with it. I personally am very content with my choice to complete the LLM program at Osgoode--but I am very interested in hearing your thoughts so that I may share them with others. 

Thanks for the information! This, however, now has me confused. How was the experience at OsgoodePD for you? Did it help you secure an articling position? 

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2 hours ago, akulamasusu said:

if you complete NCA exam. but you don't have to do LLM.

LLM is more about functionality . 

LLM can be a academic pursue. 

LLM can be used to  help you waive the NCA challenge exams requirement in a sense.

As for UofT, Global LLM (focus on Canadian law concentration)

Curriculum

The GPLLM curriculum 

The program consists of ten courses. Starting in 2018-19, GPLLM students will have increased flexibility to tailor the program to their individual circumstances and professional pursuits. Under the new program rules, students will complete 50% of their courses (5 courses) from the Canadian Law concentration, including one required course, and will have the flexibility to take the rest of their courses from any concentration with program approval. Please see the following pages for course descriptions for the Canadian Law concentration, the Business Law concentration, the Innovation, Law & Technology concentration, and the Law of Leadership concentration.

Canadian Law Courses 

*Please note that not all courses will necessarily be available every year.

  • Foundations of Canadian Law (required)
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Canadian Administrative Law
  • Canadian Constitutional Law
  • Canadian Criminal Law
  • Property Law
  • Tort Law
  • Contract Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Applied Legal Research and Writing (open only to students in this concentration)

 

https://gpllm.law.utoronto.ca/programs/canadian-law-global-context

 

.

Maybe UT global or UBC LLM common Law serve better to waive NCA exam requirements. But UT

GPLLM

$58,830

$2,213.52

$61,043.52

UT  Tuition is 61043 for internationl students, half amout for domestic.

UBC LLM common law  tuition is roughly around 30000 for international students. UBC LLMCL is non thesis one year LLM program. 

http://www.allard.ubc.ca/master-laws-llm-common-law-program-tuition-fees-scholarships

 

As for Mcgill LLM, its thesis program is more like a traditional research program rather than NCA exam waive program.  Its non thesis program also is consisted of 9 credits +15 research credits, more than half amount not for NCA use.

 

https://www.mcgill.ca/law/grad-studies/masters-programs/llm-general-law

LLM Thesis and Non-Thesis requirements (based on program revision as of Fall 2018)

  Master of Laws with Thesis Master of Laws Non-Thesis
Credits 45 credits
(30 research credits + 15 course credits)
45 credits
(15 research credits + 30 course credits)
Required courses

9 credits:
CMPL 641 - Theoretical Approaches to Law 
CMPL 610 - Legal Research Methodology 
LAWG 601 - Communication 1 
LAWG 602 - Communication 2

9 credits:
CMPL 641 - Theoretical Approaches to Law 
CMPL 610 - Legal Research Methodology 
LAWG 601 - Communication 1 
LAWG 602 - Communication 2

Research Thesis
30 credits:
CMPL 612 - Master's Thesis 1 
CMPL 613 - Master's Thesis 2 
CMPL 614 - Master's Thesis 3 
CMPL 615 - Master's Thesis 4 
CMPL 616 - Master's Thesis 5 
CMPL 617 - Master's Thesis 6 
 
Research project
15 credits:
CMPL 655 - Research Project 1
Complementary credits Elective courses (6 credits)
 

Elective courses (21 credits)

 

Thanks a ton for putting in the effort and compiling such helpful information! Really appreciate it. 

However, don't you think it is better to attend in class lectures on the NCA subjects than just self study it and appear for them on our own? Considering the aim for most NCA candidates is to finally be able to practice law in Canada, I'm assuming the former would be more fruitful when it comes down to understanding the concepts of law and also in a way as they're all first year law courses it will somewhat bring you closer to what the JD students study (I may be wrong here).

Edited by sana05

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47 minutes ago, sana05 said:

Thanks for the information! This, however, now has me confused. How was the experience at OsgoodePD for you? Did it help you secure an articling position? 

My experience was fantastic! I was able to select my own electives, overload and complete the program in 8 months (versus a full year), satisfy my NCA requirements, and attended a lot of networking events. I was taught by excellent professors and made connections with lawyers who work at some of the top firms in Toronto and the GTA. I obtained my position before commencing the program, but my acceptance is what I believed helped me to secure my articling position and what helped me receive other interviews and offers. I had no connections to law firms and did not have a promised position prior to studying law in the UK. 

Now, would I say having an LLM automatically will help you secure a position? No. I worked my butt off, networked, built up my work and extra curricular experience, had exceptional grades, and made sure to follow the proper LSO timelines and dates that Canadian law students follow. There is a risk with coming to Canada as a foreign law grad as you will not be considered the same as a Canadian law graduate. Personally, more of my friends with an LLM have secured positions over those who decided to write their NCAs. However, if you put in the work and decide to save your money and just write the NCA exams, anything is possible--but be aware of the risks and difficulty you may have coming to Canada. 

 

Edited by Jacq
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1 hour ago, Jacq said:

I'm interesting in hearing more about this comment--would you be able to expand on it (specifically why to avoid Osgoode LLM at all costs)?

As of 2016/2017 when many students applied to the three programs from my class, UBC and Osgoode appeared to be the most difficult to get into (smaller programs, more reputable programs (been around for a lot longer), many people waitlisted, or rejected). UofT's GPLLM (specifically this program, not other LLMs) was often discussed negatively throughout my classmates and Alumni as it has previously caused issues for students wanting to satisfy the NCA requirements, was more expensive, and didn't allow for students to choose their own electives. It also appeared to have specific application requirements (such as a min. 2 years related work experience, which many students did not have in my program) and yet I'm almost positive that everyone who chose to apply from my class received offers. It also doesn't allow for students to meet their NCA requirements by June of their year of study because of the strict schedule-- thus students could not write the June Bar exams (Ontario), and were not allowed to participate in the formal articling recruitment/ commence articling in July/August after finishing their studies.

I'm not too familiar with the UBC program as I never personally considered it, but from what I have heard many students are content with it. I personally am very content with my choice to complete the LLM program at Osgoode--but I am very interested in hearing your thoughts so that I may share them with others. 

https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/annual_reports/

2016/2017 - https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=annual_reports - p.18

· Professional LLM (excluding the LLM in International Business Law and Canadian Common Law programs) enrollment averaged more than 250 students per term.

· Thirty-nine students from more than two dozen countries were enrolled in the LLM in International Business Law.

· The LLM in Canadian Common Law program had more than 100 students per term of which 61% were full-time and 39% part-time.

2017/2018 - https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=annual_reports - p.20

· Professional LLM (excluding the LLM in International Business Law and Canadian Common Law programs) enrollment averaged more than 200 students per term.

· Over 50 students from more than a dozen different jurisdictions were enrolled in the LLM in International Business Law.

· The LLM in Canadian Common Law program had more than 140 students, of which two-thirds were full-time and one-third were part-time.

I went to Osgoode and know people who did the LLM program. It's viewed as a degree mill by most employers here. That's not to take away from your anecdotal experiences of course as each case is different, but this is generally what I have seen. 

U of T LLM is more difficult to get into and class size is around 20-30 students. Compare this to Osgoode LLM's 100+ and you have a clear answer. I don't know anything about the U of T GPLLM and how it compares to their LLM, but the students I know that did them were in better shape than the average Osgoode LLM graduate. 

Edited by Deadpool

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3 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/annual_reports/

https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=annual_reports - p.20

· Professional LLM (excluding the LLM in International Business Law and Canadian Common Law programs) enrollment averaged more than 200 students per term.

· Over 50 students from more than a dozen different jurisdictions were enrolled in the LLM in International Business Law.

· The LLM in Canadian Common Law program had more than 140 students, of which two-thirds were full-time and one-third were part-time.

I went to Osgoode and know people who did the LLM program. It's viewed as a degree mill by many employers here. That's not to take away from your anecdotal experiences of course as each case is different, but this is generally what I have seen. 

U of T LLM is more difficult to get into and class size is around 20-30 students. Compare this to Osgoode LLM's 100+ and you have a clear answer. I don't know anything about the U of T GPLLM and how it compares to their LLM, but the students I know that did them were in better shape than the average Osgoode LLM graduate. 

Very interesting. A student in the GPLLM told me the class size this year was around 80 people. I never knew that the LLM at Osgoode was so large. At Orientation last year, we were told there were under 100 people in the program, but obviously the stats online say otherwise. Thank you for your insights!

 

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