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ask7o7

UK LLB and Canadian LLM?

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Hello,

This is my first time posting to the forum, if that's relevant. 

I'd like to practice in Canada, working something among the lines of prosecution. I'm considering going abroad to the UK to study for the LLB degree, although I'm only really considering Oxbridge, KCL, LSE, and a couple other schools. I understand that there's not much merit in going to less notable or less reputable schools, as that might be seen as "bypassing" the requirements for a Canadian one (no LSATs, prior degree, etc.). I'd like to study in the UK as I think it might be a gateway to studying International and European law, alongside the fact that if I do get the chance to study at a reputable school, I don't want to pass up on it. I was thinking that the best route for me after possibly studying in the UK might be to completing an LLM in Canada. However, I'm not exactly sure if that's possible. What obstacles do I face attempting this path, and what does NCA accreditation look like after having completed all this?  

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There are plenty of threads in this subforum on the topic. To sum them all up: if you want to practice in Canada, try to study in Canada. Wherever you study will at least raise the question of if you were unable to gain access to a Canadian school.

 

Studying in Britain is not "a gateway to International and European law". It will teach you English law in England or Scots law in Scotland, neither of which apply in Canada (although English law is more applicable). Until, at this point, October 31st, European law transposed into national law will be a part of that.

 

If you then seek to return, you will either need to write the NCA challenge exams, or take a foreign degree to JD conversion LLM (I know this is currently offered at UBC, http://www.allard.ubc.ca/master-laws-llm-common-law-program, and I seem to recall hearing that at least one of the Ontario schools does or did at some point).

 

Your obstacles would include persuading potential employees that you were competent and hadn't simply bypassed a system you weren't able to get into, as well as funding the degree in the first place. By most accounts, getting an articling position is the hardest part, if you have no local network where you're trying, and need to explain why you don't have Canadian qualifications.

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“International Law” isn’t really a thing.

Don’t go abroad if you haven’t exhausted your options here. 

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Hey lookingaround and easttowest, 

Thanks for the replies. I've been looking at options, and am still unsure, so if staying in Canada seems like the best option in terms of credibility and converting a foreign degree, then chances are I don't go abroad. I was also a bit curious about other things regarding such a decision; from what it seems, as many UK law schools accept applicants directly out of high school (I'm guessing its the difference in the way we study), I would not need an undergraduate degree. Admittedly, it won't save me time, but it appears to save money, in comparison to what I've gathered regarding the process of studying for a 4 year bachelor's degree and then 3 years of law school. Would it not cost more to stay in Canada in comparison to studying abroad?

Also, I was wondering how much the reputation of a university plays into finding a position. I have been under the assumption that there do exist a select few schools whose reputation would supersede that of many Canadian law schools. For example, if I were to be accepted to Oxford or Cambridge, and took the time to meet bar requirements in Canada, would I still be looked down upon compared to other domestic candidates? I would guess it's because of the undergraduate degree when applying, but I'm not exactly certain. 

 

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You're misstating it some with the view that "many UK law schools accept applicants directly out of high school". In the British education system, Law is an LLB, which is a first entry undergraduate degree. The vast majority of universities offer it (and their departments are no more separate 'schools' than are the History or Geography departments). Any Brit who finishes secondary school with at least a couple of Cs at A level can get  an LLB (or at least, can begin to study for one). 

 

I'm not clear if you have a Bachelor's degree already? Because you say you wouldn't  need one, and then say it wouldn't save you time, but not  needing to get one would save you money. If you're in high school, it would save you a lot of time - your undergraduate degree - this would be one of the downsides to seeking work in Canada, as you'd then be one of the youngest, least qualified applicants for jobs (as your co-applicants would be older, more mature, have more life experience, and have two degrees to your one). If you have your undergrad then it wouldn't save you time (would likely be slightly slower after taking the NCAs/LLMCL).

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I have worked in Canadian criminal law for well over a decade. 

You are not going to learn this area of law in the UK. The Charter and the last hundred years of jurisprudence have caused our justice systems to diverge somewhat. Also the rules of evidence differ. Also court customs and decorum. And there’s the Criminal Code. And the CDSA. 

Do not go to law school abroad if you want to be a prosecutor. Your first duty to the public is to be competent: without a Canadian legal education you make this a much higher hurdle than it needs to be.

Consider getting a Canadian LLB (or are they all JD now? Either way - same degree in terms of substance) and then going abroad for a Masters afterwards. 

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Hey,

Thanks for the reply once again. I am indeed in high school, and I don't have an undergraduate degree. I'm in a sort of position  to be admitted for an undergraduate degree in most places, but I'm attempting to find a way to spend as little as possible on university, as I don't want to find myself in a predicament where I've spent 200k or so for 7 years of schooling, only to find a job that doesn't pay well, because of over saturation and whatnot. I'll look into this matter further, but the way I see it as of now, it might be best to look at studying domestically. 

Once again, thanks for your input. 

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My only other comment, which you can take or leave as you like, is that there is a very lucrative business built around convincing high school students that getting a law degree abroad is a great idea.

If you find you are getting an aggressive and sparkling sales pitch from some company that “facilitates” or “places” students or whatever, be aware that you are likely dealing with a shill. Go wary. The pamphlets and anecdotes are all very alluring and impressive: just consider the source. Some one is likely trying to profit off of you by convincing you to pay them for a service or “opportunity” that is not going to turn out well for you in the long run.

Canadian employers want people educated and trained in Canadian law. If you don’t meet that basic requirement it’s almost always a lot harder for you to find work once your bills are due. 

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Hi Hegdis,

Thanks for the reply. Fortunately, I haven't been approached by any companies with such a proposition. I'm exploring methods towards a prosecution career in Canada that would be most effective time and money wise, while also maintaining a reputable resume. At the time being, it seems like the safest option is to stay in Canada for myself, although I'd have to look for the most cost efficient options. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, ask7o7 said:

Hi Hegdis,

Thanks for the reply. Fortunately, I haven't been approached by any companies with such a proposition. I'm exploring methods towards a prosecution career in Canada that would be most effective time and money wise, while also maintaining a reputable resume. At the time being, it seems like the safest option is to stay in Canada for myself, although I'd have to look for the most cost efficient options. 

If you want to be a Crown/criminal defence lawyer in Canada, you need to learn the criminal law system here and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You need to learn the rules of evidence and CDSA, as Hegdis mentioned. It'll also be helpful to gain clinical experiences in Canadian criminal law while in law school, which is only possible if you go to school here. This is a no-brainer. If you think you may want to do criminal law in Canada, it makes absolutely no sense to go abroad for law school - even if that school is Oxford...unless they're teaching you Canadian law and the Charter there. 

Edited by Deadpool

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If you really want to experience the UK before you settle down as a lawyer in Canada, go to a Canadian law school and go on an exchange to the UK. Or travel there in the summer. Don't go to law school in the UK.

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I’m going to take a slightly different tack here: If you are in high school, and cost is no object, and you are accepted into Oxbridge, I think there’s nothing wrong with doing an LLB (or BA) there. It’ll be a great education and a fantastic three years. And perhaps at the end of it, you go on to do something unrelated to law.

But you shouldn’t see the UK as a shortcut. I would anticipate having to do a JD, if you want to be a lawyer in Canada, after your undergrad.

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Just my personal opinion...  Assuming money is not a factor, I would take Oxford or Cambridge over any Canadian school.  All other schools in the UK are not worth it.  

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I think the OP’s whole issue is that cost IS a factor- to the extent that s/he is wondering if the UK would be cheaper. 

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If cost is really a factor, move to Quebec, get a job and a lease, work for a year, and get your QC residency. After that, apply to Concordia or McGill under the Quebec residency, get your undergrad and go to McGill for law school. International recognition for the low low price of like 6k per year.

 

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12 hours ago, ask7o7 said:

Hey,

Thanks for the reply once again. I am indeed in high school, and I don't have an undergraduate degree. I'm in a sort of position  to be admitted for an undergraduate degree in most places, but I'm attempting to find a way to spend as little as possible on university, as I don't want to find myself in a predicament where I've spent 200k or so for 7 years of schooling, only to find a job that doesn't pay well, because of over saturation and whatnot. I'll look into this matter further, but the way I see it as of now, it might be best to look at studying domestically. 

Once again, thanks for your input. 

If you are going to the UK to do an LLB because you think it save you money, you need to seriously look into what it will cost you to do an LLM. 

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On 7/22/2019 at 7:31 AM, onepost said:

I’m going to take a slightly different tack here: If you are in high school, and cost is no object, and you are accepted into Oxbridge, I think there’s nothing wrong with doing an LLB (or BA) there. It’ll be a great education and a fantastic three years. And perhaps at the end of it, you go on to do something unrelated to law.

But you shouldn’t see the UK as a shortcut. I would anticipate having to do a JD, if you want to be a lawyer in Canada, after your undergrad.

I've been thinking about this. I think the Oxford BA law degree as an undergraduate degree for admission to a Canadian law school seems like excellent prep. If I go to U of C Law (my local law school), it still costs less than attending U of C for an undergraduate degree, then going to U of Toronto or McGill. Although, there still are cheaper options. 

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Seeing that I don't know any French (for McGill as I'm not entirely sure about needing French at Concordia), this might be a bit of a difficult route. Regardless, an interesting option, and potentially cost effective option.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/22/2019 at 11:48 AM, artsydork said:

If cost is really a factor, move to Quebec, get a job and a lease, work for a year, and get your QC residency. After that, apply to Concordia or McGill under the Quebec residency, get your undergrad and go to McGill for law school. International recognition for the low low price of like 6k per year.

 

Meant to quote you before. Mobile is a yikes for my beefy fingers.

Edited by ask7o7

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On 7/22/2019 at 12:59 AM, ask7o7 said:

as I don't want to find myself in a predicament where I've spent 200k or so for 7 years of schooling

A bit late with the reply here but I thought I’d mention that it doesn’t cost $200k to do both an undergrad and law school in Canada, assuming you choose your schools wisely. The undergrad I did in Ontario cost about $7k a year. For four years that’s about the cost of a single year of law school at Osgoode or U of T. But there are law schools cheaper than those that are well-regraded and will give you a quality education. 

I can’t imagine a situation where going to the UK will be cheaper than staying in Canada. I mean, if you borrow every cent, and even if you go to an expensive law school, I doubt you’d be spending much more than $100k on tuition fees for 7 years of education. If you make wise choices you can probably get away with less than that. 

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