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uOttawa dual, or top-50 US school?

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This subreddit has helped me so much in my application process and I am hoping it might help with my decision process as well for law school...

I recently received great news: 1) acceptance to uOttawa’s American/Canadian JD program and 2) a full-ride to a New England law school (above 50 US news rank, but in an area I love). 

Both are wonderful options to have and I am considering both greatly. I am a fresh out of school undergrad, have family from the States and a fiancé in Ontario. 

If I were to go to Ottawa, I would be paying ~$14,500 per year for 4 years (2 years at uO and 2 years at American or Michigan State, granted I complete all necessary requirements to attend the American school). 

If I were to attend the law school in New England, I would pay $0 for 3 years; however, I do plan to pursue law in Canada at some point to have the career flexibility. I have done some research on obtaining a Canadian law degree post-JD; however, any pointers on where to get good information on the subject would be greatly appreciated! 

I have read lots about the grim job market in the States, which has also fueled the difficulty in this decision. My main deciding factors are: 1) money and 2) geographic flexibility. I would appreciate any and all input/info that would better help me with this decision. Thank you all!!

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If you want to practice law in Canada, you should go to a Canadian law school. 

Have you browsed through the U.S. and other Foreign Schools sub?

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What sort of flexibility are you imagining? Law is unfortunately not the most portable profession. 

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I'd do the dual one at uottawa. US schools outside of T3-T6 are generally frowned upon by Canadian law firms. That being said, if you want to start your own practice then it doesn't really matter what school you choose. 

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7 hours ago, USorCA said:

This subreddit has helped me so much in my application process and I am hoping it might help with my decision process as well for law school...

I recently received great news: 1) acceptance to uOttawa’s American/Canadian JD program and 2) a full-ride to a New England law school (above 50 US news rank, but in an area I love). 

Both are wonderful options to have and I am considering both greatly. I am a fresh out of school undergrad, have family from the States and a fiancé in Ontario. 

If I were to go to Ottawa, I would be paying ~$14,500 per year for 4 years (2 years at uO and 2 years at American or Michigan State, granted I complete all necessary requirements to attend the American school). 

If I were to attend the law school in New England, I would pay $0 for 3 years; however, I do plan to pursue law in Canada at some point to have the career flexibility. I have done some research on obtaining a Canadian law degree post-JD; however, any pointers on where to get good information on the subject would be greatly appreciated! 

I have read lots about the grim job market in the States, which has also fueled the difficulty in this decision. My main deciding factors are: 1) money and 2) geographic flexibility. I would appreciate any and all input/info that would better help me with this decision. Thank you all!!

As far as I know, New England Law School did not even require an LSAT score in the past; it was a predatory admission scheme in that the law school offerd its own standardized test to assess applicants' qualifications in lieu of the LSAT.

It seems to me that the law school has recently changed its policies regarding an LSAT, but it is not a reputable law school.

My suggestion: please please  go to uOttawa.

Edited by ArchivesandMuseums
editing

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14 minutes ago, ArchivesandMuseums said:

...

New England law school, not New England Law School. 

Edited by Tagger
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IMO it would be a mistake to do the four year JD at UOttawa. If you decide to attend UOttawa, do the three year JD. You can then use the next year to take the bar exam in Massachusetts or New York or some other state that allows Canadian JDs to take the bar exam. Or you can do the three year JD with the scholarship at UConn, BC, or BU (I assume you're attending one of these three) and then spend the next year taking the NCA tests and a bar exam in a US or Canadian jurisdiction, or both. The four year programs seem to me like a structured, expensive way to accomplish these ends. 

There is plenty of literature on this website and others about the NCA process and getting a job in Canada with a US law degree. Your networking efforts and general hustle to return to Canada and get a job will be more important than the name of the law school you attend, recognizing that Yale and Harvard will likely get you more interviews (without networking efforts) than Boston College, Boston University or UConn. *Edit: And further recognizing that New England Law or one of these other garbage US law schools will create a perpetual stigma that you will always need to overcome. A lower ranked, established school like the University of Vermont or a well-ranked but unknown school like George Washington Univ. or a well-ranked but not known as an excellent law school (such as Arizona State) won't create the same stigma necessarily but people will have obvious questions out of curiosity, ignorance or preconceived notions. No law school is entirely fatal to your career, but you will be at a disadvantage initially coming out of New England Law (this is an example, I know you aren't going here) and an advantage that will nearly all doors open to you (unless you're a weird-o or have issues) from HYS+ some others.

If you look at UConn's employment statistics, it looks like the school places graduates in smaller firms. My impression, given that UConn is not in a major city and doesn't do well placing people in Big law, is that it's a local school for people who want to practice in that area. After law school, your prospects would be rather limited with a UConn degree, unless you do a really nice job of carving your own path.  

Another thing about Canada, people might recognize Boston College as a "good" school but know less about Boston University, even though they are both really good, peer schools. This is a matter of perception. People likely know even less about UConn unless they are a fan of college sports. 

I think that if you want to practice in Canada, $14,500 x 3 = $43,500 is a small price to pay when you consider that you'll be able to work immediately in Canada after graduating and passing the bar exam, without needing to spend extra time applying to the NCA, taking the tests, then taking the bar exam, articling, job searching, etc.  If we assume (generously) that that process takes an extra 8 months, and that you could have earned $65,000 per year during that period, you're missing out on $43,333.33 in wages (($65K / 12 months) * 8 months)), which is your entire tuition cost at UOttawa.

Edited by pineapple21

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9 hours ago, USorCA said:

I recently received great news: 1) acceptance to uOttawa’s American/Canadian JD program and 2) a full-ride to a New England law school (above 50 US news rank, but in an area I love). 

What are the conditions on the scholarship?

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36 minutes ago, pineapple21 said:

IMO it would be a mistake to do the four year JD at UOttawa. If you decide to attend UOttawa, do the three year JD. You can then use the next year to take the bar exam in Massachusetts or New York or some other state that allows Canadian JDs to take the bar exam. Or you can do the three year JD with the scholarship at UConn, BC, or BU (I assume you're attending one of these three) and then spend the next year taking the NCA tests and a bar exam in a US or Canadian jurisdiction, or both. The four year programs seem to me like a structured, expensive way to accomplish these ends. 

There is plenty of literature on this website and others about the NCA process and getting a job in Canada with a US law degree. Your networking efforts and general hustle to return to Canada and get a job will be more important than the name of the law school you attend, recognizing that Yale and Harvard will likely get you more interviews (without networking efforts) than Boston College, Boston University or UConn. *Edit: And further recognizing that New England Law or one of these other garbage US law schools will create a perpetual stigma that you will always need to overcome. A lower ranked, established school like the University of Vermont or a well-ranked but unknown school like George Washington Univ. or a well-ranked but not known as an excellent law school (such as Arizona State) won't create the same stigma necessarily but people will have obvious questions out of curiosity, ignorance or preconceived notions. No law school is entirely fatal to your career, but you will be at a disadvantage initially coming out of New England Law (this is an example, I know you aren't going here) and an advantage that will nearly all doors open to you (unless you're a weird-o or have issues) from HYS+ some others.

If you look at UConn's employment statistics, it looks like the school places graduates in smaller firms. My impression, given that UConn is not in a major city and doesn't do well placing people in Big law, is that it's a local school for people who want to practice in that area. After law school, your prospects would be rather limited with a UConn degree, unless you do a really nice job of carving your own path.  

Another thing about Canada, people might recognize Boston College as a "good" school but know less about Boston University, even though they are both really good, peer schools. This is a matter of perception. People likely know even less about UConn unless they are a fan of college sports. 

I think that if you want to practice in Canada, $14,500 x 3 = $43,500 is a small price to pay when you consider that you'll be able to work immediately in Canada after graduating and passing the bar exam, without needing to spend extra time applying to the NCA, taking the tests, then taking the bar exam, articling, job searching, etc.  If we assume (generously) that that process takes an extra 8 months, and that you could have earned $65,000 per year during that period, you're missing out on $43,333.33 in wages (($65K / 12 months) * 8 months)), which is your entire tuition cost at UOttawa.

This reply has most clearly articulated all of the possibilities for me and I thank you for that! I have been looking into NCA intensely and, although a possibility, seems extremely time consuming (high opportunity cost). As for the law school in question, I can personal message you for a better idea on my choices

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The major problem that you have right now is that you're trying to hold onto a dream of "geographic flexibility" as you say, and it's a myth. It's like trying to become a doctor while not giving up on your dream of doing stand up comedy. No one would say it's impossible to pursue both medicine and stand up comedy. But trying to make decisions about where and how to build a medical career in order to maximize your ability to also break into stand up is...well, nuts. And that's what you're trying to do.

Here's the basic reality. As soon as you start to build any kind of career in law either in Canada or in the U.S., you are only increasing the cost you'll pay to uproot your career and try to start again somewhere else. Is it impossible? No, of course not. But the variables at play and the unknowns are so massive that trying to plan around it is crazy.

Go to law school where you intend to practice law. If something happens to your life in the future and you want or need to move to another country and jurisdiction, you'll cross that bridge when you get to it. But geographic flexibility is a myth. Law is one of the most geographically localized professions that there is. Other professions are regulated locally, but a dentist gets licensed to practice somewhere new and teeth are teeth everywhere. The value of that dentist's abilities, to a new employer or practice, stays consistent. The law itself changes, as do the networks and client bases that are so fundamental to our work.

Bottom line. You'll twist yourself into knots trying to keep all options open and probably undercut yourself in the process. Pick a path, right now, and commit to it. If something changes in the future, deal with it then.

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PM'd.

In short: UOttawa probably isn't going to get you into the American legal market in any meaningful way. The New England school could make sense if you want to practice corporate in the US for a few years and bank a bunch of money before coming back to Canada as a mid-level and skipping articling. But a lower T50/upper T100 US school is a risk if your goal is US big law and it isn't going to be worth the headache if you fail to secure biglaw and end up trying to come straight back to Canada. The NCA sucks and it will be an uphill battle to secure articles without significant school brand recognition.

Edited by dave54321

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1 hour ago, dave54321 said:

PM'd.

In short: UOttawa probably isn't going to get you into the American legal market in any meaningful way. The New England school could make sense if you want to practice corporate in the US for a few years and bank a bunch of money before coming back to Canada as a mid-level and skipping articling. But a lower T50/upper T100 US school is a risk if your goal is US big law and it isn't going to be worth the headache if you fail to secure biglaw and end up trying to come straight back to Canada. The NCA sucks and it will be an uphill battle to secure articles without significant school brand recognition.

The OP has indicated that he/she is not a Canadian citizen so it isn't likely a matter of coming back to Canada.

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Just now, erinl2 said:

The OP has indicated that he/she is not a Canadian citizen so it isn't likely a matter of coming back to Canada.

The OP has also indicated he/she has a significant other from Ottawa and would like to keep the option of coming back to Canada open. Things change and plans get disrupted.

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2 hours ago, dave54321 said:

The OP has also indicated he/she has a significant other from Ottawa and would like to keep the option of coming back to Canada open. Things change and plans get disrupted.

Yes, I know that. I was simply commenting on the 'coming back'. They have given no indication that they are in Canada currently. 

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