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Aryaa

I want to become a small town lawyer, does the Uni I go to matter?

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The title says it all pretty much. I don’t want to end up in a super crowded city like Toronto. I do want some work experience before I do solo practice of course, but in a small town. Would it matter if I’m not from their province? For example if I go to Uni of New Brunswick but apply for a job in, say, Nova Scotia, would it lower my chances for employment there? 

Thanks, I appreciate it. 

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In my experience, which school you choose to attend does not matter in the sense that the prestige of the school is more or less irrelevant to your ability to secure a position with a small town firm. Which school you choose may be relevant in that UNB is much closer to Nova Scotia than are UVic or UBC, which allows you to network more easily. Networking is important to secure a position with a rural or small town firm. You will also have to convince them that you are: (1) not just some person desperate to get an articling job; and (2) committed to living and practicing in the area. Two friends I went to law school with got jobs with small town firms within the province we attended law school, not so much because of the prestige of the school, but because they knew it was what they wanted to do early and they networked early. They may have had a harder time if they had to come from several provinces away to do so, although it may not be impossible.

Edited by MansfieldCJ

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6 hours ago, Aryaa said:

The title says it all pretty much. I don’t want to end up in a super crowded city like Toronto. I do want some work experience before I do solo practice of course, but in a small town. Would it matter if I’m not from their province? For example if I go to Uni of New Brunswick but apply for a job in, say, Nova Scotia, would it lower my chances for employment there? 

Thanks, I appreciate it. 

In your specific example, no, certainly not.

If you show a real interest in working in a small town and working in a small office, I think there are a lot of opportunities out there for you.

I don't know if you're specifically looking in NS, but small firms are always advertising for associates and lots of older lawyers that have successful practices are looking for young lawyers to take over.

It's not for me, but I recognize the opportunity that exists.

 

 

Edited by conge

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From what I understand, TRU and Bora Laskin we’re established to promote small town employment in their respective regions. I think Robson Hall and maybe USask also have programs to encourage regional small-town practitioners, but I’m not sure. I admittedly know nothing about the Maritimes (sorry - I see you’re focusing your question to that region), Quebec or southern Ontario.

My advice: if you already know the town in which you want to work, start networking and get a feel for what type of lawyer the market needs. Different towns have different needs/gaps in the market. Be warned: small practices don’t always take on summer students or articling students, and (from my experience at UofA) you will likely have to do a lot of your own networking because schools tend to funnel students in to the big firms. You can also post this question in the UNB/Dal AMA thread for a more focused answer.

Good luck!

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The Law Society of BC operates a program called the Rural Education and Access to Lawyers Program (REAL).

It's a work placement for law students to get experience at law firms in small/rural BC towns. Any law student in Canada can apply, and from what I hear it's not very competitive (they often have to extend the application deadline because they don't get enough).

https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/becoming-a-lawyer-in-bc/admission-program/articling-centre/rural-education-and-access-to-lawyers-initiative/

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On ‎2‎/‎14‎/‎2020 at 2:45 AM, Aryaa said:

The title says it all pretty much. I don’t want to end up in a super crowded city like Toronto. I do want some work experience before I do solo practice of course, but in a small town. Would it matter if I’m not from their province? For example if I go to Uni of New Brunswick but apply for a job in, say, Nova Scotia, would it lower my chances for employment there? 

Thanks, I appreciate it. 

I'm in the same boat as you, super interested in small town practice, and planning on attending UNB and going on to practice in rural NS. One thing I did was look at the bio sections of the websites of various small firms in the area I'd like to live in. I noticed it was pretty much 50/50 between Dalhousie and UNB alumni, with occasional outliers from other schools. I would think that the bias towards the regional schools is more about graduates from there being more likely to be the ones who want to work in the region, rather than any actual hiring bias on the part of firms. But that's just my assumption - I'd be very interested to hear anyone else with a different perspective.

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