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Mihael

Becoming a Legal Counsel in BC

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https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/careers-myhr/all-employees/pay-benefits/salaries/salarylookuptool/legal-judiciary/legal-counsel-level-1

 

What requirements does this job need, for say someone who is done with law school, did their articling, and passed the bar exam? I assume they would want at least a few years of experience working somewhere, if not can you get a job like this (or something similar) out of law school with your JD + bar exam passed?

I'm heavily interested in working a legal job either municipally or provincially in BC for the government (i.e. Legal Counsel). Generally how would one get such jobs and what are its requirements? 

 

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: Clarified my post. 

Edited by Mihael

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The requirements for the job are in the posting. Research, legal analysis, advocacy.

Yes, experience will always win out over no experience. I suppose you technically could get the job "fresh out of law school" - but that would mean no one else better was in the competition.

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Someone correct me if i'm wrong, but I'd also note that this posting discusses "year of call", so you need to be a lawyer (i.e. have articled and been called to the bar). 

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26 minutes ago, PeaceJasmine said:

Someone correct me if i'm wrong, but I'd also note that this posting discusses "year of call", so you need to be a lawyer (i.e. have articled and been called to the bar). 

Yes, sorry. I should clarify I mean after doing the nine months of articling and then passing the bar exams. I edited the original post.

Edited by Mihael

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33 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

The requirements for the job are in the posting. Research, legal analysis, advocacy.

Where does it say this? All I see is the job description and the "primary functions and responsibilities" of the job. Nowhere does it say what requirements or how much experience the applicant needs to get the job.

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What do you mean when you say "requirements"?

Are you looking for something other than what skills you will be required to demonstrate through experience?

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1 hour ago, Mihael said:

Where does it say this? All I see is the job description and the "primary functions and responsibilities" of the job. Nowhere does it say what requirements or how much experience the applicant needs to get the job.

Just look at a Crown job posting

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23 minutes ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

Thank you for this. 

So these are the applicant requirements listed in the job posting: 

  • Must be a member in good standing or eligible for membership in the Law Society of British Columbia.
  • Legal Counsel 1: 5 or less years of call. Please note that Lawyers with an excess of 5 years of call to the bar will not be considered.
  • Experience in the conduct of litigation at a provincial superior court.

 

Can you help me understand what these requirements mean? I can't seem to understand any of these points. 

 

I assume the first point means that it's not necessary to have passed the bar but you must be eligible. (Or you can have passed the bar).

The second point I assume means that you're eligible if you've never worked as a legal counsel before (or under 5 years of working as one).

The last point I don't get. Could you have achieved that experience in your articling? Or must it have been an actual job?

Was I correct with the first two points?

Edited by Mihael

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These positions are extraordinarily competitive, generally more difficult than getting a position at even prestigious large firms. It is not clear why you are asking about the minutiae of applying for a position that is at least 5 years off for you. Go write the LSAT. 

In any event to prevent misinformation:

  • You are wrong on the first point, it means that you have to be a lawyer, either in BC (member of the BC law society) or in another province (eligible for membership in BC).
  • The second point means that it is only open to a lawyer in their first five years of practice.  Once you are a more senior call you need to apply for a more senior position. 
  • Articling is an actual job, the only major difference between articling and practicing in B.C. is that you have supervision and limited liability. Yes, you can gain experience in litigation during articling.

You don't seem to understand, but BC does not have bar exams at all. It has the Law Society Admissions Program which includes a 10 week course and nine months of articling. And to be clear, no where in Canada is writing the bar exam sufficient to become a member of any law society (that is, to become a lawyer).

See: https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/becoming-a-lawyer-in-bc/new-lawyers-and-students/high-school-students/

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2 minutes ago, Mal said:

You don't seem to understand, but BC does not have bar exams at all.

I mean PLTC does end with a barrister and solicitor exam which seem awfully close to the idea of a bar exam.

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3 minutes ago, lawstudent20202020 said:

I mean PLTC does end with a barrister and solicitor exam which seem awfully close to the idea of a bar exam.

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1 hour ago, Mal said:

It is not clear why you are asking about the minutiae of applying for a position that is at least 5 years off for you. Go write the LSAT. 

Already did. But you do realize that it's important to inquire about future job opportunities before even going down the path of law school, right? I don't want to enter law school and get some useless law degree (for all I know) that won't make me any good money. Which is why I ask important questions about potential future employment before even going down this long path. It's only rational to inquire.

Thanks for the clarifications on the job requirements though. I seem to get it now.

1 hour ago, Mal said:

And to be clear, no where in Canada is writing the bar exam sufficient to become a member of any law society (that is, to become a lawyer).

How so? I understand that there's technically no bar exam, but there is the PTLC barrister and solicitor exams after articling. So you're still not technically a lawyer after passing these exams, which are the final hurdle? What more do you need to do to be a member of the law society?

 

Edited by Mihael
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3 hours ago, Mihael said:

How so? I understand that there's technically no bar exam, but there is the PTLC barrister and solicitor exams after articling. So you're still not technically a lawyer after passing these exams, which are the final hurdle? What more do you need to do to be a member of the law society?

 

I guess in the sense that to be a lawyer you typically need to earn a law degree, complete your articles/clerkship/LPP placement (unless if at Lakehead or Ryerson), and pass whatever competency assessment your province sets (whether it be a bar exam, bar school, or whatever else).

Edited to add that I guess you also have to satisfy your law society that you are of good character.

Edited by msk2012

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2 hours ago, msk2012 said:

I guess in the sense that to be a lawyer you typically need to earn a law degree, complete your articles/clerkship/LPP placement (unless if at Lakehead or Ryerson), and pass whatever competency assessment your province sets (whether it be a bar exam, bar school, or whatever else).

Edited to add that I guess you also have to satisfy your law society that you are of good character.

And then, after all that, actually be called! 

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7 hours ago, artsydork said:

And then, after all that, actually be called! 

What does this mean?

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3 minutes ago, Mihael said:

What does this mean?

Every province has their own style of ceremony. In Ontario, pre covid, we attended a special ceremony "Call to Bar" that is a special sitting of the court. We receive our official certificates. It's only then can we officially call ourselves "lawyers" but have to pay our insurance and order fees. All this to say, you are not a "lawyer" until several steps are completed. Passing law school is only one step in the journey.

I suggest looking at the law society website of the province you might want to consider working in. All these terms and steps are generally written there.

 

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13 minutes ago, artsydork said:

Every province has their own style of ceremony. In Ontario, pre covid, we attended a special ceremony "Call to Bar" that is a special sitting of the court. We receive our official certificates. It's only then can we officially call ourselves "lawyers" but have to pay our insurance and order fees. All this to say, you are not a "lawyer" until several steps are completed. Passing law school is only one step in the journey.

I suggest looking at the law society website of the province you might want to consider working in. All these terms and steps are generally written there.

 

How long after completing your bar exams do you typically get called to the bar, assuming you did well on your exams and fulfilled all the other requirements?

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Depends on where you are. In BC there are a handful of Call ceremonies per year. In other provinces it’s an application before the courts. 
 

Google the province you are interested in. You should be able to find this stuff easily. 

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Anyone have any insight on interviewing for a position like this, in addition to Kurrika's stickied policy analyst post? Have only ever interviewed for private practices.

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