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Hi everyone! I was wondering if anyone had any advice to offer on my situation.

I will be attending law school in the fall and applied to both Canadian and US schools. Honestly, I thought the American schools were kind of a long shot and I was pretty much settled on attending UofT. However, I recently ended up getting into NYU (still waiting on some other US schools) and working in NY has always been a dream of mine. The thing is that I know I'd want to come back to Canada at some point to settle down. Does anyone know approximately what the process looks like to become accredited in Canada after attending a US school? If it's too complex and time-consuming, I'd rather go to UofT and still have a potential opportunity to work in NY with the option to come back to Canada. And, of course, save, a TON of money staying in Canada. I would really appreciate any thoughts on this!! It's such a big decision and I'm having a hard time making it -- thank in advance!

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If you really want to work in New York NYU gives you very good shot at that while UofT gives you an ok shot. I don't think it's insanely onerous to come back to Canada from that kind of experience but the pay cut may make it feel near impossible. For the cost of tuition versus potential salary I'd say NYU seems like a better investment even if you only work long enough to pay off your loans before coming back.

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You should look into the NCA process to get accredited in Canada after studying in the US. But as to your question about working in NYC - I'd encourage you to think more critically about what kind of work you would be interested in.  NYC is a market with huge differentiation between premiere and second tier employers, differences that are reflected in salaries and exit opportunities - and in the degree to which certain firms are harder (but not impossible) to crack as a non T-14 - or even non-HYS. 

So while NYC may be open to you as a UofT grad, the full range of the market will not be.  Some reflection on what you want to do after you graduate, even if it is hard to put a pin on it at this stage, is time well spent.  Something to consider, and to balance against the cost / risk of attending a US school. 

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Assuming you want to come back to Canada, I think you should go for UofT, and for the following reasons:

1) When you get a degree from the U.S., to go back to Canada, you have to write the NCA in addition to the Ontario bar exam (assuming you want to practice in Toronto). I have to admit, I don't know how the NCA process works coming from the higher tier American schools, but I assume there is still an exam or two. So that's NCA + Bar exam.

2) Conversely, when you have a degree from UofT, all you have to do is write the New York Bar exam to go work in NYU.

3) Getting a summer job in NY from UofT is probably more difficult than getting a summer job in NY coming from NYU law (I think only like 10 - 13 students maybe geting NY summer jobs from UofT?).This is true. But if you are willing to apply to NY after graduating law school from UT and waiting 1-2 years as an associate, it is actually quite simple to get a job at an NY law firm (top tier) once you have passed the NY bar exams and you have worked a year or two. All of the top 100 law firms in NY are bigger than the biggest Canadian law firm (OK, maybe slightly exaggerated), and there is a plentiful of jobs. It's a revolving door in terms of the number of jobs for junior mid-level associates because of how fast people come and leave.

4) UT is probably cheaper all together: tuition + living than NYU

I know NYU has the prestige factor, but I think UT is more practical. I think my opinion may be a bit different if you were going to Harvard, Yale or Stanford.

Edited by johnalm

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I’d go U of T, given your desire to return to Canada.  I have no idea of the actual numbers but anecdotally NY seems to be hiring a lot of U of T students these days, so if you’re an above average student you have a good shot.  Going to NYU close to guarantees a spot in US biglaw, but you would have to grind it out as an associate in NYC for at least 2-3 years just to pay down that debt.

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If you’re still curious feel free to shoot me a PM on process to go from NY biglaw to Ontario.

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On 1/29/2021 at 4:30 PM, HammurabiTime said:

I don't think it's insanely onerous to come back to Canada from that kind of experience but the pay cut may make it feel near impossible.

Quick comparison:

If you work in NY Big Law for 3 years to pay off NYU student debt then move to Bay St this is the salary difference:

3rd year NY associate: $220,000 USD base + $70,000 USD bonus = $290,000 USD = ~$360,000 CAD

3rd year Bay St associate: $150,000 CAD

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I echo the above comments. Coming back to Canada from a US law school is a huge pain in the ass, not just because of the NCA accreditation process, but because a lot of Canadian firms might look at your American schooling/work with skepticism. Obviously that depends on what you want to do - litigation, corporate, or tax. Corporate is pretty easy to jump back-and-forth the border with. Litigation much less so. Litigation in the US is VERY different from that in Canada, and only a very small number of Canadian firms will give you credit for your American litigation experience. To that end, it's much easier if you can get a foot in the door at a Canadian firm splitting your summer at a Canadian law school than having zero Canadian experience if you want to come back here.

You do have to perform quite well at U of T to get an NY job. But it's getting easier, from what I can tell, because some firms (e.g., Paul, Weiss, and SullCrom) have started to build up large U of T cohorts comparable to those from local schools (Paul, Weiss took more U of T students than NYU or Columbia students last year; 11). US firms love to hire from schools that they're familiar with. So, while you do have to do well at U of T to get an NY job, if you put in a concerted effort to apply to a ton of US firms and write a good application, it's perfectly feasible.

Having done the leap, I'd be happy to tell you more if you're interested. Feel free to message me.

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On 3/19/2021 at 6:59 AM, UTorontoLit said:

I echo the above comments. Coming back to Canada from a US law school is a huge pain in the ass, not just because of the NCA accreditation process, but because a lot of Canadian firms might look at your American schooling/work with skepticism. Obviously that depends on what you want to do - litigation, corporate, or tax. Corporate is pretty easy to jump back-and-forth the border with. Litigation much less so. Litigation in the US is VERY different from that in Canada, and only a very small number of Canadian firms will give you credit for your American litigation experience. To that end, it's much easier if you can get a foot in the door at a Canadian firm splitting your summer at a Canadian law school than having zero Canadian experience if you want to come back here.

You do have to perform quite well at U of T to get an NY job. But it's getting easier, from what I can tell, because some firms (e.g., Paul, Weiss, and SullCrom) have started to build up large U of T cohorts comparable to those from local schools (Paul, Weiss took more U of T students than NYU or Columbia students last year; 11). US firms love to hire from schools that they're familiar with. So, while you do have to do well at U of T to get an NY job, if you put in a concerted effort to apply to a ton of US firms and write a good application, it's perfectly feasible.

Having done the leap, I'd be happy to tell you more if you're interested. Feel free to message me.

You do pretty much have to go to UofT to make the leap though eh?

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On 4/2/2021 at 2:20 PM, MountainMon said:

You do pretty much have to go to UofT to make the leap though eh?

It's definitely possible to make the leap from Osgoode and McGill. The numbers honestly aren't great - usually only a handful of students per year compared to about 15-18 from U of T, but they are there. Other schools? Not so much. I've heard of a couple UBC students doing it, but the difficulty there is lack of proximity. At least Toronto is close geographically to New York. So, if you want to make the leap from a Canadian school to a New York firm, it's pretty much got to be one of McGill, Osgoode, or U of T, with U of T having the best odds by a fair margin.

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I'd flag that there does seem to be more of a trend currently of people making the leap from Toronto full service firms to NY now than in the past, too. I've known a few people to do it through either recruiters or people they had worked with who were already employed in NY and got an inside lead on an opening without going through any formal process. I imagine if you try to do this, where you went to school matters a lot less than what firm you articled at. Of course, no guarantee this trend continues for any amount of time, might just be a blip in the radar in the long term.

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Posted (edited)

You can get to NY from McGill with a top third of the class grades. Your resume matters, barring that cut off. 

I would seriously hazard to guess more u of t students apply to NY than McGill. And I'd seriously hazard to guess in the long run, counting clerking and such, the numbers proportionally line up.

And that doesn't count Mcgillians going to Europe, which a lot less people (any?) From u of t do.

And all for tuition a quarter of the price! With COL about half in their respective cities! And Montreal generally being a more fun student town.

/This message is not brought to you by McGill but by someone who knows the numbers who apply and go down south and such.

Edited by pzabbythesecond

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Depends on what you want to do. Litigation is very different between Canada and US. But corporate/tax/business law is similar. Note that there are international firms that have offices in both NYC and Toronto so that could be another option you can consider. Lots of people say that for HYS they will give a different answer, but if you go to HYS and become a litigator in the US, you will still have issues coming back to Canada, simply because the systems are just very different.

One thing we can say for sure is that if you go to NYU, you have a SIGNIFICANTLY higher chance to land a great job in biglaw in NYC, it is a top school that is very prestigious. Just look at the stats NYC provided (which was mentioned by another user). UofT has no stats showing what kind of jobs their graduates land in NYC. UofT only has stats showing how many landed a job in NYC, but we don't know what jobs and how much pay these students are getting. Another thing you should consider is the environment of the schools and cities, where do you think will suit you more?

Conclusion: depends on the field and what do you care about. Bigger pay cheque? more opportunities in NYC? coming back to Toronto?

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28 minutes ago, lawlawlaw777 said:

Depends on what you want to do. Litigation is very different between Canada and US. But corporate/tax/business law is similar. Note that there are international firms that have offices in both NYC and Toronto so that could be another option you can consider. Lots of people say that for HYS they will give a different answer, but if you go to HYS and become a litigator in the US, you will still have issues coming back to Canada, simply because the systems are just very different.

One thing we can say for sure is that if you go to NYU, you have a SIGNIFICANTLY higher chance to land a great job in biglaw in NYC, it is a top school that is very prestigious. Just look at the stats NYC provided (which was mentioned by another user). UofT has no stats showing what kind of jobs their graduates land in NYC. UofT only has stats showing how many landed a job in NYC, but we don't know what jobs and how much pay these students are getting. Another thing you should consider is the environment of the schools and cities, where do you think will suit you more?

Conclusion: depends on the field and what do you care about. Bigger pay cheque? more opportunities in NYC? coming back to Toronto?

Everyone going to NYC from U of T is going to a Cravath scale firm. I’ve essentially never heard of anyone going elsewhere, particularly since the other prestigious jobs in NY, like AUSA in the SDNY, are closed off to Canadians.

NYU is a better choice if you want to work in NYC because your chances of getting an NY job are higher, not because the jobs NYU grads get are qualitatively better than those U of T grads get. 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Everyone going to NYC from U of T is going to a Cravath scale firm. I’ve essentially never heard of anyone going elsewhere, particularly since the other prestigious jobs in NY, like AUSA in the SDNY, are closed off to Canadians.

NYU is a better choice if you want to work in NYC because your chances of getting an NY job are higher, not because the jobs NYU grads get are qualitatively better than those U of T grads get. 

NYU law grads do have a significantly higher chance to land great jobs based on the stats provided by the school. 

Can you provide the stats from a credible source that all UofT law grads landing Cravath scale firm jobs in NYC? 

Edited by lawlawlaw777

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, lawlawlaw777 said:

Can you provide the stats of all UofT law grads landing Cravath scale firm jobs in NYC? 

There aren’t stats, it’s just common knowledge when you run in those circles. I personally know about 90% of the U of T and Osgoode grads who headed south in the past three years, and not one of them is at a non-Cravath scale firm. 

You have a history of providing wrong and, quite frankly, weird advice about NY big law on this forum. I think any users reading your posts should keep in mind that they’re getting advice from a 1L with seemingly little understanding of NY big law or the routes Canadian students take to get there.  

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
Hey look, I was wrong. There are stats! Thanks to lolnope and Kada.
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2 minutes ago, lawlawlaw777 said:

Can you provide the stats of all UofT law grads landing Cravath scale firm jobs in NYC? 

Incomplete UofT NY Stats (Supposedly 30-40 this year)

They're all V100 firms

V100 firms generally follow the same payscale

The only non-V100 firms I've ever heard people going to are IP firms like Knobbes Martens, which pays similarly.

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9 minutes ago, lawlawlaw777 said:

NYU law grads do have a significantly higher chance to land great jobs based on the stats provided by the school. 

Can you provide the stats from a credible source that all UofT law grads landing Cravath scale firm jobs in NYC? 

http://ultravires.ca/2019/09/new-york-summer-2020-recruit-results/

http://ultravires.ca/2018/10/new-york-recruit-results/

And we have an internal list of students in New York through our CDO. It's all Cravath scale.

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