Becoming a Lawyer

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How To Become A Lawyer In The U.S.

To put it simply, you graduate from law school and pass the bar exam. U.S. states do not have bar admission courses. In general, in order to receive permission to take the bar exam in a U.S. state one must have graduated from an A.B.A. (American Bar Association) approved law school. A list of A.B.A. approved schools may be found in the Official Guide To U.S. Law Schools. You may order it from Law Services. The Canadian schools are riot A.B.A. approved. Nevertheless, some states, for some Canadian law graduates, at some times, have given permission to take the bar exam. The rules are different for each state. For specific information you should contact those responsible for bar admission in whatever state you are interested.

American Law School Addresses and Contact Information

American Law Societies Addresses and Contact Information

American Pre-Law Societies

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How To Become A Lawyer In Canada

A license is required to hold oneself out as a lawyer and practice law In Canada, the legal profession is a self governing profession. This means that the profession governs itself and decides who is entitled to hold a license to practice law. In most provinces it is common to refer to the group of lawyers who govern the legal profession as the "Law Society."

Law Societies are also governed by laws. For example, in Ontario the law that governs the Law Society is called the Law Society Act. This is a statute that provides the legislative framework for the regulation of the legal profession. It also specifies the requirements for becoming a lawyer.


Bar Admission In The Common Law Provinces

In order to be admitted to the bar, one must complete the bar admission course in the province in which one wishes to be a lawyer. The bar admission course is administered by the Law Society. In general the bar admission course lasts from nine to eighteen months. It consists of a combination of articling (the development of practical legal skills under the supervision of a lawyer) and classes.

In order to be allowed to attend the bar admission course, one must have already graduated from an "approved law school." The list of "approved law schools" (for every province except Quebec) includes each of the Canadian common law schools. In rare instances graduates of foreign law schools may be permitted to enroll in the bar admission course. For further information you should contact the law society of the province in which you wish to practice.

Therefore, the basic procedure is as follows.

1. Graduate from an approved law school. Canada's common law schools are approved in every province except Quebec.

2. Enroll in the bar admission course.

3. Complete the bar admission course.

4. Pay the fees to be admitted to the bar.


Bar Admission In Quebec

Canada has two legal systems. Quebec is based on the civil law system. The rest of the provinces are based on the common law system. A common law degree is required enter the bar admission course in the common law provinces. A civil law degree is required to enter the bar admission course in Quebec. Quebec law schools have civil law degree programs. A number of Canadian law schools have programs that allow you to complete both Common and Civil law degrees in four years. McGill has a program that allows for the completion of both Common and Civil law degrees in as little as three years. This gives you the option of bar admission in both Quebec and the Common Law provinces.

Canadian Law School Addresses and Contact Information

Provincial Law Society Addresses and Contact Information

Canadian Pre-Law Societies

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Other useful information:

International Law Schools

The American Bar Association - a wealth of information about law schools, U.S. bar admission and the practice of law in the U.S.

The National Conference Of Bar Examiners - basic information about the bar exam in a number of U.S. states and links to the bar examiners in every U.S. state

Richardson - Law School Bound® - links to everything you need to know about becoming a lawyer.

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