How To Get Into Law School (A Complete Guide)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated August 19, 2022
Published July 26, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Law schools are professional institutions designed to train you in legal knowledge and practices. Studying to become a lawyer can be a rigorous process, including extensive study and several examinations. Knowing how to get into law school can help you prepare for the cost and various processes involved. In this article, we discuss how to get into a law school, factors to consider when picking a law school, and other requirements you need to complete after law school.
How to get into law school
Getting into law school can be an extremely comfortable experience with the right knowledge. Follow these steps to get into law school:
1. Research the profession
The first step is to be certain that law is what you want to study. There are a lot of misconceptions about the legal profession from movies, books, and anecdotes. Taking the time to research the training, job description, and pay for lawyers can help you make informed decisions. You can reach out to a lawyer you know and request a meeting or job shadow opportunity at their office. If that is unavailable, you can use various online resources to get an idea of what legal practice entails.
2. Obtain your bachelor's degree
Law school programs require you to have a bachelor's degree, at least 90 credit hours, or three years of undergraduate study before you can apply. Having your bachelor's degree makes your application more competitive. Some law schools accept a bachelor's degree in any field of study, while others require particular degrees. Some law schools also consider credit hours, while others require certain courses. You can check the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website to find out the requirements for your preferred law school. Typically, a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science suffices to get into a law school program.
Be sure you obtain your bachelor's degree from an institution that is accredited by a relevant organization. In Canada, various organizations provide accreditation across provinces, rather than a national accreditation body. Universities that provide accredited bachelor's degrees receive their accreditation from any of the following organizations:
Alberta Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education
British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training
Association of Commonwealth Universities
Degree Quality Assessment Board of British Columbia
Campus Alberta Quality Council
Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario
Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance
Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (Ontario)
Manitoba Ministry of Advanced Education
Manitoba-Saskatchewan Universities Program Review Audit Council
Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission
New Brunswick Ministry of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour
Newfoundland Labrador Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills
Nova Scotia Ministry of Labour and Advanced Education
Prince Edward Island Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning
Quebec Bureau de Cooperation Interuniversitaire
Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education
3. Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
You need to pass the LSAT to gain admission into any LSAC-approved law school. The LSAT is a standardized assessment test that is held four times a year. It assesses your reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. You must also submit a write-up on a given topic. LSAC doesn't score the writeup, but they forward it to the law school you apply to for their review. Your LSAT score is one of the biggest considerations in your law school application. Ensure you take at least 3 months to prepare fully for the exam, although a year is better.
You can take practice tests that are available on the LSAT website. You can also hire a private tutor, go to a tutorial center, or practice questions with your friends. LSAT exams occur on Mondays and Saturdays in various locations that are available for selection on the LSAT website. Three weeks after you write the exam, your results arrive via email. LSAT scores fall between 120 and 180.
4. Process your official transcript
Most law schools require you to submit your official transcript as part of your admission process. Obtaining transcripts can take a lot of time since many other students are also applying at the same time. Ensure you start the process ahead of time to avoid any delays. Next, find out the cost of obtaining a transcript at your university. If you're applying to multiple law schools, you need multiple copies. You also need to pay any outstanding fees at your university.
5. Draft your personal statement
A personal statement is a letter that describes your qualifications, achievements, and interests. The goal of your personal statement is to tell the admissions officer why you want to study at their law school and why you're qualified. Remember to talk about your most impressive and relevant achievements. It helps to quantify the impact of your achievements and skills. Some institutions have personal statement guides, but you can research how to write a personal statement if that's unavailable. Remember to send your personal statement to trusted friends and mentors to review for you.
6. Get a letter of recommendation
Many law schools require at least one letter of recommendation. This is a letter written by someone who can reference your academic performance and character. Former professors or employers that you have a good relationship with may write these letters. Meet them beforehand to discuss the content of the recommendation letter. Remember to send consistent reminders since the person might be busy with work.
7. Apply to a Law School
There are 24 law schools in Canada, each with its own requirements for admission. Check the LSAC website for the guide of admission requirements for the law school of your choice. There are two legal traditions: the French civil law, which operates in Quebec, and the English common law, which operates in all other provinces. To practice law in Quebec, you need to go to a law school in Quebec. Completing law school typically takes three years.
Another important consideration is the accreditation of your law school. Each provincial authority has a list of law schools they formally recognize. You can locate a list of schools approved by the province where you intend to practice. For example, the Barreau du Quebec requires you to attend a French civil law school. The Law Society of Ontario only recognizes law schools approved by Convocation, which is the monthly meeting of Law Society benchers. You must obtain a Bachelor of Law or Juris Doctor to become a bar member in any province.
Related: How Much Does a Paralegal Make?
What to consider when deciding on a law school
There are multiple law schools in Canada, each with different training programs. Here are some factors you can consider when selecting a law school:
Cost is one of the major considerations before deciding on a law school. Studying law is ordinarily cost-intensive, and fees vary according to the institution. Pick law schools that are within your financial capacity. You can also consider applying for loans or scholarships. Research loans and scholarships and their requirements.
Since there are two law systems in Canada, you need to select a law school that allows you to practice in your preferred province. Certain provinces also have better career prospects than others. For example, some provinces have many prestigious firms and organizations that pay well. Others may have better prospects in your preferred specialty. Consider these things when deciding on a law school. It helps to pick a law school in the province you intend to build your career.
Law schools offer different programs and have different training methods. You can research each law school to be sure of the content of their programs. Picking a program of your choice can ensure you have an easier time while you study. You can also select programs that are more in line with your career goals.
Other requirements after law school
It is best to go through certain steps after law school to validate your studies and qualify you for practice. Here are the final steps to becoming a lawyer:
Complete your bar admission course
Complete the bar admission program for your province. Each province has different programs with different durations and exams. The most common bar admission program is the Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) course, a program in four provinces. Other provinces have specific courses and tests. For example, in Ontario, you need to pass a barrister licensing examination and a solicitor licensing examination. All exams test you on the materials you studied in their respective programs.
Complete your articling or clerkship
Most provinces require you to complete a period of articling or internship with a firm or a lawyer. The articling requirement differs for each province. For example, Ontario has a ten-month articling period and British Columbia has a nine-month articling period. In contrast, Quebec has a six-month articling period plus an additional four months working with the bar school in Quebec. The articling period is to familiarize you with legal practice and certify that you have advanced knowledge in legal processes.
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