After Law School
Congratulations, you have your law degree! Now what?
There are many career and academic options available to someone who has earned a JD. However, many of these options require you to become a practicing, licensed lawyer.
The Law Society is the professional and governing body for lawyers in each province or territory and each respective Law Society has its own procedures and rules for becoming a fully licensed and practising lawyer. Students are individually responsible for ensuring they meet the requirements of the Law Society in the province or territory where they are interested in becoming a student-at law and eventually licensed to practice as a lawyer. As well, there are some steps to be aware of that arise during law school.
Generally the steps to becoming a lawyer are as follows:
- Successfully complete law school (Note: Law Societies across Canada often have recommend course suggestions. There is one Law Society in eastern Canada that has a required mandatory course load prior to becoming licensed in that province. It is prudent to check with the respective Law Society each year to ensure you meet the course requirements.)
- Apply to graduate from Law School (in third year).
- Apply for admission as a Student-at-Law with the respective Law Society (this typically occurs between January and April of third year, however in Ontario and BC it is in the fall term). Most information can now be found on-line with the respective Law Society, and staff at the College of Law and Law Society are willing to assist where needed. Remember, the Law Society will be your governing and professional body. As with all interactions at law school, your professionalism and reputation are of utmost importance.
Ensure you have your application completed correctly and delivered to the Law Society well within the deadline period.
- Article or Clerkship. This process is governed by the respective Law Society. This period usually lasts approximately one year after law school when combined with the bar course. Articling is a process where a student-at-law works under the guidance of a principal lawyer who is a licensed lawyer or Judge. In the event the student is working with a Court, the articles are referred to as a Clerkship. It is an exciting time as the student will gain invaluable experience and practical information to provide the foundation to practice as a lawyer. Students generally seek articles in the same manner as any other employment search by reviewing postings, researching and contacting employers, submitting applications and attending interviews. Recruitment usually occurs in second year at law school for articles to start and the end of third year. Recruitment rules are different in each province and are often set by the law society and / or local bar associations. Note the is also the LPP course offered in Ontario as an alternative to articling. The Career Services Office has numerous services and resources to assist students. It is important for students to ensure they are familiar with the rules and to contact the Career Services Office if they have any questions.
- Complete the Bar Admission Course / Examinations: refer to the respective Law Society. In Saskatchewan, the Bar Admission Course is called the CPLED program which also operates in Manitoba and Alberta.
- Apply to become a lawyer with the resepective Law Society. Near the end of articles, the student-at-law will apply to the respective Law Society to become a lawyer. Each jurisdiction has developed its own application procedure which may include signing the rolls, a ceremony, and taking the oath. A student-at- law should look into the procedure as soon as possible to ensure no delays in the licensing process.
For more information about articling and practicing law in Saskatchewan, please visit:
Law Society of Saskatchewan:
Phone: (306) 569-8242
Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED)
Phone: (306) 966-7874