How to Become a Lawyer
To become a practicing lawyer in Canada, you need two to four years of a university program and a Juris Doctor/Bachelor of Laws degree from a recognized law school. Next, you must complete a period of articling, a bar admission course and exam, and be licensed in the province/territory where you plan to work. Expect a commitment of six to eight or more years.
Admission to law school is generally based on the following criteria:
High grade point average (GPA)
Some law schools require only two or three years of university study, while others prefer an undergraduate degree. Your application will likely be more competitive if you have completed your undergraduate degree. Consider selecting courses or a degree in which you have a strong interest, and include courses that will enhance and develop your skills in critical analysis, logical reasoning, written and oral communication. In addition, consider courses or a program that you can excel at to ensure your GPA is as high as possible to meet or exceed admission requirements. Athabasca University does not offer a law degree. Athabasca University offers many undergraduate courses and degrees to consider for the first phase of your education. See AU undergraduate courses and programs.
Competitive LSAT score
LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) is a standardized test designed to measure certain skills necessary for success in law school. All Canadian and U.S. law schools require the standard LSAT. The test is administered by the Law School Admissions Counsel (LSAC).
- See LSAC- contains links to anything and everything on the LSAT
- Oxford Seminars-Excellence in Test Preparation
Other admission criteria:
Other admission criteria may include letters of recommendation, work experience, community involvement, and a personal statement. Some schools have separate admissions categories for mature students and Indigenous students.
NOTE: This information is general in nature. Admission requirements to law programs vary from university to university. It is your responsibility to ensure your AU courses or degree will be accepted by the university you wish to attend. Review options for Canadian or American Law Schools.
Consider your own preferences and areas of interest when researching law schools. Just as a law school evaluates applicants for suitability, conduct your own law school research to identify those that best fit your own preferences and areas of interest.
Here is a sample of websites to help you with your research:
- Canadian Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Law School – Campus Access
- Law School Admission Council LSAC
- Careers in Law A resource for Ontario residents.
- Ontario Law School Application Service OSLAS
- A Career in Law
1. Research career information related to a career in law.
The following links contain information on duties, working conditions, skills, education, salary, employment prospects and opportunities:
- Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS)
- Law Careers – Campus Access
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Working in Canada
2. Determine professional licensing requirements.
The educational requirements for registration may vary from province to province. Consult the Law Society for your home province.
3. Research post-secondary institutions you would like to attend.
Research post-secondary institutions offering a law degree. Review their calendar and admission requirements.
- Alberta ALIS Educational Programs
- Directory of Canadian Universities
- The official Guide to Canadian Law Schools
- Law Schools compiled by the American Bar Association
- International Directory of Law Schools HG.org
- School Finder.com
- Law School – Campus Access
- Ivy Global LSAT
4. Contact an AU Counsellor
A counsellor can provide you with more information on this career path, and ensure the AU program you choose meets your goals. You can schedule a telephone appointment using the online appointment form, email, or call 1-800-788-9041.
5. Become an AU Student
Once you complete these steps, you are ready to become an AU Student.
6. Contact an AU Academic Advisor.
Once you have applied and selected an AU program of study, Academic Advisors help you select courses and develop a program plan. (For courses or programs at another institution, you must contact that institution direct for assistance.) For more information see Advising Services.