Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

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bdeans91
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Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby bdeans91 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:38 pm

I am from Canada and go to a Canadian undergrad. I have grades to get into the elite Canadian Law Schools, and the elite US Law Schools (T-14, at least).

It's a toss up for me where to go, a few questions:

a) Transferability - I heard if you go to, let's say, U of Toronto Law School, you can get recruited by Wall Street firms or Canadian firms and it is a simple(r) transfer to the US. On the other hand, I heard that if you go to, say, U of Chicago and do well, you will be recruited by Wall Street firms but transferring to a Canadian firm would be very difficult and strenuous.

b) Canadian citizen, which types of firms are better to work at? I have heard the following:

- Canadian firms (Bay Street, Toronto) work less billable hours (still high)
- Higher chance of making partner in Canada
- Starting salaries significantly lower in Canada

- US firms (Big Metropolitans) work ridiculous billable hours
- Higher chance of getting fired or not hitting partner in the US
- Starting salaries are equivalent to 6th year Canadian salaries

So the questions boil down to transferability, and what firms offer a better lifestyle and long term benefits? I rarely see explicit comparisons so if anyone could shed some light I would appreciate it.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:40 pm

Seems like you have a great understanding of the differences. Which type of lifestyle do you prefer ?
Do you have an LSAT score ? Have you applied to any law schools ? In the US, LSAT score is more important than grades while the opposite seems to be true for Canadian law schools in a system that, ironically, inflates law school applicants' GPAs.

bdeans91
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby bdeans91 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:52 pm

I am in third year with a 4.0 GPA and good logic levels in courses (and naturally), so I have options. I want to be sure about where I'm going and that I want to go there when I apply for schools next year

CanadianWolf
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:56 pm

Have you taken the LSAT ? If so, what is your score ? Law schools do not accept grades from undergraduate logic courses as substitutes for LSAT scores. Apply to Toronto & any of the top US law schools that your LSAT suggests is reasonable. Once accepted to law schools, then decide. My best guess is that Harvard is not waiting with bated breath for your application.

bdeans91
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby bdeans91 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:04 pm

I understand that. Back to my initial question. So let's say I did get into Harvard or Columbia or what have you... isn't it very difficult to transfer to Canada or not worth it? Are my assumptions on differences between Canadian and US firms significant and/or even true?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:28 pm

Based on my limited knowledge, your assumptions are accurate. Transferring back to Canada is easy but may include an articling period not done in the US. Your best source for your inquiries is the Canadian website that caters to these type of issues & very thoroughly discusses Canadian law schools & law firms.
Why won't you address my question concerning the LSAT ?

bdeans91
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby bdeans91 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:40 pm

MY apologies. I have yet to take the LSAT.

tarp
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby tarp » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:04 pm

Working in NY or California with a Canadian law degree is easy because those states allow Canadian graduates to sit for the bar exam.

Working in Canada with a U.S. degree is more difficult because you must meet the NCA (National Committee on Accreditation) requirements before being allowed to sit for the bar. These can include challenge exams or additional study at a Canadian law school. You also must complete an articling requirement unless you have already passed the bar in the U.S. and worked for at least a year in the U.S.

My personal view is that you should stay in Canada, for numerous reasons... PM me if you want more insight.

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rman1201
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby rman1201 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:11 pm

bdeans91 wrote:MY apologies. I have yet to take the LSAT.


Take the LSAT and re-visit this.
A 4.0 offers little to no indication of your ability to get into an elite law school. There are plenty of 4.0s here who can't break a 160 on the LSAT.

serdog
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby serdog » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:05 am

If you can get UofT attend, its a better option of a Canadian citizen, even one looking at New York, then any US law outside HYS. Otherwise decide where you want to work if Canada then attend a Canadian school if the US attend a US school. At the end of the day you are FAR better of attending any Canadian school then attending anything outside T1(generous best not to attend anything outside T30 at most unless your using MSU or Hawaii as a backdoor or big money) in the US.
also note Canadian schools generally weigh GPA much more then US schools, ie you don't have to break 160 to get into good school with your GPA

Lets look at cost
UBC Citizen tuition $10,135.46 + say 20,000 for other cost 30,135.46 almost all US school you pay that in Tuition along
lets compare
University of Minnesota(lower T30)
34,736-$5000(aid)+3,058(other fees)+15,000(to live on)=47,784

the difference in cost is $17,658.54 per year
UofT to lets a Michigan
Citizen at UofT
$22,638 +$20,000(cost of living)=42,836
Michigan(mid T14)
$46,200+$15,000-$5000(aid)=$56,200
the difference in cost is $13,364

CanadianWolf
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:27 am

I agree with Tarp that staying in Canada to practice law is a better option because of more reasonable work hours, better job security & better chance of becoming a partner. The structure of biglaw type US firms promotes outsourcing to India (because large,complex cases are usually handled in a piecemeal fashion by associates) & a lack of development of associates who typically experience just a portion of each case during their first few years & then may be let go.

Canadian 4.0 GPAs are less common than in the US where grades tend to be inflated.

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iShotFirst
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby iShotFirst » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:37 am

Don't expect to just walk into Canada top jobs, certification could add up to a year of additional schooling, regardless of where you graduate from in US. In addition you have the mandatory articling period.

Also there are far more law school graduates proportionally in the US, making it harder to get a job afterwards.

So...

Do great at Canadian law school= ability to work at top levels in either US or Canada
Do poorly at Canadian law school= ability to get job, not a massive debt load, social safety net

Do great at US law school= ability to work at top levels in US
Do poorly at US law school= massive debt + uncertain job prospects (FML?)

For me the choice is simple.

sidhesadie
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby sidhesadie » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:11 pm

This makes me wish I were Canadian.
And not for the first time.

tarp
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby tarp » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:59 pm

You can become a Canadian, even without any employment arranged, as long as you meet the requirements for skilled workers. There is a "points" system. A college educated person with several years of work experience in a skilled profession should have no problem becoming a Canadian Permanent Resident. Once you become a PR, you are automatically eligible for resident tuition rates. The entire process from start to finish usually takes a year or two. If you speak some French and apply through Quebec, it's even faster. They are much more welcoming of immigrants than the U.S.

sidhesadie
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby sidhesadie » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:18 pm

I don't speak french, gosh darnit.

I thought that if you didn't have employment, you had to have a certain amount of assets?
It's been a really long time since I checked into it though.

bdeans91
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby bdeans91 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:39 pm

Wow this thread really started to get interesting. I like the ability to see my questions being EXPLICITLY answered.

I am a Canadian citizen who is iffy about where to work between the US and Canada... So going to a Canadian school may be my best option (leaning more towards Canada as time passes).

One last question. We all know U of Toronto carries major weight internationally for law. What about schools like York, McGill, and UBC (for law school)?

From what I have heard York is the next best thing, but, again, hard to find these questions explicitly answered by anyone outside of McLeans magazine.

bdeans91
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby bdeans91 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:28 pm

Note: GPA got screwed over. LSAC GPA --> 4.06, OLSAS GPA --> 3.88... although I am pretty sure a 3.88 gets you in everywhere in Canada.

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iShotFirst
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby iShotFirst » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:15 pm

Ya that GPA thing always happens when LSAC converts it... the conversion for my McMaster grades really surprised me. As far as internationally, I don't know if I would say 'internationally' exactly, but as far as New York, Toronto is definitely tops and then likely York. Its hard to see anything beyond McLeans like you say, but I personally know people from both Toronto and York that now work in New York. UBC maybe more for California? I cant imagine there would be many connections between UBC and New York.

McGill may carry more weight in an international context because of Civil Law. Of course you have to be fluent in French so thats out for most Ontarians at least.

serdog
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby serdog » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:01 am

bdeans91 wrote:Note: GPA got screwed over. LSAC GPA --> 4.06, OLSAS GPA --> 3.88... although I am pretty sure a 3.88 gets you in everywhere in Canada.

your above the median for almost every school (not UVIC but they have the same median as Yale[much lower LSAT]) if your break 165 you should be good at all Canadian school as long as you PS and softs are fairly good


CanadianWolf
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:22 pm

OP: How did your GPA get lowered from OLSAS which discards your lowest grades & you started with a 4.0 ? Do "A+" grades play any part in your situation ? Is it OLSAS that discards an applicant's lowest grades or is that done by individual law schools ?

leemh87
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby leemh87 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:48 pm

This thread applies to my exact situation right now. I'm a Canadian citizen raised in Toronto, but moved to the US in high school, have my green card, and went to Penn for college. I applied to U of T law and was admitted this cycle, and I'm waiting on US law schools right now (admittedly, I applied super-late, and am in the process of applying to some now...so T14 may not be realistic for me now). Regardless, I am really debating where I ultimately want to practice law, especially in terms of job prospects in the US after graduating from U of T? I know after the market crash, NY biglaw recruitment in Toronto decreased significantly, but I think it will get better in the next few years, albeit not at the level that it was. Basically, are job prospects for the US better from U of T, the best law school in Canada, or a mid-tier US school, say GW or BU?

bdeans91
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby bdeans91 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:14 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:OP: How did your GPA get lowered from OLSAS which discards your lowest grades & you started with a 4.0 ? Do "A+" grades play any part in your situation ? Is it OLSAS that discards an applicant's lowest grades or is that done by individual law schools ?


I didn't discard the lowest grades yet.

LSAC: 4.33 for A+, 4.0 for A, 3.66666667 for A-...

OLSAS: 4.0 for A+, 3.90 for A, 3.70 for A-...

I was actually a 4.06 with LSAC, not a 4.0, but the ceiling is 4.33. Because the ceiling is 4.0 for OLSAS I ended up with a 3.88 GPA.

When they say they will take "best 3 of 4" or "best 2" years, do they take the years as a whole (i.e. the 30 credits that made up year one and the thirty credits that made up, let's say, your next best year which was year 3) or do they take your best years of credits (i.e. your best 60 credits regardless of year)?

bdeans91
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby bdeans91 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:22 pm

leemh87 wrote:This thread applies to my exact situation right now. I'm a Canadian citizen raised in Toronto, but moved to the US in high school, have my green card, and went to Penn for college. I applied to U of T law and was admitted this cycle, and I'm waiting on US law schools right now (admittedly, I applied super-late, and am in the process of applying to some now...so T14 may not be realistic for me now). Regardless, I am really debating where I ultimately want to practice law, especially in terms of job prospects in the US after graduating from U of T? I know after the market crash, NY biglaw recruitment in Toronto decreased significantly, but I think it will get better in the next few years, albeit not at the level that it was. Basically, are job prospects for the US better from U of T, the best law school in Canada, or a mid-tier US school, say GW or BU?


You would have to ask someone else for this. I think the best thing to do is to ultimately decide where you want to practice BEFORE you make your LS decision. I think U of T law school is pretty much Harvard up here in Canada. You go on Big Law firms' pages and half the partners (okay, maybe less than half) are from U of T. Seems that Osgoode, McGill, and UBC are the other main powerhouses throughout Canada for BigLaw.

Basically if you go to U of T, you probably end up with better LONG TERM prospects in Canada than you would in the US. I have also heard of US Law Firms being willing to accept Canadian Law grads as associates, but less likely to push them to partner (and by exploring the law firms' webpages, you can see this). Ultimately, you want that partner position (or at least the option of it), and that is where the real money is. Also your student loans will be less from Canadian LS so no need for the big up-front salaries.

That being said, if you want to go to the US to work more hours for a more immediate salary and possibly a huge salary as a partner, go for it! Just in my case, the US seems like a bit of a pipe dream (grass is always greener...) and when you objectively look at it, Canada is the place to be!

But based on the things I have seen (nearly unanimous), if you are set on the US go to a top US law school. Seems like U of T would be as good as a non-T14 though. Just pretend you are a hiring partner at a big firm, I think Duke, Georgetown, Cornell have a bit of a better ring to them, and prestige is ultimately what counts.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Canadian Law School vs. United States Law School

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:25 pm

OLSAS system of grade conversion is superior to the LSAC conversion method because Canada does not unfairly punish students for attending undergraduate universities whose highest letter grade is an "A" and not an "A+"; accordingly, those attending undergraduate institutions that award "A+" grades are not able to get an OLSAS grade conversion of higher than 4.0--unlike the American LSDAS system in which one can achieve an LSDAS GPA of up to 4.33.
Regardless of grading system used by one's undergraduate university or college, both can achieve OLSAS' highest GPA of 4.0. This is fairer than the US' LSDAS system in which most students cannot ever achieve a conversion GPA exceeding 4.0 simply because of the undergraduate school attended while others get a potential bonus of converting their GPAs to as high as 4.3 simply because their college or university offers "A+" grades.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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