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Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:25 pm
by Andrew66
Hi everyone. I'm a Canadian HS student planning on pursuing my undergraduate degree in Canada. My dream is to practise American law and so I plan on applying to the T-14 law schools in the states thereafter.

The searches I have made in this forum have made me come to the conclusion that I wont be at a disadvantage. However, I have been told on a different forum that international applicants are placed into a different pool by admissions councils. The law school class profiles of USC Gould, Virginia, and UCLA also indicate very, very few Canadian undergraduates.

Also, do American law schools look at the reputations of Canadian UG institutions? The most frequent answer I have received is 'no'. But when I looked at the class profiles I previously mentioned, the only Canadian universities that appeared were the University of Toronto and McGill. Should I consider lesser know universities such as UBC, Western, McMasters, etc.?

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:34 pm
by tr5890
Andrew66 wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a Canadian HS student planning on pursuing my undergraduate degree in Canada. My dream is to practise American law and so I plan on applying to the T-14 law schools in the states thereafter.

The searches I have made in this forum have made me come to the conclusion that I wont be at a disadvantage. However, I have been told on a different forum that international applicants are placed into a different pool by admissions councils. The law school class profiles of USC Gould, Virginia, and UCLA also indicate very, very few Canadian undergraduates.

Also, do American law schools look at the reputations of Canadian UG institutions? The most frequent answer I have received is 'no'. But when I looked at the class profiles I previously mentioned, the only Canadian universities that appeared were the University of Toronto and McGill.


Anecdotal, but I met at least six Canadian undergrads at HLS' admitted students weekend this year. But yes, they were all either from U Toronto or McGill.

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:58 pm
by TAD
Andrew66 wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a Canadian HS student planning on pursuing my undergraduate degree in Canada. My dream is to practise American law and so I plan on applying to the T-14 law schools in the states thereafter.

The searches I have made in this forum have made me come to the conclusion that I wont be at a disadvantage. However, I have been told on a different forum that international applicants are placed into a different pool by admissions councils. The law school class profiles of USC Gould, Virginia, and UCLA also indicate very, very few Canadian undergraduates.

Also, do American law schools look at the reputations of Canadian UG institutions? The most frequent answer I have received is 'no'. But when I looked at the class profiles I previously mentioned, the only Canadian universities that appeared were the University of Toronto and McGill.


Pretty sure that even if it's true that International students are at a disadvantage, this may not be as true for Canadians because our GPAs are still numerically evaluated rather than on an average, above average, superior scale.

I'm guessing the reason you see so little Canadian undergraduates at those institutions is because typically, from what I've seen, many Canadians only find it worth leaving the country if they get into a t-14 (with Virginia being the only one in the list of schools you mentioned) and arguably, t-6.

Also, I think the reason you see U of T and McGill being overly represented among top American law schools is the same reason you see HYPS undergrads being overly represented among top American law schools, it may just be filled with individuals that are already more likely to do well on the LSAT regardless of which undergrad they went to. I went to neither undergrad (many non Canadians have probably not heard of my university) and did just fine. Also met a lot of people when I visited schools that did not go to either institutions (think U of A, UVIC, U of C, UBC) all going to a t-6.

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:00 pm
by Mullens
Andrew66 wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a Canadian HS student planning on pursuing my undergraduate degree in Canada. My dream is to practise American law and so I plan on applying to the T-14 law schools in the states thereafter.

The searches I have made in this forum have made me come to the conclusion that I wont be at a disadvantage. However, I have been told on a different forum that international applicants are placed into a different pool by admissions councils. The law school class profiles of USC Gould, Virginia, and UCLA also indicate very, very few Canadian undergraduates.

Also, do American law schools look at the reputations of Canadian UG institutions? The most frequent answer I have received is 'no'. But when I looked at the class profiles I previously mentioned, the only Canadian universities that appeared were the University of Toronto and McGill.


USC and UCLA aren't T14 law schools.

The Canadians at my T14 that went to Canadian UGs went to UBC, Queens, U of T, Western Ontario, or McGill.

The visa situation could be very different in seven years so don't put all your bags in this basket. Get a marketable undergrad degree that will lead to reasonable employment because you might not want to go to law school or the path to being a US lawyer might be all but closed.

Canadians are looked at the same as US undergrads because they will have a GPA and LSAT score and those scores are what matter.

The primary reason for so few Canadians is probably because US law school costs over $300,000 at sticker price and Canadians aren't eligible for loans. Many of the Canadians in US law schools come from wealthy families.

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:20 pm
by kkdk
Mullens wrote:
Andrew66 wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a Canadian HS student planning on pursuing my undergraduate degree in Canada. My dream is to practise American law and so I plan on applying to the T-14 law schools in the states thereafter.

The searches I have made in this forum have made me come to the conclusion that I wont be at a disadvantage. However, I have been told on a different forum that international applicants are placed into a different pool by admissions councils. The law school class profiles of USC Gould, Virginia, and UCLA also indicate very, very few Canadian undergraduates.

Also, do American law schools look at the reputations of Canadian UG institutions? The most frequent answer I have received is 'no'. But when I looked at the class profiles I previously mentioned, the only Canadian universities that appeared were the University of Toronto and McGill.


USC and UCLA aren't T14 law schools.

The Canadians at my T14 that went to Canadian UGs went to UBC, Queens, U of T, Western Ontario, or McGill.

The visa situation could be very different in seven years so don't put all your bags in this basket. Get a marketable undergrad degree that will lead to reasonable employment because you might not want to go to law school or the path to being a US lawyer might be all but closed.

Canadians are looked at the same as US undergrads because they will have a GPA and LSAT score and those scores are what matter.

The primary reason for so few Canadians is probably because US law school costs over $300,000 at sticker price and Canadians aren't eligible for loans. Many of the Canadians in US law schools come from wealthy families.



OP, depends what you mean by "disadvantage." I'm Canadian and graduated from a T14 this year. Your GPA is evaluated just the same as American UG GPAs, unless you are from Quebec (if you're from Quebec, PM me). Because of Quebec's CEGEP system, grading is different. The reason McGill and UofT UGs are overrepresented is, in addition to those being the "top UGs" in Canada, so law schools are more familiar with them. But your UG really doesn't matter when compared to your numbers.

Cost of Attendance and federal loan ineligibility is one reason why fewer Canadians are found in US law schools, as was already pointed out. Other reasons include 1) Although eligible for Canadian student loans to study abroad, Canadian banks earmark a general maximum of 100K CAD for law school, which barely covers 1L. You either need to be wealthy or like me, lucky to have gone to a school that offered a scholarship; 2) American JDs are NOT recognized in Canada. You need to do 18 months worth of accreditation to practice in Canada with an American JD. So if you study law in the US, don't plan on going back home for a job right away. Ain't gonna happen; 3) Finally, it is not easy for a non-U.S. citizen to secure long term employment in the United States. F1 OPT lasts a year at most, after which you could theoretically get on a TN visa for 1-3 years at a time. That's assuming NAFTA isn't blown up. If, and it's a big if, your firm or employer sponsors your H1-B, then maybe you can gradually get your PR. If your employer doesn't want to sponsor you, short of marriage, you won't be able to stay and work long term.

I knew all of this going in and I'm still trying to make it here, but these are things to think about. McGill and UofT both offer JD programs that NY, MA and I believe CA recognize for bar admission. The JD is cheaper, the schools are reputed, and you can work both in the US and Canada as you please. Strategy might dictate you get your JD in Canada with little to no debt, and find your dream job in the US. Good luck!

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:43 pm
by TAD
kkdk wrote:
Mullens wrote:
Andrew66 wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a Canadian HS student planning on pursuing my undergraduate degree in Canada. My dream is to practise American law and so I plan on applying to the T-14 law schools in the states thereafter.

The searches I have made in this forum have made me come to the conclusion that I wont be at a disadvantage. However, I have been told on a different forum that international applicants are placed into a different pool by admissions councils. The law school class profiles of USC Gould, Virginia, and UCLA also indicate very, very few Canadian undergraduates.

Also, do American law schools look at the reputations of Canadian UG institutions? The most frequent answer I have received is 'no'. But when I looked at the class profiles I previously mentioned, the only Canadian universities that appeared were the University of Toronto and McGill.


USC and UCLA aren't T14 law schools.

The Canadians at my T14 that went to Canadian UGs went to UBC, Queens, U of T, Western Ontario, or McGill.

The visa situation could be very different in seven years so don't put all your bags in this basket. Get a marketable undergrad degree that will lead to reasonable employment because you might not want to go to law school or the path to being a US lawyer might be all but closed.

Canadians are looked at the same as US undergrads because they will have a GPA and LSAT score and those scores are what matter.

The primary reason for so few Canadians is probably because US law school costs over $300,000 at sticker price and Canadians aren't eligible for loans. Many of the Canadians in US law schools come from wealthy families.



OP, depends what you mean by "disadvantage." I'm Canadian and graduated from a T14 this year. Your GPA is evaluated just the same as American UG GPAs, unless you are from Quebec (if you're from Quebec, PM me). Because of Quebec's CEGEP system, grading is different. The reason McGill and UofT UGs are overrepresented is, in addition to those being the "top UGs" in Canada, so law schools are more familiar with them. But your UG really doesn't matter when compared to your numbers.

Cost of Attendance and federal loan ineligibility is one reason why fewer Canadians are found in US law schools, as was already pointed out. Other reasons include 1) Although eligible for Canadian student loans to study abroad, Canadian banks earmark a general maximum of 100K CAD for law school, which barely covers 1L. You either need to be wealthy or like me, lucky to have gone to a school that offered a scholarship; 2) American JDs are NOT recognized in Canada. You need to do 18 months worth of accreditation to practice in Canada with an American JD. So if you study law in the US, don't plan on going back home for a job right away. Ain't gonna happen; 3) Finally, it is not easy for a non-U.S. citizen to secure long term employment in the United States. F1 OPT lasts a year at most, after which you could theoretically get on a TN visa for 1-3 years at a time. That's assuming NAFTA isn't blown up. If, and it's a big if, your firm or employer sponsors your H1-B, then maybe you can gradually get your PR. If your employer doesn't want to sponsor you, short of marriage, you won't be able to stay and work long term.

I knew all of this going in and I'm still trying to make it here, but these are things to think about. McGill and UofT both offer JD programs that NY, MA and I believe CA recognize for bar admission. The JD is cheaper, the schools are reputed, and you can work both in the US and Canada as you please. Strategy might dictate you get your JD in Canada with little to no debt, and find your dream job in the US. Good luck!


Only thing I would add to the bolded is this doesn't necessarily limit you. I'm with two different banks each giving me 100k. I would assume if I need more I could have gone to a third bank. So not suggesting paying sticker but you do not need to be wealthy or on a scholarship - but it is preferable.

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:55 pm
by Andrew66
I will address the issues of finances and Visas/work permits that have been brought up.

1. With regards to finances, I believe my parents are wealthy enough to cover for me.

2. My family is actually moving to States once I start my undergraduate, so if I decide to apply for American citizenship, will that help me to keep my job post-law?

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:16 pm
by kkdk
TAD wrote:
Only thing I would add to the bolded is this doesn't necessarily limit you. I'm with two different banks each giving me 100k. I would assume if I need more I could have gone to a third bank. So not suggesting paying sticker but you do not need to be wealthy or on a scholarship - but it is preferable.


Interesting, did not know you could do that. That would have helped me some when the CAD tanked after 1L...oh well.

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:18 pm
by kkdk
Andrew66 wrote:I will address the issues of finances and Visas/work permits that have been brought up.

1. With regards to finances, I believe my parents are wealthy enough to cover for me.

2. My family is actually moving to States once I start my undergraduate, so if I decide to apply for American citizenship, will that help me to keep my job post-law?



1. Great, glad you have that part covered.

2. Can't answer that for you tbh. If your folks are Canadians and have no status in the US, I'm not sure how you'd apply for citizenship that soon. Sounds like a question for an actual immigration attorney though, and most ppl on TLS will tell you to ask an attorney that sort of question.

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:28 pm
by KijiStewart
Parents moving in the U.S. after you are 18 won't boost your visa chances, but it can help establish your ties to a given region and help you get a legal job (ie the initial job offer).

Quite frankly, I'd got to Toronto Law or McGill (if you have the french) if you get in over any school besides HYS.

For now just work hard. Canadian UGs work you all right so best of luck!

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:33 pm
by TAD
kkdk wrote:
TAD wrote:
Only thing I would add to the bolded is this doesn't necessarily limit you. I'm with two different banks each giving me 100k. I would assume if I need more I could have gone to a third bank. So not suggesting paying sticker but you do not need to be wealthy or on a scholarship - but it is preferable.


Interesting, did not know you could do that. That would have helped me some when the CAD tanked after 1L...oh well.


Ya I got lucky. Don't think a lot of people know. At least I didn't either until the dude dealing with my loan at the first bank suggested it to me

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:11 pm
by uceoledinbdnrn
Andrew66 wrote:My dream is to practise American law and so I plan on applying to the T-14 law schools in the states thereafter.



Dream better.

Re: Are Canadian undergraduates applying to American law schools at an disadvantage?

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:02 pm
by carmtastic
kkdk wrote:
Mullens wrote:
Andrew66 wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a Canadian HS student planning on pursuing my undergraduate degree in Canada. My dream is to practise American law and so I plan on applying to the T-14 law schools in the states thereafter.

The searches I have made in this forum have made me come to the conclusion that I wont be at a disadvantage. However, I have been told on a different forum that international applicants are placed into a different pool by admissions councils. The law school class profiles of USC Gould, Virginia, and UCLA also indicate very, very few Canadian undergraduates.

Also, do American law schools look at the reputations of Canadian UG institutions? The most frequent answer I have received is 'no'. But when I looked at the class profiles I previously mentioned, the only Canadian universities that appeared were the University of Toronto and McGill.


USC and UCLA aren't T14 law schools.

The Canadians at my T14 that went to Canadian UGs went to UBC, Queens, U of T, Western Ontario, or McGill.

The visa situation could be very different in seven years so don't put all your bags in this basket. Get a marketable undergrad degree that will lead to reasonable employment because you might not want to go to law school or the path to being a US lawyer might be all but closed.

Canadians are looked at the same as US undergrads because they will have a GPA and LSAT score and those scores are what matter.

The primary reason for so few Canadians is probably because US law school costs over $300,000 at sticker price and Canadians aren't eligible for loans. Many of the Canadians in US law schools come from wealthy families.



OP, depends what you mean by "disadvantage." I'm Canadian and graduated from a T14 this year. Your GPA is evaluated just the same as American UG GPAs, unless you are from Quebec (if you're from Quebec, PM me). Because of Quebec's CEGEP system, grading is different. The reason McGill and UofT UGs are overrepresented is, in addition to those being the "top UGs" in Canada, so law schools are more familiar with them. But your UG really doesn't matter when compared to your numbers.

Cost of Attendance and federal loan ineligibility is one reason why fewer Canadians are found in US law schools, as was already pointed out. Other reasons include 1) Although eligible for Canadian student loans to study abroad, Canadian banks earmark a general maximum of 100K CAD for law school, which barely covers 1L. You either need to be wealthy or like me, lucky to have gone to a school that offered a scholarship; 2) American JDs are NOT recognized in Canada. You need to do 18 months worth of accreditation to practice in Canada with an American JD. So if you study law in the US, don't plan on going back home for a job right away. Ain't gonna happen; 3) Finally, it is not easy for a non-U.S. citizen to secure long term employment in the United States. F1 OPT lasts a year at most, after which you could theoretically get on a TN visa for 1-3 years at a time. That's assuming NAFTA isn't blown up. If, and it's a big if, your firm or employer sponsors your H1-B, then maybe you can gradually get your PR. If your employer doesn't want to sponsor you, short of marriage, you won't be able to stay and work long term.

I knew all of this going in and I'm still trying to make it here, but these are things to think about. McGill and UofT both offer JD programs that NY, MA and I believe CA recognize for bar admission. The JD is cheaper, the schools are reputed, and you can work both in the US and Canada as you please. Strategy might dictate you get your JD in Canada with little to no debt, and find your dream job in the US. Good luck!


Also a Canadian applying for law school this cycle. Can I shoot you an email with some questions?