Undertaking any professional qualification or entering any professional field can be quite costly, and this is especially true for lawyers. On this page, you will learn how expensive is it to become a lawyer in Canada.
It can be argued that becoming a lawyer is one of the most expensive educational paths one can take. It doesn’t help that law school tuition increases every year in Canada. This article will shed the light on how much it costs to become a lawyer in Canada. We will consider the costs of the undergraduate degree, law degree, living expenses, and law society fees.
The Breakdown: How Much Does It Cost To Become a Lawyer in Canada
Below you will find a complete breakdown of the costs of becoming a lawyer in Canada.
The Cost of an Undergraduate Degree in Canada
You are required to obtain an undergraduate degree in order to apply to law school. Therefore, the tuition costs of your undergraduate degree are relevant towards the overall costs of becoming a lawyer. In Canada, the cost of an undergraduate degree varies considerably, depending on the degree and the university.
It is estimated that the average undergraduate degree in Canada for domestic students costs around $6,580/year. However, it can range from $2,550/year to $15,000/year.
For someone who is on a four-year course, the total for your undergraduate degree can be anywhere from $10,200 to $45,000, and the average would be $26,080.
The Cost of Law School in Canada
A law degree is an essential qualification for anyone who wishes to become a lawyer in Canada. Just like the undergraduate degree, the tuition costs of attending Canadian law schools vary. The average cost of a law degree in Canada is $20,700/year.
However, it can range anywhere from as low as $7,500/year to as high as $34,000/year. This is inclusive of law school admission test (LSAT) fees, application fees, but exclusive of any financial aid or student loans available to law students.
A law school degree in Canada is a three year program. Thus, the overall costs can be as low as $22,500 to as high as $102,000, with the average being $62,100 for a three-year degree.
Living Expenses in Canada
The tuition costs of your undergrad and your legal education are not the only expenses you have to take into account. You must also consider the costs of your living expenses during your studies. It is estimated that depending on the location of your studies, lifestyle, housing options, and location of your university – the average cost of your living expenses would be $15,000/year. However, it can be as low as $10,000/year and as high as $20,000/year.
Your undergraduate degree usually takes four years to complete, while your law school degree takes three years to complete, therefore you need to account for seven years of living expenses. The total costs of your living expenses on average can be $105,000, as low as $70,000, and as high as $140,000.
Learn about the Cost of Living in the UK.
Articling Fees and Law Society Fees in Canada
It is also crucial to consider law society fees when it comes to articling. Most law societies in Canada require prospective articling students to complete either a set of bar exams or a course before or after articling. The costs of the bar exams and courses vary depending on the jurisdiction but expect to pay around $600 for them, as low as $400 and as high as $1000
To be able to begin articling most law societies in Canada require law school graduates to register as articling students with them. Again, the costs vary, but the average cost to enrol as an articling student with a law society in Canada is around $1,700. It Can be as low as $1,200 and as high as $3,000
Thus, the total costs are around $2,300, they can also be as low as $1,600 and as high as $4,000. After completing this mandatory requirement you will be able to practice law in your province or territory.
Total Costs: How Expensive Is It To Become a Lawyer in Canada
The costs of becoming a lawyer in Canada are quite high. The table below overviews the low end, the average, and the high end of the costs that take into account the costs of the undergraduate degree, Juris Doctor (JD), living expenses, and law society fees.
Cost Low End Average High End Undergraduate Degree $10,200 $26,080 $45,000 Law Degree $22,500 $62,100 $102,000 Living Expenses $70,000 $105,000 $140,000 Law Society Fees (bar exams and courses) $1,600 $2,300 $4,000 Total Cost to Become a Lawyer in Canada $104,300 $195,480 $291,000
If you are wondering what the costs are without the undergraduate degree and the associated living expenses, then see this table:
Cost Low End Average High End Law Degree $22,500 $62,100 $102,000 Living Expenses (3 years of law school only) $30,000 $45,000 $60,000 Law Society Fees (bar exams and courses) $1,600 $2,300 $4,000 Total Cost to Become a Lawyer in Canada $54,100 $109,400 $166,000
Final Thoughts About How Expensive Is It To Become a Lawyer in Canada
Without accounting for the undergraduate degree, it is obvious that the costs of becoming a lawyer in Canada are very high. The average cost of attending a Canadian law school and the associated expenses is $109,400. If you were to account for the mandatory undergraduate degree and the associated expenses, you are looking at an average of $195,480.