In this comprehensive overview, you will learn about the entire process of how to become a lawyer in Canada. Canada is separated into 13 different law societies. As an aspiring lawyer, you are required to fulfill numerous requirements in order to qualify as a lawyer in any one of the provincial or territorial jurisdictions.

You should note that almost all requirements up until after graduating from law school are the same in every province of Canada. However, after obtaining your law degree, the requirements of becoming a lawyer will be specific to the province you want to become a lawyer in. This guide focuses on common law requirements and not civil law, which is specific to Quebec.

Step-by-Step: How to Become a Lawyer in Canada

Below is the detailed outline of the qualification process.

1. High School Diploma

Just like many professional occupations, your path to becoming a lawyer in Canada will start with completing your secondary education.

2. Undergraduate Degree

Once you have finished high school, you must complete an undergraduate degree in any subject. Most law schools in Canada require applicants to have completed at least a three-year of Bachelor’s degree, prior to starting law school education. However, a four-year-long Bachelor’s degree is preferable over a three-year one.

If you have a foreign Bachelor’s degree you can still be eligible to attend common law schools in Canada. Check with your law school to see which universities around the world they recognize for their undergraduate requirement.


All law schools in Canada require their candidates to include their Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores in their law school application forms. LSAT is a standardized test that you can take during or after your undergraduate degree. LSAT doesn’t require any knowledge of the law and is not specific to any area of study. LSAT is meant to assess your logical and analytical reasoning, as well as your comprehension of text and writing abilities.

Learn all things LSAT in our detailed guide to the test.

4. Law Degree

In order to become a lawyer in Canada, you must obtain a law degree. Your law degree must be either from a Canadian law school or from a foreign common law jurisdiction (U.S. or UK etc). A Canadian degree, Juris Doctor (JD), is a three-year-long, full-time, or part-time course. A JD degree is considered a graduate degree because undergraduate education is required for admission.

International students who obtained legal education from abroad must receive a certificate of qualification from the Federation of Law Societies – National Committee on Accreditation (NCA).

Attending law school will be the most expensive part of your journey to becoming a lawyer in Canada, there you must consider the costs of becoming a lawyer.

Below are comprehensive reviews of every Canadian law school that includes law school admission requirements:

5. Law Society Exams and/or Courses

At this point in your journey to becoming a lawyer in Canada, the requirements will depend on the province or territory.

The law society exams must be completed after you graduate from law school, in the jurisdiction where you want to qualify as a lawyer. Every province sets different requirements for their exams. For example, while in Ontario you must complete the Barrister Licensing Examination and the Solicitor Licensing Examination.

Other provinces, will also require you to complete a Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) like in Alberta and many other provinces. Some provinces may refer to it as a Bar Admission Course.

6. Articling

After you have completed the law society exams you must complete a period of training called “articling”. Articling is a period of recognized work experience where the aspiring lawyer is working under the supervision of a qualified lawyer (Principal). The length of articling differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and can range from 9 months to 12 months. In Ontario, you can complete the Law Practice Program which is an alternative to the traditional articling requirement.

7. Bar Exam: The final step of how to become a lawyer in Canada

Only two law societies in Canada have bar examination requirements, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This means that after completing your law society’s exams and articling you also must pass the provincial bar examination.

It should be noted that the rest of Canadian law societies don’t have this type of exams. Meaning that after completing your law society’s exams and articling you receive bar admission and officially become a lawyer.

How to Become a Lawyer in Different Provinces

You should remember that these are the general guidelines for how to be a lawyer in Canada. Everything up until graduating from law school will be the same in every province and territory of Canada. However, after graduating from law school, the requirements to becoming a lawyer are very specific to the jurisdiction in which you intend to practice law. See below for more detailed guides for every province.

8. Practicing as a Lawyer

Once you have qualified as a lawyer in your province or territory you still have to complete mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses every year. These course requirements vary depending on the jurisdiction that you are practicing in.

Frequently Asked Questions

A student researching how to become a lawyer in Canada

Below are answers to some of the commonly mentioned questions:

What qualifications do I need to be a lawyer in Canada?

You will need to complete your pre-university education, receive an undergraduate degree, complete legal education at a school of law, and pass necessary provincial requirements.

Is it hard to get into a law program in Canada?

Your entry chances really depend on your university grades and LSAT scores. Every faculty of law in Canada has different entry requirements. Generally speaking, you should aim to at least have an A- average and a score of around 160 on your LSAT. Learn more about entry requirements with us.

Do lawyers earn well in Canada?

Lawyers in Canada are one of the most well-paid occupations. On average they can make around $100,000 in a year. This figure, however, highly depends on which area of law you practice in, where you are located, and how many years of experience you have.

What is the fastest way to get a basic JD degree in Canada?

There aren’t any quick ways of doing so. All law programs in Canada are three years long.

Can a non-Canadian citizen become a lawyer in Canada?

Yes! If you are not a Canadian citizen, you can still become a lawyer in any province or territory of Canada.

Is it better to be a lawyer in Canada or the United States?

The US has a much bigger legal sector with some big names and very high salaries. This doesn’t mean that Canada should be your second choice. Canada is home to many international law firms, legal innovation, and is a hub for exceptional legal talent.

Can I practice law in Canada with a British LLB degree?

Yes, you most definitely can do so. Your UK degree or any other foreign law qualification could allow you to be a legal practitioner in Canada. However, you will need to receive a certificate of qualification from the NCA first before proceeding with provincial requirements.