If you are considering a career in law and wondering how to become a lawyer in BC, this page is for you. Here, future lawyers will learn how they can become lawyers in BC, what qualifications they will need, and what steps to follow. The first stage of your qualification will be the same as in other Canadian provinces, however, the second stage is specific to BC.

Requirements: Stage 1 of How to Become a Lawyer in BC

This stage of your journey towards a career in law is the same in every province.

High School Diploma

Finishing your secondary education, or equivalent, is a mandatory step towards building your qualifications to become a lawyer.

Undergraduate Degree

Since a law degree is considered a graduate degree in Canada, you must have an undergraduate degree to be able to later apply to Canadian law schools.


Every Canadian law school assesses its applicants by their Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores. Thus, you must take the LSAT in order to apply to study law at a graduate level.

Law Degree

A Juris Doctor or JD degree is a mandatory requirement for anyone that is considering bar admission to the BC Law Society. Your degree can be from a BC law school, from any other Canadian law school, or from a foreign common law school.

If your legal education is from outside of Canada, it must be assessed by the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA). Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) oversees law school applications in BC and in other parts of Canada. If you studied the 2-year Graduate Entry LLB in the UK, then you will have to complete the NCA process.

Find out about Different Types of Law Degrees

Law Schools in BC

If you are applying to law school you are almost always guaranteed to have to submit a personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts with your application form. BC is home to 3 law schools:

Requirements: Stage 2 of How to Become a Lawyer in BC

Sunset view of a Vancouver park

The BC Law Society admission program requires aspiring lawyers to complete nine months of articling, as well as a training course. These requirements are a bridge between law graduates and their entry into the legal profession.

You must complete The Law Society of British Columbia’s administrative requirements:

  • The easily downloadable Articling Agreement should be signed between the articling student and his principal. The same is to be replicated for the Articling Skills and Practice Checklist PDF document. After the articling scheme comes to completion, both parties to these agreements will draft mid-term and final reports of the candidate’s performance.

Now that the administrative side of the process has been dealt with, candidates shall take the Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) before or during an articling program. It is one’s own obligation to apply on time, indicating first and second-course preferences.

The PLTC can be sat at Vancouver’s Law Society, Kamloop’s Thompson Rivers University or Victoria’s Camosun College. Candidates are required to achieve a minimum of 60% in each of their two examinations, which can be referred to as the Bar exam:

  • the Barrister assessment tests knowledge on Practice Management, Civil Law, Criminal Procedure, Family Law and Ethics; and
  • the Solicitor assessment examines capacity on Practice Management; Real Estate, Business, Wills and Ethics.

Articling Application Process How to Become a Lawyer in BC

Articling is a mandatory requirement in the qualification process, which can be waived under some circumstances. Most law students apply for articling positions in their second or third year of law school. The process of applying for articling positions in BC is in principle split into an:

  • Application involving a resume and a cover letter, plus law school and post-secondary degree transcripts to ascertain one’s academic competencies. Other skills and character descriptions fall in the hands of the mandatory letters of reference or a list of references. Although some firms, such as Harper Grey LLP may request a list of anticipated third-year courses.
  • Interview – the full breakdown of the interviews’ timetable is summarised below owing to the pre-set deadlines administered by the Law Society of British Columbia.

Articling Application Deadlines in BC

General deadlines for articling positions are set by the Law Society of BC and listed below:

Firms in Vancouver

Applications close in late August, for firms that offer articling, after which candidates await the virtual On-Campus Interviews for 25 days before they begin in mid-September.

Interview emails are sent out in early October 5 for them to take place shortly after.

The second round of interviews can be held by firms, conditional on this being organized in late October, thus enabling articling offers to be sent out after the end of the second round.

The yearly articling applications deadline is usually at the end of June 30. Successful candidates are notified in the middle of July and interviewed shortly after. After a scheduled blackout period, in-firm interviews took place in mid-August, whereas offers were confirmed immediately afterward.

Firms Outside of Vancouver

As you will discover in the next section, the overwhelming majority of law firms are situated in or around Vancouver and its adjacent districts.

However, this does not mean that there is an absolute scarcity of opportunities in the less populous regions of BC. The Rural Education and Access to Lawyers Initiative (REAL) post articling vacancies in early January of every year with the intention of keeping them open until the end of March.

Because these articling roles are only offered to the High Needs Communities, the process works differently. It involves both the applicants and employers completing special forms, after which the communication moves forward internally until the final offers are pronounced.

Is It Worth Becoming a Lawyer in BC?

With its 480+ annual articling vacancies, BC would be a suitable place for those, who would not want to leave the centre of the legal world in this Canadian province. In fact, just short of 80% of all British Columbia lawyers are all concentrated in the closely neighbouring districts of Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria and Westminster. This essentially creates a vibrant and prosperous environment with an abundance of networking opportunities.

According to official statistics released by BC’s Law Society, this province is home to 3,205 law firms, of which only 14 employ more than 51 lawyers. This means that if one is keener to work in a small-sized firm, eyeing a provisional mandatory articling period in BC has to be thoroughly considered.

While some may initially be susceptible to fears over the salary, BC offers an interesting mix of small firms offering more than respectable salaries. Although the starting salary may be lower than several of the other Canadian provinces, this statement becomes the exact opposite in relation to the median and high earnings where British Columbia ranks in the top four.

2,386 lawyers are sole practitioners, thus 17% of all the legal workforce in BC operates on the individualistic ‘be your own manager’ principle. This can attract many, who would prefer to self-determine their workload and work norms post-completing their articling. Nevertheless, BC offers many opportunities for articling students to develop skills necessary to practise law independently and efficiently.

By Georgi Minchev