In this official guide to Canadian and international students, you will learn about how to become a lawyer in Manitoba. The initial stages of your legal career journey will be the same in Manitoba as in other provinces and territories, but the stages that follow will be specific to Manitoba.
Requirements: Stage 1 of How to Become a Lawyer in Manitoba
This first part of your legal education will be the same as in other provinces.
High School Diploma
Your high school education, or equivalent, is the first building block to becoming a lawyer in Manitoba.
You must complete at least a bachelor’s degree in order to attend law school. This is because law school is a graduate degree program in Canada that requires at least a bachelor’s degree in order to be accepted.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is one of the mandatory assessment criteria that law schools use to assess applicants. Thus, you must complete the LSAT and your LSAT score will likely play a major role in which law school you will attend. Law School Admission Council (LSAC) oversees all applications for law schools in Canada and in Manitoba.
Just like in any other Canadian province, you must have a law degree to eventually practice law in Manitoba. Whether you have a degree from Canada or from abroad you will be allowed to practice law. If your legal education is from abroad you must receive its recognition from the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA).
Learn about the 2-Year Accelerated Law Degree in the UK.
Applying to Law Schools
Law school entry requirements will differ from institution to institution but you will most likely need to submit a personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts. There is only one school of law in Manitoba, Robson Hall at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law.
Requirements: Stage 2 of How to Become a Lawyer in Manitoba
Manitoba hosts the famous Robson Hall at the University of Manitoba, which chiefly prepares this province’s next generation of lawyers. There are currently 830 women and 1,242 men comprising the community of this classical profession.
After obtaining your law degree, in order to satisfy admission requirements in Manitoba, you must complete:
- Practice Readiness Education Program (abbreviated to PREP; and
- A period of articling that is no less than 52 months.
Practice Readiness Education Program
Prior to beginning articling, all aspiring lawyers in Manitoba must complete the below described mandatory course designed and administered by the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education.
The Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) is a compulsory aspect of the articling program all students must be enrolled in. PREP is a nine-month course sometimes referred to as the bar admission course. It supplies future junior lawyers with the necessary professional environment capabilities covered in the course’s foundation modules of Lawyers Skills, Practice and Self Management and Professional Ethics and Character.
Out of the 156 PREP candidates in 2020, 84 graduated from the University of Manitoba, another 20 from another Canadian law school, and 45 came from international law schools. Thus, foreign law graduates were obliged to achieve converted accreditation by the National Committee on Accreditation. Needless to say, this is a compulsory step for foreign trained candidates wishing to undertake an articling program in Manitoba.
Articling Application Process in Manitoba
The process of applying for articling positions in Manitoba is the following:
- Application – keep an eye on the commonly used VI Portal or directly follow law firm application updates on their websites. You will likely need to prepare your cover letter, resume, law school (and post-secondary transcripts), plus letters of reference/a list of references and submit them on time.
- Your criminal record and notarised copy of photo identification with your full name written on it will also need to be presented. All these application documents must be accompanied by a cost of CA$105 to be considered for articling positions.
- Interview – as indicated below, there is a time gap between interviews’ confirmation and sittings, so utilize it by practicing for it accordingly.
Articling Application Deadlines in Manitoba: How to Become a Lawyer in Manitoba
Below are outlined the general articling deadlines.
Manitoba Application Deadlines
Interestingly, Manitoba Bar Association (the Law Society) shows a piece of ‘backstage’ information regarding the articling process. Law firms are required to submit articling job profiles before August 31. Students are formally familiarised with this information in the early days of September.
Interview invitations are sent out in late October, with the interviews themselves taking place in mid-November. Interviews usually start early at 8 am and finish at 5 pm.
Offers are sent out in mid-November as per Law Society guidelines.
Is It Worth Becoming a Lawyer in Manitoba?
Simply because this is a small-sized legal community with a big charm in strongly respecting and protecting the value of small and medium law firms!
Astonishingly, The Law Society of Manitoba is home just to 2,072 registered legal practitioners, of which 104 completed an articling program before March 31, 2021. Not particularly humongous in the number of legal professionals, Manitoba saw 133 people being called to the Bar of Manitoba. 24 were foreign – that number exceeds the same statistics twice or more compared with some of the Western provinces.
Manitoba would be a sensible early law career starting place as prospective articling students are likely to find themselves helping out at the deep end of cases. Owing to the fact that 1,821 of all Manitoba lawyers are based in Winnipeg, rural-located articling students will definitely get a sweet taste of shadowing senior professionals. Furthermore, larger case responsibility and more stimulating, personalized training will come through the level of company integration.
Contact with individuals on all hierarchal levels is fully realistic in small companies, so aspiring law articling students should expect to hear good statistical news. Out of Manitoba’s 443 law firms:
- 56% consist of sole practitioners;
- 38% of 2-10 lawyers;
- 4% of 11-25 lawyers;
- 1% of 26-50 lawyers; and
- 2% of over 50 lawyers in number.
Lastly, Manitoba teaches aspiring articling students not to underestimate quality because of quantity. This Canadian province gives way for specific service-focused law firms. For example:
- the Immigration Law specialists Clarke Law;
- the Real Estate-oriented Olschewski Davie Barristers & Solicitors; and
- full-service law businesses, such as Wolseley Law LLP, Taylor McCaffrey LLP, Boudreau Law and the 130-year-old Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP.
By Georgi Minchev