In this detailed overview, future lawyers can learn about how to become a lawyer in New Brunswick. Although the first stage of your legal journey will be the same as in other provinces, the second stage will be specific to New Brunswick.

Requirements: Stage 1 of How to Become a Lawyer in New Brunswick

This stage of your legal education is the same in every province and territory of Canada.

High School Diploma

It is mandatory for any aspiring lawyer to first complete their high school, or equivalent, education.

Undergraduate Degree

All law schools in Canada require applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree. This is due to the fact that a law degree (Juris Doctor/JD) is classified as a graduate degree. For that reason, many refer to the degree that you obtain before law school as a “pre-law” degree.


Every Canadian law school requires you to submit your Law School Admission Test (LSAT) since your score on the test will determine your eligibility chances.

Law Degree

A law degree is essential to become a lawyer in New Brunswick, as in other parts of Canada. You can obtain your bachelor of laws:

  • from a New Brunswick law school;
  • from any Canadian law school; or
  • from a foreign law school.

If you complete your law degree from a foreign university you must receive recognition from the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA).

Not all law degrees take 3 years to complete. Some, like the Senior Status LLB in the UK, take only 2 years!

Applying to Law Schools

Law School Admission Council (LSAC) facilitates law school applications in New Brunswick. You will likely need to submit a personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts. For those applying to law schools in New Brunswick, there is only one law program – UNB Law.

Requirements: Stage 2 of How to Become a Lawyer in New Brunswick

View of Fredericton at Sunset including the river

New Brunswick’s majority of 1,326 lawyers come through graduating from the law school of the University of New Brunswick. Law school is succeeded by a period of recognized training under the supervision of a principal (known as articling). After finishing law school, you must complete:

  • Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP)
  • Bar Examination
  • Articling

The New Brunswick admissions program begins on the administrative side. You must complete and submit the mandatory Application Form for Admission as a Student-at-Law and Application and Registration for the Bar Admission Course form. This stage of the process accredits that candidates are of good character, and are thus suitable to be enrolled in the abovementioned course.

Administrative application procedures also extend to forwarding your Articling Agreement and Education Plan to the Law Society of New Brunswick. In brief, both documents certify the formalities around verifying the mutual student-principal roles and responsibilities during the 48-week mentorship.

Practice Readiness Education Program

To become a licensed lawyer you must enroll and complete the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP). PREP consists of Foundation Modules divided into Lawyer Skills; Practice and Skills Management; and Professional Ethics and Character. The theory is partnered with simulations honing candidates’ legal interpersonal skills in sessions of Foundation Workshops. Last come the Virtual Law Firm and Capstone stages offering real-life activities and coaching.

Bar Examination

Passing the Law Society of New Brunswick Bar Examination applies to everyone aspiring to practice law in this province, be it a local articling clerk or an international lawyer wishing to re-qualify. The Bar assessment tests candidates’ knowledge of the Rules of Court of New Brunswick and the statutes used in the province. Many rely on their knowledge of legal studies, and from JD programs, and supplementary studies to pass this requirement.

Articling Application Process in New Brunswick

Here is an overview of the process of applying for articling positions in New Brunswick:

Application – the organization you are to apply to will outline whether applications have to be submitted through the VI Portal or via email, post, or other designated application platforms. Typically, applications include the following:

  • Cover letter;
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae (depending on what the employer prefers);
  • Post-secondary degree transcripts (also occurring under the name of ‘pre-law transcripts);
  • Law school transcripts;
  • Letters of reference or list of references;
  • Criminal record (in rare cases);
  • Copies of written academic work; and
  • Any other required admission protocols/forms.

Interview – before the Covid-19 pandemic struck our world, interviews were held on campus (including at the University of New Brunswick), however, since then they have been brought about remotely. Individual interview slots are arranged with candidates, conditional upon success at the initial stage of the process.

Articling Application Deadlines: How to Become a Lawyer in New Brunswick

Below are some of the general deadlines that you should be aware of.

Administrative Deadlines

June 1 of each year is the final deadline for articling students to submit their Application Form for Admission as a Student-at-Law, Application. It is also the deadline for Registration for the Bar Admission Course form and law/post-secondary degree transcripts. The Bar Admission Course then commences on June 11.

New Brunswick Courts Articling Program

Applications have to be submitted on the last day of January of each year to allow enough time to finalize interview invitations for February-March.

Offers are announced within several weeks’ time of the last interviews.

General Deadlines for the Whole Province

From minimal available data, our advice is to submit applications in early January of each year at the latest (e.g. January 11 for Cox and Palmer’s program) and expect an interview call between January-March. Obviously, the sooner applications close, the quicker in time decisions will be made to select shortlisted interviewees and announce final offers.

Is It Worth Becoming a Lawyer in New Brunswick?

What is most appealing about New Brunswick is the vast array of services provided. There are several firms with particular legal expertise, such as:

  • the criminal law and criminal defence adept J Donovan Law Group;
  • the Cantini Law Group leading the resolution of traffic incidents, injuries and fatalities, plus long-term disability cases; and
  • the defamation, product liability and animal attack claims’ handler Moss Hachey Law.

It is most common for local law firms to specialize in delivering between 5-10 types of personal or business services, i.e. these are referred to as full-service law firms. Gorman Nason Lawyers, Gilbert McGloan Gillis, McInnes Cooper, Bingham Law, Coris Law Firm, Bingham Law, Mosher Chedore Lawyers and McMath Law all join the club of New Brunswick’s full-service legal businesses.

Articling is not only about training and rotating through different departments, it is what prepares multi-service specialists. Are you a person willing to consult people and businesses on several issues at the same time? Do you dream of stretching your knowledge and relevant skills development to more than two edges of the legal industry? If so, keep your eye on New Brunswick as the small legal world of this province may offer some unexpected much more sizeable opportunities!

By Georgi Minchev