This is a detailed overview of how to become a lawyer in Newfoundland and Labrador which is split into two stages. The first stage is the same throughout Canada, but the second stage is applicable specifically to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Requirements: Stage 1 of How to Become a Lawyer in Newfoundland and Labrador
This stage is relatively the same in every province and territory of Canada.
High School Diploma
It is compulsory for all aspiring lawyers to first complete their secondary education.
You must obtain an undergraduate degree in order to even apply to law school. Typically, you will have to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Law degrees in Canada are considered graduate programs therefore you must have a prior university education.
Alongside your undergrad, you will also need to provide your Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores when you are applying to Canadian law schools. Thus, you must complete your LSAT exam, preferably in the last year of your undergraduate studies or the following year.
In order to obtain admission to the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, you must complete at least a bachelor of laws degree. This can be a Juris Doctor/JD degree from a Canadian law school or an equivalent degree (JD or LLB) from a foreign university. If your degree is from a foreign country, you will have to undergo the certification process prescribed by the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA).
Finish law school faster withe a 2-Year Accelerated LLB Degree in the UK.
Applying to Law Schools
In Newfoundland and Labrador, and in Canada, you must apply to law schools through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). You will likely need to submit a personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts. There is no law school in the province at the moment but you can take a look at nearby law schools in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – UNB Law and Schulich School of Law.
Requirements: Stage 2 of How to Become a Lawyer in Newfoundland and Labrador
Before commencing the mandatory year-long articling program, incoming articling clerks must ensure that they are able to present a valid Canadian common law degree that is authorized by the Education Committee. International law graduates can convert their degrees through the Certificate of Qualification from the National Committee on Accreditation.
Afterward, forms 6.03A, 6.03B, 6.03C and 6.05A (all available on the Newfoundland and Labrador Law Society’s website) need to be filled in and submitted for enrollment as a student-at-law.
As per the Law Society Act, aspiring lawyers in Newfoundland and Labrador must complete:
- Bar Admission Course; and
After finishing the above-mentioned requirements, and conforming to the professional conduct standards law graduates will be admitted to practice law in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Bar Admission Course
Aside from dealing with administrative application matters, such as paying admission fees, students-at-law have to complete the intense mandatory seven-week Bar Admission Course (BAC) during September/October-November each year.
- The CA$2,587.50-appraised Course will broadly equip candidates with knowledge of the practices and procedures of the Newfoundland and Labrador law and Canadian law through testing candidates’ abilities in three-and-a-half-hour module exams (sometimes referred to as”bar examination”).
- Knowledge for them can be derived from lectures, presentations, BAC materials and 80 statutes of provincial and federal type.
- The Bar Admission Committee reserves its right to amend the education curriculum to be sidelined with contemporary needs, as it sees appropriate. In recent years content has included family law, commercial law, corporate and financing, real estate, wills and estates and criminal/civil practice and procedures.
Articling in Newfoundland and Labrador
The process of applying for articling positions in Newfoundland and Labrador consists of these two stages:
o Application – the application itself is no substantially different from that in other Canadian provinces. Usually, you will submit it using the VI Portal or law firm application portals. You will need to provide your cover letter and resume, followed by law school and post-secondary degree transcripts, and recommendations/contact details of your list of referees. Where specified, make sure to follow the guidelines as to the acceptance of official/unofficial document copies.
o Interview – successful stage one applicants will be contacted in due course to schedule an interview fitting within the timeframe identified in the next section.
Articling Application Deadlines in Newfoundland and Labrador: How to Become a Lawyer in Newfoundland and Labrador
Annually, there is an average of 30 articling vacancies.
The Department of Justice and Public Safety, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is a major articling clerkship provider. Application deadlines over recent years have been tracked as it follows:
- Applications usually close in mid to late November.
- Tendentially, interviews are usually set to take place in mid-December of each year. Interviews are conducted in-person, or via videoconference or teleconference.
The Newfoundland & Labrador Legal Aid Commission sometimes provides articling positions and the application deadlines are relatively similar to those above:
- The application deadline is usually the beginning of December.
- On-campus interviews are held in mid-January.
Direct law firm applications
You need to contact law firms of your interest or keep track of their website around the last quarter of the year.
Is It Worth Becoming a Lawyer in Newfoundland and Labrador?
Newfoundland and Labrador have a wide professional legal sector despite being one f the smaller provinces.
Firms are small or middle-sized, with a few of them offering criminal law, family law and notary services. Municipal law and maritime law are also services needing (junior) specialists, but undoubtedly personal injury law and accidents claims are the legal pinnacles of Newfoundland and Labrador. Rogers Rogers Moyse; MacGillivray Injury and Insurance Law; Central Law; O’Dea, Earle Law Offices; Roebothan McKay Marshall Accident & Injury Law; Brothers & Associates and W Les Thistle Law Office are just some of the legal businesses specializing solely or predominantly in personal injury law.
Singular-service firms operate in other fields of law too, such as the media law designated Budden & Associates.
Of course, Newfoundland and Labrador has its fair share of full-service law firms too, with Cox & Palmer; Parsons Law; Mills, Pittman & Twyne Law Offices and Cole Law Offices being some of the best-reviewed multiservice law firms.