This is an official guide on how to become a lawyer in Prince Edward Island. The qualification as a lawyer is split into two stages. The first stage is the same across Canada and applies to all provinces and territories. The second stage is unique to Prince Edward Island.
Requirements: Stage 1 of How to Become a Lawyer in Prince Edward Island
As mentioned above, this stage is identical in other parts of Canada.
High School Diploma
Achieving your secondary school diploma is an essential first step to becoming a lawyer in Prince Edward Island.
Gaining an undergraduate degree is a compulsory requirement for any aspiring lawyer due to the fact that you must have one in order to apply to law school. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree to apply to Canadian law schools.
Your Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score will be used to determine your chances of admission into law school. Thus, you must complete one. Most students complete their LSAT in the last year of their undergraduate degree.
A law degree is a must when it comes to practicing law in Prince Edward Island or other parts of Canada. You need a law degree to become a lawyer. It is acceptable for your legal education to be from Prince Edward Island, from any other Canadian law school, or from a foreign law school. National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) oversees the recognition of foreign law degrees and you will have to get your degree assessed by the NCA.
Check out UK’s 2-Year Accelerated Law Degrees.
Applying to Law Schools
Most law schools require their applicants to submit a personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts as part of their application. In Canada, your applications will be handled by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Unfortunately for those looking to study law in Prince Edward Island, there are no law programs on the island. However, there are 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 Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island gains the overwhelming majority of its articling students through law graduates from eastern law schools.
Licensing requirements extend as far as concerning what modules law graduates should have studied at law school. The Law Society of Prince Edward Island requires that the Canadian Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Ethics/Professional Responsibility, Property Law and Torts modules must be present on articling applicants’ academic records. The Law Society also directs candidates towards completing four courses from this combination of modules: Criminal Procedure, Commercial Law, Corporate Law, Evidence, Family Law, Wills/Trusts and Administrative Law.
After law school, in order to become a lawyer on the island graduates must complete:
Bar Admission Course
Prior to admission to the Bar, candidates must complete the six-week PEI Bar Admission course, which is counted towards the articling period. Here are its main features:
- Admission applications are accepted until 31 August every year as the course is scheduled to take part in the autumn of every year.
- In its Articling Handbook, the Law Society of Prince Edward Island has identified that the Bar Course offers teaching in the following academic modules: Real Property, Family Law, Estates, Commercial and Corporate Law, Supreme Court Practice, Criminal Court Practice, Administrative Law, Ethics and Discipline, Legislation, Gender and Diversity, Human Rights, Indigenous Justice, Bankruptcy and Insolvency.
- Moreover, the practical focus of the Bar Course falls on developing communication and teambuilding skills, strengthening one’s negotiation and advocacy capabilities, conducting hearings and motions, drafting documents, and developing empathy to situations.
Articling Application Process: How to Become a Lawyer in Prince Edward Island
If you passed the Bar, under the provincial law you may begin the process of applying for articling positions in Prince Edward Island. This process is outlined below:
- Application – Prince Edward Island law firms prefer using their own online portals to receive applications, but make sure to check the VI Portal in case vacancies arise there as well. Applications include submitting a resume, a cover letter, official/unofficial law school, and post-secondary degree transcripts, in addition to a list of credible references.
- Interview – individual law firms will separately arrange interview time slots and update candidates about their decisions once stage one of the recruitment process has terminated.
Articling Application Deadlines in Prince Edward Island
Below are general deadlines guidelines.
Guidelines Outlined by the Law Society of Prince Edward Island
- The local Law Society of this province has identified the end of August as its cut-off point for starting of the Bar Admission Course, an inherent part of the articling process itself.
- Submitting an application after this date may result in it being considered for next year’s Bar Admission Course.
Applying to Law Firms
- Law firms in Prince Edward Island operate their own application platforms for convenience, yet this means that they can determine different deadlines. You must check with law firms when their articling application deadlines are.
- The number of law firms available to take articling students, which are not single practitioners, is not endless, so regularly keep an eye on their website’s updates to help you apply on time.
Why Article in Prince Edward Island?
According to statistics, Prince Edward Island is home to just over 250 lawyers and you can be a new member of the law community. Aspiring articling clerks must appreciate the more personalized guidance in the fact that lawyers are grouped into smaller organizations and teams.
Prince Edward Island does not stand far behind from the other eastern Canada provinces in its concentration or providing personal injury, motor accidents, and disability legal advice. If you would like your year-long articling to lead you to a personal injury lawyer career, then you should consider applying to local firms. Local firms are McLellan Brennan Hrga, NOVA Injury Law, Barapp Injury Law Corp, Cantini Law Group, MacGillivray Injury, and Insurance Law and Resolute Legal Disability Lawyers.
Nonetheless, articling clerks, who wish to get a grasp of other legal services can pursue articling employment into Prince Edward Island’s circle of full-service law firms, namely Cox & Palmer; McInnes Cooper; Carr, Stevenson & MacKay; Stewart McKelvey; Campbell Lea, and the Island’s largest law firm: Key Murray Law.
By Georgi Minchev