Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Law School in America v. Canada, Eh?

From the McGill Tribune:
The situation in Canada is drastically different, and certainly more promising for prospective students. Much of what ails the American market has been preempted in Canada by an entirely distinct system in which there are both fewer schools and less divergence in terms of academic quality.

"The situation's a lot better in Canada because we have far fewer law schools," says Leeann Beggs, director of career services in the Faculty of Law at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. "The likelihood that you're going to get into your profession is very good."

While there are almost 200 American law schools, there are only 20 in Canada, all of which are highly competitive and prestigious. Because they are essentially "all tier one schools," Beggs says, it is very difficult to be admitted, but students can also be assured they will receive a high-quality legal education once they are there. Before passing the bar, law students are expected to article, or work and learn at a law firm in some sort of legal apprenticeship. Furthermore, there seems to be no sort of legal outsourcing being practised in Canada.

"It's pretty tightly controlled who gets access to legal work here," Beggs says.

This is in direct contrast to the hundreds of American law schools, not all of which are accredited—some of which are online—that graduate thousands of new lawyers each year who must then fight for a diminishing number of entry-level jobs. As a result of the Canadian system, recent graduates in this country have a much better chance of gaining the employment they desire. They have already been singled out as the best and the brightest and are competing against a much smaller pool. Some expectations may have to be lowered in terms of starting salaries, says Beggs, but new lawyers should have no problem getting a foot in the door.
Some things are just better in Canada, I guess.

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