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US or UK?


matthews95

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matthews95
  • Applicant

If I don't get in to Canada, which would you consider going to? The UK for a JD Pathway or a top 40-75 US Law School? Is there any particular advantage when it comes to transferring after 1L, employment prospects or the NCA's? It is my intention to return and practise in Canada. 

My stats are 2.5 cGPA( special circumstances) with a 163 LSAT. The LSAT may go higher based on Jan score release. There is a positive upward trend in my CGPA 3.67 and 3.8 in my last two semesters, but the cGPA is more or less set in stone. 

Thank you for your advice and time! 

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Whist
  • Law Student

Neither. Unless you've tried many times already, I would wait and reapply again in Canada next year or the one after that and do something in between that could add to my profile. If it really came down to it, I would choose the US school and plan on having to stay in the US.

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Darth Vader
  • Lawyer

What are the cost differences? How are you affording the international tuition fees and living expenses?

Do you have any connections to the legal job market here? 

What is your current educational background? Do you have a practical degree like business or applied STEM that you can leverage upon return?

Where do you want to practice (are you open to moving to small towns and rural areas)? In which areas do you want to practice in? 

Are you aware of the negative stigma against Canadians that go abroad for a law degee outside of Oxbridge and the T14, who are viewed by many in the legal profession including employers as being second-class citizens? Are you prepared to face these uphill challenges? 

----

In all honesty, I know foreign trained lawyers who immigrated to Canada and did second, third law degrees. So I have little sympathy for the Canadians that go abroad for law school straight out of high school or undergrad without trying to get into law school here first, even if that means doing another undergraduate degree, retaking the LSAT numerous times, getting work experience, extracurriculars, etc. and applying at least 2-3 times. 

There are definitely foreign success stories. These are small in number compared to the large number of foreign trained lawyers and NCA candidates I see trying to get their foot in the door. I see a lot of bitterness from them directed towards Canadian trained lawyers. If you don't want to be in their shoes, my advice is to try to get into a Canadian law school first even if that means starting another undergraduate degree to raise your GPA.

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matthews95
  • Applicant
34 minutes ago, Darth Vader said:

What are the cost differences? How are you affording the international tuition fees and living expenses?

Do you have any connections to the legal job market here? 

What is your current educational background? Do you have a practical degree like business or applied STEM that you can leverage upon return?

Where do you want to practice (are you open to moving to small towns and rural areas)? In which areas do you want to practice in? 

Are you aware of the negative stigma against Canadians that go abroad for a law degee outside of Oxbridge and the T14, who are viewed by many in the legal profession including employers as being second-class citizens? Are you prepared to face these uphill challenges? 

----

In all honesty, I know foreign trained lawyers who immigrated to Canada and did second, third law degrees. So I have little sympathy for the Canadians that go abroad for law school straight out of high school or undergrad without trying to get into law school here first, even if that means doing another undergraduate degree, retaking the LSAT numerous times, getting work experience, extracurriculars, etc. and applying at least 2-3 times. 

There are definitely foreign success stories. These are small in number compared to the large number of foreign trained lawyers and NCA candidates I see trying to get their foot in the door. I see a lot of bitterness from them directed towards Canadian trained lawyers. If you don't want to be in their shoes, my advice is to try to get into a Canadian law school first even if that means starting another undergraduate degree to raise your GPA.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to reply! I appreciate the info and advice.

Hopefully I can provide some answers:

 

1.The US is more expensive. I might be able to get some scholarship money, but this will more than likely be offset by a third year of paying tuition ( UK would be 2 years).

2.I do have connections, one of them is a former LLB student who has their own real estate firm. Other connections are primarily in small law/ government. I know finding an articling position won't be an issue. I'm aware that biglaw jobs will be much harder to land.

3. Finance Major

4. I am open to the prospect of practising in a rural/small town, but I would prefer to stay in Ontario. Family/ employment/ real estate and contract law are all attractive to me. This may change, though I understand why you ask. I am aware of the negative stigma and if going abroad is my only option, its my only option.

I wish I could get a second degree and did spend the year taking courses and improving my LSAT (final take in Jan). At this point however, I just wouldn't be able to spend the time and money for a second degree. Its mostly the time- I'm getting old.

My options are: get in to Canada this year/ go to the uk /or cause of a semi decent LSAT score apply to the US.  I really hope I can at least get in to the dual or schools with drops/B2, but I need to pick an alternative considering my chances aren't great in the first place. 

Correct me if I'm wrong, I feel like the US is a less shitty alternative to the UK on paper( at least US requires LSAT), but I'm not sure if the extra cost and year justify it.

Edited by matthews95
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matthews95
  • Applicant
1 hour ago, Whist said:

Neither. Unless you've tried many times already, I would wait and reapply again in Canada next year or the one after that and do something in between that could add to my profile. If it really came down to it, I would choose the US school and plan on having to stay in the US.

Thank you, this is an option that I'm considering as well- just staying in the US. I really wish I could reapply next year, but it's just not really an option. The only scenario I would reapply next year would be as a transfer student.

Edited by matthews95
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Darth Vader
  • Lawyer

On paper, the US school would look better as long as it isn't a bottom 100 school. The UK schools and Bond have become degree mills for Canadians. If you attend a good regional school, you may even land a good position locally, work there for a few years, and then come back to Canada. The process to qualify as a lawyer in the UK for international students is harder and I see very few people doing it. 

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matthews95
  • Applicant
12 minutes ago, Darth Vader said:

On paper, the US school would look better as long as it isn't a bottom 100 school. The UK schools and Bond have become degree mills for Canadians. If you attend a good regional school, you may even land a good position locally, work there for a few years, and then come back to Canada. The process to qualify as a lawyer in the UK for international students is harder and I see very few people doing it. 

So in my position would you choose US over UK then? 

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LordBONSAI
  • Applicant

I think you're closing the doors before you too hastily. There're Canadian schools that don't consider your cGPA (e.g. UofA). Your L2/B2 and LSAT should get you in at least one Canadian law school.  If you can get your LSAT higher or apply discretionary, your chances are even better across the board. Why would you bother going to US/UK to attend a second tier law school and come back only to face fiercer competitions and stigma? 

Edited by LordBONSAI
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LMP
  • Articling Student

This would be an easier conversation if you had some names. If it were me I'd choose a half decent US school over a UK option. 

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matthews95
  • Applicant
12 minutes ago, LordBONSAI said:

I think you're closing the doors before you too hastily. There're Canadian schools that don't consider your cGPA (e.g. UofA). Your L2/B2 and LSAT should get you in at least one Canadian law school.  If you can get your LSAT higher or apply discretionary, your chances are even better across the board. Why would you bother going to US/UK to attend a second tier law school and come back only to face fiercer competitions and stigma? 

Thank you for your response. There really is nothing more I would want than to get in this cycle.

I applied broadly to schools that are deemed more holistic (Ryerson, Windsor Dual, USask, UNB, TRU, Lakehead) and improved my stats from my rejections last year (3.8 in the Fall semester(upper year courses) and 159-161(June)-163 LSAT-(Nov). I also applied for special consideration where I could. 

I have talked to a few dual students who said my stats should be okay. However, the research I've done on this forum based on previous cycles and the increase in competition due to lsat scores/inflated gpa doesn't make me that hopeful. The UK/US is a backup that I really hope I don't have to resort to, but its a real possibility. 

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matthews95
  • Applicant

Illinois, Wisconsin, Utah, Iowa (Longshots)

Baylor, Kansas, Miami, Missouri, Maryland , Penn State, Seton (Decent- Good chance) 

Some of the longshots are high 20s. The others are high 40s to low 70s 

 

11 minutes ago, LMP said:

This would be an easier conversation if you had some names. If it were me I'd choose a half decent US school over a UK option. 

 

1 minute ago, matthews95 said:

Illinois, Wisconsin, Utah, Iowa (Longshots)

Baylor, Kansas, Miami, Missouri, Maryland , Penn State, Seton (Decent- Good chance) 

Some of the longshots are high 20s. The others are high 40s to low 70s 

 

 

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LordBONSAI
  • Applicant
40 minutes ago, matthews95 said:

Thank you for your response. There really is nothing more I would want than to get in this cycle.

I applied broadly to schools that are deemed more holistic (Ryerson, Windsor Dual, USask, UNB, TRU, Lakehead) and improved my stats from my rejections last year (3.8 in the Fall semester(upper year courses) and 159-161(June)-163 LSAT-(Nov). I also applied for special consideration where I could. 

I have talked to a few dual students who said my stats should be okay. However, the research I've done on this forum based on previous cycles and the increase in competition due to lsat scores/inflated gpa doesn't make me that hopeful. The UK/US is a backup that I really hope I don't have to resort to, but its a real possibility. 

You're very likely to get in one of these schools. This forum is not representative of the entire applicant pool. There're a lot more admitted students who don't share their stats online. 

Edited by LordBONSAI
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LMP
  • Articling Student
1 hour ago, matthews95 said:

Illinois, Wisconsin, Utah, Iowa (Longshots)

Baylor, Kansas, Miami, Missouri, Maryland , Penn State, Seton (Decent- Good chance) 

Some of the longshots are high 20s. The others are high 40s to low 70s 

 

 

 

Well obviously try for a Canadian school. But if you must go to the US some of those options aren't half bad. A solid state school can still yield results. I'd also consider ASU and a couple of other strong regional picks. But again, priority is Canada. 

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matthews95
  • Applicant
16 hours ago, LordBONSAI said:

You're very likely to get in one of these schools. This forum is not representative of the entire applicant pool. There're a lot more admitted students who don't share their stats online. 

I really hope so! 

 

15 hours ago, LMP said:

Well obviously try for a Canadian school. But if you must go to the US some of those options aren't half bad. A solid state school can still yield results. I'd also consider ASU and a couple of other strong regional picks. But again, priority is Canada. 

Thanks for the feedback. I'll take a look at ASU and some other regional schools. Good to know some of those options aren't bad but yeah priority is definitely Canada. 

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matthews95
  • Applicant
14 hours ago, CheeseToast said:

You should apply to uofa, u of c, and dal as well.

I applied to all of them except UofA. Dal is a good choice cause of last 10 too. I ended up getting a 167 LSAT for Jan, so at this point if i have to get to abroad with that score I'll be quite disappointed. 

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BondGuy
  • Lawyer

Chiming in as an NCA grad. 

I'd consider really trying to nail the LSAT and applying in Canada. Even the lower tier or newer Canadian schools (and I'm not really sure that's as much of a thing here) are a better option than NCA career prospects wise.

 

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matthews95
  • Applicant
On 2/4/2022 at 9:31 AM, BondGuy said:

Chiming in as an NCA grad. 

I'd consider really trying to nail the LSAT and applying in Canada. Even the lower tier or newer Canadian schools (and I'm not really sure that's as much of a thing here) are a better option than NCA career prospects wise.

 

Nice to hear from an NCA grad, thanks for the advice.

I wouldn't say killed it, but I did score 167 on the previous Jan test which I hope is enough to get me in to one school at least. B2 of 3.3-3.4 as well, so I think I have a decent chance at uSask 

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This is probably moot given your new LSAT score, but I would think twice about going to a US school ranked 40-70 unless you also get a hefty scholarship offer.

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matthews95
  • Applicant
4 hours ago, Dood said:

This is probably moot given your new LSAT score, but I would think twice about going to a US school ranked 40-70 unless you also get a hefty scholarship offer.

Would you pick UK over a US 40-70 school? 

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13 hours ago, matthews95 said:

Would you pick UK over a US 40-70 school? 

If you are going back to Canada ultimately, I would probably just choose the cheaper option. That path is not going to be easy either way. The US schools probably have the better backup plan options for your career than the UK schools (i.e. you could stay in US and do well in a regional firm - which is not as easy in UK).

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  • 3 months later...
Notworthy
  • Law School Admit
On 2/2/2022 at 7:20 AM, matthews95 said:

I applied to all of them except UofA. Dal is a good choice cause of last 10 too. I ended up getting a 167 LSAT for Jan, so at this point if i have to get to abroad with that score I'll be quite disappointed. 

Just to clarify, Dal is not last ten classes incase someone misinterprets this. It is still the last two years 60 credits I know the way they phrase it has/can be misrepresented. Additionally it is a 60/40 split school with GPA being the former. 

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Chemistry124
On 2/9/2022 at 5:47 PM, Dood said:

This is probably moot given your new LSAT score, but I would think twice about going to a US school ranked 40-70 unless you also get a hefty scholarship offer.

I strongly agree with this sentiment. A school in this ranking range will likely receive the NCA stigma. To overcome this, NCAs usually will need to have experience in a prestigious position before they come back to Canada such as Biglaw associate, well-known NGOs, etc. These schools are not prominent feeders into these kinds of jobs. I think it would be foolish to sink USD 150-200k+ into an education that won't get you a job in either countries.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Targetstar
  • Lawyer

It is funny reading some of the comments regarding the UK Law schools.  If there is a stigma, so what?  La dee da.  Eventually, the majority would be in private practice for themselves, where no client will ask you where you graduated.  Not one.  They want to see the Bar Certificate in a frame.  That's it...for the majority.  Or, as others have noted, you have proved that you belong wherever you are.

It is fascinating with all comments painting all UK schools with the same brush except for the standard yadda-yadda…Oxford and Cambridge.

There are two sets of law schools in the UK.  The Russell Group of universities (Ivey League) consists of Oxford and Cambridge and 22 other prestigious UK universities.  They don’t just take any Canadian undergraduate.  You have to have at least a B+.  And there is extreme competition amongst the group.

From my experience in a Russel Group law school, the marking can be absolutely brutal, as in can be extremely tough.  

Don’t let some commentators conflate the two groups.  It really would be to your detriment.  

Assessments and exams will likely always be 100% of your mark in each course, and there are no multiple-choice answers, true or false questions, or fill in the blank questions.  The majority of our assessments and exams are problem questions where you have to go through all the elements, defences and remedies, citing each supporting case and statute.  There is no spray and stick answers.  You have word limits that can be up to 4000 and have to squeeze everything in where you literally have zero words left to spare, including citations.  It feels like choosing amongst your family members you equally love to get rid of when cutting down the words. 

Because if you are 10% over the word count limit, there is a penalty reduction of 5% (and never worth it with the stingy marking system).

This, however, forces you to write tight, which will help you immensely in writing any pleadings, defences, and briefs.

In addition, U of T students who saw our contract law assessment had no idea how to answer the question.  Classmates had noted that UK law was an excellent learning education independently of each other.

Furthermore, obviously common law originated in the UK, and there is no better place I would rather learn it.

I am glad I did not listen to the misinformed and went to the UK and achieved my dream.  It was the best experience of my life and gave me a richer understanding of the legal systems worldwide and at home.

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Rashabon
  • Lawyer
10 minutes ago, Targetstar said:

It is funny reading some of the comments regarding the UK Law schools.  If there is a stigma, so what?  La dee da.  Eventually, the majority would be in private practice for themselves, where no client will ask you where you graduated.  Not one.  They want to see the Bar Certificate in a frame.  That's it...for the majority.  Or, as others have noted, you have proved that you belong wherever you are.

UK law graduates need to article to be able to practice in Canada. That's why the stigma matters. It's not about clients. It's about being able to even get to the servicing clients stage. And it is significantly more difficult from the UK than from a Canadian school, in Canada. Don't be an idiot.

12 minutes ago, Targetstar said:

It is fascinating with all comments painting all UK schools with the same brush except for the standard yadda-yadda…Oxford and Cambridge.

There are two sets of law schools in the UK.  The Russell Group of universities (Ivey League) consists of Oxford and Cambridge and 22 other prestigious UK universities.  They don’t just take any Canadian undergraduate.  You have to have at least a B+.  And there is extreme competition amongst the group.

Mate, the schools admit high school students. It's an entry-level degree in the UK. Canadian law schools have far more rigorous standards for admission, which is why there are so many bottom feeder UK schools willing to take Canadian students' money. A B+ is like a 3.30. That's not "good". The vast majority of Canadians going to the UK are because they could not hack it with Canadian admissions standards. Nobody can name nor care what the other 22 "prestigious" UK schools are. They aren't Oxford and Cambridge and so they have less than zero cache in Canada.

15 minutes ago, Targetstar said:

From my experience in a Russel Group law school, the marking can be absolutely brutal, as in can be extremely tough.  

Don’t let some commentators conflate the two groups.  It really would be to your detriment.  

In a statement to the Higher Education Policy Institute, David Watson of the University of Oxford suggested that the Russell Group's claim to represent 24 'leading universities' was "a real stretch". In the context of the Russell Group's reputation in the sector, he continued: "particularly dangerous, I think, is the bottom half of the Russell Group…The problem with the Russell Group is that it represents neither the sector as a whole [nor], in many cases, the best of the sector". Performance in research intensity showed that there were dozens of other UK universities "above the bottom Russellers".[66]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Group

It's cool that the bottom feeders were admitted into this industry group. Helps them white wash themselves.

16 minutes ago, Targetstar said:

Assessments and exams will likely always be 100% of your mark in each course, and there are no multiple-choice answers, true or false questions, or fill in the blank questions.  The majority of our assessments and exams are problem questions where you have to go through all the elements, defences and remedies, citing each supporting case and statute.  There is no spray and stick answers.  You have word limits that can be up to 4000 and have to squeeze everything in where you literally have zero words left to spare, including citations.  It feels like choosing amongst your family members you equally love to get rid of when cutting down the words. 

Wow that sounds like...every Canadian law school. You realize the majority of exams in law school are 100% and problem questions?

18 minutes ago, Targetstar said:

In addition, U of T students who saw our contract law assessment had no idea how to answer the question.  Classmates had noted that UK law was an excellent learning education independently of each other.

Lol what is this meant to prove?

19 minutes ago, Targetstar said:

Furthermore, obviously common law originated in the UK, and there is no better place I would rather learn it.

I am glad I did not listen to the misinformed and went to the UK and achieved my dream.  It was the best experience of my life and gave me a richer understanding of the legal systems worldwide and at home.

lmao. Who gives a shit where it originated? What a inane criteria.

I'm glad you enjoyed your time in the UK. The only good thing coming out of the UK these days is thep00lguy. It is irresponsible and incredibly shitty to come on to a forum with impressionable students and advise choosing a harder path. We recommend against students going to the UK because we've seen how a huge chunk of them end up - stuck in NCA purgatory and not practicing law.

I'm sure your rich understanding of worldwide legal systems comes in handy in practice.

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