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UofT vs Osgoode


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  • Applicant

I apologize for another one of these posts. I did find some old posts that compare U of T and Osgoode, which offer some great views. However, I would greatly appreciate any more current insights on which school to attend, specifically if I'm interested in working in IP law.

I come from a life sci background and have a research-streamed MSc degree. My research work ended up with some patents, which is why I got interested in IP law in the first place. That being said, going to Law school is completely new to me, and I don't know anyone who's working in the IP law field. Therefore, I recognize that my interests and future plans can completely change as I go through law education, or even if an MSc in life sci (not quite eng or cs, which I often see get mentioned) will help me with future job prospects in the IP law area (maybe in biotech?). So while I want to work towards becoming an IP lawyer, I'm not dead set on one field from the get-go,

From some general research, I do see that U of T law is great for people wanting to practice Big Law or corporate law, and that's what justifies their extra tuition cost. However, I'm not completely sure where IP law falls in the spectrum. I heard that Osgoode has many outstanding experiential learning and clinic programs, including this IP law and technology intensive program, which sounds very interesting to me and offers amazing practical experience. Osgoode also seems more diverse in the career paths they focus on with their wide variety of clinical programs, which I think is great for people to explore their career paths early on.

The tuition gap between the two schools is less relevant to me right now (I won't elaborate but once you factor in other costs and stuff they are kinda similar in my circumstances). 

I guess I want to know what are some considerations for both schools in terms of a career in IP law (academic courses, practical opportunities, preparation for career, job prospects etc), or just general insights not limited to the IP law path but you find relevant.

Thank you!


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  • Law Student

1. What Type of IP Law Interests You: This is a good place to start (but a hard one to truly know without starting law school). Do you want to focus on patent litigation and use your MSc degree to help defend innovators/brand name drug companies in PMNOC proceedings? Are you interested in trademarks and helping companies protect brands? Do you want to work on complex M&A deals that involve complex IP considerations? Based off your interests, it may be easier to narrow in on the next point.

2. Location: Where do you want to practice IP law (both size of firm and city)? Many IP lawyers practice in large law firms. You can also practice IP law in a boutique focused on IP.

  • Toronto (big law and boutiques): Each big firm might vary in their specific IP practice strengths (some might have a world class patent litigation team, others may focus more on transactional IP work).  The upshot of working in a large law firm in Toronto is that in addition to IP law, you'll get to try a number of areas.  I have a similar background to you and slowly moved away from IP into corporate and commercial law as my interests changed. There are also IP boutiques around Toronto (like Smart & Biggar, Bearskin & Parr and Gilberts) if you are sure you want to do IP law. The upshot of an IP boutique is generally being at a smaller firm, with some having very strong cultures and communities. There will likely be a greater diversity of IP work at the boutiques (although this isn't a guarantee).
  • Ottawa: There is also an IP recruit for large national firms in Ottawa that tend to focus on IP litigation, which takes place in October of your 1L and 2L years. Given your background you'll probably be competitive for this recruit. There are your usual players of big law firms and IP boutiques. Depending on which firm you choose, the firm could be paying equal to less than Toronto
  • Boston/NYC: There is a vibrant life sciences pharmaceutical practice in the United States. Both Osgoode and UofT students who perform relatively well might be able to interview for top US law firms. The pay is substantially more than Toronto, but comes with slightly more hours, the bar/patent bar and a move to a new city.

You'll notice I haven't really compared the schools here. That's because it depends on your answers to the above questions. If you want to practice IP law at a corporate law firm in Toronto or New York/Boston, your odds are likely the best at UofT. That would be my choice (as a current Osgoode student).

The education is substantially similar and they will be able to teach you the basics when you join a Firm. I'm not even convinced that taking a full slate of IP courses in law school is necessary to be an IP lawyer (as long as you're willing to learn IP law on the job). I wouldn't (personally) put too much stock in IP intensives and clinical experience, as they don't add much over and above the practical experience you will gain working in a law firm over a summer (or two) plus articling. 

When considering the amount of doors that UofT will leave open for you, I think it edges out Osgoode (despite Osgoode's impressive clinical options).

Edited by omigone
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  • Applicant

@omigone Thank you so much for taking the time to write the reply!

It helps a lot and gives me some directions to do more research on this. 


Edited by Moonstone
correcting grammar and typo
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Law Student

Osgoode students pretty freely admit that U of T is a better school to go to than Osgoode. This does not necessarily have anything to do with the quality of education, but the prestige of having graduated U of T law is simply greater, and I think it carries weight especially in corporate law and IP. Osgoode has no special regular courses in the field of IP that U of T does not have. 

There is the "Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program" I guess (google it). If you really want a community placement, I suppose it might be worth it, but I can't see someone turning down U of T for it.

The tuition difference is negligible in the long run. If you can get U of T, take it. 

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