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How Long Does It Take to Become a Lawyer in Alberta?

Want to become a lawyer? Learn how long does it take to become a lawyer in Alberta, including length of schooling and requirements. Ideal for aspiring lawyers.


Are you interested in becoming a lawyer in Alberta? Maybe you’re a high school student, thinking about pursuing a career in law but you’re wondering how many more years of studying you have to do before you can start earning money. Or maybe you’re a mature student wanting to make a career switch and you’re thinking “Is it worth it? How long does it take to become a lawyer in Alberta?” Well, the short answer is: about 8 years after high school! This includes a year of articling (more on this below). The long answer? In true lawyer fashion…it depends! If you want to learn more about approximately how long it will take to become a lawyer in Alberta, keep reading.

Breakdown of Years to Become a Lawyer in Alberta

There are many requirements to becoming a lawyer in Alberta. If you’re interested in what those requirements are, check out this article: How to Become a Lawyer in Alberta. Meeting those many requirements takes time, which is why it takes approximately 8 years to become a lawyer in Alberta. Here is a breakdown of those 8 years:

  • 3-4 years of undergraduate studies
  • 3 years of law school
  • 1 year of articling

We will go through these in more detail below. But before that, keep in mind that everyone’s circumstances are different. So, of course, while a majority of people will take about 8 years to become a lawyer, some may require more time while others less!

3-4 Years of Undergraduate Studies

In Alberta, you can’t go to law school straight from high school. One of the requirements to be accepted into law school is an undergraduate or bachelor’s degree. This means you must complete approximately 3-4 years of undergraduate studies first. I say approximately 3-4 years because most bachelor’s degrees are 4 years in duration and most law schools require you to complete at least 3 years of undergraduate study (although it’s recommended to complete the full duration of your undergraduate program i.e. if you’re in a 4-year program, complete all 4 years).

That said, if you have a high enough GPA, you may be able to get early admission. Some law schools will admit students even if they have only completed 2 years of undergraduate studies if they demonstrate outstanding academic ability. And if you’re a mature student with an undergraduate degree already under your belt (you’re just looking to change careers), you can look into applying to law schools right away. So going back to my point earlier, it can really depend how long it takes you to become a lawyer because there are a lot of variables to consider. 

3 Years of Law School

Once you have a bachelor’s degree, you need to go to law school to become a lawyer in Alberta. Law school will take you about 3 years to complete. Unless you’re doing law school part-time or with a combined degree then it might take you longer. Before law school, you need to take the LSAT or the Law School Admission Test. It’s another one of the requirements to get into law school. Most students will study for the LSAT and take the exam during the last two years of their undergraduate studies. This means that there is no gap between the time they finish undergrad and the time they enter law school. But there are some students who choose to take a gap year (or two) to either study for the LSAT or travel or what have you. For those who choose to do the latter, it will likely take longer to become a lawyer depending on all the other factors.

1 Year of Articling

In some other places, like the U.S., law graduates need to pass the bar exam to become a lawyer. In Alberta, after completing law school, one of the remaining requirements to become a lawyer is to complete 12 months or 1 year of articling. Basically, this is when you work under the supervision of a practicing lawyer, typically at a law firm, to get hands-on legal experience.

Want to learn more about articling? Check out: What is an Articling Student in Alberta?

After articling, you can then schedule your bar call with the law courts (which could probably take another month or so) and that’s it! You become a member of the Bar a.k.a you officially become a lawyer!


There are a lot of requirements to become a lawyer in Alberta and it could take up to and beyond 8 years of schooling. From obtaining a bachelor’s degree, taking the LSAT, going to law school, and completing articling, it takes a great deal of commitment, dedication and perseverance. Plus, it can be very expensive. Speaking from personal experience, you might rack up a huge amount of student loan debt…so if you’re thinking of becoming a lawyer, keep all of that in mind and seriously consider if it’s the right path for you!