Are you interested in studying law in Alberta? This article tells you how to become a lawyer in Alberta including what steps you have to take after high school, what you need to attend law school and other admission requirements to become a member of the legal profession!
STEP #1: Obtain an Undergraduate Degree
In Alberta (and Canada in general), you can’t get into law school directly from high school so the first step to becoming a lawyer is to obtain an undergraduate degree.
Most law schools only require the completion of your first three years of undergrad but it’s always better to finish your degree (in case you decide on a different career path later on!).
STEP #2: Take the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized test required for admission by most law schools in Canada. It’s administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). For more information and to register for the LSAT, visit the LSAC website.
Check out: 10 Tips for LSAT Success
STEP #3: Go to Law School in Canada
To become a lawyer in Alberta, you first have to go to law school. But you don’t necessarily have to obtain your law degree in the province. You can go to law school at any Canadian university. For most people, this would mean taking a 3-year Juris Doctor or JD degree (which is the degree you will need to practice law in Canada).
STEP #4: Apply to Become a Student-at-Law
After obtaining a JD degree, you can apply to become a student-at-law via the Law Society of Alberta’s Lawyer Portal.
Wait a minute…Student-at-law? What the heck is that? Isn’t that just another way of saying law student?
Well…I thought so too at first. But apparently not. Student-at-law is a status given to articling students (see Step #5 below) who meet the requirements set out by the Law Society that allow them to provide certain legal services. For more information on what you can do as a student-at-law, check out this article. Before applying to become a student-at-law, you must have secured an articling position.
STEP #5: Articling
Articling is one of the biggest requirements to become a lawyer in Alberta. You must “article” or complete an articling term with a Principal (typically a lawyer approved by the Law Society who meets the requirements to be a Principal but could also be a Judge or Justice). Articling can last between eight to twelve months and law students are responsible for securing their own articling positions.
STEP #6: Complete Bar Admission Course
During your article, you will need to complete a nine-month course called Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP). It is administered by the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) and is designed to give you the skills and competencies required to become a lawyer.
STEP #7: Schedule your Bar Call
Once you complete the bar admission requirements (articling and PREP course), you can schedule your Bar Call ceremony with the courts.
STEP #8: Enroll as a Member of The Law Society
The final step is to submit your application to enroll as a member of the law society. Once approved, you get called to the Bar and become legally able to practice law in Alberta!