Can You Practice Law In Canada With A Us Degree

Can You Practice Law In Canada With A US Degree?

Yes, you can practice law in Canada with a US degree. In fact, there are plenty of lawyers who have done it—and you don’t have to be Canadian to get a job as a lawyer in Canada.

But there are some things you should know before you make the move. Let’s take a look!

Do I Need To Be A Canadian Citizen To Work As A Lawyer In Canada?

No! There are many different ways to become a lawyer in Canada, and most of them don’t require that you be a Canadian citizen. You can go to law school in Canada if you’re not already a citizen—but if you want to work for one of the big firms, or start your own firm, then you’ll need to be able to prove that you’re eligible for legal work permits (or “permanent residence” in Canada).

Can You Practice Law In Canada With A Us Degree


While it may feel like the world is divided into two types of people: those who are Canadian, and those who wish they were, there’s a third group that we haven’t addressed yet. These are people who have a law degree obtained in the U.S., but want to practice law in Canada. So can you practice law in Canada with a US degree? Well, sort of. Here’s what you need to know to start your legal career in Canada:

The National Committee on Accreditation (NCA)

The National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) is a non-profit organization that specializes in assessing foreign credentials and assisting applicants with their applications to law schools. NCA is responsible for assessing foreign credentials so that you can apply to Canadian law schools. If your previous education was not completed in Canada or the United States, NCA will evaluate your American degree to see if it reflects one of these standards:

  • U.S. Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from a regionally accredited program
  • U.S Bachelor of Science (BS) degree from a regionally accredited program

Assessments and a Canadian Bar Exam

You can take the NCA assessments in person or online at various locations across Canada

The NCA provides several options for taking its assessments. You can take them in person, online and in a variety of languages. There are a number of testing locations across Canada so you don’t have to worry about travelling too far. If you prefer, you can also apply for accommodations if English is not your first language.

Articling Instead of Passing the Bar Examination

Articling is a period of professional training that is required for becoming a lawyer in Canada. It is seen as a way to get practical experience, learn about the Canadian legal system and prepare for the bar examination. There are other ways to become a lawyer, but articling may be the most common route.

If you have already completed your law degree at an American university and want to practice law in Canada, there are several options available to you:

  • Taking the bar exam—but only if you have been practicing law in another country where it is recognized (for example, Australia) or if you have passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination;
  • Applying directly as an articled clerk (AC); and/or
  • Applying directly as a short-term member of the Law Society with some other qualifications (e.g., having completed post-graduate courses).

Starting Your Canadian Legal Career

If you have a U.S. law degree, there are several ways to begin your Canadian legal career.

  • Apply to a law school in Canada.
  • Work for an existing law firm or other company that requires legal assistance and then apply for the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) once you have some experience under your belt. This will allow you to practice law in Canada with little delay after completing the requisite training and education requirements, which may take up to three years depending on where you study and how many credits they award per course taken.
  • Apply directly to the NCA as soon as possible after graduating from an American university; if accepted into their program (and provided that they’re satisfied with your academic credentials), they will issue accreditation certificates indicating eligibility for admission into one of Canada’s common-law provinces—namely Alberta, British Columbia (BC), Manitoba (MB), New Brunswick (NB), Newfoundland & Labrador (NL), Nova Scotia (NS), Ontario (#ONTO), Prince Edward Island (#PEI) Quebec (#QUEBEC

You can practice law in Canada.

You can practice law in Canada. In order to be eligible, you will have to meet certain requirements. These include:

  • being a member of the bar in one of Canada’s provinces or territories;
  • having a degree from a recognized university;
  • passing the bar examination for that province/territory; and finally,
  • being admitted as a member of that province/territory’s bar


Practicing law in Canada may seem like a daunting task, but it’s possible and requires a few simple steps. First, you’ll have to decide if you wish to work or study in the country – if so, apply for permanent residence. Second, register with NCA or complete an equivalency exam at a Canadian law school (if applicable). Finally, obtain articles that are relevant for your area of practice before becoming licensed as an attorney.

Good luck on your journey!

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