Best law schools in canada macleans

Last Updated on May 24, 2022

Law is a system of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior, with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been variously described as a science and the art of justice. State-enforced laws can be made by a group legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or established by judges through precedent, usually in common law jurisdictions.

Law – or legal studies – refers to the ‘art of justice.’ It has been practiced since 3000 BC by the Ancient Egyptians. While the study has changed through time, one thing is for sure: you need to get a law degree to practice legally. In the following sections, we will list the best law schools in canada macleans.

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How to become a lawyer in canada

Step 1

Get Your Canadian Undergraduate Pre-Law Major

Most Canadian law schools require that you have a bachelor’s degree or have completed 90 credit hours (three years) towards a bachelor’s degree, prior to entering law school. Check the LSAC Official Guide to Canadian Law Schools for your chosen school’s admission policies regarding undergraduate education.

Accreditation

Because Canadian education is regulated on a provincial level, there are no national accreditation bodies for Canadian colleges and universities. Government organizations recognize certain colleges and universities within their jurisdiction.

If your undergraduate institution is accredited by one of the above-mentioned organizations, you should be assured that Canadian law schools would accept your undergraduate education as valid.

Requirements and Standards

Again, each Canadian law school has its own requirements and standards regarding the undergraduate education you must complete before applying to law school. Most have credit requirements, while others may require certain courses to be taken. Check with your chosen law school’s policies for more information.

Step 2

LSAT (Law School Admission Test) in Canada

You must pass the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, before you will be accepted into any LSAC-member Canadian law school. This standardized entrance test is given four times annually.  

How to prepare

You can access free study materials, such as practice tests and sample questions and answers, at the LSAT website. Other preparation material for the LSAT in Canada includes:
LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Canada:

  • LSAT Prep Courses, Oxford Seminars, Locations Across Canada
  • LSAT Prep, Richardson Prep Center, Toronto
  • Official LSAT Prep, Khan Academy, online

Exam content

There are three key areas tested on the LSAT:

Best Law Schools in Canada - Part 4 - Dalhousie Faculty of Law - My  Canadian University
  • Reading Comprehension – Long, complex passages resembling information you will encounter in law school and in the law profession are presented. You must answer questions based upon your ability to understand, make inferences, and draw conclusions from these passages.
  • Analytical Reasoning– Your abilities to see relationships and draw conclusions are tested here.
  • Logical Reasoning– You must identify the strengths and weaknesses in given arguments in this section of the LSAT.

Although not scored as part of the LSAT, you must also produce a writing sample on a given topic. This will be sent to the law schools to which you apply for their review.

Application process

Applications for the LSAT are taken online. The LSAT is given on Mondays and Saturdays in November, January, March, June and July.

Step 3

Go to Law School in Canada

The next step in the process of becoming a Canadian lawyer is to go to law school. View the LSAC Official Guide to Canadian Law Schools for application procedures for the law school in which you intend to apply for admission. There are 24 law schools in Canada, each of which offers a professional law degree in one or both of Canada’s law systems.  Two legal traditions exist in Canada: French civil law, dominant in Quebec; and English common law, dominant in all other provinces and territories.

If you intend to practice law in Quebec, you must graduate from a Quebec law school. If you intend to practice in an English common law jurisdiction in Canada, you must graduate from one of the common-law schools in the other provinces/territories. Canada has mobility agreements among the provinces/territories that allow lawyers licensed in one common-law jurisdiction to practice in another common-law jurisdiction.

Step 4

Complete Your Province’s Bar Admission Course and Articling

The next step in becoming a Canadian lawyer in all provinces is to complete your province’s Bar Admission Course. This differs a bit from one province to the next, as you will see below.

Best law schools in canada macleans

=9. University of Calgary

Despite falling 13 places this year, the University of Calgary remains in Canada’s top 10 in joint 9th place. The university ranks joint 246th in the world and earns its highest score in the international faculty indicator, where it ranks 212th in the world.

The University of Calgary was founded in 1944 as the Calgary branch of the University of Alberta and has since separated into an independent university with five campuses and over 33,000 students.

=9. Queen’s University

Located in Kingston, Ontario, Queen’s University comes 9th in Canada this year, after dropping seven places in the world rankings to joint 246th. The university performs exceptionally well in the employer reputation indicator, where it ranks 99th worldwide.

With more than 24,000 students, 91 percent of Queen’s University’s graduates are employed within six months of graduation.

8. Western University

Western University climbs eight places in the world university rankings this year to reach joint 203rd. One of Canada’s top research universities, Western University was founded in 1878 and has more than 38,000 students from 121 countries. The university performs well in the citations per faculty and employer reputation indicators.

Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie ranks among world's best law schools -  Dal News - Dalhousie University

7. University of Waterloo

Rising seven places in the world ranking this year but remaining in seventh place in Canada, is the University of Waterloo. The University of Waterloo ranks joint 166th in the world rankings in 2021, performing well in the employer reputation indicator, where it places 85th worldwide. 

Established in 1956, the university boasts three campuses and is a member of the prestigious U15 research group.

6. McMaster University

After dropping four places in the rankings this year, McMaster University takes 144th place in the world university rankings. The international faculty indicator is where McMaster University earns its highest ranking, placing 83rd in the world. The university is located in Hamilton, Ontario and is best known for its prestigious medical school.

5. University of Alberta

In 119th place is the University of Alberta, dropping six places this year. The University of Alberta is home to 40,000 students and is comprised of four campuses. It earns its highest score in the international faculty indicator.

4. Université de Montréal

Overtaking the University of Alberta this year to steal fourth place in Canada is Université de Montréal. A French language public research university in Montreal, the university was founded in 1878 and has over 67,350 students including 10,000 international students.

List of Top 10 Law Universities in Canada (2022 Updated) || VastLearners

3. University of British Columbia

Over to the top three, we have the University of British Columbia ranking third in Canada and 45th in the world, after rising six places this year. Ranking 28th in the world for the academic reputation indicator, the University of British Columbia aims to embrace innovation and challenge the status quo. 

2. McGill University

Located in Montreal, McGill University remains in second place in Canada this year, climbing four places in the rankings to joint 31st. McGill University counts 12 Nobel Laurates and 145 Rhodes Scholars amongst its alumni as well as Canada’s current prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

1. University of Toronto

The top university in Canada once again this year is the University of Toronto in joint 25th worldwide. The university rose four places in this year’s rankings and earns high scores across most of the indicators, particularly academic reputation, where it ranks 15th worldwide.

Best law schools in the world

#1: Harvard College

A traditional feeder school, a Harvard education will undoubtedly give you an advantage in your law school applications, especially with the right grades and LSAT scores. Harvard also has several organizations for pre-law students, including the Harvard Law Society and the Harvard College Black Pre-Law Association. You’ll also be able to take advantage of Harvard’s alumni network at top schools and law firms.

#2: Yale University

Yale is considered the top law school in the country, and is the 4th best university overall according to US News and World Report. Though Yale does not have a pre-law major, the school does offer an interdisciplinary track that allows students to create their own major that can give them the skills that law schools seek. The Yale Law School Admission Council also provides undergraduates with pre-law counseling and events throughout the year.

#3: Northwestern University

Northwestern is known for academic rigor, and a big school means lots of resources, including their own law school. Northwestern’s Legal Studies track can be completed as a major or a minor, and differs from pre-law programs in that it has an interdisciplinary focus and aims to teach students to think critically about the relationship between law and society, and includes everything from psychology to literature to religious studies. It’s a well-rounded degree, and the added advantage of being in Chicago means more opportunities for internships.

#4: University of Maryland

The University of Maryland has a department dedicated to advising pre-law students, which also connects students with resources and mentors, and works closely with the university’s law school. Maryland also has a three year arts/law degree program, in which a student can apply to law school in their third year of undergrad, and be awarded their baccalaureate degree in their first year of law school. College Park is also close to Washington D.C., which can help you with landing an internship.

#5: Georgetown University

Georgetown’s pre-law advising center offers resources on all things law school, including one-on-one advising, help with applications, and workshops. Additionally, Georgetown’s record of academics in the humanities make it a great place to learn the skills necessary to excel in law school, and its Washington D.C. location means opportunities to have internships and make connections with those working in the legal field or in politics.

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#6: New York University

NYU is in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world, and certainly offers a ton of opportunities for internships both in the legal industry and beyond. NYU also offers the Lawyer Alumni Mentoring Program, or LAMP, for pre-law students. The school’s academics are rigorous overall, and has a strong record in the humanities, particularly English.

#7: Michigan State University

Michigan State offers a pre-law major that is also considered a liberal arts degree. The pre-law major aims to introduce students to legal studies while also teaching critical thinking and analytical skills so that pre-law majors are prepared to work in law enforcement, become paralegals, or go into a career in government.

#8: University of Texas at Austin

UT Austin’s career center hosts one of the largest Law Fairs in the country every year, which allows students to interact with over 100 law school admissions professionals. The career center also hosts panels and workshops, law school application coaching, and more. If you’re stuck between majors, these resources can help you decide what is best for you, and what will help you stand out on an application. UT Austin offers many majors in both sciences and humanities, and UT students go onto to law school with degrees in numerous fields.

#9: Florida State University

In addition to one of the country’s top Criminal Justice programs, FSU has a pre-law advising center that helps students magnify their achievements within their majors, and works closely with the law school. FSU hosts the Donald J. Weidner Summer Program for Legal Studies, a four-week program taught by law professors. Even better: 70% of program attendees have gone on to law school. The program is open to undergraduates from all schools and is competitive.

#10: George Washington University

George Washington University encourages pre-law students to establish themselves as pre-law early on, and take advantage of the many groups, societies, and panels dedicated to that goal. Advisers at GW help you find the law schools that are the best fit for your background and goals, and they tailor your undergrad education to those schools. Additionally, the Washington D.C. location makes for a great spot to score internships.

#11: Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern is a little different than the other schools on this list because of its thorough pre-law (legal studies) major that offers an undergraduate law degree. Nova Southeastern is dedicated to helping students prepare for law school by offering a challenging program and a dedicated interest in the humanities. The school’s B.S. in Legal Studies major also allows students to take classes in philosophy, history, and more as they work toward their degree.

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