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Myths About UK Law Schools: Why Law Students Really Go Abroad

Updated: Mar 7, 2020

The phrase, “I went to Law School abroad”, is often met with two assumptions in the Canadian legal market: 1) the student didn’t do well on the LSAT and 2) as a result, wasn’t admitted into a Canadian law school. While these may be perfectly legitimate assumptions that hold true in some cases, they are also incredibly reductive and unrepresentative of the truly myriad reasons for why Canadians may choose to pursue an international legal education. Further, they highlight a problematic bias that Canadian legal education is superior to most foreign degrees, which makes it difficult for those immigrating to Canada after completing legal education, and many times having establish legal careers, in their own home nations.

Over the last few months, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with international law students and lawyers from schools all over the world while researching a recent CBA National op-ed. Despite having very different stories and reasons for going abroad, all these students shared two things: 1) evidenced tenacity and a deep-seated desire to practice in Canada, and 2) a disappointing experience with bias against international candidates during the articling and legal recruitment process.

This second quality is not only disappointing but also has concerning implications for the Canadian legal market’s ability to adapt in a quickly changing and globalizing legal landscape. In an effort to expand the dialogue around international legal education, here are some common reasons why Canadian students decide to study law abroad...

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