Compare your options for studying law in Canada, Australia, the UK, and US to discover which option is best for you.
Have you ever dreamed about becoming a lawyer? The type of law degrees you can pursue are a Bachelor of Law (LLB) or a Juris Doctor (JD). These degrees are fundamentally similar, though each country may have slight variations, which you can check out below. Whether you’re wanting to study law in Canada or pursue a degree abroad, you can compare your opportunities to help decide which is the best choice for you:
Your law degree options
Want a quick rundown of how law degrees vary across Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States? Check out this chart for a quick comparison:
|Canada||Australia||United Kingdom||United States|
|Degree path||An undergraduate degree, and then either an LLB or JD degree||Direct entry into an LLB||Direct entry into an LLB||An undergraduate degree, and then a JD degree|
|Total years of schooling required||Seven years — three to four years of an undergrad degree, plus another three years in law school||Four years on average||Three years||Seven years — three to four years of an undergrad degree, plus another three years in law school|
|Additional requirements to become a lawyer in Canada||
|How to apply to law school in each country||Submit your application directly to the school, except for Ontario schools where you must submit your applications through the OLSAS application portal||Apply directly to the schools you’re interested in||Submit your application through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service portal or directly to the schools you’re interested in||Create an account with Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to track the status of your application. You’ll also need to submit your documents to LSAC through the Credential Assembly Service (CAS)|
*The prerequisites for each country listed in this chart are common requirements you may need, but every school is unique and will have their own list of requirements. So, make sure you look at the schools you’re interested in to see what you’ll need to apply.
In your law degree search, you’ll see joint degrees that combine law with another subject, like business, environmental science, and more, but keep in mind that this will extend the length and cost of your program.
How much will law school cost?
There’s a lot of factors to consider when choosing where you’ll go to law school. Some of the biggest things to remember are law degrees in the UK and Australia are significantly shorter than in Canada and the US, and can be entered directly out of high school.
However, if you go to a law school abroad, you’ll have to take a minimum of five exams or courses from the NCA to prove your law knowledge is similar to Canada-educated law students. After you pass these exams, then you may register with the province you want to practice law in and begin your articling and bar admissions requirements. Whereas if you study law in Canada, you can get straight into your registration and articling process after graduation.
If money is your biggest concern, take a look at a breakdown of your potential finances after seven years:
|Canada||Australia||United Kingdom||United States|
|Tuition cost for one year (CAD)*||$11,000 – $21,000||$29,580 – $58,156||$21,000 – $34,000||$57,206 – $70,960|
|Cost of living in each country (CAD)**||$27,600 – $54,000||$31,200 – $54,000||$25,200 – $82,800||$32,400 – $105,600|
|Average starting salary for a lawyer in Canada||$60,000||$60,000||$60,000||$60,000|
|Average cost of Canadian undergraduate education (four years)||$27,336||$27,336|
|Average cost of living in Canada (four years)||$163,200||$163,200|
|Average cost of law degree||$48,000 (for three years)||$175,472 (for four years)||$82,500 (for three years)||$192,249 (for three years)|
|Average cost of living during law degree||$122,400 (for three years)||$170,400 (for four years)||$162,000 (for three years)||$207,000 (for three years)|
|Salary earnings for shorter degrees (with the Canadian cost of living factored in)||$57,600 earned after three years||$76,800 earned after four years|
|Total cost for seven years||$360,936||$288,272||$167,700||$589,785|
*The tuition costs are based on a sample of the schools available. These numbers could change based on a school’s location.
**The cost of living range is calculated using 12 months of the estimated costs of living, plus the lowest cost of rent vs. the highest cost of rent for a one bedroom apartment.
So, what exactly does this chart show you? There could be more to your finances than just your education costs. The numbers in red are how much money you’ve put towards your education after seven years. Keep in mind that where you go to school can also have an impact on how much your cost of living could be. The total cost of your education can be a scary number and may be too intimidating to consider studying law abroad, but you may not have thought about one of the major features of each country’s law degree that can impact you: the degree length.
In Canada and the US, you’re paying for seven years of education, whereas in the UK and Australia, you’re paying for three or four years of education before you can begin articling and practicing as a lawyer. Did you know that entry-level lawyers in Canada make $60,000 per year on average? So, if you study in the UK and come back to Canada, you could be working during those four years that your Canadian law student peers are still studying.
Pros and cons to studying law in each country
This can be a lot of information to take in, so to help you compare your options, check out these pros and cons to studying law in each country:
There you have it! A quick breakdown of your law degree options in Canada, Australia the UK, and US. While this guide covers a lot of different factors, every school is different. Make sure you connect with the schools you’re interested in to learn more about their specific tuition fees, cost of living in their area, an any prerequisites they may require. Good luck with your journey!