University Of Calgary Provides Roadmap For Foreign Lawyers Working On Getting Certified In Canada

University of Calgary Law School recently launched a new program to help foreign-trained lawyers to get certified and practice in Canada.

The program was launched by Dean Ian Holloway after learning that the man who runs the university’s boiler rooms was actually a practicing lawyer in the Philippines.

This new 12-month program by the University, when completed, makes its students applicable for the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) network, which connects them with legal experts in Calgary and Alberta like MyDefence.ca, while also bringing them closer to operating across the whole of Canada.

Holloway states that whatever doubt he had was erased by his conversation with the boiler room employee. He adds that there’s a moral imperative for the Canadian legal practice to do this; if Canada welcomes people based on their expertise, then the country can’t deny them the right to practice their chosen trade.

Reportedly, the Law Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association, as well as the Calgary Refugee and Immigrant Employment Council have been calling for the Canadian government to create a program that would help foreign-trained lawyers in the country to be able to practice.

This new program will start on September 2021, with applications to run from June 1 to July 1, with an expected maximum of 50 students. Students will take six courses in the evening, alongside professional development training, as well as student support and mentorship. Throughout the program, international trained lawyers will also receive articling and career placement assistance, to help them find a law firm like MyDefence.ca, and integrate themselves into the Canadian legal services market.

The Foreign-Trained Lawyers Program will be led by Kellinde Wrightson, a native Aussie who herself had to go through the long, arduous process of becoming a properly certified lawyer in Canada.

Holloway, however, noted that the coursework isn’t the real issue with the Canadian legal system that foreign-trained lawyers have to deal with, as he notes that they’ve already proven they have what it takes to practice law. He says that the main issue will be getting experience in Canadian legal practice, and understanding how the country’s legal system works; how it operates and differs from the legal system in their home country.