University of Calgary : 3. Admissions

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University of Calgary Calendar 2014-2015 Faculty of Law 3. Admissions
3. Admissions

Admission to the practice of law in the common law provinces of Canada is governed by the several Law Societies according to statute or regulation, as the case may be. In Alberta, the admission requirements are set out in the Legal Professions Act. At present, admission to the Bar of Alberta generally requires two years or the equivalent of two years, of a full program of studies leading to a degree at a university in Alberta or an acceptable equivalent, a law degree from a university in Alberta or its equivalent, one year in articles in the province and successful completion of the Bar exams and that the applicant be of good character and reputation. For practical purposes, pre-law work in any Canadian university is considered to be the equivalent of university work in Alberta. Pre-law work in a university outside Canada is assessed on the basis of whether the University of Calgary recognizes the academic credentials as equivalent to those at Calgary.

Subject to the agreement of the Benchers of the Law Society of Alberta, articles may be served outside the normal environment of the private firm. For example, a student might serve a period of his/her articles in the legal department of a corporation, in legal service in a government department, or in clerkship to a judge.

The requirements for admission to most other common law Bars in Canada are similar, although there exists some variations in the pre-law requirements and in the time required for articles and Bar Admission Course. Students who intend to seek positions in practice in other provinces are advised to contact the Law Society of the province in question to determine the requirements in force.

While the Faculty of Law may admit students to its JD degree program, the right to practice law as a barrister and solicitor is granted only by the Law Society of the province concerned. Applicants contemplating practice should consider communicating as soon as possible with the Law Society of the province in which they intend to practice for all relevant particulars. In particular, applicants may wish to make inquires of the law society with respect to matters that raise issues of good character and reputation. Such matters would include, amongst other things, past criminal convictions, instances of academic misconduct or unresolved bankruptcy declarations.

Requirements

The educational prerequisite for admission to Law School in Alberta is successful completion of 10 full courses or 20 half-course equivalents in a program of studies leading to a degree at a university in Alberta, or its equivalent. Courses to be considered must be completed prior to December 31 in the year in which the application is made. These requirements apply to all applicants including Aboriginal Canadian applicants. As a practical matter, very few applicants who do not already possess a degree are admitted to the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary. Most have demonstrated academic competence before presenting themselves as candidates to the Law Faculty by successfully completing one or more degree programs. The educational prerequisites for admission are subject to change. Please contact the admissions office or visit the Faculty of Law website to obtain updated information.

When selecting the 100 most promising students each year, the Admissions Committee considers a number of factors including: academic record, performance on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), evidence of maturity, extra curricular activities, work experience, community involvement, the applicant's personal statement of why he or she desires a legal education, and reference letters. The Faculty of Law welcomes applications from persons who have been in the work force after university or who have come to university after their work experience. Emphasis is placed on academic achievement and competence; however, individual candidates often compensate for weakness in one area by substantial strengths in others. In exceptional circumstances applicants may be required to attend an interview, and should therefore be prepared to travel to Calgary at their own expense, sometimes on short notice.

Persons with disabilities who meet the above criteria are encouraged to apply, and once admitted the Faculty will accommodate students in accordance with the University policy.

Prospective applicants are urged to be realistic about their chances for admission. A maximum of 100 out of more than 1000 candidates are admitted each year. A typical first-year class has an average grade point average of 3.50 (on the University of Calgary system) and an LSAT score above the 75th percentile. The average age of the entering classes has remained around 25 to 28 years of age and actual ages of entering students range from the early 20s to the late 40s.

The Law School Admission Test

All students seeking admission to the Faculty of Law are required to take the Law School Admission Test. The test is given in February, June, October and December. However, as it may not be given at every testing centre on each occasion, applicants should check carefully the dates on which the test will be administered at the centre which is most convenient for them.

The last acceptable LSAT score will be the December writing. Only those applicants who have done so will be given consideration. Any applicant who is not able to afford the LSAT fee may apply to the Chair of the Admissions Committee. Prescribed forms for a Fee Waiver are available from the Admissions Office. Proof of the applicant's financial position for the previous three years will be required. The criteria are set out on the Fee Waiver form.

Procedures

The deadline for receipt of fully completed application forms is November 1. This is a firm deadline. There are no exceptions. Due to the nature of the admissions process at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, all supporting documentation must be received by February 1. The Admissions Committee starts reviewing files as soon as they are complete. This includes an LSAT score, certified transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions attended, and three letters of reference. Two should be academic references if possible. An explanation must be given if fewer than two of the references are academic. Letters of reference must not be from personal friends, family friends or family members.

Applications that lack any supporting documentation on February 1 will be rejected. All supporting documentation must come directly from the source and not be sent by the applicant. Students who are applying after two years of study must have completed two full years by December 31 of the year in which they apply.

No application file will be reviewed until complete. Therefore, it is to the applicant's advantage to have a completed file as soon as possible. Each applicant will be notified by letter only, as to whether or not they have been admitted or have had their application deferred for a final decision later in the summer. Successful applicants in all categories (ordinary, part time, transfer, and letter of permission) will be required to confirm, within a specified time period, their acceptance of an offer by sending a non-refundable $200.00 deposit.