Ask Diane: "What course of studies do you advise me to take to advance my career in Canada?"

This week's question comes from a foreign trained legal graduate, looking to advance her career in Canada!

Dear Diane,

“What course of studies do you advise me to take to advance my career in Canada?”

- New to the Canadian Experience

Dear New to the Canadian Experience,

Welcome to Canada! We admire your sense of adventure in bringing your law game to a new setting! If wanting to work on the administrative side, and depending on your country of origin, you want to most importantly assess your English skills. In addition, your basic administrative skills (typing, MS Office Suite, etc.) should be top-notch. You can access any number of resources online to gain an idea of where you sit with your level of proficiency!

In terms of attending a program, I don’t know if a program or course is necessary at this stage. I think you need to first of all see how receptive firms are to your experience outside of Canada. Firms will always look at the overall package that a candidate brings to the table. For example, in a tighter market, lawyers from outside of country may be perceived as more attractive. What area of law did you practice in? Common law or civil law? As an associate or as a partner? For what length of time? The other characteristic we have noticed in lawyers applying from outside of Canada, is that sometimes they may say that they are happy to work in an administrative role, but in actuality they would prefer to be working at the paralegal level. Of course, candidates who are here on a two-year work Visa and who would like more flexibility around taking time to ski at Whistler on extended weekends, might be more interested in true admin roles.

If lawyers are hoping to stay for the long term and opt not to take their NCAs (to secure a lawyer spot in the future), and are still having trouble getting their foot in the door at a law firm, then there are a few reputable schools in Vancouver who offer solid LAA/paralegal programs, but again, making the choice to take more schooling should be done under the guidance of a coach/agency who specializes in legal!

Thanks so much for your question. It allowed me to delve into some of the nuances of coming in from outside of Canada with a law background!



Our In-House Career Coach Diane Cronk, has a Master’s in Counselling, and over 20 years of professional experience within Law. She specializes in developing strategic career moves; transitioning from one workplace to another; dealing with interpersonal conflict; fine-tuning communication skills; developing leadership and performance competencies and stress-related issues. Her opinions and advice are aimed at inspiring and supporting both employers and candidates. Need career advice? Ask Diane questions to to have your questions answered, or contact Arlyn recruiting at 604-681-4432 to find out if Diane is the coach for you! 

By submitting a query to Ask Diane, you grant Arlyn Recruiting permission to publish it on our websites. Your full name and contact details will never be included or distributed. Diane is expressing personal opinions and views and the advice offered is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose, nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional. This column, its author and Arlyn Recruiting are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions. Arlyn Recruiting reserves the right to edit correspondence for length and clarity and offers no guarantee that a response will be given to any particular question.


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