Launching a legal career as an internationally-trained lawyer in Canada usually begins with an undergraduate or Master of Laws program, taking the NCA exams independently or doubling with a school program that offers NCA courses.

Many ITLs are unsure of which path to take to begin this journey, which is why in today’s post, we share highlights of our conversations with three (3) ITLs who have either completed their NCAs, acquired an LL.M. degree, or both!


Joan Michael’s experience: 

Can you please briefly introduce yourself? 

My name is Joan Michaels, and I have a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Ghana and a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School, focusing on corporate and commercial transactions. I was called to the Bar in Ghana in 2017 and currently, I am articling with a general practice firm in Calgary. My work is mainly on business law, commercial dispute resolution and, to a lesser extent, Wills and Estates Planning and Litigation, including Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship matters. 


How was your NCA experience? 

Continue reading “Snippets from ITL’s Licensing Journeys”

The ITL Network calls upon all active members of the law society of Alberta (the “LSA”) to attend the upcoming special meeting on Monday, February 6, 2023. To attend this meeting, pre-registration is required and the deadline to pre-register is Friday January 3, 2023.

The special meeting has been set to vote on a resolution signed by 51 active members to repeal Rule 67.4 of the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta which empowers Benchers to prescribe specific continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for members.

Rule 67.4(1) provides:

“The Benchers may, from time to time, prescribe continuing professional development requirements to be completed by members, in a form and manner, as well as time frame, acceptable to the Benchers.”

The LSA has been a self-regulated entity since it was established in 1907 and the privilege of self-regulation comes at a cost which is the protection of public interest. The LSA is expected to regulate the profession in the interest of the public by prescribing a high standard of professional and ethical conduct by Alberta lawyers. The resolution to be decided upon came in the wake of the mandatory course, The Path, an Indigenous cultural competency online course which was prescribed by the LSA for its active members.

It is worthy of note that the only CPD requirement in Alberta at the moment is the completion of this course which was developed in direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 27, which states as follows:

Continue reading “Press Release on the Special Meeting of the Law Society of Alberta”

September 27, 2022 – The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto (SABA) and the ITL Network are proud to announce, the ITL Manual, a new collaboration to support internationally trained lawyers undergoing the licensing process in Canada.

“The objective of the ITL Manual is to compile all the necessary information every ITL needs to succeed in Canada”, noted Co-Founder and Director of the ITL Network Kenny Okunola. “Since we started the ITL Network, we have had to respond to similar questions and concerns and the underlying issue has always been the availability of information at the right time. There is no gainsaying the fact the availability of information can contribute significantly to the quality of decision making in this licensing journey.”

According to the ITL Network’s President, Cynthia Okafor, the idea is for the ITL Manual to include various sequential volumes which serve as road map materials for ITLs at different phases in their career trajectory – starting from the pre-NCA qualification phase to the NCA and provincial qualification phases, and even for ITLs just called to the Bar. Each volume will provide information on each phase distinctively. We intend to make this Manual a holy grail of information for ITLs”.

Continue reading “The ITL Manual – SABA and ITL Network Collaborate to Bridge Information Gap in the Licensing Process.”


The On-Campus Interviews (OCI) are here! Though they may not be exactly “on-campus” considering that they will be conducted virtually, but the name does stick on. These are interviews which are conducted by employers to recruit for 1L and 2L summer positions. In these interviews, you have 17 minutes (give or take) to meet with members from a firm and make an impression on them. Wondering how to ace these speed interview situations? Read on!

Recently, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) issued a newsletter addressing some concerns relating to the decision of moving to an in-person examination method for the 2022-2023 licensing cycle. This update arrived as a consequence of the cancellation of the summer examinations announced by the LSO in March 2022. The decision to cancel the summer examinations was made due to the examination content being improperly accessed by some candidates and/or third parties.

            Expectantly, this decision severely affected approximately 1,100 candidates, who were set to write their online examinations. In an open letter directed to the LSO and the Attorney General of Ontario, licensing candidates expressed their frustration and disappointment regarding the LSO’s decision to postpone the June 2022 bar exams to July 2022, in addition to cancelling online assessments. Lawyers and students have also expressed their confusion with returning to an in-person format – solely because the examination content was leaked, as they argue that it can potentially be leaked again even if they were to cancel online assessments.


Recently, I had the opportunity to spend an evening with Justice McLeod (Ontario Court of Justice), Justice Braid (Superior Court), Justice J.L. Waddilove (Ontario Court of Justice) and Justice Jain (Superior Court), all remarkable female judges in the industry. This event was an initiative by the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) (amongst several other similar events being organised by law schools across Canada), to encourage young female lawyers to join the judiciary. The IAJW is actively working towards removing impediments faced by female lawyers and judges in the world with a focus on the high attrition rate of females in the profession. The evening was full of riveting and intriguing conversation as our judges talked about increasing representation, equity and diversity within the law, and what it takes to be a judge.
By virtue of Osgoode’s Women Network, attendees of the evening received the chance to personally interact with the Judges. Attendees not only learned from the fierce personal experiences narrated by the esteemed judges that formed the panel but were also allowed time to ask direct questions.

The Articling Program has been a challenging journey for many law students. It is intended to satisfy the Law Society that the applicant has practical & substantive knowledge of being a lawyer in Canada. It is a significant step in a law student’s legal career that enables the transition from school to practice. The Law Society of Alberta’s (“LSA”) admission program requires an eight-to-twelve-month articling term. Students must also enrol in the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) administered by the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED). You can learn more about the process of becoming a lawyer in Alberta here.

The Articling Placement Program has been introduced by the LSA with the goal of assisting articling students exit their current position and find replacement articles if they are placed in untenable or unsafe work environments and subjected to harassment or discrimination.

Harassment or Discrimination during Articling

Continue reading “The Articling Dilemma & LSA’s Intervention”

The journey to becoming a licensed lawyer in Canada involves various stages of examinations and plenty of studying. We understand that sometimes, Internationally Trained Lawyers (“ITLs”) are unsure of which province to launch or recommence their legal career in. That is why in this blog post, we will examine the different licensing requirements of the major provinces in Canada that may assist ITLs in deciding which one compliments their experiences more.

British Columbia (“BC”).

The first step for ITLs to get licensed in BC is to complete a common law program at a Canadian law school and complete their National Committee on Accreditation (“NCA”) requirement. For information on completing NCAs, kindly click on this link. Consequently, they must complete the Law Society Admission Program that takes a period of 12 months. This program involves a 10-week Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) examinations, and a 9-month articling period in a law firm or legal workplace. The PLTC essentially concentrates on building practical skills, ethics, and training for lawyers to use what has been taught in law school into practice. The examinations cover some of the core practice areas in which ITLs will be examined: business (commercial and company), real estate, wills, civil, criminal procedure, family, professionalism (ethics and practice management).

The final step in becoming a lawyer in BC is to apply for call and admission with the necessary documentation. Thereafter, new lawyers declare the barristers and solicitor’s oath in a call ceremony and become eligible to practice law in the province of BC. More information can be found on this link.


Becoming a licensed lawyer in Alberta is a four-step process that begins with completing the NCA exams and obtaining a Certificate of Qualification. After this certificate is sent to the Law Society of Alberta, ITLs must apply for a student-at-law status. It is important to note that ITLs must secure an articling position before applying for the student-at-law status. The articling period can range from 8 to 12 months. 

Continue reading “Becoming a Licensed Lawyer in Canada: A Marathon, not a Sprint.”


Landing in a new country is always daunting. Especially for Internationally Trained Lawyers (ITLs), all of us landed here with our bags, hopes, dreams and a big eerily alive hook with a dot at its bottom asking us “what next, buddy?”. From finding accommodation, satisfying the NCA requirements and finding an articling position many such semantic figures float around in our minds at all times.

Continue reading “I’m here, what’s next?”


The ITL Network is seeking nominations for election of three (3) Directors to take office for a two-year period commencing from December 17, 2021. We are seeking nominees from across the country, from different backgrounds, various career stages and lawyers working in a range of roles and who demonstrate:

• Commitment to the vision, mission, and strategic objectives of the Network;
• Willingness and ability to commit time and resources to serve on the Board and its committees, participate during events and other strategic initiatives of the Network;
• Willingness to facilitate effective connections and discussions with individuals and organizations working on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues;
• Capability and willingness to hold a portfolio; and
• Commitment to attend Board meetings diligently, committee meetings and undertake other responsibilities as may be assigned by the Board.

Governance experience, including familiarity with Board processes will be an asset but not required.

Nominations must be received on or before 5:00pm ET December 9, 2021. To apply, please visit