Group For Foreign-Trained Lawyers Launching In Ontario

For a criminal lawyer in Brampton trained outside of Canada, or any lawyer new or coming back to the country, there’s more than a few hurdles to deal with when it comes to plying one’s trade. One of the latest initiatives for these lawyers is the formation of an organization specifically for them.

Global Lawyers of Canada Society was recently founded, with a chapter in Alberta, British Columbia, and will be hosting its first event on Sept. 25 in Ontario, at Gowling WLG’s Toronto office, as explained by Ontario chapter’s Lauren Heuser, one of the leaders of the chapter, alongside Melanie Capobianco and Sam Gebrael.

Heuser says that internationally trained lawyers, as much as she could speak for an entire collective, all have tangible strengths, and are a serious option for firms across Canada, whether they’re looking to become a criminal lawyer in Brampton, or a defence lawyer in Ontario. She notes that these lawyers are either Canadians who travelled abroad to train, or are foreigners born and trained outside the country.

Notably, the launch of the GLC Ontario comes hot on the heels of the Osgoode Hall Law School’s newly christened event in June; Internationally Trained Lawyers Day, as well as the May launching of the NCA Network, a networking group for Canada’s internationally trained lawyers.

Heuser studied at the University of Toronto, and, back in 2017, published a research paper on the challenges that internationally-trained lawyers face, which noted that Canada’s legal system’s current structure is not built in such a way that it would allow any competent lawyer to make their best contributions to the field, regardless of where their jurisdiction lies or where they were trained.

Heuser says that part of the stigma is rooted in a key fact; that Canada has a high number of law schools operating there, and the idea that Canadian-trained lawyers are the ones who understand the Canadian legal system best. What can be overlooked, is the fact that internationally-trained lawyers get their accreditation finalized with Canada’s NCA, then move on to the provincial licensing bodies, who will then assign them their full credentials, as deemed fit. At that point, she explains, foreign-trained lawyers, in the eyes of the Canadian legal system, are just as fit to operate in Canada as the local talent.

The GLC’s founding coincides with Canada’s increasing awareness of their internationally trained lawyers, spurred on by Ryeson University’s law school is getting pushes to start train Canadians looking to go abroad.