How difficult would it be for a well-credentialed US lawyer (approx 7 YOE) to qualify and practice in Toronto? I’m a Canadian (from AB) who went to law school in the US (top 3 school), practiced for 4 years at a strong Wall St firm, and now has been in-house as a corporate generalist for a couple years. I want to move back to Canada permanently, and have just kicked off the NCA process, but will I have any realistic prospects of having a successful legal career, or am I too far along?

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I’m more than willing to go back to a firm (as I assume nobody would hire me in-house given my lack of familiarity with Canadian law) and take several years of a cut in class year, but from my experience with US firms, a lot of them won’t even entertain you switching gears as an experienced attorney. Would love any and all insights please! Thanks in advance.

What type of practice are you specialized in? Is your US knowledge remotely transferable?

I mean, I don’t think it’s impossible, especially in corp because firms always need bodies. I just wonder how much they’d cut off your YOC to make it happen.

I’m not sure how hot the Toronto market is currently, but a little while back it was real hot.

You probably can but you would have to network hard. I did my law degree in Asia and currently practicing at an international firm in Toronto (but in a very specialized area).

Yes definitely. Being licensed here opened up doors but going through the NCA process was a pain (although I suspect you won’t have any issues since you got your degree in the states). You can probably also obtain an exemption from articles so that’d save you some time. I would start networking now and then once you’re done your bar exams, hit up your network again to see who is hiring.

If you went to HYS then you will be fine. A lot of companies here are fine with you being only US licensed. And firms will hire you before you’ve completed NCA. You should be fine.

Thank you!

It wouldn't generally be hard to land at a Canadian firm, but with the current market, it's hard to say.

You will be much better positioned to land in BigLaw in Canada than Canadians going to the US, and it's still not impossible for lawyers to make that transition (from Canada to US BigLaw). I expect the biggest issue will be the NCA process and how well you can sell yourself. If you weren't retooling, you likely wouldn't even need to take a cut in class year.

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