Advice on how to become Canadian tax lawyer (foreign lawyer)


Joshf126
Hi all,

I am new to these forums and would really appreciate to get your opinions on how would be the most efficient way for me to become a tax lawyer in Canada.

Broadly speaking, I am Spanish qualified lawyer currently processing my invitation to apply for the Canadian permanent residency permit. I have a LLM in Spanish tax law and 4 years of work experience as a tax lawyer in Spain and in Qatar (where I am working at the moment as a foreign tax advisor). I am seeking to move to Canada and start a new life there in around one year.

However, in order to become admitted to a Canadian bar association, I first need to take a Canadian common law LLM according to my NCA assessment because I come from a civil law jurisdiction. The issue is that I want to practice tax law, which is a subject not covered by the Canadian Common Law LLM. Some Canadian universities offer LLMs in Tax Law, which would be very useful to gain knowledge on Canadian taxation. Therefore, my question is, after arriving to Canada, what kind of LLM should I enroll in?

As I see it there are two alternatives:

1) Pursuing a Canadian Common Law LLM to get my NCA certification, then look for an articling student job at the tax department of a law firm, and in the meantime maybe do a part time/online tax course (I saw that CPA Canada offers one for working tax professionals).

2) Enrolling first in a Tax LLM, then try to get a job as tax advisor and in the meantime enroll in a part time LLM in Canadian Common Law. After two years, I would be able to start my articling job, hopefully at the law firm where I would have been working since the beginning.

What would be easier in terms of getting a job at a law firm/tax consultancy firm? Because what i would like to avoid is to spend 2 years studying without working as I wouldn’t have sufficient savings (or at least it would consume all my savings). That would be my last option (to do both LLMs in Canadian Common Law and Tax Law).

Many thanks in advance!!

[Edited by Joshf126 on Dec 08, 2018]

Hi all,

I am new to these forums and would really appreciate to get your opinions on how would be the most efficient way for me to become a tax lawyer in Canada.

Broadly speaking, I am Spanish qualified lawyer currently processing my invitation to apply for the Canadian permanent residency permit. I have a LLM in Spanish tax law and 4 years of work experience as a tax lawyer in Spain and in Qatar (where I am working at the moment as a foreign tax advisor). I am seeking to move to Canada and start a new life there in around one year.

However, in order to become admitted to a Canadian bar association, I first need to take a Canadian common law LLM according to my NCA assessment because I come from a civil law jurisdiction. The issue is that I want to practice tax law, which is a subject not covered by the Canadian Common Law LLM. Some Canadian universities offer LLMs in Tax Law, which would be very useful to gain knowledge on Canadian taxation. Therefore, my question is, after arriving to Canada, what kind of LLM should I enroll in?

As I see it there are two alternatives:

1) Pursuing a Canadian Common Law LLM to get my NCA certification, then look for an articling student job at the tax department of a law firm, and in the meantime maybe do a part time/online tax course (I saw that CPA Canada offers one for working tax professionals).

2) Enrolling first in a Tax LLM, then try to get a job as tax advisor and in the meantime enroll in a part time LLM in Canadian Common Law. After two years, I would be able to start my articling job, hopefully at the law firm where I would have been working since the beginning.

What would be easier in terms of getting a job at a law firm/tax consultancy firm? Because what i would like to avoid is to spend 2 years studying without working as I wouldn’t have sufficient savings (or at least it would consume all my savings). That would be my last option (to do both LLMs in Canadian Common Law and Tax Law).

Many thanks in advance!!
quote
https://llm-guide.com/board/canada/advice-on-how-to-become-canadian-tax-lawyer-foreign-lawyer-217374
https://llm-guide.com/board/canada/advice-on-how-to-become-canadian-tax-lawyer-foreign-lawyer-217374
quote
tianshi
Hi:

I have the same problem. I am studying tax in the U.S. and have a U.D. JD degree. I have been admitted by the UBC and York Tax LLM and also by the York Canadian Common Law LLM. I am having trouble choosing between UBC and York, as well as between Tax LLM and Canadian Common Law LLM. My goal is to immigrate to Canada after the LLM, but I am flexible in terms of employment, i..e, I am fine with working with either law firms or accounting firms. Have you decided which path to take? Thank you very much.
Hi:

I have the same problem. I am studying tax in the U.S. and have a U.D. JD degree. I have been admitted by the UBC and York Tax LLM and also by the York Canadian Common Law LLM. I am having trouble choosing between UBC and York, as well as between Tax LLM and Canadian Common Law LLM. My goal is to immigrate to Canada after the LLM, but I am flexible in terms of employment, i..e, I am fine with working with either law firms or accounting firms. Have you decided which path to take? Thank you very much.
quote
Joshf126
Hi:

I have the same problem. I am studying tax in the U.S. and have a U.D. JD degree. I have been admitted by the UBC and York Tax LLM and also by the York Canadian Common Law LLM. I am having trouble choosing between UBC and York, as well as between Tax LLM and Canadian Common Law LLM. My goal is to immigrate to Canada after the LLM, but I am flexible in terms of employment, i..e, I am fine with working with either law firms or accounting firms. Have you decided which path to take? Thank you very much.


Yep, I have been reviewing the UBC and UToronto LLM in Canadian Common Law and they have a nice bunch of optional tax subjects, so I think I’ll go for the LLM in Common Law as I intend to become a licensed lawyer in either BC or Ontario. I am working right now at a big four firm but salaries are much higher in legal firms... and I prefer being a lawyer rather than a tax accountant (you can go to court and so).

Thanks for your reply btw
[quote]Hi:

I have the same problem. I am studying tax in the U.S. and have a U.D. JD degree. I have been admitted by the UBC and York Tax LLM and also by the York Canadian Common Law LLM. I am having trouble choosing between UBC and York, as well as between Tax LLM and Canadian Common Law LLM. My goal is to immigrate to Canada after the LLM, but I am flexible in terms of employment, i..e, I am fine with working with either law firms or accounting firms. Have you decided which path to take? Thank you very much.[/quote]

Yep, I have been reviewing the UBC and UToronto LLM in Canadian Common Law and they have a nice bunch of optional tax subjects, so I think I’ll go for the LLM in Common Law as I intend to become a licensed lawyer in either BC or Ontario. I am working right now at a big four firm but salaries are much higher in legal firms... and I prefer being a lawyer rather than a tax accountant (you can go to court and so).

Thanks for your reply btw
quote
tianshi
Hi:

I have the same problem. I am studying tax in the U.S. and have a U.D. JD degree. I have been admitted by the UBC and York Tax LLM and also by the York Canadian Common Law LLM. I am having trouble choosing between UBC and York, as well as between Tax LLM and Canadian Common Law LLM. My goal is to immigrate to Canada after the LLM, but I am flexible in terms of employment, i..e, I am fine with working with either law firms or accounting firms. Have you decided which path to take? Thank you very much.


Yep, I have been reviewing the UBC and UToronto LLM in Canadian Common Law and they have a nice bunch of optional tax subjects, so I think I’ll go for the LLM in Common Law as I intend to become a licensed lawyer in either BC or Ontario. I am working right now at a big four firm but salaries are much higher in legal firms... and I prefer being a lawyer rather than a tax accountant (you can go to court and so).

Thanks for your reply btw


I am still waiting for the UBC's and the UT's decisions on the LLM in Common Law. UT is surely the best law school in Canada. But I am not sure which law school is better? UBC or York? Do you have any idea as to this question? I guess I will ultimately choose to go for the Common Law LLM option as well. UBC's Tax LLM has a part-time option so I guess pursuing one while articling is possible. Thanks.
[quote][quote]Hi:

I have the same problem. I am studying tax in the U.S. and have a U.D. JD degree. I have been admitted by the UBC and York Tax LLM and also by the York Canadian Common Law LLM. I am having trouble choosing between UBC and York, as well as between Tax LLM and Canadian Common Law LLM. My goal is to immigrate to Canada after the LLM, but I am flexible in terms of employment, i..e, I am fine with working with either law firms or accounting firms. Have you decided which path to take? Thank you very much.[/quote]

Yep, I have been reviewing the UBC and UToronto LLM in Canadian Common Law and they have a nice bunch of optional tax subjects, so I think I’ll go for the LLM in Common Law as I intend to become a licensed lawyer in either BC or Ontario. I am working right now at a big four firm but salaries are much higher in legal firms... and I prefer being a lawyer rather than a tax accountant (you can go to court and so).

Thanks for your reply btw[/quote]

I am still waiting for the UBC's and the UT's decisions on the LLM in Common Law. UT is surely the best law school in Canada. But I am not sure which law school is better? UBC or York? Do you have any idea as to this question? I guess I will ultimately choose to go for the Common Law LLM option as well. UBC's Tax LLM has a part-time option so I guess pursuing one while articling is possible. Thanks.
quote
Joshf126
Hi:

I have the same problem. I am studying tax in the U.S. and have a U.D. JD degree. I have been admitted by the UBC and York Tax LLM and also by the York Canadian Common Law LLM. I am having trouble choosing between UBC and York, as well as between Tax LLM and Canadian Common Law LLM. My goal is to immigrate to Canada after the LLM, but I am flexible in terms of employment, i..e, I am fine with working with either law firms or accounting firms. Have you decided which path to take? Thank you very much.


Yep, I have been reviewing the UBC and UToronto LLM in Canadian Common Law and they have a nice bunch of optional tax subjects, so I think I’ll go for the LLM in Common Law as I intend to become a licensed lawyer in either BC or Ontario. I am working right now at a big four firm but salaries are much higher in legal firms... and I prefer being a lawyer rather than a tax accountant (you can go to court and so).

Thanks for your reply btw


I am still waiting for the UBC's and the UT's decisions on the LLM in Common Law. UT is surely the best law school in Canada. But I am not sure which law school is better? UBC or York? Do you have any idea as to this question? I guess I will ultimately choose to go for the Common Law LLM option as well. UBC's Tax LLM has a part-time option so I guess pursuing one while articling is possible. Thanks.


Well, UBC ranks higher than York but there are more job opportunities in Ontario than in BC. I’m not sure whether the fact that you attend law school in BC makes it harder to work in another province, do you have any idea? I’ve heard that you should study in the same province where you intend to do your articles, but I’d rather study at UBC and then look for jobs in Toronto (UBC has the option to start the LLM in May 2020 instead of waiting until fall 2020)..

[Edited by Joshf126 on Jan 30, 2019]

[quote][quote][quote]Hi:

I have the same problem. I am studying tax in the U.S. and have a U.D. JD degree. I have been admitted by the UBC and York Tax LLM and also by the York Canadian Common Law LLM. I am having trouble choosing between UBC and York, as well as between Tax LLM and Canadian Common Law LLM. My goal is to immigrate to Canada after the LLM, but I am flexible in terms of employment, i..e, I am fine with working with either law firms or accounting firms. Have you decided which path to take? Thank you very much.[/quote]

Yep, I have been reviewing the UBC and UToronto LLM in Canadian Common Law and they have a nice bunch of optional tax subjects, so I think I’ll go for the LLM in Common Law as I intend to become a licensed lawyer in either BC or Ontario. I am working right now at a big four firm but salaries are much higher in legal firms... and I prefer being a lawyer rather than a tax accountant (you can go to court and so).

Thanks for your reply btw[/quote]

I am still waiting for the UBC's and the UT's decisions on the LLM in Common Law. UT is surely the best law school in Canada. But I am not sure which law school is better? UBC or York? Do you have any idea as to this question? I guess I will ultimately choose to go for the Common Law LLM option as well. UBC's Tax LLM has a part-time option so I guess pursuing one while articling is possible. Thanks.[/quote]

Well, UBC ranks higher than York but there are more job opportunities in Ontario than in BC. I’m not sure whether the fact that you attend law school in BC makes it harder to work in another province, do you have any idea? I’ve heard that you should study in the same province where you intend to do your articles, but I’d rather study at UBC and then look for jobs in Toronto (UBC has the option to start the LLM in May 2020 instead of waiting until fall 2020)..
quote
tianshi


Yep, I have been reviewing the UBC and UToronto LLM in Canadian Common Law and they have a nice bunch of optional tax subjects, so I think I’ll go for the LLM in Common Law as I intend to become a licensed lawyer in either BC or Ontario. I am working right now at a big four firm but salaries are much higher in legal firms... and I prefer being a lawyer rather than a tax accountant (you can go to court and so).

Thanks for your reply btw


I am still waiting for the UBC's and the UT's decisions on the LLM in Common Law. UT is surely the best law school in Canada. But I am not sure which law school is better? UBC or York? Do you have any idea as to this question? I guess I will ultimately choose to go for the Common Law LLM option as well. UBC's Tax LLM has a part-time option so I guess pursuing one while articling is possible. Thanks.


Well, UBC ranks higher than York but there are more job opportunities in Ontario than in BC. I’m not sure whether the fact that you attend law school in BC makes it harder to work in another province, do you have any idea? I’ve heard that you should study in the same province where you intend to do your articles, but I’d rather study at UBC and then look for jobs in Toronto (UBC has the option to start the LLM in May 2020 instead of waiting until fall 2020)..


I guess if one wants to obtain the international graduate provincial nominee in Ontario, then you have to attend an Ontario school. One of my friends who is an immigration attorney in Canada told me that it is not so hard to find a job in BC. BTW, I will be starting this fall.
[quote][quote][quote][quote]Hi:

I have the same problem. I am studying tax in the U.S. and have a U.D. JD degree. I have been admitted by the UBC and York Tax LLM and also by the York Canadian Common Law LLM. I am having trouble choosing between UBC and York, as well as between Tax LLM and Canadian Common Law LLM. My goal is to immigrate to Canada after the LLM, but I am flexible in terms of employment, i..e, I am fine with working with either law firms or accounting firms. Have you decided which path to take? Thank you very much.[/quote]

Yep, I have been reviewing the UBC and UToronto LLM in Canadian Common Law and they have a nice bunch of optional tax subjects, so I think I’ll go for the LLM in Common Law as I intend to become a licensed lawyer in either BC or Ontario. I am working right now at a big four firm but salaries are much higher in legal firms... and I prefer being a lawyer rather than a tax accountant (you can go to court and so).

Thanks for your reply btw[/quote]

I am still waiting for the UBC's and the UT's decisions on the LLM in Common Law. UT is surely the best law school in Canada. But I am not sure which law school is better? UBC or York? Do you have any idea as to this question? I guess I will ultimately choose to go for the Common Law LLM option as well. UBC's Tax LLM has a part-time option so I guess pursuing one while articling is possible. Thanks.[/quote]

Well, UBC ranks higher than York but there are more job opportunities in Ontario than in BC. I’m not sure whether the fact that you attend law school in BC makes it harder to work in another province, do you have any idea? I’ve heard that you should study in the same province where you intend to do your articles, but I’d rather study at UBC and then look for jobs in Toronto (UBC has the option to start the LLM in May 2020 instead of waiting until fall 2020)..[/quote]

I guess if one wants to obtain the international graduate provincial nominee in Ontario, then you have to attend an Ontario school. One of my friends who is an immigration attorney in Canada told me that it is not so hard to find a job in BC. BTW, I will be starting this fall.
quote
Joshf126


I guess if one wants to obtain the international graduate provincial nominee in Ontario, then you have to attend an Ontario school. One of my friends who is an immigration attorney in Canada told me that it is not so hard to find a job in BC. BTW, I will be starting this fall.


I’ve received my ITA last week, so I hope my PR will be ready in 5/6 months. After that I’ll apply to UBC, UT and York and see which ones grant me admission... personally I’d prefer to live in Vancouver rather than in Toronto, but I don’t want to be in a position where I find no firm to do my articling.

Good luck with your LLM btw ;) it would be nice to hear about your experience there
[quote][quote][quote][quote][quote]

I am still waiting for the UBC's and the UT's decisions on the LLM in Common Law. UT is surely the best law school in Canada. But I am not sure which law school is better? UBC or York? Do you have any idea as to this question? I guess I will ultimately choose to go for the Common Law LLM option as well. UBC's Tax LLM has a part-time option so I guess pursuing one while articling is possible. Thanks.[/quote]

Well, UBC ranks higher than York but there are more job opportunities in Ontario than in BC. I’m not sure whether the fact that you attend law school in BC makes it harder to work in another province, do you have any idea? I’ve heard that you should study in the same province where you intend to do your articles, but I’d rather study at UBC and then look for jobs in Toronto (UBC has the option to start the LLM in May 2020 instead of waiting until fall 2020)..[/quote]

I guess if one wants to obtain the international graduate provincial nominee in Ontario, then you have to attend an Ontario school. One of my friends who is an immigration attorney in Canada told me that it is not so hard to find a job in BC. BTW, I will be starting this fall.[/quote]

I’ve received my ITA last week, so I hope my PR will be ready in 5/6 months. After that I’ll apply to UBC, UT and York and see which ones grant me admission... personally I’d prefer to live in Vancouver rather than in Toronto, but I don’t want to be in a position where I find no firm to do my articling.

Good luck with your LLM btw ;) it would be nice to hear about your experience there
quote
thesith89
There are some provisions in CETA regarding mutual recognition of qualifications and crossborder services (including arguably legal services). I don't know the details but it may be possible that you may get a better deal than the usual "civil lawyer" because you are European. I am sure most universities are not prepared to this, or may be they still need to implement the relevant internal regulations. But you could try to raise the point with the Canadina Bar Association (I cannot exclude that in few years it may become as easy as it is today for an EU lawyer to pracitce in another EU jurisdiction). Look here Chapter 11 (p 87-) http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2014/september/tradoc_152806.pdf

[Edited by thesith89 on Feb 15, 2019]

There are some provisions in CETA regarding mutual recognition of qualifications and crossborder services (including arguably legal services). I don't know the details but it may be possible that you may get a better deal than the usual "civil lawyer" because you are European. I am sure most universities are not prepared to this, or may be they still need to implement the relevant internal regulations. But you could try to raise the point with the Canadina Bar Association (I cannot exclude that in few years it may become as easy as it is today for an EU lawyer to pracitce in another EU jurisdiction). Look here Chapter 11 (p 87-) http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2014/september/tradoc_152806.pdf
quote
Joshf126
There are some provisions in CETA regarding mutual recognition of qualifications and crossborder services (including arguably legal services). I don't know the details but it may be possible that you may get a better deal than the usual "civil lawyer" because you are European. I am sure most universities are not prepared to this, or may be they still need to implement the relevant internal regulations. But you could try to raise the point with the Canadina Bar Association (I cannot exclude that in few years it may become as easy as it is today for an EU lawyer to pracitce in another EU jurisdiction). Look here Chapter 11 (p 87-) http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2014/september/tradoc_152806.pdf[/quote]

Thanks for you message. Indeed I have reached out to the National Committee on Acreditation (the Canadian institution that recognizes overseas legal qualifications for sitting the bar) and they have told me that as a civil law qualified lawyer, I need to take substantial lessons on Canadian common law. So I have to do the master´s degree if I want to have the chance to sit the BC or Ontario bar exam.
[quote]There are some provisions in CETA regarding mutual recognition of qualifications and crossborder services (including arguably legal services). I don't know the details but it may be possible that you may get a better deal than the usual "civil lawyer" because you are European. I am sure most universities are not prepared to this, or may be they still need to implement the relevant internal regulations. But you could try to raise the point with the Canadina Bar Association (I cannot exclude that in few years it may become as easy as it is today for an EU lawyer to pracitce in another EU jurisdiction). Look here Chapter 11 (p 87-) http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2014/september/tradoc_152806.pdf[/quote]

Thanks for you message. Indeed I have reached out to the National Committee on Acreditation (the Canadian institution that recognizes overseas legal qualifications for sitting the bar) and they have told me that as a civil law qualified lawyer, I need to take substantial lessons on Canadian common law. So I have to do the master´s degree if I want to have the chance to sit the BC or Ontario bar exam.
quote

Reply to Post

Related Articles

LL.M. Programs in Canada: Two Legal Systems, Affordably

Sep 15, 2015

Canada is luring students from all over the world with the promise of foreigner-friendly cities, inexpensive programs and a history of both civil and common law

More Articles