Can you work in Canada after completing your LL.B. from India? What is a NCA certification? How important is it?
In this episode, Ms. Bhavna Fatnani answers these questions, explains the whole process, and also gives some tips regarding the same. So, if you are planning to make your career in the legal market of Canada do give it a listen. Bhavna is a licensed lawyer and company secretary from India with four years of experience. As a Canadian PR and enthusiast about learning different laws, she is currently pursuing NCA accreditation to establish a hold in the Canadian legal market.
So Bhavna is a licensed lawyer and company secretary from India. With four years of experience, her expertise includes matters of company law, intellectual property law, and food safety and standards regulations. As a Canadian PR and enthusiastic about learning different laws, she is currently pursuing NCA accreditation to establish a hood in the Canadian legal market.
So in this episode, we’ll talk mostly on this topic. So Bhavna starting from this. Can you tell something to our listeners about, about your plans to go to Canada? Like why did you choose to go there? Are there better opportunities in the Canadian legal market or is there something is some other reasons you have.
Um, so yes, of course the Western world has better opportunities for any profession that you pick. And as, as for Canada, uh, if you talk about that, yes. Uh, the profession is more regulated as compared to the legal profession in India. Of course, the rules and regulations vary from, uh, each state to state. Uh, it’s called a province there.
So each province has its own laws, society, just like we have bad councils and every province has different set of regulations that we need to follow to become licensed. Okay. Uh, so can you elaborate more on that? What is the province and how is it different from India? Like how is the legal system there?
Different. Right. Okay. So like we have different States in India. The States in Canada are called provinces. Each province has a law society, which is if we went into a bar council of any state in India. But, uh, like in India, if we have AIB bar exam that we write and become licensed to practice across India, it’s not the case similar to in, in Canada that each law society has its own set of exams that you write, which is called the baddest students.
So it’s the dose exam and only then you are licensed to practice in that particular program. So, if you intend to practice in two different provinces in, in Canada, you have to write that students on the exam. So two different law societies, and then you will like to practice. Of course, you have an option to transfer your membership from one law society to another, but they also, uh, there are some procedural aspects that need to be covered.
Okay. So when the membership is Stanford, uh, does that lawyer needs to take the exam again for that Provence or it can be skipped. I am not sure of this aspect because I haven’t reached that stage in my procedural procedure, obtaining the license. So I will not be the right person to advise on this space.
Okay. Okay. No issues. I understand, because even you are applying for first time and you are yet to attend the membership. Uh, and so you also planning to, uh, take this attention there. I mean, it’s quite personal, not relevant to the podcast, but so I hold a permanent residency visa for Canada and yes, I intend to set it in Canada only.
After completing my, uh, accumulation process that I am doing right now. Okay. So, um, what’s the procedure for Indian lawyers to work as a lawyer in Canada? Can you explain the procedure like step by step? Sure. I’ll do that. So to start off with, um, there’s a regulatory body called the national committee on equitation, which is the MC.
This is a federal body, which does the assessment for international lawyers, uh, to get your accreditation, you do not necessarily have to be Canadian. You could be an international student. You could be a newcomer to Canada, or you could be of any citizenship, any nationality, and you could write those exams and the procedure starts off at the very basic wherein you send your transcripts legal transcripts and transcripts.
And see it for assessment. The assessment is basically about your eligibility for being hoovered into Canadian law graduates. So the first step it says is obtaining your legal transcripts and the procedure starts off with creating an account on the NC website. It’s called your, my account tab. You will see there, you create an account there.
You upload all the documents required. So the documents would include your math sheets, your transcripts, your resume, and any other letter or document that you intend to provide for your assessment thereafter. You also need to send your, uh, hard copies of the documents that you’ve uploaded to MTA and the transcript specifically the legal transcripts.
Have to go directly from the issuing institution. Say for instance, uh, for me, it was Mumbai university with which my college was affiliated with. So after attending the transcripts from college, I had to get it tested from the university and thereafter. It had to be sended acne from the university to NCA.
That is the first step thereafter. It takes about four to six weeks. Like it used to take about four to six weeks now, of course, due to COVID, uh, the timelines have increased. And so it takes about four to six weeks or max each weeks to get you at assessment from NCA. Then of course, five exams, which are assigned to everybody which includes Canadian constitution, law, Canadian foundation, uh, Canadian administrative law, criminal law, and professional responsibility.
These five core exams are assigned irrespective of the region that you are licensed to practice in. And of course there are elective subjects with which are assigned based as your math and your experience. Personally, I was assigned seven subjects, the five and two elective subjects, which included thought and drop the doula.
And so the assessment is valid for five years. From the date of issue of your report and, uh, considering COVID, uh, NCA has been generous and now they conduct exams every month, starting from January, 2021. So that’s a good opportunity for anybody who’s looking to get licensed in Canada. And that again, that assessments boss and satirizing exams every month, instead of what it used to be head in every photo.
And now since everything has been revamped, keeping in mind the COVID restrictions, the exams are conducted online. Uh, it is an open book exam for four hours. And of course there are going to be technical images. No system is foolproof, but the good thing is when you get logged off the system, while writing your exam, The timer doesn’t continue.
The timer is stopped and you can always log in and the timer restart from where it stopped. So that’s a good fight with NCA. Hmm. That’s that’s truly good because until then, um, countries like India, where the internet connectivity is a big problem at many places right now, even we are facing so many issues according to the podcast.
Yes, we had of course, a lot of difficulties with the internet connectivity, but thankfully we’re there now. So. Yeah. Yeah. So can you tell our listeners more about what transcripts include? Okay. So the documents, what we send to NC is about all your degrees that you have obtained to, for me, it was a bachelor’s in commerce, a master’s in commerce and it will be atheist.
So I had to send transcripts, which is like a statement issued by. The college or the university directly, uh, with your subjects taken in the course and the moms that you will pin out of whatever maths it was. So it was usually the max of 10 out of hundred four people from whom university. And so it’s, it’s a statement which gives us somebody off your entire course done over the period of three years in a one on one and a half ago.
And it is of course dams and. Signed by the college authority stating that these are the correct and true marks of the candidates. Okay. So all of this was to be sent to Canada, to NC office specifically. And you also upload them on the board. These transcripts don’t include any other, uh, certificate courses or any postgraduate courses, uh, marks like that.
Even if you have done from that university, it will only include bachelor’s masters. We’ll need a map statement of marks of that particular degree. No. So, uh, NC categorizes, two parts, your, your education is categorized in two parts. One is your legal education, which is your LLB or , whatever you do. Uh, and the others is three law.
Three law education would include anything and everything that you have done, including your certifications, Fiji, uh bachelor’s in other streams, anything else? Oh, even if it is that after obtaining your legal degree, it will still be regarded as three loss education. It’s a summary of everything, including the main degrees.
Like bachelor’s master’s plus whatever process you do apart from that. So even if you do, even if you will do a course, um, say from other university or some online course, will that be counted? You can send everything which has, which you think has a bearing on the assessment. And of course the NCA officers will take their discretion and see if it’s relevant or not, and assign you the subject.
The assessment is specific to me, case to case basis. And so the only thing, for instance, that is a candidate who has the 15 years of work experience in a particular field of law. For instance, say property law. And somewhere on the other hand, I am a new law graduate having no experience and then not even score well in the exam conducted for Airbnb.
Of course, I’m going to be assigned an elective subject of property law. Whereas on the other hand, the lawyer may not be assigned that’s the discretion of the NCO officer. Of course, that is clarity, always in the policies of NCA. For available to your elective subject, which is 50% plus 5% of your marks.
So that is the max requirement. But if you do not go well and you have enough work experience, you can always write a letter explaining your details and probably they will consider. The other thing that I missed out in the set of documents also include a good standing certificate if you’re enrolled with the buyer.
So any state bar council that you’re enrolled with we’ll issue you a good standing certificate. This good standing certificate is nothing but a statement saying that you were enrolled, uh, from a particular date in the rules of the bathrooms and you have no criminal records. Um, Any other specifically mentioned or disadvantage to your name?
I would say that way. Yeah. So basically I think a good kind of thing. Oh, so similar to this. Yes. That, that is the good standing. So basically it will, it also checks about your criminal record and say, if you, I don’t know, you have a criminal record. That’s I’ve appreciated. So yes, that is right. Okay. Yeah.
Um, and, uh, I guess you would tend to. Mentioned letters of recommendation. So is it necessary or not, not required in this process, but NCF deviation process. It’s not required, but when you go on in the licensing procedure and you are applying for your article shepherd, you’re enrolling with the bar. I mean the law societies of Canada, anywhere, any Provence, it’s better if you put in your letter of recommendations as well, but it’s not mandatory.
Like for instance, if somebody is absolutely fresh and raw put on Indian legal system and wants to relocate and start career in Canada, and they do not have any work experience or letter of recommendation, it is okay to go ahead and start afresh. And then I’m going to do a status in Canada. Okay, nice. Oh, because I like getting letters of recommendation.
It’s quite a, you know, a tedious job running after college authorities, your lectures and getting the signatures and all that stuff. Okay.
So people who are listening, uh, uh, planning to apply for NCA. Uh, this burden is reduced so you can ask for them.
Okay. Yeah. So is there any difference between NCA and the bar council of India might like have to explain why? I think I have understood roughly what the difference is, but to make our listeners understand it more simpler and more simpler terms. Can you just jot down the differences? So, um, by phone in India would be equivalent to law societies in Canada to be eligible, to apply to law society.
This is an intermediate, um, I Potter theme to give you the qualification certificate, um, which will enable you to apply to law society. So. Of course back on SIS and NCA are not at the same level. So basically Bart council is a central authority in India, but in Canada there is no such center central authority.
There is no like that. No authority. Yeah. So they have these bodies, but only in that particular province, there’s each, there’s one body in each province. That’s correct. Every province has a lot society for itself, which regulates. The admission and licensing for the candidates. Okay. Uh, so if one plans to do his master’s from any university in Canada, like LLM in whatever subject he wants to master, uh, is it required for him to go to NCR again, like after LLM it does it, is it required for him to go through the NCA process?
No. Required for the candidate to finish LLM and do the MTA exams. But what happens is when you apply for a masters, there are certain courses which are approved by the NCA. So when you, whenever you’re applying for a master’s, you send an email to and see it. I think that we are like, I am wishing to apply for this course.
And I intend to become a lawyer in Canada would be. Exams covered during the LLM course gets me an exemption from the NCA exams. And if they approve of the program, then you do not have to DNC exams again. A lot of people do a combination of NCA exams and the LLM, but of course that’s an option to the candidates available that whether you go full-time LLM or you do a combination or you just drive DNC exam, getting an approval, people do that because, uh, if it’s not necessary, if you do LLN then why would people do that?
Because everybody would wind a master’s degree from a foreign country, right.
It is not required to go through the NCA process. Right. Only if your master’s courses approved by, by the NCA for that particular exams, if they give you a waiver, then you do not have to write those exams. Suppose for instance, if you’re doing a master’s in common law, common law does not cover all the courses that are prescribed by DNC.
Then you might have to go ahead and see exams to be eligible. So it depends on the specialization you choose. Got it. Any course that you take has to be approved by the NC because they, at the end, I wanted to give you a waiver and the certificate of qualification stating that you are equivalent to a Canadian law graduate now.
Okay. If it does go back and say that no, your course was not approved. You will have to IDNT exams. Then you will have to write that particular set of exams that is still pending for you. And then after you get your qualification certificate and then you can enroll with the law society. Okay. So what are you planning to do?
Like, uh, are you planning for LLM debt or you are just planning for MC no. So I am only writing the NCA exams and I will go back to Canada sometime next year.
which is also a part of the licensing procedure. So after everybody’s done with dead empty, they have to do articling for a period of eight to 12 months, depending on which law society they are associated with. So the law society decides the tenure of your article shifts, and you also have an option to see an abridgment or available from the law society for your articling period.
So since I do not have, uh, extensive legal work experience like litigation litigation, I would say I would not be eligible for an exemption, but of course I will ask for an abridgment stating my previous experiences. So hopefully I should get that. And my active clean period would be reduced thereafter.
And once I am done with my article and then I would define the bot in Canada and I would be licensed in. And then you will be Canadian loyal.
So a word involves in the articles, like, is it similar to what these CS and CS students go through or is it something different that, so in the articling period, you get to learn about different areas of law. Just like we have legal internships in India, of course, which is not mandatory. But stretched forward by a lot of students to get the hands-on experience and exposure.
Likewise, in Canada, it is mandatory to do it there, but you get hands on experience on different aspects of law and you can always end up choosing your particular field of interest. Okay. Okay. So, uh, the LPL to, uh, for the placement of article chips, or you have to find it yourself. If you are doing a lot of those from any university, then of course you have an option of on-campus recruitment, but if you want an international lawyer doing your NCA exams, then it is not supported by any particular organization.
It’s up to the individuals choice to find out more about the articling positions available, but at the same time you have. Uh, the networking groups for international lawyers, which come in handy at this hour. Uh, so that, I mean, uh, community groups, I would say one is, um, global lawyers of Canada and the second is the NCN network.
And of course there are bar associations of, uh, each province. So for Ontario, there is Ontario bar association. You can always be a member of these groups and interact and communicate with the other international lawyers who are in the same field and experiencing the same, uh, the same situation as you like, as of now, most of us out of eating our results from the August session.
So a couple of days back, I just reached out to my network on LinkedIn and Facebook stating that, you know, it is a very tense situation right now because NCA has been releasing dissolves for each subject every day. So we actually don’t know when our resolve is going to be out and we are all in that panic mode.
Some of us are even waiting for the results as a last exam. So it is like,
So it is like checking the COVID-19 cases every day. You’re checking your results every day.
The time zone differences that you know, people in India are facing. So I have been waking up to messages on my WhatsApp booth saying that, Oh, this is out. I say four o’clock in the morning. I’ve had seats nights because of that. So I’ll be, hopefully I’m praying on Monday, um, that I am awaiting should be out and we get done with it.
Okay. All the best for the hat. Which books would you recommend for people who are planning to take up this NCA exam? So the NCS syllabus gives the prescribed reading materials in the syllabus that is uploaded on the NC photos. But of course the books are heavy and vast, so not everybody’s capable of doing a full reading.
So we students generally opt for a concise version, which is the notes from renounced, you and auto is available. So I would suggest go out, reach out to tutors, ask for notes, see for yourselves, if you’re able to understand those, and then you can pick and choose. Also the tutors for NCA exams offered demo lectures, which is like an introductory class.
So candidates must attend those to get an overview that is very helpful. And of course, any says that you and your compatibility, also, whether you can understand what they are teaching and if you are the kind of person who needs filtering up for it, of course, it involves a lot of. Cost, but it helps you get through in the very first school.
But if you are someone who prefers, um, self study, then opt for notes available from these tutors and finish it off. Okay. And even the notes, uh, they, they charge for the notes. It’s not like freely available on their website. No, it’s not freely available, but there are some free resources from universities which offer law programs like masters.
So those materials are available. The bad acts are available on the internet, but the depends site updated notes for the entire syllabus is not available. You have to either opt from the authors of those notes on your own, or probably ask from the tutors. That’s an option. Okay. So can people share, like they usually do in India, Netflix subscription and Amazon prime stuff?
No, it does meagerly not allowed because it didn’t was a coffee date to the notes from, for the autos and the people, those. So it is not recommended or allowed to share the notes. Okay, so, okay. I got it, uh, pressing on recommended and allow, but, uh, things happen,
but if something goes wrong, God forbid your license could be in jeopardy. So I would not that I commend or share my like on a personal level, I will not at all. So let’s not, please don’t send any emails or for getting notes from her. I would not entertain.
It’s not very expensive to go out and purchase directly because it didn’t work a lot of time and effort for the author to update the notes every time the syllabus changes. So let’s just give them some respect that they dissolve and, sure, sure. So as such, I’m not planning for, so it’s quite,
yeah. So, uh, what do you think, what people prefer more doing an LLM from Canda or doing this NCA exam? So this choice activity depends on a number of factors. The two important ones being the time involved and the cost in words. So if we compare the cost, first, the cost per normal from any university in Canada would be around $30,000 for a domestic student.
So that includes a PR or a citizen. But if you want to going as an international student can just send them about $50,000 to about $75,000, approximately depending on the university and the course that you’re doing. On the other hand, the NCA assessment costs only $300 or three 50, three $50 for the assessment and the $300 for every exam.
So as you mean you weren’t assigned seven exams, like I was assigned seven into 300 2100 plus three $50 for assessment. That was 50. And that’s the difference for most people, the cost $30,000 and thousand $50 for your recreation. And secondly, was the time and work. It would, if you’re doing a full-time LLM, it would be about in classroom coaching or online coaching right now.
And the NCA exams. It depends on your time and availability. The exams are conducted every month in 2021. So if you are available to study full-time and you want to cover your exams, as soon as you want, as soon as you can. So if you, if you intend to cover your assigned subjects within a span of five months, you could do that.
So for me, personally, for NCA. Firstly because of the cost. And secondly, because of the timing was, and I would recommend anybody and everybody, whoever is looking for a change in the industry, start over with MTA, get yourself into the market and also with the bud. And if required, you can always go back and do your masters.
Nobody’s stopping you from doing a master’s in economics. But it’s good to be in the market initially to get an idea whether it’s worth the money that you’re investing. Yeah. And I think article chip is dead complicity in NCR and not an LLM, right. With LLM. You will have to do your articling and your barrister solicitor exams.
Okay. So the cost that I saw with LLM, the $30,000, which is the domestic fee. As compared to the NCAC it’s weak, we will in there after you go ahead and do your articling and your exams, which is with the law society. And that is for both the options that you choose. It’s not exempted for LLM. You have to end up doing both.
Okay. If I win. So we have talked enough about the Canadian legal system and how to get into that. Uh, any final tips you want to give our audience? Yes. I would like to put in a word for your audience, do not stick to the streets line of the entire process of expiation, but to go out and network with the other lawyers was whether established or establishing themselves in the Canadian legal market.
And the second thing would be to do the certifications which are available, which add value to your expertise. So, if you weren’t interested in legal research or drafting or any particular field like AML compliance, is there a host of certifications available, which I have personally done is scan legal research programs from LexisNexis, Canada.
So, um, I would suggest your audience to go out and do certifications which can add value to their already held expertise. Um, the popular certifications include the legal resource certification offered by LexisNexis Canada. There are certifications available from these popular search engines, just like we have money in India.
So it always adds value. If you are looking at photo role in legal or drafting or abruptly in issues, all at the Sydney tools, I have personally done a legal certification certification from LexisNexis, Canada, and it’s a pretty certification. So feel free to go out, check their website and go for these exams.
So, uh, all these courses are free or, uh, there are different charges for different courses and sub courses are free. Yes. It varies from different organizations that you’re doing it from. So Westlaw does not have a free certification, whereas LexisNexis legal certification is a free program. So, you know, you could either invest.
And do a certification or do what is available, but both added value for your profile. Okay. Thanks a lot for sharing all this information with us, with our listeners and, uh, Taking time from your tight schedule, like preparing for exams and working. So thanks a lot for that Robin or your audience can reach out to me on any of the social media platforms.
I’m very active on LinkedIn and Instagram specifically. So feel free to reach out to me for any kind of advice that you’re looking for. And I would be happy to do it. Yep. Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. If you liked this episode, then you must also take out the other episodes so that you don’t miss a new episode.