The typical degree to practice law in Canada is the LL.B.,
which requires previous college coursework and is very similar to the first law degree in the United States, except there is some scholarly content in the coursework (such as an academic research paper required in most schools).
The programs consist of three years, and have similar content in their mandatory first year courses. Beyond first year and the minimum requirements for graduation, course selection is elective with various concentrations such as business law, international law, natural resources law, criminal law, Aboriginal law, etc.
Some universities such as the University of Toronto
, Queen's University
and University of British Columbia
have changed the name of their degree to that of a J.D., and the law faculties at Osgoode Hall Law School
and the University of Western Ontario
have recently voted to do the same. Despite changes in designation, schools opting for the J.D. have not altered their curricula. Neither the J.D. or LL.B. alone are sufficient to qualify for a Canadian license, as each Province's law society requires an apprenticeship and successful completion of provincial skills and responsibilities training course, such as the British Columbia Law Society's Professional Legal Training Course,
the Law Society of Upper Canada's Skills and Responsibilities Training Program.
and the ╔cole du Barreau du Qu├ębec
. Although the main reason for implementing the J.D. in Canada was to distinguish the degree from the European counterpart that requires no previous post-secondary education,
the American Bar Association has yet to recognize the degree as awarded by any Canadian institution.
In the eyes of the Canadian educational system the J.D. awarded by Canadian universities has retained the characteristics of the LL.B. and is considered a second entry program, but not a graduate program.
(This position is analogous to the position taken by Canadian universities that the M.D.
degrees are considered second entry programs and not graduate programs; this is in contrast to the position of U.S. universities that the M.D. and D.D.S. degrees are graduate programs.) Nevertheless, disagreement persists regarding the status of the degrees, such as at the University of Toronto, where the J.D. degree designation has been marketed by the Faculty of Law as superior to the LL.B. degree designation.
Some universities have developed joint Canadian LL.B and American J.D programs, such as York University and New York University,
the University of Windsor and the University of Detroit Mercy,
and the University of Ottawa Michigan State University program.