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Want to be a lawyer? Go down under

If you don’t make the cut in Canada, Bond University wants you


 

It was 3 a.m. as Warren Beil tried to toss a garbage bag into a dumpster and it burst over his head. At that moment, the Vancouver kitchen manager decided that it was time to explore other career opportunities. “I don’t want to be a chef,” he said to himself. “I think I’m going to go to law school.” It was December 2003, and he had already missed application deadlines at every Canadian university. Yet just a week later Beil, then 23, was on his way to Bond University, a law school in Australia that actively targets and recruits Canadian students.

Five years later, Beil — now completing his articling at a Vancouver law firm — is one of a growing number of future lawyers who are going abroad for their legal education. In 2007, 562 foreign-trained graduates applied to the National Committee on Accreditation, requesting the right to practice in Canada, up from 225 in 1999. If current trends continue, that number could grow by 200 applicants in as few as three years, according to Vern Krishna, a University of Ottawa law professor and former Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Bond is, by far, Canada’s most popular overseas law program. Since its founding in 1987, Australia’s first private university has geared its law program to attract Canadians. More than 140 are currently enrolled—making Bond’s population of Canadian law students almost as large as that of the University of Calgary’s faculty of law. Students meet fellow Canadians through the Canadian Law Students Association and study with visiting profs from the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Manitoba, and the University of Western Ontario. They can even study Canadian constitutional law (Canadian corporate law courses are in the works, too) and get credit from the University of Manitoba. To top it off, it all takes place on a campus in the suburbs of Gold Coast, Queensland, a lush paradise that is a hybrid between Miami Beach and Waikiki.

Victoria Heron, a manager with student recruitment agency AustraLearn, says there are three primary reasons students choose Bond: to get through law school faster (a law degree at Bond takes only two years, not three), to gain international experience—and because they weren’t accepted at a Canadian law school. Eric Colvin, a Bond professor and former dean who used to teach at the University of Saskatchewan, says that two-thirds of graduates return to Canada to practice law and most have no problem finding jobs and articling positions. “The students say that they are able to get employment,” he says. “The fact that they have got their law degree from somewhere like Australia makes them somewhat exotic and interesting creatures and law firms are very willing to see what they’ve got to offer.”

Beil thinks his global outlook gave him an edge when applying for articling positions. “A lot of the Canadian law grads have never worked. They have never done anything,” he says. “In this market, employers just want to see something different. I got out there and saw the world and it makes me way more interesting.” But among his peers at the University of Toronto where he later completed a second law degree, Beil had to fight Bond’s stigma as Last Chance U. “The appearance of Bond to a lot of people in Canada is that the school will let anybody under the sun in,” he says. “People say, ‘You went to Bond because you couldn’t get in anywhere else. You’re not as smart as the rest of us.’ It’s simply not true.”

However, the only entrance hurdle at Bond (no LSAT!) is a 75 per cent average, and even that is flexible. Although it is difficult to compare entering averages since each university calculates GPA differently, it appears Bond’s standards are significantly lower than its Canadian counterparts. For example, most applicants offered one of the 101 seats in the first year class at the University of Manitoba had a cumulative GPA over 3.75, approximately 81 per cent. At the University of Toronto, Canada’s most competitive law school, only 180 of 1,900 law applicants were admitted for 2008/09, with a median undergraduate average of approximately 85 per cent. Conversations with a number of Bond students and alumni suggest that many choose Bond precisely because of those less demanding admission requirements.

Krishna likens programs such as Bond to offshore medical schools, often in the Caribbean, that cater to affluent American (and now Canadian) students who can’t get into universities closer to home. Krishna says that as long as graduates are finding jobs—and he believes they are—these schools are offering an important service. “From a Canadian public policy point of view, these foreign schools serve an enormously useful purpose because they are training Canadians at their cost.”

“The fly in the ointment is these [foreign] schools are only available to those of substantial financial means,” Krishna says. Like the Caribbean medical school option, a law degree from Bond doesn’t come cheap. With an annual tuition of over $35,000, Bond is among the world’s most expensive law schools. In comparison, annual tuition in the law program at U of M is $8,600; a year at U of T, Canada’s most expensive law school, costs $20,155. (Note that Bond’s annual tuition is for three semesters.)

Bond professor Eric Colvin, who was instrumental in the move to bring more Canadian students to Bond, thinks the entrance requirements at Canadian schools are “artificially high.” He says law schools have expanded in other Commonwealth countries, allowing anyone with the intellectual capability to handle a legal education to get one. “Canada is in quite an unusual situation,” says Colvin. “There has been no expansion in legal education for a generation, since the late 1970s. And yet you’ve had enormous expansion in the economy, the legal profession and demand for legal services.”

The province of Ontario doesn’t agree that Canada needs more lawyers. Or at least not more lawyers whose educations are partially paid for by taxpayers. In July 2008, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities John Malloy announced the government would not fund any new law schools—dashing plans at Laurentian University, Lakehead University and for a joint program at Wilfrid Laurier and the University of Waterloo—because of concerns there may not be enough entry-level jobs to go around. A recent Law Society of Upper Canada taskforce reported that as many as 1,730 law school grads could be sparring for Ontario’s 1,300 existing articling positions by 2009.

Although Canadian law schools know exactly where their graduates work, Bond couldn’t provide employment data about their Canada-bound grads. Matt Miernik, director of student recruitment agency OzTrekk, says, “Australian universities generally haven’t done a very good job of tracking their international alum.” But anecdotal evidence, according to Miernik, suggests that around three quarters of Bond grads returning to Canada find employment within six months of their credential being recognized. Colvin says most go to mid-sized firms. Canadian Bond alumni can also be found at top firms including Lawson Lundell and Blake, Cassels & Graydon in Canada, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London, and at leading firms in Australia. Bond’s first Canadian law grad, Brian Jean—who graduated in 1991— is the member of parliament for Fort McMurray and parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Transport.

Even if the jobs are there for foreign-trained lawyers, getting a foreign law credential recognized in Canada can be a long and expensive process. The National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) assesses each applicant individually to determine whether they have the same education and experience as Canadian L.L.B or J.D. graduates. After looking at the applicant’s country and language of study, university, grades, professional certifications, experience, and length of program, the NCA recommends what the applicant must do to demonstrate that they have sufficient understanding of Canadian law. Most provinces use these recommendations in setting their requirements for call to the bar. Candidates are required to do one of three things: pass up to 16 challenge exams to demonstrate their knowledge, complete additional course work at a Canadian university (one to two years), or complete an entire Canadian L.L.B. degree. It takes between two to five years for most foreign-trained lawyers—who come from everywhere from Bangladesh to Ghana—to complete the NCA’s recommendations, according to Laurie Clark, NCA administrative assistant, and each exam costs $525.

In most cases, graduates with strong marks from recognized schools in common law jurisdictions like Bond are asked to sit challenge exams. Bond alumni say they were usually asked to write between eight and 10 exams. Miernik says Bond graduates typically take 12 months to complete the tests; the maximum time he’s heard a Bond student take is 18 months. Belinda Jesudasan, who is now an articling student at boutique Toronto litigation firm Teplitsky, Colson LLP, successfully completed eight exams in less than a year after graduating from Bond in 2006.

Only after gaining a certificate of qualification from the NCA can applicants begin the bar admission process, which involves writing bar exams and completing ten months of articles before being called to the bar.

A handful of Bond graduates, including Beil, avoided this series of hoops by transferring to a Canadian law school. Kym Stasiuk, who finished his law degree at Queens after transferring in 2005, says the transfer option is more likely to be available to students who have the marks to get into schools back at home. Although every Canadian law school he applied to initially rejected him before he went to Bond, Stasiuk scored an articling position at a top Toronto firm and was called to the Ontario bar in June 2008.

Others have shrugged off the whole exhaustive Canadian licensing system and moved south of the border. In some U.S. jurisdictions, graduates of recognized foreign law schools can simply cross the border and write the bar exams—and if they pass, they’re a lawyer. Sean Ainley, who graduated from Bond in 2007, passed his New York bar exam this spring after only two months of preparation—but he’s still looking for a position at a firm.

Even after navigating the onerous task of coming back to Canada, locales with names like Surfer’s Paradise Beach continue to resonate with many ex-Bondies. For Warren Beil—who was called to the bar September of last year— Bond is still very much on the mind. “I wake up in Vancouver some days and just miss that Bond way of life.”

– photo courtesy of Bond Sarah


 

Want to be a lawyer? Go down under

  1. If graduates of Bond are qualified to work in Canada, why are they not being trained in Canada? Their $35,000 tuition could be staying right here in Canada where it would circulate in our economy. Tax it and you could even create more spots in Canada’s public law schools. Why aren’t there more private universities here?

    The Law Society of Upper Canada says there are too many lawyers already. Of course they’re going to say that! The fewer lawyers, the more they can charge. It’s simple supply and demand. Canadians should support more spaces in public law schools (like BC is creating) or else we should start looking seriously at private law schools as well. (Don’t even get me started on med school.)

    • If someone spends extra time out of the workforce and they are incurring debt during that time, I think it is reasonable for them to expect a higher income upon graduating. Your argument about charging more is invalid. The issue is controlling the quality of legal services given to the public. The average person cannot tell a good lawyer from a bad lawyer. It is a governmental/administrative task to structure the profession in a way that prevents incompetent lawyers from practicing. This means exams and standards for law schools. If anyone could open a law school, that would lead to schools that are poor quality, schools that allow anyone to be admitted and produce poor quality lawyers. The task is maintaining standards at law schools and not allowing the market to be flooded by lawyers who are not qualified (i.e. bond university grads).

  2. Wow, where to begin. I think I’ll go with the header “If you don’t make the cut in Canada, Bond University wants you.” What a joke that statement is. To think that the only reason why I’d want to leave the frozen tundra of Canada to go to 300+ days of sunshine in the Gold Coast of Australia is because I couldn’t make it into a Canadian school is both ridiculous and incredibly inaccurate. Maybe you should visit the school, take a look around it and come back and look at the U of T law school and tell me which one you like better.

    If you hate mock court rooms that are replicas of the high court, equipped with 5 plasma screen TVs well then I guess you should avoid Bond University. If you hate partying in a place called Surfer’s Paradise and you’d rather stand in line at Tattoo in the freezing cold, well then you should avoid Bond University. If you don’t like hopping over to Fiji, New Zealand, Indonesia and the rest of the surrounding gorgeous islands during the breaks, well then you should avoid Bond University. And if you don’t like the idea of doing an exchange at Duke, Northwestern or the various partnership institutions all over Europe, well then you should avoid Bond University.

    Now those were some reasons to go to the school based on fun, so why don’t we address the academic capabilities. Maybe you should read this list http://www.icc-trialcompetition.org/, take a look who’s number one, now look at who’s number two and read this article http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html. Where’s Canada’s top school? FIFTH! Add up all these factors, do a survey and ask every person who went to Bond if they could do it all over again would they give that up to go to U of T or any of the other underfunded Canadian law schools.

    Maybe you should ask Richard Branson what he thinks of the school since he hired his right hand man out of Bond University. I’m sure he appreciated the helicopter pad in the middle of campus. Maybe you should have seen the look on my parent’s faces (both laywers who went to Canadian law schools)when they got a tour of the new legal skills building. Maybe you should have interviewed my roommate who spent his last three weeks touring Europe on an international business trip put on by Bond, or my business partner who went to Duke for a semester and connected with future lawyers all over the US.

    Your comment about having affluent students from all over the world attending Bond is probably accurate. What a horrible thing it would be to go to a school loaded with rich people from all corners of the globe. That can’t possibly be an asset and whoever came up with the saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know” must regret that comment. I’m sure there’s lots of poor people at Yale, Harvard and Stanford. Those are good schools right?

    If the students in Canadian law school could have lived one week of my life at Bond they’d never return, I can guarantee that. It’s not so much that I’m offended as I feel sorry for your inability to do proper research and get all the facts, maybe had you gone to Bond and taken their journalism course this wouldn’t be an issue.

    Oh and by the way the $35,000 tuition is for three semesters, not two, so comparing it to U of T’s annual tuition is also incorrect and misleading. At about $20,000 per year the total of the U of T degree is just more than $60,000, the total at Bond for me was $66,000. Ya, it’s more expensive but still cheaper than Yale, who we just beat in the international mooting competition (our third international victory in the past 12 months) and most other world reknown law schools.

    • sorry, but the fact remains that anyone can gain admission into Bond University. Comparing Bond to University of Toronto is like comparing Seneca College to Harvard. There is simply no contest. I am sure bond has created some great lawyers but overall the school is a joke. Anyone can be admitted and it is doing a disservice to the legal profession.
      The fact that you think having plasma screens in a replica court room or “surfers paradise” are reasons that it is a quality school shows the lack of good judgment.
      What confuses me is why anyone would argue that they did not good to Bond as a last resort and it was actually their first choice. Their tuition is higher than the majority of Canadian law schools. Their average admission scores are ridiculously low and they do not even require the lsat. Bond is a joke.

  3. I’m quite surprised by the negative reaction from Matt Conrad and a couple emails I’ve received. I don’t think that this story implies that Bond is an inferior law school or that Canadian students shouldn’t consider going. In fact, quite the opposite.

    The article describes Bond’s great beach location and notes other reasons that students choose Bond, including global perspective and the way of life (which was a euphemism for the parties, beach life, etc that Matt describes). I also spoke to students and recruiters who reported that many students choose Bond because of the lower entrance requirements.

    I think I presented both sides in a balanced manner and that if I was a Canadian student applying to law school who read this article, I would consider Bond.

  4. Erin’s take is hardly unfair to Bond. If anything it runs the opposite way. Bond markets itself to Canadian students very heavily, with the not-subtle message that it’s a good alternative for students who can’t get into Canadian schools. Even Mr. Conrad, above, doesn’t deny as much. His argument seems to hang on the suggestion that Canadian students should want to attend Bond anyway. But leaving the “shoulds” out of it, Erin’s description of what actually happens is accurate.

    Disclaimer. I’m currently a law student within a Canadian law school. I know Bond gets a bad rap. It doesn’t deserve it, entirely. And we could talk a lot about how foreign law degrees should be received in Canada. But again, “should” has little to do with it, outside of (frequently ignorant) opinions. Let’s talk about what does happen.

    You can get a law degree from Australia, just as you can get a medical degree from Serbia, and for some that’s a way to keep their dreams alive a little longer once they’ve failed to get in anywhere in Canada. But despite the one success story referenced in this story, the number of failures can’t be dismissed either. The hurdles to overcome on return to Canada are considerable. Even if you fulfill the accreditation requirements (which are significant and expensive) you still have a law degree that just screams “I couldn’t get in anywhere in Canada.” Bearing in mind that you can’t get licensed to practice without an article, the students who can’t get someone to hire them for that are never able to practice. And that’s where the dream finally dies for many – years and tens of thousands of dollars later than it should have.

    I haven’t been to Bond. I’ll take it on faith that the facilities are fantastic. But you’ll never convince me that the quality of the input has no bearing on the quality of the output. And I doubt you’ll ever convince employers of that either. So the fact remains, that as long as your input continues to be the students who couldn’t get in elsewhere (no matter that their families are wealthy – fantastic argument, btw) the output will always bee considered suspect.

  5. Law Student,

    I find it quite amusing that you don’t feel the need to address ‘frequently ignorant opinions,’ despite the fact that your comment is littered with them.

    To begin with, I don’t know how you got the impression that there is only ‘one’ success story made reference to in this article, as it clearly states that Bond alumni can be found in various top firms throughout Canada, the States, London and Australia. The fact that only a few select names from the Bond Alumni pool were mentioned in this article should not be taken to mean that they are the only success stories our school has to offer. But, seeing as how you also raised the argument that the number of failures shouldn’t be ignored either, let me do my best to address that point as well.

    As you will recall, the article mentioned that Bond’s first Canadian law student graduated in 1991. Since it’s impossible for me to know every Canadian graduate who came out of Bond since that time, I won’t attempt to refute your claim that some may have failed. However, can the same not be said for those who attended law schools in Canada as well? The unfortunate reality is that the current challenges faced by students trying to satisfy their articling requirement is not just a problem experienced by foreign graduates alone. It is one that is experienced by the majority, regardless of where they may have obtained their degree. In a city like Toronto, where there are an abundance of law students competing for limited positions, I fail to see how you can guarantee that someone who comes from a Canadian law school will always be chosen over a Bond graduate. If Canadian Bond alumni can be found at some of the top law firms in Canada, or any for that matter, wouldn’t you agree that it’s simply because the law firm who hired them was convinced that they were more qualified for the position than any of the other candidates who had applied? Some of which, I may add, could very well have been holding degrees from many of the other reputable law schools that we have right here in Canada!

    Second, you made the comment “Even if you fulfill the accreditation requirements…you still have a law degree that just screams “I couldn’t get in anywhere in Canada.” While that may be the case for some, I’m pretty confident that not every firm is obsessed with hiring only Canadian graduates. In fact, when has diversity ever proven to be detrimental to a law firm? Bond is world-renowned. Do you really think hiring a Bond graduate would be the worst mistake a firm could make? Consider the quality of our facilities, the student-teacher ratio, our various competition wins at the international level, the impressive resume of judges and lawyers who teach here and finally, our affiliation with the University of Manitoba (a Canadian school!). If we can successfully pass our accreditation exams (some of which are offered as electives here in Canada), I have absolutely no hesitation to believe why our experiences and qualifications from Australia wouldn’t make us that much more qualified than someone who graduated here. I suspect a remark like yours was simply made out of feelings of resentment you have because of the great difficulties our graduates have now placed on your ability to get called yourself.

    Finally, while the issue of whether Erin’s article was unfair or not is clearly debatable, I have to admit that I’m very surprised that both she, and those in support of this article, find nothing offensive about the headline. Even if I hadn’t attended Bond University, there’s no denying the fact that it was a clear cheap shot made at the school. We are not oblivious to the stigma some firms have against hiring foreign graduates. However, that is not what has upset us. What we are arguing, or should I say what I am personally arguing, is simply that Erin’s article, especially her headline, only served to perpetuate that stigma. I personally feel that had she really meant to portray Bond in a positive manner, as she claims was her intentions, then I see no reason why she could have selected a more fitting or neutral headline instead. I’m sure others would agree.

  6. I attended Bond law school for 3 semesters and then transferred to a Canadian law school. I can understand why some people are upset at the “Last Chance U” title Bond is receiving – because it is true. Regardless, there is no denying the fact that a Bond law graduate should very attractive to a Canadian employer. Sadly, this isn’t the case.

    There is no denying that the entrance standards at Bond are low – as with most private universities. One point that has not been made is that the process of ‘rooting out the bad apples’ is different at Bond than it is in Canadian law schools. Canadian law schools filter out the less promising students before they get in with high acceptance standards. Once a student is admitted to a Canadian law school, the only challenges they will face is preparing for law firm interviews and managing to ride the famed “B curve” to a degree. Canadian law schools are full of courses where the student’s grade is determined by writing a single exam, and nothing else. Many student’s at Canadian law schools love this method because it allows them to get excellent marks without giving much effort. I know of countless people (myself included) who borrowed class notes from a friend a week before the exam and managed to pull off a B+. I can assure you that this method does not work at Bond.

    While Bond’s acceptance standards are low, the school chooses to filter out the less promising students while they are attending the school and paying the expensive tuition fees. Yes, Bond fails its law students, and the curriculum is significantly more challenging than the country club atmosphere seen at Canadian law schools. The philosophy makes sense to me; allow students into Bond, take their money, and if the student is not up to the challenge of Bond’s vigorous training methods then the student fails and is faced with the option of (A) paying more money to retake the course, or (B) dropping out and returning to Canada (many have chosen option B after choosing option A more than once). Those who are intelligent enough to survive 6 semesters at Bond and get a degree are rewarded with superior facilities, teaching methods, and a teaching faculty that is very well regarded within the legal community.

    So when an employer is comparing a Bond law graduate with a Western, UBC, or Queen’s graduate, they should know that the Bond graduate was probably subjected to a more rigorous curriculum and received better overall training than the Canadian law graduate. For some reason, employers still assume the Canadian law school graduate is superior because four years prior he/she managed to ace LSAT questions about ridiculous mind games. It doesn’t make much sense to me.

  7. Pingback: The case for private law schools : Macleans OnCampus

  8. I tend to agree with R. Mulliniks with respect to the rigorous training and superior facilities Bond offers when compared to the ones here in Canada. I’ve been to two Ontario campuses and spoken to other law students about their respective schools. Everyone of them mentioned that all they neew to do is get a B and they’re good to go, since that will likely get then a few on campus interviews for a summer job which will then most likely turn into articles once they graduate. The other benefit is they’re marks (according to those I know and have spoken to)for their 2nd and 3rd years aren’t really that important since they’re already got articles lined up.
    I understand that many people will be motivated to do well but the pressure is surely much less than knowing you have to not only work hard to get through Bond, but that upon return to Canada you’ve also got to complete a rigorous NCA process, the Bar, and yes compete with a 1st year law student for an articling job. It just seems a bit odd and shows how far behind the legal profession is in Canada.
    The most interesting thing is that I always hear and read about how law firms want young and ambitious people with diverse backgrounds, yet many of those who obtain articles are from ‘safe’ Canadian law schools, little to no work or other life experience with a B. Strange.

  9. And with that last post, my argument for intelligent Bond grads has been crushed.

  10. Rance, you’re needed here in Dunedin. We just lost to Canada’s national team and I stuttered my way through it again.

  11. I have a friend in Florida who can sub for me. His name is Kelly. You should get him to do it.

  12. This post is directed towards R.Mulliniks. I am thinking of attending Bond university but I would like to transfer to a Canadian university after 2-3 semesters. I would like to know how you went about doing this and which Canadian law school are you attending? I would appreciate if you could get back to me. thank you!

  13. I attended Bond for my first year of Law School and then transferred over to a Canadian school.

    This is what I observed:
    Canadian students who dismiss foreign grads don’t know what they are talking about.
    I did better in Canada with less than adequate preparation than I had ever done at Bond. Managed to score well above the infamous B curve.
    Bond teaches you real life skills from your very first day. Faculty interaction; exercises like negotiations, plea mitigation, moots, drafting exercises, pleadings etc…. and you get to meet great people from all walks of life. Did I mention travelling; living by the beach; spending a lot of $ !!!

    Canadian school was dull, boring, dry – yet interesting at the same time because there seemed to be an AIR of unnecessary brilliance in the school. I did find that ironic because a large majority of these sharp legal minds – who scored a few points higher on the Lsat – actually spend 3 full years in law school without uttering a word in class but yet act ever-so-wise at the same time.

    At the end of the day there’s no doubt that a Canadian education is a safer bet if you want to practice in Canada.
    However if you’re ambitious and know that law is for you – give Bond a thought. Just make sure that IT IS what you can excel at!

    I have no doubt that just as any other Canadian school, in due time, some grads from Bond will be among the sharpest legal minds in the nation.

  14. What are the chances of getting in with a 2.7 from mcgill?

  15. Nil.

  16. Did anyone else catch the several erroneous abbreviations of Bachelor of Laws to L.L.B.?

  17. One: I did 4 semesters at Bond before realizing my money was running out faster than I calculated (good thing I wasn’t going for my MBA) and I transferred to UNB. I completely agree. There is an air of superiority. I excelled at Bond (hence why I was accepted for a transfer) and I have found the 100% exams frustrating. They are not a test of my abilities. They are a test of how well I test. I learned more in my first semester than Canadian students learn in 2 years. And I think Bond is smart in a way. Let more people in, take their money and when they fail (which a number inevitably do) take more of their money. I loved my time at Bond and regret having to transfer. I think about my 16 months in Australia almost every day, and I’ve been home for 8 months. UNB is a great school, but the Canadian method of teaching lawyers is crazy. It is the opposite of practical. BTW, I got accepted to Bond, and accepted their offer, before I heard back from any Canadian school. So it was my first choice, not my last chance. So if you have the money (btw the exchange rate is in favour of the Canadian dollar by about 15%) and the ability to focus yourself (and not be tempted by the beach 10 min away), then go. It is the best experience you will ever have. You can spend the rest of your life in Canada.

  18. McGill,

    You had best raise that GPA much higher to recieve any acceptance into a law school. Some light research I’ve done shows that the avg for students to get into law school is approximately 82% for the cut off.

  19. I’m a Bond law graduate and just would like to say that I did get accepted into two Canadian law schools and decided to go to Bond because of the weather in Australia and the two year length of the JD program. I also know an exceptionally bright student who did very well on her Canadian legal entrance exams and was an honors student in her undergraduate degree and she chose Bond for the same reason. I think it comes down to the very basic concept that a degree is just a key, we as graduates have and need to use it to open doors. It is what you make of it!

  20. My son is currently a student at Bond. He too made it to 3 Universities in Canada but chose to go to Bond. I still shake my head because I worry of what will/may happen after he graduates next year and returns to Canada. A year to a year and a half of school again? Will he get into a school in Canada? Will he get an articling position? Yes, those are my worries.

    That all being said, I am delighted he went to Bond University. I just returned from a month long visit with my son in Gold Coast, and had a chance to visit the facilities. Yes, they are bar none! They have moot courts and the law library is fantastic and so very well stocked. Their bookstore is wonderful and the staff at the bookstore knowledgeable and helpful. The courses are NOT easy, believe me, and you will see many a student (law or otherwise) studying in the libraries at all times of day. Yes, they DO fail their students – the program is VERY intense, and the professors are hard on their students. Most of the professors however are very supportive and the staff at Bond is wonderful. I have had to fire off emails to various staff members for advise on obtaining documents for Canadian income tax return purposes to paying fees to advise on where to go for hospital treatment for a student. They have either replied very promptly via email, or have even phoned back and have been very helpful.

    I am happy that my son is at Bond, receiving a world class education. Yes, I worry, but I hope that those hurdles I worry about will be overcome.

    Go Bond, and go Bondies!

    And by the way, Gold Coast, the beaches, the subtropical forests, the people – all wonderful!!

  21. Some of you said you had really great marks and went to Bond anyways. I am curious, why wouldn’t you have gone to Monash, Melbourne or ANU instead? All three of these JD programs are unquestionably seen, whether accurately or not, as superior programs for around the same price.

  22. Hi,

    Some of you said you transfered back to Canada after a year or so at Bond. I was wondering, what is the process of transfering back?

  23. Nathan: I am attending law school at the University of Sydney which is the oldest law school in Australia and nationally ranks as one of the top Group of 8 universities in Australia.

    I must say that I found this article and all the relevant comments posted here to be quite interesting. I have to say that though I have quite a handful of friends who attend Bond Law, the Bond law school stigma isn’t only limited to Canadian employers or law schools but that misconceived notion also resonates among employers and other law schools in Australia, especially those belonging to the G8, namely my own law school. However, I fully agree with all my other learned colleagues who have attended law school at Bond or are currently studying their law degree, that the teaching methods utilized in Australian Law schools, whether public or private, are second to none and can even be quite stressful and highly exhausting at times.

    Having said that, the international reputation that Australian law schools have in their approach to teaching common law and specifically University of Sydney Law school being world renowned for their teachings in international law subjects (i.e Public International law, Private International law, International commercial transactions/arbitration) and commercial law subjects (i.e Insolvency/Bankruptcy law, Corporate & Securities, Banking & Financial, Intellectual property) made me feel that I made the right choice by choosing to attend a well-recognized Australian law school than a Canadian law school.

    A close relative of mine graduated from Melbourne Law in 2008 and was asked to take only 2 NCA challenge exams and is currently holding a practicing license as Barrister and Solicitor in the province of Ontario.

    So in a nutshell, there are other law schools in Australia aside from Bond that have attracted a substantial number of Canadian students to attend as their full-time international students therefore, Canadian students are attending top law schools, whether public or private, in Australia.

  24. All I got to say is that Bond is an absolute BUTT of the JOKE in all the top law schools in Australia. Only G8 Law schools in Australia such as Melbourne, Sydney, ANU, Monash, Queensland, etc can claim to be what is representative of Australian Law school education.

    I would love to see if Bond graduates could even secure a single offer of training contract from U.K’s ‘Magic Circle’ law firms, like Freshfield and Linklaters, or any positions within top tier law firms in Australia such as Mallesons Stephens Jacques or Arthur Allen Robinson or Clayton Utz.

    All you Bond graduates can only boast about how great of a legal education you’re receiving to someone who doesn’t have a single clue about Australian legal education. Let me clear the air with all the self-serving comments about Bond graduates. FYI I’m a Canadian who took the LSAT in order to get into Melbourne with a score of 164 which was high enough to get me into practically any Canadian law school I desired, therefore the only person who is equipped to speak on behalf of the Australian legal education would be yours truly.

    And lets not pretend that if you had the chance of being accepted into a Canadian law school or any of the Australian G8 Law schools (genuine Australian Law schools that is) you would have considered even for a second to attend a cookie cutter law school like Bond. Therefore, I and the likes of yours truly were the only Canadians who had “the choice” between choosing to attend a Canadian law school such as Osgoode, Dalhouse and UBC or attending a G8 Australian Law school such as Melbourne, Sydney, ANU. And please will you stop with creating this fiction of imagination that it was the beautiful sunny subtropical Queensland, Gold Coast weather that compelled you to choose Bond over Manitoba, Western Ontario or Queens to attend for legal education. You’re not fooling anyone, the latter was not even a choice for you.

    You have claimed you’re attending or have attended a top-notch law school in Australia, that is “BOND” and that your legal expertise and experience is bar none, then learn to accept its flaws as well and aim not to be so dogmatically emphatic about how “Bond” is so revolutionary. Because fact of that matter is that all this hot air coming out of Bond graduates is making the rest of Canadian students educated at G8 law schools less credible to the outsiders. And by no means, can you equate the quality of legal education that we as G8 law students receive to that of Bond.

    Why did I choose Melbourne over Osgoode, Dalhousie or UBC? It is because I plan on living here for the next 10 years and have been granted permanent residency status. Not to mention I will also be qualified to receive reciprocal Harvard Law recognition; the only kind in the entire southern hemisphere.

    The moral of this comment, which took a precious time out of my day to write, is that my wonderful Bond colleagues ought to be a little bit more discreet and perhaps grounded about the true nature of their sanctuary in order to prevent having someone like myself showing their poorly stacked poker hand.

  25. Melbourne U, thanks for demonstrating to the world, with your incredibly poorly-written post, that the educational standards at Melbourne are clearly not all they’re cracked up to be.

  26. Mature Student: It is quite obvious from your chosen pseudonym that you clearly sought admission as a “Mature Student” to a law school which undoubtedly indicates your lack of possessing any sort of undergraduate academic credential. That is of course predicated upon the presupposition that you are a law school student in the first place.

    Thank you for your cheap shot criticism without any substantial rebuttals. Word to the wise, if you ever plan on appearing before a judge or practicing with your Bond “LL.B” as a legal practitioner try avoid using arguments that are based on personal pride, misguided and flawed logical reasoning techniques you gained from your defective legal education. Get your facts straight first before engaging in an intellectual discussion as to prevent future embarrassment my unlearned friend!

    As for my “poorly-written” post, all I can say is that having graduated from UBC with an Honours in Journalism seems to be at odds, I’ll just leave you with that for now but please next time, have something substantial to talk about, as it would make for a more stimulating discussion.

  27. Ah, so because I’m old and you’re a UBC J-school grad, clearly I couldn’t possibly distinguish between good and bad writing. This would be an example of your superior “logical reasoning”?

  28. oh ya why don’t we just make this into a personal vendetta!! Get a life buddy! I gave my opinion as to the status quo and here you are personally attacking me? Where do you get off feeling so superior about your life time achievement? What do you have to show for? I gave my opinion (based on substantial facts) as I’m clearly entitled to. Let’s hear what you know that makes you entitled to comment on my opinion pal?

    And here is some food for thought: why do Bond graduates always feel the urge to defend the credibility of their so-called “legal education”? I’m really hoping you can shed some light on this as you seem to have ostensible relevant acumen on this matter.

  29. Oh, come on, Bondies. As a third year Canadian law school student who completed a summer internship at Allen Arthur Robinson in Sydney, I can tell you unreservedly that the Australian legal community does not consider you to be prime pickings for positions in their firms. A law school professor at Sydney Uni, when asked her opinion of Bond, replied “It’s one of those private universities, is it?” in a decidedly unimpressed tone. Everybody knows that money (most often your doting parent’s money), not brains, gets you into Bond. Maybe that’s why you find law school so difficult and “exhausting”, implying that it’s harder there than at U of T, Dalhousie, Queen’s or Western. Oh, but aren’t you clever for concluding that not having to stand outide in line at Tatoo in the winter gives you the intellectual edge over us poor, dumb, suckers who beat out thousands of applicants to suffer like that just for the sake of getting into a well-recognized Canadian law school. Tell me, Bondies, when you run into a medical problem when you get home, who are you going to choose? The doctor with a degree s/he earned at U of T or McGill, or the one who went to “Never Even Heard of It” medical school in the Caribbean? As for linking yourselves to Duke, for example, why not cut out the middle man and go straight there instead? Sure, you’re going to defend your school and be justifiably proud of your achievements, but the sooner you stop deluding yourselves that you have a superior education, the better. You just make yourselves look dumb, and oh, yeah, isn’t that what most top tier Canadian law firms are going to suspect as well? Couldn’t pass the LSAT, rejected by recognized law schools and now mewing “oh, but we are so glad all that happened because no not only do we have second class law degrees, but great sun tans”. Best of luck selling that in your next articling interview.

  30. From neutral perspective (I’m a Nursing major), I’m going to have to agree with the above post :/

  31. I am a recent Bond Graduate, and I will agree that the above opinions of Bond Grads are largely embellished, if not completely false.
    Of the 15 Canadians from my graduating class (May 2010) who have returned to Canada, only one has secured an articling position in the six months we’ve been home. A Bond degree is met with a high level of snobbery from the legal community in Canada, which may or may not be justified.
    The Good: I was only assessed to take two NCA challenge exams which I completed in October.
    The Bad: So what? Completing the NCA exams is not an achievement in itself: it is merely a step. I have no connections within the legal community in Canada, and thusfar am unable to make inroads to secure an articling position. All the superficial niceties about the Gold Coast are true (weather, night life, tropics etc). But they are just that: Niceties. Upon transfer back, it is very difficult to secure articles.
    Conclusion: Bond University is a great option if your parents are lawyers and can offer you an articling position, or you wish to stay in Australia.
    As a partial aside, I would cordially disagree with the above post (Melbourne U) that suggests that Bond grads are unable to secure work in Australia. I know several Canadian Bond grads who ARE working for top Australian firms; Clayton Utz, Minter Ellison etc. Mind you, they are working in Brisbane, and not the financial epicenters of Australia, Sydney and Melbourne.
    So far I am disappointed in the reception of my Bond degree in Canada. In my opinion, the value of a Bond degree within Canada is limited to a given candidate’s Canadian law connections before departing overseas.

  32. Reality Check,

    Your incompetence truly shines through with what you wrote. If I were choosing a physician or lawyer with which to consult I sure as hell wouldn’t care where they received their degree from. I would base my judgement purely on track recorded, not because they graduated from a highly regarded institution. Fact is, just because you went to a good school does not make you good at what you do.

    Melbourne U,

    “And by no means, can you equate the quality of legal education that we as G8 law students receive to that of Bond.”

    What evidence do you have to back this claim up? I know Melbourne Law is a good program, but surely you haven’t been paying attention in class. Back your arguments up with something solid, not personal opinion that screams, “I am a egotistical maniac!” LOL

  33. Melbourne U, i will be going to Melbourne this coming February for the JD program. I would appreciate some advice. cheers

  34. I am a current Melbourne University law student, and just thought I’d make mention of the fact that I highly doubt “Melbourne U” is an actual Melbourne law student on account of there not being any “reciprocal Harvard Law recognition; the only kind in the entire southern hemisphere” that I know of. So he’s basically just an asshole.

  35. It appears that their are a lot of biased and angered comments being left with respects to the obtainment of a degree. Surely you cannot discredit the history behind the Osgoode’s and the U of T’s, but just because something has been there for years does not make it more superior than others. GM started making vehicles in 1908 and BMW in 1928-1929, so does that make GM vehicle’s better and superior to a BMW vehicle? Personally I do not care about the name and history of the institution. The institution is not teaching you the material, the teachers within the institution are the ones that pass on the knowledge. To take this one step further you could argue that the text books which these teachers reference is really where the knowledge lies, and surely these can be purchased at most reputable bookstores. So to quote Good will Hunting, “how do you like them apples.”

    Furthermore one cannot be deemed more brilliant than another just because they attended a Canadian institution. This is not an apples to apples comparison. The outcome for any prospective student be it law or medicine is the amount of hard-work and devotion they put into their chosen path. One could also argue and discredit the LSAC, the agency that administers the LSAT. The institution that deems their test as a measure of success for first year law students; a high score resulting in great marks for first year students, and a low score would correspond to a poor outcome for first year law studies. Am I the only one that thinks this is a little biased.

    As far as obtaining an articling position at a Canadian Law firm goes that to can be deemed to be up to the individual. Everyone including Canadian Law grads have to “sell themselves” to a prospective firm. The experience one brings to the table stems from the journey the individual had along the way. The measure of ones aptitude should be placed on the individual and not on the external factors surrounding them.

    Anyway, those are just my thoughts. I will soon be part of the statistics myself as I am venturing to Bond to obtain my degree. Feel free to follow me at canadiandownunder . com.

  36. Hi guys, just wondering if anyone out there could tell me how many NCA tests I will have to write when I return to Canada with a Sydney JD? Are the tests very difficult? Should I go to Bond instead?

    Thanks!!!

  37. Hey,

    I was hoping to get some advice from one of the many knowledgable people who have already made comments. I am a Canadian student but will have my undergrad from a U.S university (wayne state) with a 3.8 gpa or higher. I am considering an Australian school to avoid the lsats but after reading all these posts im a bit scared. Can someone please give me there opinion on what to do if they were in my shoes, thanks!

    • Check out my Blog, I am currently going to Bond University, and I discuss a lot of things that may be relevant to you.

  38. I am a Canadian who graduated from Bond Law in 2007 and got admitted as a lawyer in Australia in the same year. I went on to practice in a law firm in Singapore and as a legal executive in the Philippines. Was the best 5 years of my life and the best decision I ever made. I got into the University of Queensland, University of Sydney and University of Auckland and I chose Bond for 2 reasons. The Gold Coast is awesome and the Bond Law program and facilities are next to none.

    I would be happy to assist anyone thinking about going to law school abroad. By the way Bond now teaches all 4 of the Canadian law courses that are expected of students applying to the NCA. Therefore, you may be eligible to come back to Canada and not have to write any exams at all. Its a no brainier.

  39. As a prospective law student completing my final year of 12, and seeing the diversity of views in this blog, i wonder, does the top tier law firm employ students of law based on experience in a law firms or on the premise that you attended a G8 university. Please leave your opinion

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