Students in the 2023-2024 cohort of the Foreign Trained Lawyers Program

Foreign Trained Lawyers Program

Earn your National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) requirements in one academic year.

 

Diversity means having a legal profession that reflects our population.

Dr. Kara Mitchelmore

CEO, Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education

Become an accredited lawyer in Canada

The Foreign Trained Lawyers Program (FTLP) is a 12-month Post-bachelor’s Certificate offered by the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary for internationally trained lawyers who wish to become accredited to practice common law in Canada.

Please be sure to read carefully the requirements in your National Committee on Accreditation assessment report or letter and all relevant information about the Foreign Trained Lawyers Program, including the University Calendar, to see if this Program best suits your needs.

The FTLP is run by Professor Kellinde Wrightson, who is an internationally trained lawyer herself and has lived this journey. Students in the FTLP are supported by their own Admissions and Student Services Advisor and a senior Career Advisor. Professor Wrightson and a team of experienced Calgary-based legal practitioners teach the mandatory FTLP courses.

The FTLP is custom-built for the needs of internationally trained lawyers, both those who are newcomers to Canada and Canadians who have chosen to attend law school abroad and wish to return to Canada to practice common law.

The FTP covers the five core NCA common law subjects in which internationally trained lawyers must demonstrate competence: Canadian Criminal Law, Canadian Constitutional Law, Canadian Administrative Law, Foundations of Canadian Law, and Ethical Lawyering/Professional Responsibility.

In addition, the FTLP’s Law 430 Professional Development course is approved by the NCA under its Policy Manual section 10.3.1 as satisfying the NCA legal research and writing requirement. The Director of the FTLP, Professor Wrightson, teaches Law 430 and her new book Decoding Canadian Legal Research, Writing and Conventions: A Guide for Internationally Trained Lawyers is the set text and offers a host of information to help internationally trained lawyers navigate the journey to practice common law in Canada.

The FTLP’s showcase features include: 

  • Law 430 Professional Development is a unique two-term course focused on pre-articling skills training and designed to equip internationally trained lawyers with the practical legal skills and career building skills necessary to compete in the articling placement market-place.
  • The FTLP is designed for students who work during the day and all FTLP courses are offered via evening in-person classes.
  • All lawyers wishing to practice common law in Canada must do approximately 12 months of articles (similar to an apprenticeship or internship) and the FTLP has a dedicated senior Career Advisor to guidance and assistance in acquiring articles
  • The FTLP is an approved program of study for student loans from the Government of Alberta. If you are from a Canadian province or territory other than Alberta, you can apply to receive government student loan assistance by applying through your home province or territory.
  • Our FTLP students are part of a vibrant, inclusive and supportive community and have access to Faculty of Law facilities, including the Bennett Jones Law Library.
  • Upon graduation at the University of Calgary’s convocation ceremony, our FTLP students become part of the alumni of Canada’s most innovative law school.

The legal professionals I have had the privilege to article alongside have made (what can be) the long road to articling as a foreign trained lawyer all worth it. I have learnt so much from those who have helped me through my articling and I am forever grateful for the experience and insight I have gained.

Sanchia Thompson

2021/22 FTLP alumna, Articling Student, Oakley Family Law, Calgary

Application requirements

Ravish Ranjan, Lawyer from India, at FTLP convocation November 2023

Ravish Ranjan, Lawyer from India, at FTLP convocation November 2023

Who should apply?

The FTLP is designed to meet the unique needs of internationally-trained lawyers who wish to practice common law in Canada. Those internationally-trained lawyers fall into two broad categories:

  1. Newcomers to Canada, including international students, who have obtained their legal education in common law, civil law, or both, and may have practiced law in their home jurisdictions, and either have obtained their Canadian Permanent Residence or Citizenship status, or will have the requisite immigration status to work in Canada when they do their articles after program completion.
  2. Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents who have obtained their legal education in common law, civil law, or both, outside Canada and have returned or are intending to return to Canada to practice common law. 

NOTE: You must apply to the National Committee on Accreditation to receive your Assessment Report detailing the Canadian common law subjects that you need to pass before applying to the program.

Attention: International Applicants

Before completing this application, we strongly advise that you contact our International Student Services Office for information about being an international student in Canada, study permits, work permits, and any related visa and immigration considerations which you may need to take into account. The Program representatives cannot provide advice regarding immigration issues.

Please be aware that completion of the Program does not guarantee that you will become a Permanent Resident of Canada.

Please refer to the section “Licensing and Employment Process for Foreign Trained Lawyers” to ensure that you understand the pathway to practice for foreign trained lawyers in Canada. In order to complete Step 3 “Complete your Articles,” you will need to have the appropriate immigration status to enable you to be able to work in Canada.


The minimum requirements for admission to the FTLP Post-Bachelor's certificate are:

  1. completed law degree (LLB, JD, or equivalent) from an approved, recognized, accredited or otherwise accepted law school;
  2. A valid National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) Assessment Reportissued within the last five (5) years, that shows required courses and law degree information; 
  3. A valid NCA Assessment Completion Report (if applicable) that shows any progress made since receiving the NCA Assessment Report;
  4. Proof of English language proficiency, measured via one of the below methods:
    1. The language of instruction of the Applicant’s legal academic qualifications was English, and such qualifications were obtained in a country where English is an official language, or;
    2. Completion of the International English Language Test System (IELTS) Academic test, with a minimum score of 7.0 across all of the following elements: writing, speaking, reading and listening, and;
  5. Your personal statement (maximum 750 words) stating who you are, your non-academic pursuits, your lived experiences, and three (3) reasons why you want to take the program;
  6. Your resume.

Admission to the Program is competitive. Meeting the minimum requirements outlined above does not guarantee admission. Each year, 30-40 students will be granted admission. Decisions on applications and offers of admission to the FTLP are made by the Program Director, Professor Wrightson. Offers are made on a rolling basis, so if the FTLP is for you, submit your application early.


Some of the participants in the 2023/24 Advocacy Clinic

Some of the participants in the 2023/24 Advocacy Clinic

Before you start your application:

To access the online application, an eID is required.

Current and former UCalgary students/applicants: Use your previous eID, which is typically firstname.lastname. If you forgot your password, find out how to reset it.

New applicants: you must create an eID before starting your application.

For help with creating an eID or with recovering a previous eID/password, please contact the UCalgary IT Support Centre.

Applications for 2024-2025

  • May 31, 2024: Applications and supporting documents due for Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents 
  • Applications for International Students closed on January 29, 2024

*Note: Offers of admission will be made on a rolling basis. The sooner we receive your completed application, the sooner it can be reviewed.   

My favourite part of the Program are the skills I’ve learnt and the connections I’ve built. I would recommend this Program 100%.

Enuwa Blessing Odinya

Lawyer from Nigeria, 2023/24 FTLP student

Program requirements

Two students sit at a table with a laptop and textbook in front of them

Students in the FTLP must complete the following 24 units of coursework achieving a satisfactory performance:

  • Law 420: Foundations of Canadian Law
  • Law 430: Professional Development
  • Law 400: Constitutional Law
  • Law 410: Crime: Law & Procedure
  • Law 503: Administrative Law
  • Law 510: Ethical Lawyering

Course descriptions can be found in the University Calendar.

For clarity, successful completion of Law 400, 410, 420, 503 and 510 fulfills the educational requirements of the five core subjects in the Canadian-specific content outlined by the NCA in its Policy Manual March 31, 2023, section 5.2. Those NCA core subjects are Canadian Administrative Law, Canadian Constitutional Law, Canadian Criminal Law, Canadian Professional Responsibility (also known as Ethical Lawyering), and Foundations in Canadian Law. The FTLP course Law 430 Professional Development is approved by the NCA as satisfying its requirement for competency in Legal Research and Writing. Satisfactory performance in Faculty of Law courses is a C- or higher or a CR. See further the Faculty of Law Regulations section 3 and Appendix B https://calendar.ucalgary.ca/departments/LA/overview.

Students in the FTLP who are considering applying to take a course overload, that is, courses in addition to the FTLP’s six mandatory courses, need to consider the following carefully.

Students considering applying to take LWFT courses must keep in mind that LWFT courses are only offered during the day. The additional courses are: 

  • LWFT 402 Contracts
  • LWFT 404 Property
  • LWFT 406 Torts
  • LWFT 505 Civil Procedure
  • LWFT 507 Evidence
  • LWFT 509 Business Associations
  • LWFT 515 Family Law
  • LWFT 527 Basic Tax Law
  • LWFT 575 Remedies
  • LWFT 598 Trusts

Admission to additional courses is granted at the discretion of the Associate Dean (Academic) (ADA). The decision of the ADA is final. The decision by the ADA to approve any additional courses is focused on ensuring students are well positioned to be successful in the FTLP. The factors which the ADA will take into account, include but are not limited to:

  • Previous law school performance;
  • Additional courses required by the NCA in the assessment report/letter;
  • Availability of spots in additional courses;
  • Ability to pay the course fee if applicable;
  • Ability to attend day-time classes.

On approval by the ADA, students may take one LWFT course in addition to the FTLP requirements and pay no additional tuition.

If the NCA’s assessment report/letter requires additional courses on top of the 24 units required in the FTLP plus the one optional course, students in the FTLP may take up to a maximum of 3 additional LWFT courses upon approval of the ADA and upon payment of the applicable per-LWFT course tuition fee.

Please be sure to check the Calendar for important information regarding the FTLP.

Students are expected to complete the FTLP Post-bachelor’s Certificate in 12 months. The maximum time allowed to complete the FTLP requirements, and any additional courses, is 3 years.

Professor Wrightson and the Program are helping me to believe in myself again, giving me the tools to be a successful lawyer and provide my future clients with high quality legal services.

Daniela Andrade Ferreira da Silva

Lawyer from Brazil, 2023/24 FTLP student


Licensing and employment process for foreign-trained lawyers

Apply to the NCA

Apply to the NCA for assessment of legal qualifications.

Visit NCA

Complete NCA requirements

Complete NCA exams, course work or law school program as outlined in your NCA assessment.

Once complete, you will receive your Certification of Qualification.

Complete your articles

Secure an articling placement for 8 to 12 months. You must also apply for and complete a bar admission course.

Get called to the Bar

Once your articles and bar admissions course are complete, you need to arrange to be called to the bar and to apply to the relevant law society for a licence to practise law.

Alberta Bar Admission Program


I love Professor Wrightson’s Law 420 Foundations of Canadian Law because it is a good start, and her Law 430 Professional Development helps us improve the skills that are essential to be a lawyer in Canada.

Yan Wang

Lawyer from China, 2023/24 FTLP student

Frequently asked questions

Two students sit at a table looking at a textbook

The Foreign-Trained Lawyers Program qualifies for funding from Alberta Student Aid. Information about how to apply can be found on the Government of Alberta website. If you are from a Canadian province or territory other than Alberta, you can apply to receive government student loan assistance by applying through your home province or territory.

No. Applications to the Program without a valid NCA Assessment Report will not be considered. Your NCA Assessment Report cannot be carried out until you have completed your law degree. Therefore, you need to have finished your law degree and the NCA must have issued you with your NCA Assessment Report before you apply to the Program. Check with the NCA directly to find out the current turnaround time for the issuing of assessment reports.

No. Applications to the Program without a valid NCA Assessment Report will not be considered. Your NCA Assessment Report cannot be carried out until you have completed your law degree. Therefore, you need to have finished your law degree and the NCA must have issued you with your NCA Assessment Report before you apply to the Program. Check with the NCA directly to find out the current turnaround time for the issuing of assessment reports.

No. The FTLP is offered as a six mandatory course Program only and it is not permissible to take anything less than those six courses. In addition, the Faculty of Law does not permit enrolment in individual JD courses.

No. You need only submit copies (not originals) of your university transcripts with your application. We will confirm with the NCA directly that your copies conform with the originals which you will have provided to the NCA.

No. Letters of reference or recommendation are not required to apply to the program.

No. Our LLM programs are not approved as law degrees sufficient for admission to a Canadian common law law society.

No. The FTLP is government-approved as an in-person in-class program only.

No. The FTLP is government-approved as a full-time program only.

The FTLP begins in Fall term with the four-week intensive course Law 420 Foundations of Canadian Law. See the Academic Schedule for term dates and other important dates. Please note that the Academic Schedule is updated regularly for future academic years.

All classes for the FTLP mandatory courses (see the section “Completion of 24 units of course work” above) are held on weekday evenings. All classes for additional courses are held during the day.

No. The FTLP is a full-time study load. Students can be approved for a course overload at the discretion of the Associate Dean (Academic). Students who wish to apply to do a course overload must go through the approved process as explained in the Course Overload and Additional Courses section on this webpage.

Unfortunately we do not offer scholarships at this time.

No. We are not authorized to offer advice with respect to immigration matters, including study permits, work permits, and visas. The University of Calgary provides general assistance on immigration matters for international students. Please contact our International Services team at iss@ucalgary.ca for assistance.