Juliana is an articling student at Baker McKenzie LLP Toronto, a global law firm. Upon receiving her license in June 2024, she intends to specialize in Tax Litigation.
Juliana completed her Juris Doctor degree at the University of Ottawa, where she had the opportunity to participate in moots and work at the Community Legal Clinic, representing clients in matters related to landlord and tenant law. During law school, Juliana also worked part-time in a Criminal Defence law firm in Ottawa, where she found her passion for representing clients against the government.
She reminds immigrants who dream of becoming a lawyer that while the path to law school in Canada is long and requires a lot of steps, it can be enjoyable and very rewarding.
Juliana’s path to become a lawyer in Canada
Juliana immigrated to Canada shortly after completing her high school in 2014. She always wanted to become a lawyer but decided to go through this path in Canada.
Unlike in Brazil, applicants must have a prior degree to get accepted to the Juris Doctor program. Upon arriving in Canada, Juliana got a joint Business Marketing Diploma and Bachelor of Business Administration degree at St. Lawrence College. In the final year of her undergraduate degree, she started preparing for the LSAT, the law school admission test in North America. She spent two years studying for the LSAT and took it multiple times in order to secure a score that would get her into the JD program in Ottawa.
Before law school, Juliana also completed her Master’s in Public Administration at Queen’s University, where she had the opportunity to work with former governmental officials as a Research Assistant in research about how the COVID-19 pandemic would affect the economy, primarily focused on the future of work post-pandemic.
Juliana is months away from becoming a lawyer (June 2024); she is currently articling at the big law global firm Baker McKenzie.
Juliana’s experience in Law School
Juliana approached law school was to try everything she had a slight interest in, with the mindset that “she doesn’t know what she likes until she tries it”: she got an internship at a criminal defence law firm, joined the community legal clinic where she helped with Landlord and tenant matters, and competed in multiple moots.
Juliana participated in the first virtual reality moot in the world, where she got to argue in front of former Justice Binnie (Supreme Court). This moot made her realize her passion for oral advocacy. Juliana also competed in the National Tax Moot, winning 2nd place for the Appellants and 1st place for the Respondent. This tax moot confirmed that she wanted to become a tax litigator.
Advice to immigrants who want to pursue a new career practicing law in Canada
Juliana says that the most challenging part of this process, from the LSAT to articling, is having the patience to learn and the perseverance to keep going. For some people, like Juliana, the LSAT was a very challenging step that required a lot of perseverance to keep studying for and writing multiple times. For those writing the exam, she suggests getting hands-on practice tests and taking classes to learn the tricks on how to approach each question.
After the LSAT, the second most challenging step, in Juliana’s opinion, was going through the process of recruitment that happens in the second year of law school, which is also applicable to internationally trained lawyers. Having someone look over the cover letter and resume is invaluable to this process, both to spot mistakes and to ensure you’re telling your experience in the most exciting way possible. Juliana’s biggest tip for getting a job through formal recruitment is to be yourself and let your personality shine through – that way, you are ensuring that you can still be yourself while learning how to practice law.
BCBA thanks Juliana for taking the time to allow us to interview her. Stay tuned to our next “Meet our Members” issue.