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Tuition v. salary

|Written By Marg. Bruineman
Tuition v. salary
Illustration: Ian Phillips

A prospective law school student has many options in Canada.

When focusing on first-year tuition alone, a school student can expect to pay anywhere from about $4,000 to nearly $30,000. A law school graduate’s first-year salary after being called to the bar varies widely across the country. A random sampling of earnings revealed a lawyer can anticipate $57,500 in Eastern Canada, but a first-year lawyer might negotiate a starting salary in excess of $100,000 with a larger Toronto firm.

So break out the abacus, a little simple math can help you figure out how many years of lawyering it might take to pay back those student loans.

Click here to view map enlargement.

  • have a question

    farzad fard
    so if you go to windsor and work in toronto, how much do you make?
  • Incorrect Windsor Law Tuition Number

    Windsor Law Student
    I could be misunderstanding the map,but the Windsor Law tuition is NOT $8305. That figure corresponds with one semester of tuition, not the entire year.
  • Law Associate

    Steve O
    Your chart is somewhat misleading in that it does not acount for the length of time that an individual is considered a first-year associate. For example, in Toronto, the term of a first-year associate generally runs from August in the year in which employment begins to the end of December of the following year (i.e. 16 months). In Calgary, an individual is only considered a first-year associate from August to December of the year of employment; As of the following January, the individual is considered a second-year associate and benefits from the associated salary bump. Accordingly, in the same time frame that an individual is a "first year associate" in Toronto, that person will earn ~ $100,000, vs. the same individual earning ~ $130,000 in a top-tier Calgary firm over the same time period (assumes a Calgary second-year associate salary of $95,000 - which is in line with industry norms).
  • I forgot my abacus at home

    Math Wiz
    A simple google search will provide the information you have noted in your graphic. After going through that trouble of setting up the joke, you didn't want to finish that last paragraph with the punch line?!

    I guess there are too many ways to skin an abacus, so one suggestion might be: (tuition + cost of living per year) * 3 years = debt; compared to: present value of expected salary for the average length a lawyer stays in law * the probability said law student lands a job at a firm that pays anywhere near 6 figures to a first year associate (significant numbers of students go without jobs and articling positions) minus cost of living for each of those years that said lawyer stays in law = potential earnings of law degree. As compared to the opportunity cost should that law student decided to pursue a different career.

    The "simple math" suggests a career at present with rising tuition and living expenses, and stagnant salaries and low hiring = a cruel joke!
  • Not exactly...

    Smith, Joe the 2nd
    Don't forget the LSUC licensing fees (which just went up), student loan interest, the cost of living, taxes (I could go on for a while here). You'll need more than an abacus, the math isn't that simple.

    ** Spoiler alert, it will take a lot longer than you think.
  • Horrible information...misleading

    Joe Smith
    Wow, this is absolutely horrible. Why use the max a 1st year associate can earn. It is not reasonable to expect that everyone will earn that 100K in toronto. This chart is a extreme misrepresentation. Many 1st year associates in toronto do not earn anywhere near 100K and almost all of them have paid the significant sums to go to Osgoode/UofT