A SHOT OF LIFE CANADA – An exclusive podcast for Internationally Trained Lawyers

Created by Anton Haswell

Anton Haswell is the curator of the novel podcast for Internationally Trained Lawyers. Anton obtained his undergrad degree from the University of Toronto and then he received LLB degree in 2016 from the University of Law, UK. Anton is passionate about working in higher education specifically relating to Internationally trained lawyers pursuing accreditation in Canada.  Anton realised that ITL’s have unique experiences and valuable insights to offer to ‘the next generation’. Thus, came about this platform “A Shot of Life Canada” with the sole focus to benefit current, past and future internationally trained lawyers in Canada.

In an exclusive chat with the NCA Network, Anton talks about his vision for the podcast exclusively created for ITL’s. 

  1. What is the ‘A shot of life Canada’ podcast about?

A Shot of Life Canada is a podcast aimed at pulling back the curtain on what it means to be a professional and entrepreneur in Canada.  The NCA Series of the podcast is all about telling the stories of internationally trained lawyers from around the world.  

2. What do you aim to achieve with the podcast?

 While everyone’s journey is unique in getting to practice law in Canada, our goals, hopes and dreams are shared.  We all want success, happiness, belonging, love and satisfaction in our personal and professional lives.  A Shot of Life Canada provides a platform to share those personal triumphs, anxieties, ups and downs.  My goal with the podcast is to contribute to the growing community of internationally trained lawyers in Canada.  When I went to law school in the UK back in 2013, there was very little in the way of real supports for ITL’s in their accreditation and licensing journeys.  Now, there are growing and impressive organizations looking to help guide ITL’s here in Canada.  If I can contribute in some way to that community with this podcast, I would consider that a great success.

3. What can listeners gain from this podcast?

The hope is that listeners can hear a little bit of themselves in every guest.  I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing very impressive people from all over the world.  From Australia, to the UK, to India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Spain and beyond. It has been amazing to hear from so many unique and driven professionals with the identical dream of practicing law in Canada. While their journeys greatly differ, their fears, anxieties and goals are often shared. It is also enlightening to learn how foreign trained professionals overcame those pitfalls and speedbumps during their journey.  A podcast allows you to listen on your time and the hope is that every guest adds a little bit more clarity to the puzzle that is starting a new life and/or career in Canada.

4.What advice do you have for fellow NCA candidates?

I’m going to draw on some themes from my podcast and the wisdom of my guests to give some advice here.  

#1 Visit the NCA.Legal website!  Often, candidates are confused about the NCA process.  People ask about reviews of exams, rules on submitting transcripts and how to get in contact with someone within the NCA office (among many others) and the answer I get from all my guests is to consult the source.  Visit the NCA website, read and re-read the policy guidelines and the FAQ sections.  It will save you time, confusion and anxiety down the line. 

#2 Own your journey  If you are a mother of two, who is 9 years removed from practicing law in your home jurisdiction, yet if you attempting to pursue your legal career in Canada now, then go for it.  Speaking with recruiters from law firms in Canada, I hear now more than ever that your story and what makes you unique is a selling point, not a deterrent.   

#3 Build your LinkedIn Profile.  It’s not enough, these days, to get a law degree and expect a job.  Your ‘peripherals’ or work experience and extra curriculars can really boost your job prospects.  The legal marketplace in Canada is a competitive one, so networking early and often is such an important part of your journey.  Reaching out to fellow ITL’s and joining organizations like the NCA Network are great places to start.  There are so many free resources and opportunities to connect nowadays, there’s almost no excuse not to.

#4 The NCA Exams Step 1 in a long list of steps to a legal career.  Many guests of mine always like to remind listeners that, while the NCA exams are a necessary step to take in pursuing a legal career in Canada, it is just one step.  Don’t get too overwhelmed with the NCA exams or lose sight of the fact the journey does not stop after getting your Certificate of Qualification.  My guests, have the benefit of hindsight and always mention this point. 

#5 Buyer Beware.  The NCA prep and ITL community has literally exploded in the past 18 months.  If you’re unsure of that, just type the letters NCA into a Facebook search and you’ll find 10+ groups dedicated to the space.  With this explosion, comes an unprecedented amount of access to some great organizations and professionals.  It really has provided new ITL’s in Canada with an amazing opportunity to connect and network with like-minded, driven and successful professionals from around the world.  While there are many positives to the NCA revolution, my guests remind me that this space is largely unregulated, so when looking for advice and preparation materials, really do your due diligence.  Not all prep materials and tutors are created equal and while you are free to choose how you study and prepare for the NCA and Bar exams, be mindful.

Listen to the unique stories on the podcast on the link below.


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