Former junior hockey player benefits from law studies in two countries

U of A’s program for internationally trained lawyers provides strong accreditation support

Helen Metella - 03 September 2021

Returning to Canada from the United Kingdom bearing a 2020 LLB (with Honours) from the University of Leeds, Quinton McAndrews made a frank assessment of his learning style.

“I personally learn better in the classroom setting,” he said. “Being surrounded by my peers is definitely how I thrive.”

So to attain the credentials required to qualify to practise law in Canada, in September 2020 he enrolled in the Internationally Trained Lawyer Pathway at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law.

As part of the one-year program, McAndrews took classes alongside JD students in 1L through 3L and enjoyed the support of classmates during group projects and collaborative studying. He also greatly appreciated the instruction from top law professors and the robust assistance provided by the ITLP co-ordinator and the Faculty’s Career Services team.

By successfully completing studies via the U of A’s program for internationally trained lawyers, he met the requirements of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s National Committee on Accreditation without having to write the NCA examinations. 

“I think that the support that everybody gives, whether it’s from professors or support staff, it’s very collegial. You don’t get that support studying for the NCA exams by yourself,“ he said.

Those reinforcements were especially useful when McAndrews experienced a delay in his accreditation report as the COVID-19 lockdown began and the NCA office in Ontario was closed.

“We understand how important it is for students to get accreditation and get their legal careers started as soon as possible,” said Jennifer Ha, the Faculty’s ITLP co-ordinator. “Drawing from my understanding of the NCA assessment process, we were able to get Quinton enrolled in all of the courses required by the NCA in the 2020/2021 academic year without any further delay or issues. It means a lot to the Faculty to accommodate students to the best of our abilities so they can succeed.” 


McAndrews also appreciated the Faculty’s keen understanding of what ITLP students need toward the end of the program, too. “Career Services really made a difference for me. Doing law school abroad and coming back, you don’t necessarily have the exposure to the same firms as someone who goes to school here would. So that really helped.”

With law studies in two countries now on his resume, McAndrews enters the profession with broad life experience.

Before university, he took a year away from studies, playing junior hockey with the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. So when a concussion denied him the opportunity to attend an American university on a sports scholarship, he was keen to pursue his academic goals as soon as possible.

That led him to the University of Leeds, which is among the top 10 U.K. law schools.

“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer and that seemed like the most straightforward way to go about it,” said McAndrews. In the U.K., an undergraduate degree is not a prerequisite for studying law and the LLB program is “three years — the same length and same difficulty as here.”


He excelled at Leeds, graduating with the equivalent of a 4.0 GPA, and received the Head of School Prize as the student who contributed the most to the school of law’s community. The award recognized the work he did serving first as treasurer and then president of the University of Leeds Law Society, the largest student-led law society in Europe.

In the latter role, he advised the University of Leeds on a campus transformation project worth approximately $156 million and negotiated with leading U.K. law firms to raise more than $100,000.

“I was horrible at public speaking before that,” said McAndrews. “It was a way for me to step out of that comfort zone. It took some courage and confidence to put myself in those positions.”

After working as a student at both Biamonte LLP and James H. Brown & Associates, during and after law school, McAndrews developed interests in business law and litigation, and also in personal injury law.

“I like the fulfilment of helping out an individual, seeing the impact I’ve had and knowing the difference I was able to make,” he said.

Currently a summer student at Dentons Canada LLP, McAndrews will start his articles there in March 2022.