Judges, Lawyers, and Quebec Notaries

Occupation:Judges and Lawyers
Category:Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

About the job

Nature of work:

Lawyers advise clients on legal matters, represent clients before administration boards and draw up legal documents such as contracts and wills. Lawyers are employed by federal, provincial and municipal governments and various business establishments or they may be self-employed. Articling students are included in this group. Judges adjudicate civil and criminal cases and administer justice in courts of law. Judges preside over federal and provincial courts.

Job duties:
Lawyers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Advise clients of their legal rights and all matters related to law.
  • Research legal precedents and gather evidence.
  • Plead clients' cases before courts of law, tribunals and boards (lawyers only).
  • Draw up legal documents such as real estate transactions, wills, divorces and contracts, and prepare statements of legal opinions.
  • Negotiate settlements of civil disputes (lawyers only).
  • Perform administrative and management functions related to the practice of law.
  • May act as mediator, conciliator or arbitrator.
  • May act as executor, trustee or guardian in estate and family law matters.

Lawyers may specialize in specific areas of the law such as criminal law (lawyers only), corporate law, contract law, taxation law, administrative law, international law, commercial law, real estate law, family and estate law, intellectual property law and labour law.

Judges perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Preside over courts of law, interpret and enforce rules of procedure and make rulings regarding the admissibility of evidence.
  • Instruct the jury on laws that are applicable to the case.
  • Weigh and consider evidence in non-jury trials and decide legal guilt or innocence or degree of liability of the accused or defendant.
  • Pass sentence on persons convicted in criminal cases and determine damages or other appropriate remedy in civil cases.
  • Grant divorces and divide assets between spouses.
  • Determine custody of children between contesting parents and other guardians.
  • Enforce court orders for access or support.
  • Supervise other judges and court officers.

Judges may specialize in particular areas of law such as civil, criminal or family law.

Sample job titles:
  • articling law student
  • attorney
  • barrister and solicitor
  • family court judge
  • federal court justice
  • judge
  • lawyer
  • legal advisor
  • litigator
  • prosecutor
  • provincial supreme court justice

To work in this field you should enjoy challenge and competition. Office-style work requires a high degree of accuracy and concentration. Excellent oral communication skills are important for courtroom-style work. You must be convincing, concise, able to think quickly under pressure, and able to express your ideas clearly. You should have a strong command of language and the ability to think logically and analytically. Patience, tact, and an understanding of human nature would be helpful in dealing with the public.

Job requirements:
  • Two to three years of undergraduate studies and a bachelor's degree from a recognized law school are required.
  • Successful completion of the bar examination and completion of a period of articling are required.
  • Licensing by the provincial or territorial law society is required.
  • Lawyers wishing to practice in another province or territory may be required to pass examinations set by the provincial or territorial law society.
  • Judges usually require extensive experience as a lawyer or as a professor of law with continuous membership in the bar association.
  • Membership in good standing with a provincial or territorial law society or bar association is required for judges.
Other considerations:

Self-employment is common for lawyers. Many lawyers work fairly regular hours, but this is usually confined to lawyers who are employed by government offices or corporations. Lawyers in private practice, for the most part, work longer and fairly irregular hours. Most of the work of lawyers is done in offices or law libraries. Judges tend to work fairly regular business hours. Judges are appointed by federal or provincial cabinets.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Judges and Lawyers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 73% of Judges and Lawyers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $106,358. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Judges, Lawyers, and Quebec Notaries2,010Moderate growth240Low
Minimum: $19.60
Median: $35.10
Maximum: $68.75
Minimum: $16,354
Median: $92,227
Maximum: $197,716
Occupations in Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services55,420Moderate growth4,880Low
Minimum: $14.00
Median: $26.88
Maximum: $46.15
Minimum: $5,616
Median: $44,335
Maximum: $92,599
Judges, Lawyers, and Quebec NotariesCompared to: Occupations in Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services
Percent employed full-time95%79%
Percent self-employed0%6%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentJudges, Lawyers, and Quebec NotariesCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton9%$106,34413%$32,974
Annapolis Valley7%$74,36813%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeJudges, Lawyers, and Quebec NotariesCompared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4844
GenderJudges, Lawyers, and Quebec NotariesCompared to: Occupations in Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services
% Employed% Employed
EducationJudges, Lawyers, and Quebec NotariesCompared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx2.8%$11,346
High schoolx$29,35514.3%$25,801
Trades certificatex$36,7874.2%$35,678
College certificate or diplomax$42,30021.5%$28,183
University certificate or diploma0.8%$47,4182.6%$35,967
Bachelor's degree60.5%$58,78729.2%$43,533
University advanced certificate or diploma16.1%$65,0483.4%$47,801
Master's degree0.5%$60,88917.2%$35,978
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry3.1%x0.2%$83,456
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Right to Practice:This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Barristers' Society
800-2000 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3K1
(902) 422-1491
(902) 429-4869
Useful contacts:
Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia
5523 B Young Street
Halifax, NS B3K 1Z7
Tel: (902) 454-2198
Fax: (902) 455-3105
Nova Scotia Department of Justice, Correctional Services Division
P.O. Box 7
Halifax, NS B3J 2L6
Tel: (902) 424-7640
Fax: (902) 424-0693
Canadian Criminal Justice Association
320 Parkdale Avenue, Suite 101
Ottawa, ON K1Y 4X9
Tel: (613) 725-3715
Fax: (613) 725-3720

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Law (LLB, JD, BCL)
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of common or civil law, for becoming a Quebec notary, for taking bar examinations, and for advanced research in jurisprudence. These programs include courses in the theory and practice of the legal system, including the statutory, administrative, and judicial components of civil and criminal law.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
Additional resources: