Area of Law: Lawyer Licensing and Law Schools
Answer # 888
Articling and Law Practice ProgramRegion: Ontario Answer # 888
To become a lawyer and be called to the Bar of Ontario, candidates must complete and meet all the licensing and character requirements established by the Law Society of Ontario. The Lawyer Licensing Process consists of several components, including a requirement that the candidate obtain practical experience. The Law Society defines experiential training as a program that “enables candidates to apply their formal learning and develop their skills, professional abilities and judgment, and to learn about what it means to be a lawyer.”
Candidates must choose one of the two approved Experiential Training Programs:
- the Articling Program, or
- the Law Practice Program (LPP).
The fee for either program is approximately $3,000.
The Articling Program
Temporary changes to articling program due to COVID-19
The Law Society of Ontario has implemented temporary changes to the length of the articling clerkship. The following is the LSO Statement:
“Candidates should note that, as a result of COVID-19, for those commencing an articling placement between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2025, the minimum required length of the articling placement is eight months.”
The Articling Program is intended to satisfy the Law Society that the applicant has knowledge of the substantive and practical aspects of being a lawyer. In order to obtain credit for articles, candidates must:
- Be registered in the Licensing Process.
- Work in Ontario consecutively for 10 months with an Articling Principal who has been approved by the Law Society. Candidates also have the option of completing the articling program component through a joint, part-time, national, or international placement.
An online Professional Responsibility and Practice Course must be completed during the articling term and requires completion of an assessment with the Articling Principal. The online Professional Responsibility and Practice Course will be available to articling students who have filed their Articles of Clerkship and paid the Articling Program fee. The Assessment Guide and questions will be provided to the Articling Principal to administer.
Although candidates must find their own articling placement, the Law Society provides resources to help. The Articling Mentorship Program pairs students-at-law with a lawyer who will provide advice, support and encouragement in their search for an articling position. In addition, the Articling Registry is used by law and articling students, as well as law firms, and legal organizations for finding paid articling placements.
Law Practice Program
The Law Practice Program (LPP) includes both a four-month training course and a four-month work placement. It is available in English from Ryerson University, and in French at the University of Ottawa. The first group of students under this new program began their studies September 2014, with approximately 240 attending Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) and 20 attending the University of Ottawa.
The training course at Ryerson is offered primarily online, although candidates are required to spend approximately three weeks in the classroom.
Candidates in the French program at the University of Ottawa must complete their four-month training course in the classroom. In addition, those who have not previously studied law in French must pass a language proficiency exam before being accepted into the program.
Students are allowed to transfer from the LPP to the Articling Program within the same licensing year without having to pay a penalty. If a transfer request is made outside of this timeline, however, a fee may apply.
As providers of the Law Society’s Law Practice Program, both Toronto Metropolitan University and the University of Ottawa work with candidates and the profession to arrange for work placements. These placements will cover a variety of practice options, including:
- traditional law firms,
- in-house legal departments,
- non-governmental organizations, and
- legal clinics.
Placements are arranged on an ongoing basis throughout the training course component of the LPP. To secure a placement, candidates are required to participate in a screening and interview process, which takes into account both the candidates’ interests and preferences as well as the employers’ needs.
Placements may be paid or unpaid, and when paid, the level of pay will vary depending on the organization and location in the province.
Students should contact the Law Society for further information regarding registration deadlines, other important dates and the most up-to-date information regarding the LPP, including any further changes to programs due to the current pandemic.
For more information about the Lawyer Licensing Process and the Experiential Training Program in Ontario, call the Law Society of Ontario at (416) 947-3300 or toll-free at 1-800-668-7380, or visit the Law Society website.
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