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Why Allowing Alternative Business Structures Could Help Articling Students

Recently the Toronto Star published an article on abusive workplaces for articling students. Although the broad range of abuse was not covered, it has been noted before by Dean Adam Dodek that the abuse ranges from unpaid or underpaid work, termination without cause, harassment, and the absence of proper supervision or feedback. In response, Dean Dodek called on the Law Societies to investigate the abuse of articling students. He suggested that qualitative and quantitative research be done.

I would add that in addition to research, Law Societies should allow Alternative Business Structures. I suspect that part of the reason . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

At Whose Expense? the Intolerable Human Cost of Articling

We know that there is significant discrimination and abuse in articling. We’ve heard the stories and we have the stats too. To cite just a small amount of recent information we have in Ontario:

  • Over 100 articling students responding to a 2017 Law Society survey reported unwelcome comments or conduct related to personal characteristics (age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, sex and/or sexual orientation).
  • The Law Society’s Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (DHC) recently reported that it has observed a significant trend of complaints about abusive
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics

Time for an Articling Student Union in Ontario

Tomorrow is Labour Day across Canada, where everyone in the country is provided a statutory holiday under s. 166 of the Canada Labour Code. The federal Interpretation Act, designates in s. 35(1) the first Monday of the September as Labour Day, and every province has employment standards legislation mandating the day as a statutory holiday as well.

The origins of Labour Day go back to March 25, 1872, when the Toronto Typographical Union went on strike for the nine-hour workday, backed by 10,000 workers and 27 unions. The action was characterized as an illegal conspiracy against trade at the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues

Bridges Over the Chasm: Licensing Design and the Abolition of Articling

What should people who want to practice law have to do before they are licensed? This perennial debate has bloomed once again. The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) is seeking feedback on its Options for Lawyer Licensing consultation paper (Slaw summary here). Two of the LSO’s four options would abolish articling. Candidates would instead have to pass exams covering both legal skills and substantive knowledge. There would also be a law practice program, either required for all candidates (LSO’s Option 4) or only for those practicing in smaller firms (Option 3).

Thinking of licensing in terms of footbridges over . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

The Future of Lawyer Licensing: In Defense of an LPP-Like Program for Articling

Knowledge is fundamentally what the professions offer. As we transform from a print-based society to a technology-based Internet society, the role of the profession will change.

In “The Future of the Professions”, Richard and Daniel Suskind define knowledge as having particular characteristics. Its use by one does not diminish what is left for others. It can be turned into machine-processable bits. It is difficult to prevent non-payers from using it. For now knowledge resides in the heads of professionals, in books, in systems of their institutions. However, this is at odds with how knowledge is shared in a technology-Internet based . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

What Actually Goes on in Articling? Ethical Obligation of Regulators . . .

The Law Society of Upper Canada is undertaking (yet another) review of its licensing process. This is at least the fifth time that it has examined changes to the licensing process since 2000. However, in all of these reviews, the Law Society has never actually examined the actual working conditions of articling students. In this it is not alone. I am not aware of any Law Society in Canada that has done so. The Law Society of Upper Canada now has the opportunity as well as the responsibility to undertake such research.

There is both a policy imperative as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Talk Claims Prevention With Your Articling Students

This article is by Nora Rock, Corporate Writer and Policy Analyst at LAWPRO.

While it’s easy to view students as a source of extra help, the primary purpose of articling is to provide a valuable apprenticeship to the student, not simply to lighten the lawyer’s load. Today’s law school curriculum has a strongly theoretical focus. Students spend a great deal of time learning to research the law and to “think like lawyers”, and limited time learning about how to operate a law practice.

That’s where articling comes in. As an articling principal, you are charged with teaching students about how . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Talk Claims Prevention With Your Articling Students

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer & policy analyst at LAWPRO.

While it’s easy to view articling students as a source of extra help, the primary purpose of articling is to provide a valuable apprenticeship to the student, not simply to lighten the lawyer’s load. Today’s law school curriculum has a strongly theoretical focus. Students spend a great deal of time learning to research the law and to “think like lawyers”, and limited time learning about how to operate a law practice.

That’s where articling comes in. As an articling principal, you are charged with teaching students about . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Talk Claims Prevention With Your Articling Students

At this time of year, many firms are welcoming articling students into their offices.

While it’s easy to view these students as a source of extra help, the primary purpose of articling is to provide a valuable apprenticeship to the student, not simply to lighten the lawyer’s load. Today’s law school curriculum has a strongly theoretical focus. Students spend a great deal of time learning to research the law and to “think like lawyers”, and limited time learning about how to operate a law practice.

That’s where articling comes in. As an articling principal, you are charged with teaching students . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Articling Interview Advice From an Interviewer

Tomorrow morning hundreds of hopeful law students (and some law graduates) will descend upon the City of Toronto in search of an articling position.

It is not unusual for a law firm to receive two hundred applications or more for every available position. The process is competitive and it is intense and gruelling.

As a member of my firm’s student committee, I will be spending the next three days away from clients and files and instead will be eyeballs deep in interviews, committee meetings and dinner engagements trying to find the right students for our firm.

Since tis the season . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools

Articling Readiness for Legal Research

The 13th annual Edmonton Law Libraries Association Head Start Program is just around the corner. As the program page states:

Welcome to the 2015 legal research program designed for students and individuals wanting to brush up on the basics. From reference request to memo, follow the trail of legal research, including finding articles, books, case law and legislation while avoiding unnecessary costs. Research professionals will provide tips, tricks and inside information on how to find materials, select the most relevant, and organize your research memo. Give us your time and we will give you a HeadStart!

Reflecting on the purpose . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

The Real “Articling Crisis”?

The Law Society of Upper Canada is again in the news. This time, the focus is on the recently released Consultation Paper entitled Addressing Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees. An article in the Toronto Star has called the report “blunt” and characterized it as “containing disquieting findings.” Another piece in the Law Times, titled “Non-white lawyers feel alienated, report finds” details a variety of the report’s findings and highlights LSUC’s invitation for input.

This media attention is no doubt a positive thing. The Consultation Paper confirms what many have been saying for years: “racialization is a constant and persistent . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics