Federation of Ontario Law Associations
Dialogue on Licensing - lawyers

Dialogue on Licensing

IMPORTANT INFORMATION & BACKGROUND

On December 10, 2018 at Convocation, the LSO  approved an option for lawyer licensing that retains the two, current transitional training pathways, with significant enhancements, as recommended by the Law Society’s Professional Development and Competence Committee.


While both articling and the Law Practice Program/Programme de Pratique du droit (LPP/PPD) will be retained, enhancements include paid articling and LPP/PPD work placements, in accordance with Law Society requirements — with limited exceptions.


As well, measurements, audits, or other forms of monitoring will be provided for greater oversight of articling and LPP/PPD work placements, and mandatory education and training will be required for articling principals and LPP/PPD work placement supervisors.


To allow time for development, these enhancements will be implemented May 1, 2021.


The approved option was one of four models put forward for input in the Committee’s Options for Lawyer Licensing Consultation Paper released in May 2018, following the Dialogue on Licensing in 2017. Consultation activities throughout the process included facilitated discussion groups and focus groups held across the province, calls for input through written submissions, and in-depth telephone interviews.


Law Society Benchers also approved the following recommendations from the Professional Development and Competence Committee:

  • Candidates will continue to have the flexibility to complete the Barrister and Solicitor Licensing Examinations and a transitional training requirement in any sequence, within three years;
  • Consideration of some form of skills testing in the licensing process, as outlined in the report, to be further considered by the Committee ; and
  • The Law Society will reach out to the legal academy to explore areas of collaboration in integrating more experiential learning into the law school experience.

The full report is available online


During the consultation period, FOLA conducted conference calls and circulated a survey.  Results can be found in Schedule A that accompanied FOLA's Submission to the LSO.  Thank you to all who responded!  


BACKGROUND


In 2017, The Law Society of Ontario embarked on a province-wide discussion to inform the development of an appropriate, sustainable licensing system for lawyers.


Convocation decided to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the lawyer licensing process following its review, in 2016, of the Pathways Pilot Project, including the Law Practice Program and enhancements to the Articling Program.


This consultation process and review of the lawyer licensing process will take place over many months and perhaps years and the Bar will have much opportunity to provide their input. For its first submission to this process, FOLA chose to provide a higher-level statement of "principles" as a basis for future discussion and dialogue. We stated in our submission (found below) that: 


      FOLA maintains its position that all efforts should be made to remove any barriers that might prevent or disadvantage certain segments of the population, but these efforts to remove barriers cannot diminish the high standards demanded of access to the profession.  Standards of competence and integrity must remain the impetus behind the design and implementation of the Licensing System, as it is only well educated, well trained and well-prepared lawyers that serve the interest of the public.


NOTE:  We ask that any Association who sent a submission independently, forward a copy to Katie.Robinette@fola.ca so that we can post that here.