Here you will find several frequently asked questions and answers about the Law Society of Upper Canada's Licensing Process. Click on the headings below to reveal the questions and answers. 

General Information 

Articling 

New Reporting Requirements for Articling

Licensing Examinations 


General Information

What fees apply to the Lawyer Licensing Process?

The Lawyer Licensing Process includes the following categories of fees: Application Fees, Licensing Examination Fees, Experiential Training Program Fees, an Applicant Licensing Fee, and other Incidental Fees. See the Lawyer Licensing Process "Fees Schedule" for a detailed breakdown of applicable fees, and "Fees and Forms" for more information.

I am not or have not applied to be a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen. Can I enter and complete the Lawyer Licensing Process and be called to the Bar of Ontario?

Yes. Lawyer Licensing Process candidates are not required to be, or to have applied to be, a permanent resident or a Canadian Citizen when entering the Lawyer Licensing Process or for the purpose of being Called to the Bar of Ontario. However, you will need to provide the required Canadian government-issued documents for purposes of confirming your full legal name.

When and where do the call to the bar ceremonies take place?

Once you have successfully completed all mandatory requirements and submitted all required documents, you will be eligible to be called to the bar. Call to the bar ceremonies are normally held in June of each year (in Toronto, Ottawa and London) and in September and January (in Toronto only). 

Are Lawyer Licensing Process Candidates required to complete Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

Candidates are not required to complete any Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours while they are registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process. Candidates are not entitled to receive any credit, upon subsequently becoming licensed lawyers, for any CPD programming they attended or completed while they were registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process.

 

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Articling

What changes have been made to the Articling Program for the 2014-15 Lawyer Licensing Process year and when are the changes effective?

See Changes for 2014-15. The changes are effective for placements starting on or after May 1, 2014.

When can I begin my articling placement?

Candidates registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process may begin the Articling Program at any time upon completion of a J.D or LL.B or receipt of an N.C.A Certificate of Qualification.

How is the 10 month articling placement calculated?

An articling placement that starts on July 9, 2014 ends 10 months later on May 8, 2015. An articling placement that starts on August 5, 2014 will end 10 months later, on June 5, 2015. If the last day of the placement falls on a weekend, the candidate's last day will be the Friday prior.

When do I need to start my placement if I want to be called to the bar in June of the following year?

The 10 month placement must begin before August 5, 2016 in order to be called to the bar in June of the following year and the candidate must take advantage of the Early Filing option.  

What documents do I need to file for the Articling Program?

See Articling Placement Requirements.

May I file the Articling Program documents by email?

Yes, with exception of those filings requiring an original document from another source. See Filing Documents with Articling, Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department of the Law Society.

I am considering terminating the articling placement. What do I need to do?

See Terminating the Articling Placement.

Once the placement begins, what are the changes I am required to inform the Law Society of?

You are required to inform the Law Society of the following changes during the placement:

  1. Consideration of withdrawal or termination of the placement
  2. Assignment of the Articling Placement  
  3. Temporary Assignment of the Articling Placement
  4. If a full time placement changes to a part time articling placement or to a joint articling placement
  5. A candidate's extended leave of absence
  6. Request for Abridgment to the Articling Placement, based on compassionate grounds  
  7. Request for Abridgment to the Articling Placement, based on prior legal experience
  8. When a candidate would like to continue working after the placement ends and before their call to the bar. See Supervision Agreement
  9. Change to Principal or candidate contact information

How do I fill in the Record of Experiential Training in Articling Program and when must it be filed?

The Record of Experiential Training in Articling Program (RET) must be filed using the Articling Program Reporting Tool at the end of the articling placement or within 10 business days from the end. See Record of Experiential Training in Articling Program for more information.

How do I contact Articling, Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department of the Law Society?

Articling, Licensing Process
Licensing and Accreditation Department
The Law Society of Upper Canada
130 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON  M5H 2N6
Tel: 416-947-3315 or 1-800-668-7380 ext. 3315
articling@lsuc.on.ca or through your online account

How many Lawyer Licensing Process Candidates may a lawyer supervise at any one time?

Lawyers may directly supervise no more than two candidates at any one time.

What is the policy for taking vacation days and other time off during the articling placement?

See Time Off and Study Days during Articling Placement Time.

What is the policy for study days for a candidate writing the Licensing Examinations during the articling placement?

See Writing the Licensing Examinations during the Articling Placement.

What if I am absent from the articling placement due to illness?

If the candidate will be absent for an extended period of time, you may request an abridgment. See Abridgment, based on compassionate grounds.

May I have an articling placement in a province other than Ontario?

Yes, with approval from the Articling, Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department of the Law Society. See National Articling Placement.

May I have an articling placement in a country other than Canada?

Yes, with approval from the Articling, Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department of the Law Society. See International Articling Placement.

May I article for more than one lawyer at a time?

Yes, with approval from the Articling, Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department of the Law Society. See Joint Articling Placement for more information.

May I complete the articling placement part time?

Yes, with approval from the Articling, Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department of the Law Society. See Part Time Articling Placement for more information.

How long does the approval process take for a national or international articling placement, a joint articling placement, an Articling Principal approval, a part time articling placement, an exemption request or an abridgment request?

Providing all required documentation has been filed and the applicable fees have been paid, the approval process for these activities takes approximately two weeks.

How do I get an exemption from the Articling Program?

See Apply for Exemption from the Articling Program.

May I continue to work after the articling placement ends pending my call to the bar? Do I need to file anything for this?

Yes, candidates who have completed the Experiential Training Program requirement are permitted to work under the direct supervision of a lawyer, provided they have filed a Supervision Agreement which has been approved by the Law Society.

How do I apply for an abridgment of the articling placement?

See Apply for Abridgment to the Articling Placement, based on compassionate grounds 
or 
Apply for Abridgment to the Articling Placement, based on prior legal experience

What do I do if I have a complaint about a lawyer, paralegal, or Lawyer Licensing Process candidate?

The Discrimination and Harassment Counsel confidentially assists anyone who may have experienced discrimination or harassment by a lawyer or paralegal. If the nature of your complaint involves discrimination or harassment, you may contact the Discrimination and Harrassment Counsel. For all other complaints, see How to Make a Complaint for more information, or you may contact Articling, Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department at the Law Society at 1-800-668-7380 ext 3315 or 416-947-3315 or articling@lsuc.on.ca.

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New Reporting Requirements for Articling

How do I file the Experiential Training Plan?

The Experiential Training Plan must be filed at the start of the placement or within 10 days from the start using the Articling Program Reporting Tool. See Experiential Training Plan for more information.

How do I fill in the Record of Experiential Training in Articling Program and when must it be filed?

The Record of Experiential Training in Articling Program (RET) must be filed using the Articling Program Reporting Tool at the end of the articling placement or within 10 business days from the end. See Record of Experiential Training in Articling Program for more information.

If the articling placement does not involve direct client contact, how would the Principal evaluate the candidate’s performance of the tasks “Interview a client” and “Represent a Client in an Appearance or Through Some Form of Alternative Dispute Resolution or Settlement Process”?

Client may have a number of different meanings. The term is used generally to refer to the authorizing individual in the situation, file or interaction. For instance, a client could be defined as a private client, a client partner/responsible partner in a larger firm environment, in-house counsel in an organization, Ministry employees in a government setting, or others in non-private practice environments.

If the activity is undertaken without formal exposure to a private client, then an explanation of how this task was supported will be required.

The Experiential Training plan requires that Principals tell us how the articling placement will support fulfillment of the requirement for the Principal to evaluate the performance of the candidate undertaking five tasks, based on the performance appraisal competencies of the experiential training competencies for candidates. What information is required for an appropriate response?

The response must confirm that there is a structure in place at the firm or organization to support evaluating the candidate’s performance of the five tasks and must include a brief description of that structure. It should also include an explanation of how the firm or organization will manage the process of the performance appraisal, including, but not limited to, a formal schedule and/or designation of those who will provide feedback and document the performance.

Will Principals or candidates be penalized if the articling placement does not provide exposure to all the experiential training competencies?

The results of the new reporting requirements (Experiential Training Plan and Record of Experiential Training or ‘RET’) will not be used to penalize or call attention to any one firm, organization, Principal or candidate. If the aggregate results of the reporting requirements indicate that there are gaps or issues with the achievement of the competencies, those matters will be brought to Convocation’s attention. If changes to the Articling Program must be made to address these matters, the profession will be notified in a timely manner. The number of articling placements that support the candidate’s fulfillment of the skills competencies and to what extent, will be an important factor when evaluating the Articling Program.

As with all existing filing requirements related to the Licensing Process, Principals and candidates are expected to comply with these new filing requirements to ensure the candidate is eligible to be called to the bar. In addition, any deficiencies with respect to the filing requirements may prompt further follow up from the Law Society.

What about articling placements with more than one Principal? Will there be additional filing requirements?

In placements where there are two or more principals, i.e. joint articles or where there is an Assignment of Articling Placement, each Principal will have to file a Training Plan at the start of the placement or within 10 business days of the when the assignment occurred. At the end of the placement or within 10 business days of the end, each Principal will have to complete and file the RET. The candidate will have to file a separate RET for each Principal. With a Temporary Assignment of Articling Placement, the assigned supervising lawyer will not be required to file a Training Plan or an RET. The candidate will only file one RET for the articling placement.

What are the filing deadlines for these new requirements?

Like the Articles of Clerkship, the Principal must file the Experiential Training Plan before the start of the first articling placement being supervised by that Principal, or within 10 business days from the start of that placement. A Principal’s Training Plan will be used to support all future articling placements being supervised by that Principal. If there is an Assignment of Articling Placement, the subsequent Principal must file the Experiential Training Plan before the start of the first articling placement being supervised by that subsequent, or within 10 business days from the start of that subsequent placement.

Like the Certificate of Service, the Principal and the candidate must file their respective RET at the end or within 10 business days from the end of the placement. If there is an Assignment of Articling Placement, the subsequent Principal and candidate must file their respective RET at the end or within 10 business days from the end of the subsequent placement. If the candidate is eligible and wishes to be called in June of the following year, all reporting requirements, including the RET, must be filed with the Law Society no later than April 1st.

Do these new reporting requirements apply to abridged articling placements, national/international articling placements and part time articling placements?

Yes. These new reporting requirements apply to all candidates who have selected the Articling Program to fulfill the experiential training requirement of the Lawyer Licensing Process.

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Licensing Examinations

How do I prepare to write the Licensing Examinations?

No external material or information is required for preparation to write the licensing examinations which are open book. You are provided access to the online study materials that support all examined competencies. In addition to the study materials, which you will receive approximately six weeks in advance of the examinations, the Law Society offers on-line resources on how to study for and write the competency-based Licensing Examination.

Can I write the Licensing Examinations if I have not yet secured articles?

Yes.

Can I write one examination at a time, for example, the Barrister Licensing Examination in May and the Solicitor Licensing Examination in November?

Yes. You may write both Licensing Examinations at one of the scheduled sessions or you may write one at a time in any session you prefer.

If there are circumstances that prevent you from attending the examination session you have registered for, you must notify the Licensing Process, Licensing and Accreditation Department in writing and in advance of the examination date that you wish to defer writing the examination(s).

What happens if I fail one or both Licensing Examinations?

You will be able to rewrite the Licensing Examination(s) at any scheduled session in the same licensing year.

Please note that if you write the examinations for the first time in March and you fail, your next opportunity to write will be May/June which falls into the following licensing year. You will be into the next licensing period and are therefore required to purchase the updated study materials for that new licensing year in order to study for the examinations. Please refer to the Lawyer Licensing Process Policies for further information, the maximum number of permitted attempts, or see question further below.

If I am articling, will I be entitled to the same amount of study days to prepare for a second write of a Licensing Examination, and will that constitute an amendment to my articling contract with the articling employer?

No, you will not be entitled to any formal uninterrupted study days during your articling placement to prepare for a rewrite. You will be responsible for studying on your own time and to make personal arrangements to do so either independently or in conjunction with your articling employer.

How many times am I permitted to write one or more failed Licensing Examination(s)?

You are required to complete all components of the Lawyer Licensing Process within your Licensing Term. Your Licensing Term commences on the Date of Commencement of your Licensing Cycle which is May 1 of the year in which you submitted your Application to the Society or May 1 of the following year as stipulated by the Licensing and Accreditation Department when you were registered into the Licensing Process and ends three years from that date. During your Licensing Term you may not write either the Barrister Licensing Examination or the Solicitor Licensing Examination more than three times, or, if you have been authorized by the Executive Director, Professional Development and Competence pursuant to section 12.20 of the Lawyer Licensing Process Policies, more than four times. 

The Executive Director, Professional Development and Competence will approve your request to write a Licensing Examination a fourth time during your Licensing Term if you establish to the satisfaction of the Executive Director, Professional Development and Competence that there exist extraordinary circumstances that would affect or could be expected to affect your ability to successfully complete the Licensing Examination.

If you are rewriting a Licensing Examination in a subsequent licensing year, you will be required to purchase the study materials for that new licensing year. 

Medical Absence Form

What is the deadline to submit this form?

This form must be submitted within 10 business days of the missed examination. It is intended for candidates who are requesting special consideration based on illness or injury and were unable to meet the deferral deadline for their assigned Licensing Examination sitting.

Does my physician or licensed medical practitioner need to complete Part B?

Although it is preferred, we will still accept this form if a qualified staff member of the physician or licensed medical practitioner completes Part B. Please note, only a physician or other acceptable medical practitioner may complete Part C and sign the form.

My attending physician or licensed medical practitioner is not available within the 10 business day deadline. What should I do?

In order to request an extension to the 10 business day deadline, you are required to inform the Licensing and Accreditation Department of when you expect to have the form completed and submitted. Law Society staff will review the circumstances and information provided and inform you on how to proceed.

My chronic medical condition has been previously documented by the Law Society. Am I still required to submit this form?

This form must be completed for each examination that is not deferred by the deadline due to illness or injury so that we are able to properly assess your request for special consideration.

If you know in advance you will be unable to attend, you are to fill out the “Request for Change or Deferment” form and submit it at least 5 business days prior to the examination sitting. If your illness/injury occurs past that deadline, you will be required to submit the “Medical Absence Form” when you are unable to write at an examination sitting for which you registered.

I'm not able to write my examination at the main site due to a medical condition. What are my next steps?

In order to be assessed for special needs accommodations for an examination sitting, candidates are required to first contact Support Services staff at the Law Society by email to examinationaccommodation@lsuc.on.ca. Further information on special needs accommodations can be found on the website in the Support Services section. Candidates who may require special accommodations during the Law Practice Program (LPP) are to contact the provider of the English LPP (Ryerson University) or the French LPP (University of Ottawa) as appropriate.

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