Update: November 9, 2016
The Pathways Pilot Project, which includes the Law Practice Program, was extended by Convocation for two additional licensing years. During this time, the Law Society will consider a broader analysis of the lawyer licensing process. Convocation approved the report recommending the extension at its November 9, 2016 meeting.
The extension of the pilot follows a call for comment on initial recommendations presented in a report to September Convocation. Over 130 submissions were received from individuals and organizations. Enhancements to the licensing process recommended in the September report were withdrawn.
Pathways Pilot Project
The Law Society is undertaking the Pathways Pilot Project to provide another option for the achievement of experiential training. Ensuring effective experiential training for lawyer licensing candidates is a primary focus for Pathways, which consists of three key components.
Law Practice Program
The Law Practice Program (LPP) provides aspiring lawyers with a new pathway to the Ontario Bar. Lawyer Licensing Process candidates may choose to either article or complete the LPP, which consists of a four-month training course and a four-month work placement. Ryerson University provides the LPP in English, while the University of Ottawa provides the French LPP.
Enhancements to the Articling Program
The Law Society has developed measures to better evaluate the effectiveness of the Articling Program. These enhancements were introduced for the 2014-15 Licensing Process year and are similar to those that are being employed in the Law Practice Program. The enhanced program requires Principals to submit an Experiential Training Plan and to file a Record of Experiential Training in Articling Program using the new online Articling Program Reporting Tool. See the report to Convocation for more information.
The final component of Pathways is the evaluation of the Articling and Law Practice Programs in order to gather evidence-based information on the application and results of the two pathways with a view to measuring the effectiveness of those pathways to produce competent lawyers for entry into the profession. This report to Convocation outlines the evaluation process.
Law Practice Program Work Placements
The Law Society encourages lawyers to offer a paid work placement and help train the next generation of lawyers. Offering a work placement is a four-month commitment from January to April. Work placements may be in any area of practice, size of firm and type of organization, including in-house counsel, legal clinics, small and rural firms and criminal and family practices. LPP candidates will be an asset to any practice as they will have already benefited from a four-month skills-based training course using simulated practice scenarios and will have experience working on files from start to finish.
Ryerson University is providing the English-language Law Practice Program. More information on Ryerson LPP Work Placements.
The University of Ottawa is providing the French-language Law Practice Program. More information on the University of Ottawa program.
Final skills assessment process
A final skills assessment process was recommended in the October 2012 Final Report of the Articling Task Force. After consulting with professionals in the field and considering the goals of the assessment process and the cost implications, the Law Society decided to defer consideration of the optimal focus and format of the final skills assessment until more information is available about learning outcomes in the Articling Program and the Law Practice Program. Full report.