Experiential Training Competencies for Candidates

The experiential training competencies reflect the necessary skills, knowledge and tasks for entry to the profession. These skills competencies form the basis of the learning that both the Articling Program and the Law Practice Program are expected to fulfill. The competencies incorporate the Articling Goals and Objectives and the skills and tasks from the Federation of Law Societies’ National Entry to Practice Competency Profile and have been developed and validated by the profession. Articling placements are required to support the candidate’s fulfillment of these skills competencies. In addition, all tasks and activities are presumed or expected to be performed in a supervised capacity.

Candidates are required to demonstrate their skill level in five areas of competency by completing specific tasks during the placement – see Performance Appraisal Competencies (10-14). Articling Principals are required to appraise the performance of the candidate in these competency areas and to file the appraisal with the Law Society using the Record of Experiential Training in Articling Program.

1. Ethics and Professional Responsibility

  • Identify and discuss ethical obligations and responsibilities of a lawyer
  • Confirm client identity pursuant to applicable rules
  • Observe best practices related to engagements/retainers and/or documenting the scope of services
  • Discuss the lawyer’s duty to preserve client confidentiality and implement the appropriate steps
  • Discuss potential client conflict of interest issues and observe or use a client conflict management protocol
  • Discuss appropriate steps to take when asked by a client to engage in an activity that would breach professional obligations

2. Interviewing

  • Participate in and conduct client interviews
  • Document client meetings
  • Attend interviews with witnesses and/or experts
  • Prepare witness statements or affidavits based on interviews

3. Fact Investigation and Legal Research

  • Review and/or summarize relevant documentation (e.g., transcripts, client's personal or internal files, corporate minute books, contracts, files maintained by government or administrative bodies)
  • Identify applicable areas of law and legal issues
  • Conduct research on substantive and procedural issues
  • Interpret and apply results of research
  • Report results of research to lawyer orally and/or in writing

4. Drafting and Legal Writing

  • Use precedents
  • Use language suitable to the purpose of the communication and the intended audience
  • Prepare drafts of litigation documents (e.g., notices of motion, notices of application, draft orders, offers to settle, notices of appeal, affidavits, facta, minutes of settlement, releases)
  • Prepare drafts of solicitor-type documents (e.g., correspondence, resolutions, officer's certificates, powers of attorney, agreements, letters of opinion, reporting letters, Wills)

5. Planning and Advising

  • Conduct due diligence, including ensuring all relevant information has been obtained and reviewed
  • Generate options and formulate strategy with lawyer in light of client’s needs and circumstances
  • Observe client meetings in which remedies, options, advice, and instructions are discussed
  • Advise client under direct supervision of lawyer

6. File and Practice Management

  • Keep client informed of progress of the matter
  • Document a file (e.g., records of telephone calls, memos to file, client instructions)
  • Organize a file
  • Use time docketing system and/or follow process for recording expenses and disbursements
  • Become familiar with and apply cost and time saving techniques that benefit the client
  • Use a tickler system (bring forward and limitation dates)
  • Use systems for trust and general accounting

7. Negotiation

  • Prepare for negotiations (e.g., transactional, litigation, ADR)
  • Observe negotiations
  • Review and discuss outcome of negotiations with lawyer
  • Conduct negotiations under supervision of a lawyer (e.g., small claims, simple tribunal matter)
  • Observe other forms of alternative dispute resolution (e.g., mediation, arbitration, conciliation)

8. Advocacy

  • Observe and support advocacy in a variety of settings (e.g., motions, tribunal hearings, trials, pre-trial conferences, discoveries, applications, references, assessments of costs, examinations)
  • Request, provide or participate in document disclosure as required (e.g., affidavits of documents, Crown disclosure, Children’s Aid Society)
  • Attend court or tribunal, where permitted, to speak to routine administrative matters (e.g., unopposed adjournments, uncontested and consent motions, and set dates)
  • Prepare clients or witnesses for trial or other examination
  • Conduct a motion, simple hearing or trial where permitted (e.g., status hearings, judgment-debtor examinations, Small Claims Court and tribunal matters)

9. Transactional/Advisory Matters

  • Use transactional checklists as appropriate (e.g., due diligence checklist, closing agenda)
  • Prepare drafts of relevant transactional documents (e.g., closing agenda, due diligence summaries, resolutions, receipts, requisition letters, purchase agreements, promissory notes, opinions, shareholders agreements, reporting letters)
  • Identify the appropriate regulatory agency or forum/parties/stakeholders 
  • Conduct and review relevant searches (e.g., PPSA, Bulk Sales Act, bankruptcy, executions, title, corporate names, tax certificates, trademarks, liens)
  • Participate in a closing

 

Performance Appraisal Competencies

10. Establishing the Client Relationship

Task: Interview a Client

  • Establish rapport with the client
  • Elicit information from the client
  • Determining the client’s legal needs
  • Advise the client (under a lawyer’s supervision) in light of the client’s circumstances
  • Document advice given to the client and instructions received from the client
  • Manage client expectations

11. Conducting the Matter: Matter Management

Task: Draft a Legal Opinion

  • Identify the client’s goals and objectives
  • Gather facts
  • Identify applicable areas of law and conducting legal research and analysis
  • Identify and assessing possible courses of action and range of outcomes
  • Develop a legal strategy in light of the client’s circumstances

12. Conducting the Matter: Advocacy

Task: Represent a Client in an Appearance or Through Some Form of Alternative Dispute Resolution or Settlement Process

  • Formulate and articulating a well-reasoned and accurate legal argument, analysis, or submission
  • Conduct a motion, application or simple hearing before an adjudicative body
  • Advocate in a non-adjudicative context
  • Negotiate the resolution of a dispute or legal problem

13. Ethics and Professionalism

Task: Demonstrate Professional Conduct

  • Identify ethical issues and problems
  • Make informed and reasoned decisions about ethical issues

14. Practice Management

Task: Use of Law Firm/Legal Practice Management Systems

  • Using systems supporting management of potential client conflicts
  • Using systems supporting the management of timelines and limitation periods
  • Using systems supporting management of client records and files
  • Using systems supporting docketing