The Articling Task Force Consultation Report, for the record — December 22, 2011
The number of candidates seeking licensing has grown steadily over the last decade, while the number of available articling positions has not kept pace. The number of Licensing Process students unable to obtain articling placements has more than doubled in the past five years. The Law Society has invested considerable resources over time to address the situation, but the number of articling positions has remained largely static. There are simply not enough articling positions to meet the needs of current and incoming candidates.
The Law Society formed the Articling Task Force in June 2011 to look at the issues related to articling and the challenges facing the current articling requirement. These include the increasing number of unplaced candidates, the competency-related principles that articling is intended to address, as well as additional or alternative approaches to articling.
In the current process, articling students’ competence and performance are not systemically assessed against established standards. Articling principals are effectively volunteers, so the unevenness of students’ articling experiences and the quality of the system overall continue to be topics of discussion.
The Articling Task Force considered the importance of ensuring transitional training, which is currently articling, has objective and demonstrable standards and does not have the unintended effect of creating unfair barriers to licensing. Those who clearly qualify should not be denied access to the profession simply because they lack an articling placement.
The task force has prepared a consultation report to seek the profession’s comments on five possible options for addressing the issues, as follows:
Option 1: Maintain the status quo (Articling Requirement as it exists)
Option 2: Maintain the status quo with quality assurance improvements (measurement tools to assess the delivery and acquisition of the program objectives)
Option 3: Replace a pre-licensing transition requirement with a post-licensing transition requirement
Option 4: Introduce a choice of either an articling requirement or a practical legal training course (PLTC) requirement (“after law school” model or “during law school” model)
Option 5: Introduce only a practical legal training course (PLTC) requirement
The Articling Task Force welcomes comments on all these and any additional proposed options. Participation of the profession and other interested organizations will contribute to a constructive process and meaningful solutions. The deadline for written comments is March 15, 2012.
Submissions are welcome and can be sent to:
Sophia Sperdakos, Policy Counsel
Law Society of Upper Canada
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6
The Law Society will also be contacting members and various organizations via email and mail during this consultation process. Further developments will be noted on the Law Society website and in the Ontario Reports. Dates and locations for upcoming consultation sessions are available online.