The Law Society of Upper Canada has selected Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law as the providers of the law practice program, a three-year pilot project that will provide law graduates with an alternative route to licensing.
The law society developed the pilot project to address the lack of articling positions available in Ontario.
Ryerson University — which Bencher Janet Minor called a leader in experiential learning — will provide the English-language LPP and the University of Ottawa will provide the French-language LPP, both starting in September 2014.
At Ryerson, candidates will be divided into groups and act as virtual law firms where they will be exposed to a variety of practice areas. They will be supervised by practitioners and assessed individually and in groups. The program will also incorporate practice management, professionalism, and ethics and include a four-month placement.
Both Ryerson and the University of Ottawa have obtained placements, as required by the law society’s request for proposals released in February.
Bencher Judith Potter expressed some concern about whether placements will be paid, as the law society’s RFP did not require this.
Minor said the professional development and competence committee expects the vast majority of placements will be paid.
The law society also approved Lakehead University Faculty of Law’s integrated practice curriculum, which incorporates experiential training into the three years of law school so that graduates are ready to be licensed. This means students will be able to practise after graduation once they pass the bar exam; they will not have to complete articling or the LPP.
To make up for the difference, students will complete additional hours during their three years of law school. Skills training will also be incorporated into all years of law school, not just the final year. Skills-based tutorials and classes will be taught by law professors and practitioners, and in third year, students will complete a four-month work placement in northern Ontario.
Bencher Barbara Murchie, a vice chairwoman of the committee, said, “Lakehead has a clear commitment to graduating practice-ready lawyers.”