The first batch of internationally trained lawyers graduated from the University of Toronto’s innovative bridging program this morning in a ceremony at the university’s faculty club.
Law dean Mayo Moran told the 47 graduates, who received their training in 21 different countries, that establishing the program was one of her proudest accomplishments in her term at the university.
“I think it’s contributing to the country and to the legal profession more broadly,” she said.
The province’s minister for citizenship and immigration, Eric Hoskins, was also there to hand out diplomas, and said bridge training programs are a high priority for his government.
“It’s not training, it’s hardly even retraining. It’s providing you with the tools to get out in the workforce,” he said. “We need the skills and knowledge of everyone in this room.”
Many of the class have already landed articling positions, having gained Canadian work experience with a variety of law firms and in-house departments during the internship portion of the 10-month program.
The Internationally Trained Lawyers Program launched in May 2010, supported with funding from the province, in response to the challenges facing foreign-trained lawyers seeking accreditation to practise law in Canada.
The comprehensive program provides academic and career-related courses that address the unique needs of international lawyers.
It is the first bridging program aimed at internationally trained lawyers in Ontario.