Ryerson looking for input on LPP program

Ryerson University’s law practice program needs lawyers to help shape its curriculum, advise on up-to-date practice, and provide interviewing tips, according to incoming executive director Chris Bentley.

The former Ontario attorney general was speaking to Ontario Bar Association president Pascale Daigneault in a Q&A session broadcast this afternoon.

He said: “We have to get the input from the profession. We’re looking for your input into what makes a successful student, becoming a lawyer.

“We want your input so that the training program can be as strong as possible.”

He hopes lawyers from a range of practice areas, “whether in business law or in criminal law” will help ensure the course is “relevant.”

Advice is also being sought on additional skills such as “interviewing and advocacy,” he added.

The Law Society of Upper Canada last month chose Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law to provide its law practice program, which will launch next September.

Aimed at addressing the shortage of articling placements, the Ryerson program will consist of a four-month course in the fall and a four-month placement in the winter.

The initial four-month course will focus on practical skills; students will work within simulated “law firms” and take online modules covering topics such as practice management, professionalism, and ethics.

The placement will then take place at a law firm, corporate in-house legal team, non-governmental organization, or “anywhere that qualifies as an articling position,” said Bentley.

“It won’t affect the articling process, they will run in parallel,” he said, adding he expects a number of students to choose the LPP over articling.

The university also wants students to be taught by “people with real experience,” Bentley said. It is working with the OBA to find practitioners.

An OBA spokesman said the OBA is launching an “outreach and consultation effort” early in the new year to obtain the views of lawyers on what should be in the curriculum of the program.

More details are expected soon.

In the meantime, OBA treasurer Doug Downey is heading an LPP committee and will be liaising between lawyers who wish to offer advice and Ryerson.

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