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Changes to the Ontario bar exam and articling term starting in 2017


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#1 bl128

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 05:50 AM

It doesn't seem to be posted on the forum (but if it has been, my apologies). It looks like some big changes are coming in Ontario with respect to the licensing process: http://lsuc.on.ca/up...il-2016-pdc.pdf

 

Some highlights:

  • The barrister and solicitor exams will be combined into a single exam called the Practice and Procedure Examination (PPE) starting in licensing year 2017-2018 -- and you MUST pass it before you can commence your experiential training (your articling term)
  • Articling term will be shortened to 9 months - to be introduced in licensing year 2017-2018
  • Articling term can be abridged bu up to 3 months - to be introduced in licensing year 2017-2018
  • A second exam, the practice skills examination (PSE), will be taken after experiential training, and is to be introduced in licensing year 2018-2019

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#2 Adrian

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 06:06 AM

 

It doesn't seem to be posted on the forum (but if it has been, my apologies). It looks like some big changes are coming in Ontario with respect to the licensing process: http://lsuc.on.ca/up...il-2016-pdc.pdf

 

Some highlights:

  • The barrister and solicitor exams will be combined into a single exam called the Practice and Procedure Examination (PPE) starting in licensing year 2017-2018 -- and you MUST pass it before you can commence your experiential training (your articling term)
  • Articling term will be shortened to 9 months - to be introduced in licensing year 2017-2018
  • Articling term can be abridged bu up to 3 months - to be introduced in licensing year 2017-2018
  • A second exam, the practice skills examination (PSE), will be taken after experiential training, and is to be introduced in licensing year 2018-2019

 

It had been posted before in another thread, but probably deserved its own thread.  

 

I recall that there was a suggestion that clinical experience in law school could be used to abridge the articling term, which I thought made sense.  Of course, I didn't do clinic work, so I can't speak to whether the experience there can really stand in the place of articling experience. 



#3 epeeist

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 08:38 AM

Just to be clear, I like that it was posted in its own thread; re the changes themselves, I like some things but not others (and some concerns relate to the current process also). Some quick thoughts:

 

1. Requiring passing the PPE before starting articles strikes me as a good way to cause problems, without a corresponding benefit. If there are things you feel students must know and be tested on before even starting articles, then allow students to write the exam before graduating law school (e.g. as 3Ls - I'm thinking of how e.g. in the US with the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam required by states to become an intern engineer, you can write it while still in school). But to require students to pass a self-study exam before they start articles (and can ask their principal for advice or assistance!) and without teaching them anything, just giving them the materials, not so great. At least the current system if someone fails they can still start or continue their articles and write again later.

 

2. Articling term shortened to 9 months and can be abridged up to 3 months so you only need 6 months articles, meh. At some point - and I think this reaches it - the articling term becomes so short that what's the point? If you're going to do this, why not just make the LPP the default requirement for everyone? Either have articles long enough to be a useful learning and working experience, or don't force students to do them.

 

3. The process must be completed within 3 years and if not you can't reapply, I don't like that. It's not you can't take the test more than X times, it's not you have to reapply if you take too long, it's 3 years and you're out forever. So I suppose someone who can't find articles for a year, then finds and then e.g. their articling position falls through (as does happen) and can't find another one, are they screwed for life? I hope it's not as absolute as they portray, with the underlining, and that there is discretion to extend or apply for a new admission or whatever.

 

4. Foreign lawyers from a common law jurisdiction can't get entire articling term abridged no matter what their experience. Okay, so John Smith who articles at a real estate firm and learns only real estate but passes the exams can then hold themselves out as a criminal and family lawyer, the only restriction being that ethically of course they can only act within their area of competence (and lawyers who do this may take extra CLE and do self-study etc., okay). Or if he articled in another province in real estate and then comes here and sets up as a family lawyer based on interprovincial mobility, that's okay? But Jane Smith with 20 years experience as an attorney and counsellor at law in New York, who's argued before SCOTUS and meets the NCA requirements and takes whatever subject exams are appropriate, is required to article for 6 months no matter what she wants to practice? Protectionism much?



#4 102mike103

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 04:33 PM

If I remember correctly from when I read the report, the first exam would be offered May, July, September, and November. I don't know how long employers are willing to defer Articling but it seems that it causes a problem for students who "secure" Articling and are supposed to start in August (which seems common from what I've heard) but who fail the exam in July.

 

I jump right to July and skipped talking about the May exam because in 3L, you could have class exams and papers that run all the way to the end of April, leaving you with very little time to devote to studying for the May PPE exam. 

 

I also heard there is some frustration over the lack of transparency that went into creating this proposal. Apparently LPP was supposed to be reviewed in 3 years to see how the program was working, and then determine what changes need to be made in the licensing process. But instead, this proposal to revamp the licensing process was suddenly announced, and would take effect as soon as my graduating year (I'm going into 3L), giving very little notice of (1) the proposal itself and (2) time to prepare for the changes. 



#5 Law Girl26

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 05:25 PM

It had been posted before in another thread, but probably deserved its own thread.  

 

I recall that there was a suggestion that clinical experience in law school could be used to abridge the articling term, which I thought made sense.  Of course, I didn't do clinic work, so I can't speak to whether the experience there can really stand in the place of articling experience. 


The clinic work that I did could absolutely replace part of articling although I had a very-hands on experience dealing with my own files in court, etc. 

I don't like the idea of this though. I'd rather be paid for the extra three months. 


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#6 JohnQ6

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 08:33 PM

Hi everyone - first post. Sorry to necro the thread, but I was wondering if anyone could provide me a bit of information as to how any of this relates to my situation.

 

I have a JD from a Canadian law school but I am currently work for a New York-based corporate law firm. While New York is an experience in itself, I'm itching to return home and practice in Ontario for a host of professional and (more importantly) personal and familial reasons. I have passed the New York State bar examination, and I have registered for the June sittings of the Ontario bar exam. I am in the process of being admitted as an attorney in New York State, and expect that to be completed in the next several weeks. 

 

I am seeking information about this articling exemption (abridgment?) process. More specifically, is anyone in a position to explain to me the requirements of obtaining an exemption (or considering the changes I have read about above, what exactly the status of these exemptions are) after having worked in NYS? Will experience I have garnered practicing law in New York for the past several months while having not yet been admitted count towards this exemption requirement, or would the "timer" begin only after New York State recognized me as a fully-qualified attorney? Any and all information, anecdotes, etc. is welcomed. 

 

Thanks,

JQ


Edited by JohnQ6, 20 December 2016 - 08:36 PM.


#7 ThrillainManila

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 09:40 AM

I may just be paraphrasing here, but if you don't complete the licensing process (PPE, articling, and PSE) within three years, then you're finished? It seems pretty clear, although very drastic.



#8 Adrian

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 09:57 AM

I may just be paraphrasing here, but if you don't complete the licensing process (PPE, articling, and PSE) within three years, then you're finished? It seems pretty clear, although very drastic.

 

drastic?



#9 ThrillainManila

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 10:02 AM

drastic?

yes, extreme.



#10 ThrillainManila

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 10:04 AM

I may just be paraphrasing here, but if you don't complete the licensing process (PPE, articling, and PSE) within three years, then you're finished? It seems pretty clear, although very drastic.

I called LSUC and was told that they didn't apply these changes? She said that you can apply for reinstatement after one year if you don't complete it within three.



#11 Adrian

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 10:09 AM

yes, extreme.

 

Why is it extreme?



#12 ThrillainManila

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 10:26 AM

Why is it extreme?

Articles don't always work out, assuming you even find one by third year. Suppose you failed the PSE in June and were expected to begin articling in August, your principal may (and will likely) choose to go with someone else until you complete the exam, as it is now a prerequisite for articling. The main point is the prescribed time frame of three years. There will certainly be some people who have issues throughout the licensing process, and it's extreme to not let them apply a second time if they do not complete it within three years the first time. 


Edited by ThrillainManila, 22 December 2016 - 10:29 AM.


#13 Pyke

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 11:03 AM

The proposed revisions could also be discriminatory if someone was pregnant or sick, and not able to complete articles within three years. It's a large enough province that I'm sure that's more than just remote conjecture and in fact does happen.


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#14 StudentLife

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 11:50 AM

I think having clinical experience and practical skills courses in the upper years of law school instead of articling is a great idea. This could easily be done by adding practicums or co-ops. Most of the upper year courses in law school are only there to keep professors and academics employed, and otherwise have little other real value. Maybe just have 2 years worth of law school and then one year of articling, or 3 years with experiential and practical learning and no articling. US seems to be doing ok and they don’t have articling, so why does Canada still have it? Talked to a few people about this and it seems to be about protectionism and control of law firms and lawyers. Law schools and academics are mostly to blame for resisting change, sticking to the 100 year-old curriculum ways.

They should get rid of articling altogether as it serves no real purpose besides protectionism. People who article at firm X will continue to do that type of work at firm X regardless of whether they’re “articling” or not.

People who don’t want to work at a firm or practice can’t be licensed without having to suck up to some law firm first in order to get “articling”. The US seems to be doing just fine without articling and the reason why there was a switch to JD was to be more in line with the US market, yet articling still exists in Canada. What a waste of everyone’s time and energy. I’m sure all the senior practicing lawyers making $$$ and their big firm friends love the articling requirements though, keeps them firmly in control and ensures an endless supply of unquestioning cheap slave labour every year.



#15 Pyke

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 12:17 PM

I think having clinical experience and practical skills courses in the upper years of law school instead of articling is a great idea. This could easily be done by adding practicums or co-ops. Most of the upper year courses in law school are only there to keep professors and academics employed, and otherwise have little other real value. Maybe just have 2 years worth of law school and then one year of articling, or 3 years with experiential and practical learning and no articling. US seems to be doing ok and they don’t have articling, so why does Canada still have it? Talked to a few people about this and it seems to be about protectionism and control of law firms and lawyers. Law schools and academics are mostly to blame for resisting change, sticking to the 100 year-old curriculum ways.

They should get rid of articling altogether as it serves no real purpose besides protectionism. People who article at firm X will continue to do that type of work at firm X regardless of whether they’re “articling” or not.

People who don’t want to work at a firm or practice can’t be licensed without having to suck up to some law firm first in order to get “articling”. The US seems to be doing just fine without articling and the reason why there was a switch to JD was to be more in line with the US market, yet articling still exists in Canada. What a waste of everyone’s time and energy. I’m sure all the senior practicing lawyers making $$$ and their big firm friends love the articling requirements though, keeps them firmly in control and ensures an endless supply of unquestioning cheap slave labour every year.

The U.S. has a substantially more difficult bar examination which acts as a different gatekeeper to practice. Also, in general terms, I believe articling has a positive impact on the legal profession and helps offer an opportunity for young lawyers to learn how to carry themselves as members of the bar. 


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#16 Luckycharm

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 01:32 PM

Hi everyone - first post. Sorry to necro the thread, but I was wondering if anyone could provide me a bit of information as to how any of this relates to my situation.

 

I have a JD from a Canadian law school but I am currently work for a New York-based corporate law firm. While New York is an experience in itself, I'm itching to return home and practice in Ontario for a host of professional and (more importantly) personal and familial reasons. I have passed the New York State bar examination, and I have registered for the June sittings of the Ontario bar exam. I am in the process of being admitted as an attorney in New York State, and expect that to be completed in the next several weeks. 

 

I am seeking information about this articling exemption (abridgment?) process. More specifically, is anyone in a position to explain to me the requirements of obtaining an exemption (or considering the changes I have read about above, what exactly the status of these exemptions are) after having worked in NYS? Will experience I have garnered practicing law in New York for the past several months while having not yet been admitted count towards this exemption requirement, or would the "timer" begin only after New York State recognized me as a fully-qualified attorney? Any and all information, anecdotes, etc. is welcomed. 

 

Thanks,

JQ

 

 

Per epeeist's post

Foreign lawyers from a common law jurisdiction can't get entire articling term abridged no matter what their experience.

 

 

I guess you have to pass the PPE them article for up to 9 months then pass the PSE

 

You stated you are a JD from a Canadian law school ( Ontario ?).  I am not sure if you have to take more courses

 

You should call LSUC to clarify. 



#17 ericontario

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 11:12 AM

I think having clinical experience and practical skills courses in the upper years of law school instead of articling is a great idea. This could easily be done by adding practicums or co-ops. Most of the upper year courses in law school are only there to keep professors and academics employed, and otherwise have little other real value. Maybe just have 2 years worth of law school and then one year of articling, or 3 years with experiential and practical learning and no articling. US seems to be doing ok and they don’t have articling, so why does Canada still have it? Talked to a few people about this and it seems to be about protectionism and control of law firms and lawyers. Law schools and academics are mostly to blame for resisting change, sticking to the 100 year-old curriculum ways.

They should get rid of articling altogether as it serves no real purpose besides protectionism. People who article at firm X will continue to do that type of work at firm X regardless of whether they’re “articling” or not.

People who don’t want to work at a firm or practice can’t be licensed without having to suck up to some law firm first in order to get “articling”. The US seems to be doing just fine without articling and the reason why there was a switch to JD was to be more in line with the US market, yet articling still exists in Canada. What a waste of everyone’s time and energy. I’m sure all the senior practicing lawyers making $$$ and their big firm friends love the articling requirements though, keeps them firmly in control and ensures an endless supply of unquestioning cheap slave labour every year.

 

My clinical experience was great, but articling was a whole other world. Being thrown in to the pool a few times with the expectation that I'd learn to swim, rather than having review counsel looking over my shoulder 25/8/366 was an extremely valuable experience.

 

Also, people who don't want to practice have no need to article.


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#18 beyondsection17

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 08:49 AM

I think having clinical experience and practical skills courses in the upper years of law school instead of articling is a great idea. This could easily be done by adding practicums or co-ops. Most of the upper year courses in law school are only there to keep professors and academics employed, and otherwise have little other real value. Maybe just have 2 years worth of law school and then one year of articling, or 3 years with experiential and practical learning and no articling. US seems to be doing ok and they don’t have articling, so why does Canada still have it? Talked to a few people about this and it seems to be about protectionism and control of law firms and lawyers. Law schools and academics are mostly to blame for resisting change, sticking to the 100 year-old curriculum ways.

They should get rid of articling altogether as it serves no real purpose besides protectionism. People who article at firm X will continue to do that type of work at firm X regardless of whether they’re “articling” or not.

People who don’t want to work at a firm or practice can’t be licensed without having to suck up to some law firm first in order to get “articling”. The US seems to be doing just fine without articling and the reason why there was a switch to JD was to be more in line with the US market, yet articling still exists in Canada. What a waste of everyone’s time and energy. I’m sure all the senior practicing lawyers making $$$ and their big firm friends love the articling requirements though, keeps them firmly in control and ensures an endless supply of unquestioning cheap slave labour every year.

 

 

My clinical experience was great too, but even summering was a whole new ball game. I'm sure articling will be another significant transition. I have trouble believing that clinical experience is a good enough substitute for articling that it should qualify students for an abridgement. It seems like this would be a disservice to the student. Also, I'm clearly not a lawyer, but from what I can see it seems like 10 months of articling is much more conducive to producing a competent practitioner than a longer or harder multiple-choice bar exam would be.

 

In addition, getting rid of articling =/= getting rid of the articling crisis. It should be fairly clear that the "articling crisis" is a direct result of there being more law school graduates than there are places for articling students. Removing one barrier to entry to the profession and passing the buck to the next stage instead would simply result in an "unemployed first year call crisis". The supply of cheap slave labour for the big firms would be as strong as ever.

 

I'm also not sure that the USA can be said to be doing "just fine".


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#19 clivebixby

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 03:25 PM

Per epeeist's post

Foreign lawyers from a common law jurisdiction can't get entire articling term abridged no matter what their experience.

 

 

I guess you have to pass the PPE them article for up to 9 months then pass the PSE

 

You stated you are a JD from a Canadian law school ( Ontario ?).  I am not sure if you have to take more courses

 

You should call LSUC to clarify. 

 

 

Why are you making up information? Foreign lawyers can get their entire articling term abridged.

 

I don't understand why people feel the need to answer questions they don't know the answer to...



#20 clivebixby

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 03:28 PM

Hi everyone - first post. Sorry to necro the thread, but I was wondering if anyone could provide me a bit of information as to how any of this relates to my situation.

 

I have a JD from a Canadian law school but I am currently work for a New York-based corporate law firm. While New York is an experience in itself, I'm itching to return home and practice in Ontario for a host of professional and (more importantly) personal and familial reasons. I have passed the New York State bar examination, and I have registered for the June sittings of the Ontario bar exam. I am in the process of being admitted as an attorney in New York State, and expect that to be completed in the next several weeks. 

 

I am seeking information about this articling exemption (abridgment?) process. More specifically, is anyone in a position to explain to me the requirements of obtaining an exemption (or considering the changes I have read about above, what exactly the status of these exemptions are) after having worked in NYS? Will experience I have garnered practicing law in New York for the past several months while having not yet been admitted count towards this exemption requirement, or would the "timer" begin only after New York State recognized me as a fully-qualified attorney? Any and all information, anecdotes, etc. is welcomed. 

 

Thanks,

JQ

 

You can have your entire articling term abridged in some circumstances. The usual scenario is an attorney who has practiced and been fully qualified in another country for the required articling duration. The attorney is required to have their supervising attorney write a letter explaining whether/how they have covered all the required subject areas in Canadian articling positions. 

 

I am not sure whether the timer begins when you start practicing or become qualified though.



#21 erinl2

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 03:53 PM

Why are you making up information? Foreign lawyers can get their entire articling term abridged.
 
I don't understand why people feel the need to answer questions they don't know the answer to...


luckycharm was quoting/referring to (although not totally clearly) a post made by epeeist in May that was discussing possible changes to the Ontario licensing process, which apparently did, indeed, indicate that foreign grads will not be able to get a total articling abridgement. More careful reading, especially as a new member who has been here for half an hour, might be wise before jumping on other members.
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#22 clivebixby

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 02:46 PM

luckycharm was quoting/referring to (although not totally clearly) a post made by epeeist in May that was discussing possible changes to the Ontario licensing process, which apparently did, indeed, indicate that foreign grads will not be able to get a total articling abridgement. More careful reading, especially as a new member who has been here for half an hour, might be wise before jumping on other members.

I read the discussion he was referring to prior to responding.

 

The changes, if enacted, did not impact articling abridgment for foreign lawyers. I spoke to staff at LSUC recently and foreign grads can still get a total articling abridgment. 



#23 EMP

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 04:08 PM

"8. Internationally trained candidates will continue to be eligible for abridgment policies related to prior practice experience to a maximum of three months. To ensure they receive some experiential training in the Canadian context to enhance their competence, the exemption from the experiential learning requirement for those international candidates with a minimum of 10 months of common law experience will be discontinued."

From: 
http://lsuc.on.ca/up...il-2016-pdc.pdf



#24 maximumbob

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 05:39 PM

"8. Internationally trained candidates will continue to be eligible for abridgment policies related to prior practice experience to a maximum of three months. To ensure they receive some experiential training in the Canadian context to enhance their competence, the exemption from the experiential learning requirement for those international candidates with a minimum of 10 months of common law experience will be discontinued."
From: [/size]
http://lsuc.on.ca/up...il-2016-pdc.pdf


Yeah, but did they ultimately give effect to that recommendation? Some of the others around the LPP weren't ultimately adopted.

I read the discussion he was referring to prior to responding.
 
The changes, if enacted, did not impact articling abridgment for foreign lawyers. I spoke to staff at LSUC recently and foreign grads can still get a total articling abridgment.


The people who work for the LSUC are... how do I say this nicely... not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Accept nothing they tell you unless its in writing on letterhead.

#25 epeeist

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 07:40 AM

Yeah, but did they ultimately give effect to that recommendation? Some of the others around the LPP weren't ultimately adopted.


The people who work for the LSUC are... how do I say this nicely... not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Accept nothing they tell you unless its in writing on letterhead.

 

I think in November (i.e. after the posts earlier in the year discussing the proposed changes) they withdrew most/all of the changes at the same time they extended the LPP another two years.

 

But whoever may be effected should check themselves (and as you rightly note, not merely based on a phone call).