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Articling -sole practitioner - salary range

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We've already restricted seats in the more selective law schools, and I don't see any issue with students from those schools getting a paying articling position if they really want one. 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

The only reasons to restrict seats in law school are: (i) protectionism; and (ii) paternalism. The legal profession and society are already protected from incompetence by the licensing process, so further protectionism at the admissions stage is redundant. That leaves paternalism. 

Now maybe I'm crazy here, but I don't think we should be paternalistic towards law students. These are people who likely graduated top of their class in high school, graduated near the top of their class in undergraduate and scored reasonably well on a standardized test that is a decent proxy for intelligence. They, of all people, should be the people that don't need society paternalistically guiding them through their 20s. 

If we accept that law students need to have their freedom and responsibilities restricted so that the government can guide them through their tender mid-20s, we may as well bump the age of majority to 30. Because if the supposedly smart class of people who make it to law school can't be expected to do their research and look out for their own best interests, we're all fucked. 

I would agree with you if this was a complete representation of legal education in Canada in 2018. 

You and I both know that it is not. 

 

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3 minutes ago, easttowest said:

I would agree with you if this was a complete representation of legal education in Canada in 2018. 

You and I both know that it is not. 

 

What are you talking about? Even law schools with relatively low admission standards are selecting for the best of this generation. Lakehead requires an A- average over the last two years to be considered. 

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1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

The only reasons to restrict seats in law school are: (i) protectionism; and (ii) paternalism. The legal profession and society are already protected from incompetence by the licensing process, so further protectionism at the admissions stage is redundant. That leaves paternalism. 

Now maybe I'm crazy here, but I don't think we should be paternalistic towards law students. These are people who likely graduated top of their class in high school, graduated near the top of their class in undergraduate and scored reasonably well on a standardized test that is a decent proxy for intelligence. They, of all people, should be the people that don't need society paternalistically guiding them through their 20s. 

If we accept that law students need to have their freedom and responsibilities restricted so that the government can guide them through their tender mid-20s, we may as well bump the age of majority to 30. Because if the supposedly smart class of people who make it to law school can't be expected to do their research and look out for their own best interests, we're all fucked. 

...they aren’t all near the top of their class in high school or undergrad and they don’t all score decently on the LSAT....

I would actually be for seat restriction to minimum standards, say 3.5 and 160.

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29 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

What are you talking about? Even law schools with relatively low admission standards are selecting for the best of this generation. Lakehead requires an A- average over the last two years to be considered. 

I was unclear. I should have said legal licensing in Canada.

I understand and agree with your reasoning, I just think that it is not reflected in the marketplace. 

Maybe we should license everybody, provided that we account for protectionism, and then let the market decide who makes it, like they do in the States. 

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34 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

What are you talking about? Even law schools with relatively low admission standards are selecting for the best of this generation. Lakehead requires an A- average over the last two years to be considered. 

I see low 150 LSATs and 3.2 or 3.3 GPAs getting in / told they have a good chance all the time. 

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Just now, easttowest said:

I was unclear. I should have said legal licensing in Canada.

I understand and agree with your reasoning, I just think that it is not reflected in the marketplace. 

Maybe we should license everybody, provided that we account for protectionism, and then let the market decide who makes it, like they do in the States. 

1

The US doesn't license everybody. The number of first-time test takers who fail the US bar is roughly the same as the number of unmatched students in Ontario. 

 

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Getting back for a moment to the question related to this thread, I'm a PT solo, so not really applicable to me. But I've met a number of sole practitioners who, even if reasonably successful and even if they had enough work that they could take on an articling student, would find it very difficult to offer stable predictable compensation. Especially when giving instructions and education to the articling student and reviewing everything they do is itself a substantial drain of time, and when one's clients aren't particularly interested in spending more money for two people for the same work.

I'm very much not a fan of unpaid internships at all, but I still recognize that articles (or other genuinely educational) situations may be an exception where it's justified (by contrast to e.g. some large business with so-called internships). There is such variance among sole practitioners that it's hard to set rules - one situation paying might still be exploitative, and another not be.

Having made the effort to be on topic, now the more recently (and repeatedly, been discussed many times on this board) topic of accessiblity to the profession generally, this relatively recent Slaw post and some comments are interesting. A brief excerpt:

"...

However the public interest involves more than just the client interest in quality. Clients also have interests in service price, and in having a broad range of choice in the market. The interests of licensing candidates — especially those who have already invested many years and dollars in efforts to cross the licensing chasm — must also be protected as much as possible in the design process.

Every time you, as designer, make the licensing footbridges longer or harder to cross, several bad things can happen:

  • First, some people who would become excellent lawyers are deterred from trying to cross the chasm. Many people of modest means would be willing to spend four years and $40,000 in order to become a lawyer (as in the UK), but would balk at eight years and $90,000 plus a mandatory apprenticeship requirement (as in most Canadian provinces).
  • Second, the more onerous the licensing requirements are, the more debt and the more foregone income those who do succeed in crossing the chasm will have when they begin serving clients.
  • Access to justice therefore suffers as licensing becomes more onerous. Service prices are higher due to increased practitioner debt and reduced numbers of practitioners. There are many thousands of people on the far side of the licensing chasm, who would like to be clients, but cannot afford the rates charged by the select group of licensees who succeed.
  • Equity-seeking candidates may be especially disadvantaged. Less affluent people from less privileged backgrounds are more likely to be deterred from legal careers by expensive and arduous licensing requirements. Thus, longer and more arduous licensing footbridges make it more difficult to achieve professional diversity.
  • To the extent that lawyers from disadvantaged or equity-seeking groups are more likely to serve clients from those same groups, the people deprived of affordable assistance may be those who need it most...." [emphasis added]

http://www.slaw.ca/2018/07/27/bridges-over-the-chasm-licensing-design-and-the-abolition-of-articling/comment-page-1/#comment-949725

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2 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

The US doesn't license everybody. The number of first-time test takers who fail the US bar is roughly the same as the number of unmatched students in Ontario. 

 

They were allowed to write the bar, though. 

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3 minutes ago, providence said:

I see low 150 LSATs and 3.2 or 3.3 GPAs getting in / told they have a good chance all the time. 

There's no serious argument to be made that an appreciable number of law students in Canada have 150 LSATs and 3.2 GPAs. We have the admissions statistics for a bunch of schools, and we can see clearly that a high 150s/low 160s and GPA hovering around an A-/B+ is generally the floor. 

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5 minutes ago, providence said:

...they aren’t all near the top of their class in high school or undergrad and they don’t all score decently on the LSAT....

I would actually be for seat restriction to minimum standards, say 3.5 and 160.

Any minimum standards - without discretion - that wouldn't allow me or someone like me in today are by definition wrong (splitter, much higher LSAT, lower GPA).

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Just now, easttowest said:

They were allowed to write the bar, though. 

Ontario graduates are allowed to, too. They can find articles or join the LPP. 

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2 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Ontario graduates are allowed to, too. They can find articles or join the LPP. 

You know what I mean. 

It's the second requirement that we're arguing about. 

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Posted (edited)

To bring this discussion back towards the topic of the thread, I guess the question is, who would we prefer have race to the bottom: articling students or recent calls? 

 

Edited by easttowest

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18 minutes ago, epeeist said:

Any minimum standards - without discretion - that wouldn't allow me or someone like me in today are by definition wrong (splitter, much higher LSAT, lower GPA).

As a non-conventional law student, I do have to agree with this.

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10 minutes ago, easttowest said:

You know what I mean. 

It's the second requirement that we're arguing about. 

No, I actually don't get what you mean. Because you seem to be simultaneously arguing two separate things: 

First, you're arguing that law students are so incompetent and unable to be trusted with conducting their own research that they must be paternalistically be protected from the evils of the real world through limits on seats designed to predict the legal needs of the market and shelter the poor, unsuspecting law students from the realities of life. 

Second, you're arguing that law students arrive fresh from law school with all the necessary competencies to practice law free of additional oversight, and thus should be rid of the requirement to article or complete the LPP. 

Thos two don't mesh with me. If law students are smart enough to practice law without oversight, they're damn sure smart enough to do their research prior to attending law school. If law students are too stupid to do their own research prior to attending law school, they're damn sure not smart enough to practice law without oversight. 

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1 minute ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

No, I actually don't get what you mean. Because you seem to be simultaneously arguing two separate things: 

First, you're arguing that law students are so incompetent and unable to be trusted with conducting their own research that they must be paternalistically be protected from the evils of the real world through limits on seats designed to predict the legal needs of the market and shelter the poor, unsuspecting law students from the realities of life. 

Second, you're arguing that law students arrive fresh from law school with all the necessary competencies to practice law free of additional oversight, and thus should be rid of the requirement to article or complete the LPP. 

Thos two don't mesh with me. If law students are smart enough to practice law without oversight, they're damn sure smart enough to do their research prior to attending law school. If law students are too stupid to do their own research prior to attending law school, they're damn sure not smart enough to practice law without oversight. 

I don't agree with how you've sensationalized my first point, and I did not actually say the second thing. 

Regarding point two, as I said above ("account[ing] for protectionism") perhaps everyone must complete the LLP upon passing the bar. That way, everyone who passes the bar can become licensed to practice law in Ontario. 

There are obvious problems with that plan - more debt for all law students immediately comes to mind, and no articling students for firms who actually need them. However, at least in this basic plan, people who graduate law school and pass the bar can charge money for the services they went to school for, and potentially earn enough money to make a living. Additionally, there would likely be another race to the bottom, this time among recent calls. And, I admit that this would inevitably lead to poor client service. This version of that idea, essentially drawn up on the back of a napkin, obvious needs work!

I just think that we can come up with a system that allows graduates of Canadian law schools to practice law in Canada. 

The system is apparently working for you. It's also working for me. That doesn't mean that it's working.

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1 minute ago, easttowest said:

I don't agree with how you've sensationalized my first point, and I did not actually say the second thing. 

Regarding point two, as I said above ("account[ing] for protectionism") perhaps everyone must complete the LLP upon passing the bar. That way, everyone who passes the bar can become licensed to practice law in Ontario. 

There are obvious problems with that plan - more debt for all law students immediately comes to mind, and no articling students for firms who actually need them. However, at least in this basic plan, people who graduate law school and pass the bar can charge money for the services they went to school for, and potentially earn enough money to make a living. Additionally, there would likely be another race to the bottom, this time among recent calls. And, I admit that this would inevitably lead to poor client service. This version of that idea, essentially drawn up on the back of a napkin, obvious needs work!

I just think that we can come up with a system that allows graduates of Canadian law schools to practice law in Canada. 

The system is apparently working for you. It's also working for me. That doesn't mean that it's working.

We have a system that allows graduates of Canadian law schools to practice law in Canada. It's called articling and the LPP. 

You're trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist. 

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6 minutes ago, easttowest said:

I don't agree with how you've sensationalized my first point, and I did not actually say the second thing. 

Regarding point two, as I said above ("account[ing] for protectionism") perhaps everyone must complete the LLP upon passing the bar. That way, everyone who passes the bar can become licensed to practice law in Ontario. 

There are obvious problems with that plan - more debt for all law students immediately comes to mind, and no articling students for firms who actually need them. However, at least in this basic plan, people who graduate law school and pass the bar can charge money for the services they went to school for, and potentially earn enough money to make a living. Additionally, there would likely be another race to the bottom, this time among recent calls. And, I admit that this would inevitably lead to poor client service. This version of that idea, essentially drawn up on the back of a napkin, obvious needs work!

I just think that we can come up with a system that allows graduates of Canadian law schools to practice law in Canada. 

The system is apparently working for you. It's also working for me. That doesn't mean that it's working.

So, your critique is that lawyers compete with each other in a capitalist economy? I don't get what you're trying to say, but if I read closely enough I think you're arguing somehow that capitalism itself is wrong and by reflection so is the legal profession.

Does that about sum this up? If not, I can't understand what your argument is, except that somehow you're against people "racing to the bottom", whatever that means.

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Just now, celli660 said:

So, your critique is that lawyers compete with each other in a capitalist economy? I don't get what you're trying to say, but if I read closely enough I think you're arguing somehow that capitalism itself is wrong and by reflection so is the legal profession.

Does that about sum this up? If not, I can't understand what your argument is, except that somehow you're against people "racing to the bottom", whatever that means.

No, I don't agree with that. 

I think there is probably a better system (...and I very well could be wrong. I often am!) than one where on the one hand we train an increasing number of people to become lawyers, and then on the other require them to obtain articles through unrelated institutions, who don't necessarily need more lawyers. 

So I'm suggesting that we either make it harder to become a law student in the first place, or coherently connect the education of law with the licensing of law. 

The "race to the bottom" has happened; students are already working for free.  

 

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