How the Law Practice Program at Ryerson University creates new jobs // sponsored content

Jolie Lin
The BMO legal team doesn’t run its own articling program, but that hasn’t stopped it from taking on LPP candidates

By Precedent

On Wednesday May 29th, 2019


Jolie Lin, the deputy general counsel at BMO, is the first to admit the bank’s legal team almost never hires junior lawyers. It doesn’t run its own articling program. And, for the most part, it only seeks out mid-level associates after they’ve received top-notch training in private practice. But once Ryerson University launched the Law Practice Program (LPP), a new path to licensing, that started to change.

Over the past five years, the bank has offered four-month work placements to 10 LPP candidates. And, in that time, two of them have joined the bank as in-house counsel. “These candidates have surprised us with what they can accomplish,” says Lin, who was a partner at Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP before she joined BMO. “The intensive hands-on training they receive at Ryerson before the placement sets them up to succeed.” Here, she explains how the LPP is reshaping the profession.

Jolie Lin

Jolie Lin, the deputy general counsel at BMO, considers the Law Practice Program “a real win for the profession.”

Why have you taken so many LPP candidates over the years?

“Because they’ve gone through those four months of practical-skills training. The candidates are immediately ready to jump in and be successful.

“They also bring a diversity of viewpoints to work. Often, they have prior work and life experience. One candidate, for instance, had a background in law enforcement and an affinity for fraud investigations. Another one was a mother of five who knew a lot about time management.”

What sort of work do you assign to the candidates?

“It runs the gamut. They might draft legal documents or conduct discovery exercises. And, in some cases, they might project-manage larger initiatives.

“But here’s a concrete example. At the moment, we’re working with external counsel to make sure we are in compliance with the consumer-protection legislation that’s about to come into effect. We enlisted both of our candidates to help with this massive project. They’ve been taking instructions from the lawyers, co-ordinating the document review and making the changes. They’ve been on point, diligent and very important to the team.”

Why would a law student choose to complete the Law Practice Program?

“The program offers a broad range of experiences. In the first four months, candidates are exposed to seven core areas of law, which helps them determine where they might want to practise after they’re called to the bar. And then, during the placements, they get direct contact with the working world. It’s a great balance.”

Would you recommend that other in-house legal departments take part in the Law Practice Program?

“One-hundred percent! By taking on candidates, they will be contributing to the future of the profession. But best of all, they’ll meet candidates with significant talent. It’s a real win for the profession.”

The Law Practice Program at Ryerson University is a rigorous eight-month training program that equips law-school graduates with the practical skills they need to become great lawyers. To learn more, visit

This story is from our Summer 2019 Issue.