The latest news on the articling saga

A debate on the Articling Task Force's Final Report will take place at the LSUC's Convocation next week

By Diane Peters

On Friday October 19th, 2012


 The Law Society of Upper Canada has quietly released its Articling Task Force Final Report. (This is not to be confused with the other reports issued by the Task Force: the Consultation Report came out last December and the Interim Report landed in May.)

What will not be so quiet, we suspect, is the upcoming presentation and debate of the report on October 25’s Convocation. The LSUC has set aside four hours for discussion, and in this time the benchers will vote on the recommendation in the report.

And what is the plan for articling? According to the report, the LSUC wants to introduce a new Law Practice Program (LPP) pilot program. For five years, the Law Society will support both articling as we know it right now and for those new graduates who cannot land an articling position, they will be able to undertake the LPP.

The LPP will involve a skills-training program — likely hands-on courses — and a cooperative work placement (presumably unpaid).

But even articling will change a little. The task force suggests more measures are put in place to evaluate the various articling positions across the province. As well, there will be some kind of final assessment that all graduates must undergo before gaining a license.

This pilot project will launch in the 2014-15 licensing year. Some students who cannot obtain articling positions now may be eligible for the LPP program once it’s begun. The entire program will be assessed at the end of five years to see if it’s working, and if it’s making the system more fair or creating more imbalances.

Even the task force admits there could be concerns about creating a two-tiered system. Four members out of thirteen on the task force do not agree with these final recommendations and their objections are clearly outlined in the report.

So, on October 25, come on out to Convocation and hear the two sides battle it out. Who will win? Ideally, future law graduates.

In the meantime, read some of the stories Precedent has written about articling. We covered the release of the Consultation Report last winter and we have University of Ottawa common law dean Bruce Feldthusen with his even better idea on how to solve the articling dilemma in our latest issue.

Image: Beachdigital