A big issue among Ontario lawyers these days is the paucity of articling jobs for law students looking to become lawyers (generally, to become licensed as a lawyer you have to work for another lawyer as an “articling student”, basically a glorified apprenticeship, for 10 months). Between a sharp drop-off in activity in the legal community, and increases in enrollment at Ontario law schools and in the number of Canadians law students who couldn’t get into a respectable Canadian school attending law school abroad (hello, Bond University, I’m looking at you), we’ve reached a crisis point with hundreds of students graduating from law school (often with 6-figure student loans) with no realistic possibility of ever becoming lawyers.
To the Law Society of Upper Canada (the “LSUC”), this is a problem to be addressed. Since lawyers can’t be persuaded to hire more articling students then they need, the LSUC is proposing to create a new parallel licensing arrangement (the “PLA”), consisting of a 4-month long “Law Practice Program” and a 4-month co-op placement.
Personally, I don’t think the current excess supply of law students is a problem, over time it will decrease if gradates can’t find jobs. And the PLA is a non-solution to this non-problem that, if it achieves anything, it will be to increase the amount of disciplinary complaints about new lawyers.