EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe Articling Task Force
The Articling Task Force was established in May 2011 as a result of the rising number of unplaced articling candidates seeking access to the licensing process in Ontario. Although thistrend was the impetus for Convocation’s decision to establish the Task Force, it was given abroad mandate to consider the competence-related goals that articling is intended to address, itseffectiveness, its place in the licensing process and additional or alternative approaches tofulfilling transitional training requirements.Since 2008, when the lawyer licensing process and transitional training were last examined, thenumber of unplaced articling candidates has continued to rise. The Task Force concludes that forthe foreseeable future, the articling program as currently structured will be unable to meet theever-increasing demand for article placements.The issues raised by the current system do not lend themselves to easy answers. The Task Forcehas devoted over a year to its in-depth review of the many subjects that fall under its mandate. Itundertook a broad-reaching consultation process, including dozens of consultation sessions forthe profession and law schools, which were conducted at numerous locations throughout Ontario.The Task Force received 125 public submissions from individuals, legal organizations, lawschools, law students, the judiciary and law societies. The depth and thoughtfulness of thediscussion and submissions were remarkable and provided important input to the Task Force’swork. The Task Force also considered the licensing regimes in a number of other jurisdictions,some of which have implemented legal skills-training programs to satisfy transitional trainingrequirements. It also sought input from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada(“theFederation”).After extensive consideration of the issues raised by the current licensing system, the Task Forceis unanimous in concluding that the system requires change.
Pathways to Licensing
The majority of the Task Force recommends that Convocation approve a pilot project that willallow articling and a new Law Practice Program (LPP) to operate side by side for five years.While articling would continue to be the route through which most candidates become licensed,the LPP, which would include both a skills-training program and a co-operative work placement,would provide an alternative path to licensing.Providing these two pathways to licensing would directly address the issueof access to thelicensing process in an environment where there are insufficient articling positions. Doing so in apilot project provides a measured, incremental way to move forward with a comparison of thesealternatives routes to licensing while protecting the public through a competence-basedevaluation system for all candidates. This approach also enables the Law Society to take intoaccount the Federation’songoing National Admissions Standards Project, recognizing thepotential impact of that Project on the licensing process.
Articling Task Force Final Report - Final Report