Back to Navigation

HOW DO I BECOME A LAWYER IN ONTARIO?

Information for law students and NCA applicants

Join the mailing list to stay up to date on changes to the licensing process.

You must be licensed by the Law Society of Ontario to work as a lawyer in Ontario. To become licensed, you must:

  • Meet academic requirements
    Complete a J.D./LL.B. from an approved law school in Ontario or another Canadian province or obtain a Certificate of Qualification from the National Committee on Accreditation.
  • Apply to the licensing process

    The licensing process consists of two licensing examinations, hands-on experiential training, a good character requirement and licensure. All parts of the licensing process must be completed within three (3) licensing years. The licensing process year runs from May 1 to April 30. The deadline to apply is usually at the start of December for the next licensing year.

    See the fees schedule for the cost to apply to the licensing process.

    See Licensing Process Information Session Webcast or transcript.

  • Pass the barrister and solicitor licensing examinations

    The barrister and solicitor examinations are self-study and open book examinations comprised of multiple-choice questions. Examinations are offered in the Summer, Fall and Winter.  You do not need to write or pass the examinations before you article or attend the Law Practice Program.

    See the fees schedule for the cost to write the examinations.

    See the Guide to Licensing Examinations for tips on preparing for the examinations. Tutoring for the examinations is available to candidates who are unsuccessful.

  • Gain experience working in a legal environment
  • Be deemed to be of good character
    To be licensed as a lawyer in Ontario, the Law Society Act requires that an applicant be of “good character.” The good character requirement is intended to protect the public and maintain high ethical standards in the profession by ensuring that persons who are licensed as lawyers show respect for the rule of law and the administration of justice and conduct themselves with honesty, integrity and candour. There is no fee for this part of the licensing process.
  • Pay all required fees and submit all required forms

    A fees schedule that outlines all fees for the licensing process is set for each licensing process year.

    See current fees schedule and required forms.  

    Financial assistance programs are available.

  • Licensure

    Once you have passed your examinations, completed articling or the Law Practice Program, paid your fees, submitted your forms and have no good character issues, you are eligible to be licensed to practise law.

    All eligible candidates must be in attendance for a live call to the bar ceremony. At the call, candidates are presented with the Degree of Barrister-at-Law by the Law Society and a Court Certificate and are required to swear or affirm the oath required to practise law in Ontario. Candidates may also take an oath of allegiance.

    Candidates who are licensed by way of an administrative call process do not attend in person. More information on both methods of licensure are available on the Call to the bar page.

    See the fees schedule for the cost to be licensed.

    Legal robes are required for the in-person ceremony - see list of Legal Robing Companies. Candidates may either rent robes from these companies (for a fee) or purchase their robes.

Other Law Society resources

Harassment and discrimination have no place in the legal professions. The Discrimination and Harassment Program runs independently from the Law Society and provides assistance to anyone who may have experienced discrimination or harassment by a lawyer, paralegal, or licensing candidate within Ontario. For more information, see Preventing Discrimination and Harassment (PDF).
 
The Member Assistance Program (MAP) is a confidential service fully independent of the Law Society. Lawyers, paralegals, law students, other legal professionals and their families covered by the MAP are provided with confidential access to a number of services. Members can get professional help with issues related to addictions, mental or physical health, work-life balance, career, family and more.

Download the How to Become a Lawyer in Ontario fact sheet.
Terms or Concepts Explained