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Licensing Process Information Session Transcript

March 11, 2021 Lawyer Licensing Process Webinar

Ken Osborne:   Good morning. On behalf of the Law Society of Ontario, I’d like to welcome you to today’s webcast on the lawyer licensing process.  We're pleased to be able to provide you with information about the key steps and requirements to facilitate your successful licencing at the Law Society of Ontario.  My name is Ken Osborne; I'm the Director of Licensing & Accreditation at the Law Society of Ontario.  I'm responsible to the LSO for the superintendence of the Law Society's licensing process operations that are directed at candidates seeking lawyer or paralegal licensure in Ontario. 

And this morning, I have with me Gina Haros, Manager, Licensing Process.  Gina is responsible for managing all the licencing process operations and the experiential training program operations that fall within the Licensing & Accreditation Department. 

I also have with me Paul Opolski, he's Counsel, Experiential Training Programs.  As one of our department's counsel, Paul is responsible for providing legal and policy guidance to the director, our management team and to the departmental staff on matters that impact experiential training programs and the licensing and accreditation process. 

I'm going to start today by taking you through some housekeeping items that will apply to today's webcast.  The webcast session is about an hour and a half or so, and will run from about 10 am to 11:30 am.  Our agenda should be available to you.  It is posted under the Agenda tab on the upper right-hand corner of your screen.  The agenda includes relevant links to information on our website that will assist you in understanding some of the steps and processes we're going to be talking to you about today. 

The larger window on the right-hand side of your screen will display the presentation slides that we will be speaking to. The LSO team will present for approximately 45 minutes and we'll leave about 45 minutes for questions at the end of the presentation.  We want to take as many questions as we possibly can from you today. 
Please feel free to submit your questions using the Q&A tab on your screen, located just below the window on the top left that says Conference.  Questions will be addressed at the end, but please feel free to submit your questions to us at any point during the webcast.  We're monitoring the Q&A session and we'll endeavour to get to as many questions as we possibly can.

If we don't get to all of your questions today, and you still need information about the Law Society's lawyer licensing process, then we invite you to reach out to us via email, via your online account or by phone.  We will provide you with any information that you need through through those means.  And at the end of the session, we will provide contact details so that you have those points of contact to reach out to us.  If you're not able to watch or participate in the entire webcast today, you can always access the archived version of the webcast, which will be available on the Law Society's website within a few weeks' time.                    

So I want to start by noting that the Law Society's lawyer licensing process is based on entry level competencies that have been developed and validated by our profession. These are the most critical and frequently performed skills, tasks, and attitudinal components that new lawyers must demonstrate to practice law in Ontario today.  And you'll be hearing a lot more about the barrister and the solicitor competencies and the experiential training competencies during this presentation today.

This information is also available on our website, and I encourage you to review the website so that you are familiar with the standards upon which you will be admitted to the profession.  There are three main components to becoming a lawyer in Ontario, and I just want to walk through them quickly.  The first is the successful completion of the Lawyer Licensing Examinations.  These are the Barrister and Solicitor Examinations, and I appreciate that you may have a number of questions relating to them lately, and we'll endeavour to support and answer those questions as best we can. 

Secondly, there is the experiential training component, and specifically there are three pathways that will assist you in completing the experiential training requirements of the Law Society's licensing process.  They are articling, the LPP, Law Practice Program, or PPD, and the Integrated Practice Curriculum.  For today's session, we're going to be focusing primarily on articling and the LPP/PPD.  And finally, there is the requirement to demonstrate good character in Ontario. 

I should mention that while you'll be hearing more about each of these requirements through the presentation, I do wish to draw your attention to the fact that governance of the Law Society convocation or benchers have determined that licensing examinations will be delivered online in the licensing cycle 2021/2022. And we can talk more about that after the presentation.  So I want to turn to the experiential training program. 

The Experiential Training requirements are met by completing one of three training program pathways, as I've mentioned, the Articling program, which at the moment is a minimum eight-month practical component where law students work under the supervision of the principal. 

The second pathway is the Law Practice Program, Programme de Pratique du Droit, which like Articling, is an eight-month program offered in English by Ryerson University, and French at the University of Ottawa, where the student at law receives a focused legal training program followed by a work placement. 

And finally, I've mentioned that there is a third pathway, which is the Integrated Practice Curriculum.  ITC candidates are actually exempted from the requirements of Articling or the LPP/PPD, on the basis that the LSO's experiential training competencies are embedded into the three-year law school program that candidates take at Lakehead University Faculty of Law and now Ryerson University Faculty of Law. 

And these academic legal educational requirements are comingled with performance-based clinical legal training components and ITC candidates are granted an exemption from the Articling or the LPP/PPD upon registration with the Law Society.  And again, the two universities that are offering these programs are Lakehead Faculty of Law and Ryerson Faculty of Law. 

Overall, you will have three years to complete the lawyer licensing process. If you are entering the licensing process in the coming months, your three-year licensing term will begin on May 1st, 2021 and you will have until April 30th, 2024 to complete all the components of the lawyer licensing process.  This process is flexible, it allows you to complete the components in the order that you wish, as long as you do it within the three-year term. 

On average, candidates complete the lawyer licensing process within approximately 15 months, or approximately 1.3 years, so those candidates graduating from faculties of law that are not Integrated Practice Curriculum faculties, you will take a minimum of a year to go through the lawyer licensing process.  ITC candidates will normally progress faster through the licensing process if they do not need to complete the experiential training component; those are already done for them. 

So we're now going to begin our discussion by having Gina Haros take us through the application process, which is the starting point for the lawyer licensing process.  So with that, I'd like to turn things over to Gina to talk more about the lawyer licensing process and the application. 

Gina Haros:      Thanks, Ken.  Good morning, everyone.  By now, most of you have probably already applied online and provided us with your paper copy of the application and supporting documentation.  So I'm not going to spend too much time reviewing the application process itself, but turn to a couple of points.  For those who still need to apply, I encourage you to go to the website and first review the admission requirements section and also review the more detailed section on the website called Completing the Lawyer Licensing Process Application. 

This section of the website outlines how to get started and the next steps once you've applied.  So, as most of you know, the current application for the 21/22 licensing year launched last fall for applicants hoping to select either the summer, fall or next March 2022 sitting, which is the spring sitting.  Once you've finished part one of the application process and paid the fee online, you were assigned a Law Society online account, or a web account. 

This personal and confidential web account is where grade results and invoices for fee payments will be sent to or have been sent to.  It's recommended that you check this account weekly once you apply, and even more regularly when you're starting to prepare for the exam or preparing for the commencement of your articling or LPP, and up to the time that you're licensed. 

In addition to the information sent to the web account, candidates are also required to check out the information contained online in the Dates to Remember page, as well as the online Examination Delivery page for 21/22, which lists information on deadlines and timelines for candidates, depending on when they have elected to write.  Later on in this presentation, I'll also mention some financial assistance information for candidates who may require support at this time. 

The deadline to submit the application, the fee and supporting documents was in December of last year, but candidates can continue to still apply into the course and enrol for the next available examination sitting.  If anything is missing from your application, the staff at Licensing & Accreditation will advise you via your online web account, once your application and supporting documentation are received and processed.  And once you fully apply, you start to receive continuous information and timelines, not only about examinations, but about study material distribution, invoicing, other fees and important information regarding your experiential training. 

By now, those of you who applied by the December deadline have already received your invoicing for the licensing process fees, including experiential training, exams and materials.  I did want to mention that candidates are required to follow up directly with their institution to request that a final official transcript is sent by the law schools directly to the Law Society upon graduation, so that's an important key point for you to remember.  It's a few months away, but of course we do want to put that on your radar that that information needs to come to the LSO by the deadline. 

The final due date for transcripts to be submitted by your law school is August 6th, 2021, and without that transcript on file, you will,  face removal from the licensing process, so it's quite important that you meet that deadline and work with your law school to produce that final transcript and have them send it to us. 

Before we move on to the competencies tested in the licensing examinations, I wanted to mention that all candidates are required to successfully complete a Barrister and a Solicitor examination as part of their licensing requirement.  Each of the exams measure performance on a pass/fail basis and assess whether a candidate has met the minimum standard of competency required in order to be licensed in Ontario.  The Law Society has recently, as Ken mentioned, approved a reduction on the length of the exam, so each of the exams is currently four hours in length with a 30-minute break between part one and part two of the examination. 

The examinations remain open book and are geared towards self-study and are multiple choice, and they, as Ken mentioned, will be administered entirely online during the 21/22 licensing year.  The examination study materials are aligned with the required entry level competencies that have been designed to support the self-study process.  While the examinations are administered online this year, you are still required to bring in your paper study materials for reference during the examinations, as no digital copies of the materials are permitted during the exam.

So let's move onto the competencies tested.  The Barrister examination assesses competencies in the following categories – and again, this is all available online so you don't have to write all of this down – it's available in greater detail as well – but the competencies we're testing are for ethical and professional responsibilities, knowledge of the law, establishing and maintaining the barrister-client relationship, problem and issue identification, analysis and assessment, alternative dispute resolution, the litigation process and practice management issues. 

And for Solicitor, the examination also assesses competencies in ethical and professional responsibilities, knowledge of the law and practice management issues, but it also focuses on caselaw, policy, procedures and forms, establishing and maintaining the solicitor-client relationship, and lastly, fulfilling the retainer.  In a moment, we'll speak further on exam preparation, but please note that more detailed information on all of the competencies once again is available online as you prepare for your examination.  

Around this time of year, the most popular question we receive is: when will I get my study materials.  For those who pay their study materials by the April 15th, 2021 payment deadline, the study materials are intended to be released in April, on April 19th, in a couple of ways.  Once the materials are officially released on April 19th to candidates who've made payment, candidates can expect to access a PDF of the materials within their LSO account, and that would be under My Examination and Study Materials. 

For those of you who've been in your online account recently, you'll notice that that is to the left of your screen, and again, once the materials are released and have been paid for, on April 19th onwards you'll be able to access that PDF within your account.  In addition, candidates can place a shipping request to have a paper copy of their materials sent through a third-party shipping company, and all of that information will be released to you on the first day of distribution, which is April 19th

So a reminder again that whether you decide to access the materials digitally while you're preparing for the examination, it is always helpful to have that paper copy in the examination for you to refer to, so you'll be responsible to either order a shipment of the materials or print them on your own so you can reference them.  In addition to the study materials, candidates will also be provided with a Law Society Candidate Card, and the identification card that will be issued to you will be what you will show at the examination. 

So as you're preparing to start your examination with your online proctor, that is what you would show for your identification.  This part is going to be mailed to the address on file with the LSO in early May, so I encourage everyone to check in on their online account and verify their address to ensure that it's correct and up to date, as those will be coming out to you probably in the early part of May. 

I'm now going to move on and speak about key strategies and considerations to help you prepare for writing each licensing examination.  The first point I want to emphasize is that we have extensive materials on the Law Society website under Licensing Examinations that set out all of the information I'm going to refer to, so you should review all of that closely when you begin studying for each examination. 

Since we have now transitioned to an online examination format, more information will also be sent to you, once you've met the payment and registration deadline, as to how to select and schedule your examination dates and times with the  examination provider. 

There is information that candidates can review regarding what is required in advance of the scheduled examination date in terms of technical requirements for your laptop, a sample online examination to navigate through, so you become familiar with the features and are not surprised on the morning of your exam or the day of your exam, as well as downloading information so your laptop is prepared and the examination, what we call a pre-check that must be completed in advance of your date, is completed to troubleshoot any issue. 

All the information relating to these technical requirements and preparation for the 21/22 exams will likely be finalized and posted sometime in April or, at the latest, early May, so that you can adequately prepare for the sitting in terms of technical requirements.  

So moving on, candidates often ask our office how they can best prepare for the exams in terms of study strategies.  The short answer is that you should probably use the study habits and methods that have helped you succeed thus far.  There's no one best way to prepare for these exams, and the best way is, frankly, whichever one works for you.  We know that there are almost as many studying styles as there are candidates who write our exam. 

Most importantly though, performing well on the licensing examinations requires a very strong understanding of the study materials.  While the open book format means you can bring these paper materials into the exam, it doesn't mean that you can overlook the need to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the materials being tested.  The exams require you to analyze the information within the materials and to apply it to new situations.  This will require reviewing the materials closely and at length. 

And as I mentioned, there's no one best way to develop your understanding of the materials; however, there are some techniques and practices that will tend to work well for many candidates. First, most candidates might find it useful to implement a study strategy very early on.  This can include making a schedule for organizing your study time, and it's always a good idea to begin studying early and to do so in manageable increments spaced out over time, as opposed to cramming all of the material in long and last-minute study sessions. 

Given that this is an open book exam, you'll also want to think from the outset about what materials you'll want to have with you in the room on the day of the exam, and what you'll need to do in order to prepare those materials.  We recommend organizing your materials in whatever way allows you to quickly access relevant information to answer the questions, make them user friendly for you. 

Three suggestions for organizing your materials include one, using tabs or a colour-coding system to delineate certain subject areas and key topics in your material; two, preparing short manageable summaries on selected topics; and three, creating an index that lists key topics and the corresponding pages where those topics are located in your study materials and notes. 

Some candidates may find tabbing, indexing and/or highlighting the materials helpful at the outset of their preparation, in order to help absorb the materials.  But others find that preparing their materials in these ways is something they like to leave to the end, as a way of rounding out their study process and reviewing important concepts.  Again, the best approach is the one that gives you the most confidence to walk into the exam feeling prepared. 

Keep in mind as well that all the questions on the licensing exams are in multiple choice format, so that is something to consider as you're preparing for the exam.  We'll have some material in our exam guide online, probably sometime in April or early May, that gives you tips about maximizing your performance on multiple choice questions, which you should review.  We'll also provide sample questions for both the Barrister and Solicitor exams to give you a sense of the format of questions. 

While we do provide these sample questions as examples, I also want to note that the Law Society does not provide copies of old exams.  You may also be aware of some exam prep courses that are offered by other providers and it's certainly up to you whether you wish to take courses like that, but I'd ask everyone to remember two things.  First, none of those courses are endorsed by the Law Society, nor do we provide them access to our materials, and second, everything you need to prepare for your examination is contained in the study materials that we provide. 

Finally, it's also important throughout your exam preparation to use techniques that help you maintain a calm focus and positive attitude.  Keep the goal of staying positive and focused in mind throughout your preparation; we have some tips online about how to manage anxiety that you may feel in the lead-up for your examinations.  On the day of the exam, be prepared.  As we mentioned, each examination is four hours in length with a 30-minute break after part one of the exam. 

Make sure you've gotten enough sleep and nutrition in the days leading up to the exam to allow yourself to perform at your best.  The exam is held in a location of your own choosing on your own laptop.  The location should be quiet and private, and more specific information on selecting an appropriate site to complete your online exam will be available online shortly, along with a short video from the proctoring company relating to the ideal features of your test area that you can review. 

Be on time to connect with your proctor on the date of your scheduled exam, and this is important not only to ensure that the examination is administered smoothly, but also to give you a chance to get settled in your surroundings and relieve any anxiety that may understandably come with having to write a high stakes exam online. 

Again, as I mentioned, there will be several important changes on our website or additions to our website that will provide detailed information on all of this.  And I want to note as well that these are more formal and structured exams that some of you may be accustomed to from university or from other exams that you've written, so I want everyone to keep that in mind. 

We will also be posting an updated list of permissible items that you can bring into the testing area, as well as the prohibited items.  There are some items you will not be able to bring into the exam site, and all of those will be posted in the coming weeks and months. 

Finally, you should also review the website to understand the conduct that is expected of candidates at the exam.  We appreciate it's a high stakes day for candidates, there's a lot of stress,  leading up to this, but we also want to ensure that the process runs smoothly for you, and that a respectful and stable environment is maintained.  So before you know it, you'll be writing your exam.

Now, a note on receiving your exam results, because inevitably, as soon as each exam ends, candidates begin wondering of course how they performed.  Note that results will not be released until six to eight weeks after the examination window – or test window, as we call it – and we'll send your results to the online licensing account, the web account with the Law Society, because it's confidential and only accessible by you.  And you'll get an email notifying you that it's there, so there's no need to follow up with our office and check whether the results are out yet. 

The results are released for all students for that sitting at the same time.  And unfortunately, we can't release the results before that timeframe that I mentioned because we want to ensure the integrity of the marking process and that includes receiving, grading and verifying all of the exam results in order to provide them to candidates at the same time.  If you receive your results and you find that you've been unsuccessful on a licensing examination, don't panic. 

I know that's easier said than done, but you are able to re-register for one of the subsequent scheduled sittings.  Candidates, as Ken mentioned, are permitted a maximum of three attempts at each licensing examination within their three-year licensing term.  All information regarding rewriting an exam will be sent confidentially in a message to your online account.  You won't be the first, and you certainly won't be the last, to be in this situation, I assure you, but please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions on the next steps for rewriting. 

And finally, just a quick note on the process for deferring an examination if you feel you're not as prepared as you would like, or if something comes up in terms of a medical situation or a family situation.  We do have a deferral process and a form that needs to be submitted by a certain time, where possible, so that you can defer to a later sitting.  Again, all of this information is found online.  And now I'm going to have Ken talk about the LPP and articling.

Ken Osborne:   Thank you very much, Gina.  We're now going to move onto the next item in our agenda, which is a discussion and talk about the experiential training component of the licensing process. 

I've mentioned that there are three ways to complete the experiential training program, but the focus today is going to be on two. As you  may recall from the introduction of the session, there is the third pathway, the integrated practice curriculum pathway, that is provided by Lakehead University Faculty of Law, and now Ryerson University Faculty of Law.  That pathway is essentially an exemption by virtue of the fact that the Law Society of Ontario's practical competencies, are included in the academic and practice curriculum of those faculties. 

So for us today, we're going to focus on law practice program and articling.  You can either article for a minimum of eight months under the articling program, or you can choose to complete the law practice program, or Programme de Pratique du Droit.  So I'd like to start off by telling you a little bit about the law practice program, or about Programme de Pratique du Droit, LPP/PPD. 

This next slide shows you that there are two providers for the LPP: Ryerson University delivers the English language program, and the University of Ottawa delivers the French language program.  If you choose to attend the French language PPD and you've not previously studied law in French, you will need to successfully complete a French language test that is administered by the University of Ottawa. 

So moving on to the next slide, the law practice program runs for a total of eight months.  It consists of the four-month training course and a four-month work placement practical component.  The training course begins towards the end of August for Ryerson and in early September for the Ottawa programme, and it runs until the end of December.  Then the work placement will begin in January and it runs until the end of April.  If you select the LPP/PPD coming into the May 1st licensing cycle, you would be registering for the 2021/2022 program.  

Both the French and English LPP/PPD programs are based on the National Competency Profile which has been established by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and has been adopted by all law societies across Canada for lawyer licensure.  These competencies set out the most critical and frequently performed entry level tasks for lawyers. 

The training course portion of the LPP is meant to simulate the practice of law and is conducted in a structured, performance-oriented training environment.  It involves dynamic activities that will require you to interact with clients, lawyers, work providers and a variety of different practice areas, either in French or English, depending on the program that you select. 

There's also an extensive involvement with the legal profession in the LPP/PPD program, and this comes in the form of instructors, mentors, assessors who are active in the training program and in the work placement component.  The two programs have a slightly different format.  The English program provided by Ryerson is delivered through a blended format that involves a sophisticated online learning platform with certain mandatory attendance weeks which has been adjusted to some extent, given our current situation. 

Nevertheless, there are and have been some mandatory attendance weeks in Toronto at various points throughout the program.  The dates for these attendance weeks are posted by the provider, and typically occur towards the spring.  The French program is much smaller and because it has fewer candidates, it's delivered primarily in person in more of a seminar style.  Again, given the current situation that Ontario finds itself in, this has been moderated to some extent to address the remote working conditions that we find ourselves in. 

However, given the impact of the pandemic, these in-person components have been mitigated to some extent by interactive remote delivery approaches.  The work placement portion of the LPP/PPD is a four-month long practical component and it begins in January and ends in April.  The work placement is an opportunity for students at law to apply what has been learned in the training portion of the program and apply it in an actual legal practice setting. 

The work placement supervisors and the LPP/PPD providers, meaning Ryerson and the University of Ottawa, will work with you to determine what your interests are, and they will exercise their best efforts to match you into a position as best they can to reflect those interests.  I would like to stress that obtaining an LPP/PPD work placement is like obtaining an articling placement in that it is a competitive process. 

You can expect to be interviewed, and you can expect that a resume will be reviewed and assessed, and this will be done by the work placement supervisors or the firms that you are applying to and it's done in a formal recruitment process that is supported by either Ryerson and the University of Ottawa.  For example, the LSO actually hires two LPP students-at- law each year, and we apply the same recruitment process that is used to recruit articling students that we also employ each year.   But we cannot guarantee the four-month work placements are all paid. 

Over 70% of the placements that are in place in fact are paid, and the settings that we're seeing for work placements are various.  And they include inhouse legal settings, clinic settings, governmental settings, settings with a regulator like the Law Society, as well as governmental and nongovernmental organizations and inhouse placements in firms of all and many sizes. 

All work placements will require the candidate's supervisor to submit a training plan to Ryerson, or the University of Ottawa as the case may be, that ensures that the required competencies are being fulfilled and also that the candidate and the supervisor are fulfilling certain assessments and filings with the LPP or PPD.  Both Ryerson and the University of Ottawa have developed webpages for their programs, and I would encourage you to look over that information and consult it. 

We also have links to those webpages and to the various providers on our website, which includes quite a bit of detail on what to expect, how the programs work, and the expectations that are required of students and providers within the program.  So I'd encourage you to review this information as part of your preparation for the licensing process. 

Now, I'd like to turn it over to Paul to address the next pathway in the Law Society's experiential training program, and that is the Articling program.

Paul Opolski:    Thanks, Ken.  So, like the LPP/PPD, articling is an enriching and rewarding training component for the licensing process.  It's really an opportunity to put legal theory into practice and to experience what it's like to provide legal services while under the supervision of an experienced principal.  While articling placements vary depending on the setting, they will all develop the required experiential training competencies. 

These competencies reflect the necessary skills, knowledge and tasks for entry into the profession, tasks such as interviewing a client and writing a legal opinion, and skills such as advocacy, negotiation and practice management will be performed and evaluated during your articling term.  For many of you, articling will be your first opportunity to apply your legal skills in a practical environment.  To succeed and get the most out of your placement, you will be required to shift your thinking from an academic mindset to a practical, service-based mindset. 

It's really essential that you keep the lines of communication open with your principal and other lawyers who assign you tasks.  Often, you'll be juggling competing demands and it's up to you to manage your workflow.  Seek out feedback when you can, and don't be discouraged by minor setbacks.  This is your opportunity to learn, to cultivate good habits that will ensure not only competence but success as you enter the legal profession. 

During an eight-month articling placement, you're permitted to take up to eight business days off without it affecting the length of your placement.  This time can be used for vacation or study days or sick days.  If you're away from your articling placement for more than the eight days, you may need to extend your articling term.  In some cases, such as illness or emergency, you may qualify for a compassionate abridgement of the articling term. If that does become an issue, please contact our office so that we can guide you through that process. 

If you decide to write the licensing exams during your articling placement, your principal must give you seven days free of articling duties for each of the licensing exams.  Just note that this obligation only applies if it's your first attempt at each exam and that study days count towards the eight days off that you're entitled to.  While all articling placements must align with the experiential training competencies, there is flexibility within the program itself. 

There are many different arrangements and practice settings that can support an articling placement.  In addition to the traditional fulltime articling placement in Ontario, the Law Society also permits in appropriate circumstances joint articling placements with two or more principals, part-time articling placements, as well as national and international articling placements.  I would encourage you to consult our website if you're considering any of these alternative options, as they do sometimes have additional requirements and applications. 

If you are entering the licensing process and are still seeking an articling placement, we also have resources available to assist you.  These include a registry of articling placement job postings and a mentorship program that matches unplaced candidates with a practising lawyer who provides guidance and support to the candidates in their search process.  You also have the option of completing a biographical paragraph about yourself for potential employers to review. 

So I'd like to move on now and talk about the key filing requirements of the articling program.  All of the documents I'm going to discuss are available for download on our website.  First, I want to note that before the articling placement even begins, your principal must ensure that he or she is approved to serve as a principal.  So this is not a requirement for you as a candidate, but it's still important that you be aware of your principal's requirement, because it could affect your placements. 

We are not able to credit time that you spend working for a lawyer who has not been approved as an articling principal.  If the lawyer is going to act as your principal and has not had an articling student before, it's important that you remind them to file the principal application well in advance of the placement commencing.  So the first filing requirement for you as a candidate falls at the beginning of your placement, and specifically within 10 business days after your articling placement starts. 

You must file an Articles of Clerkship form, signed by both you and your principal, to avoid any late fees and to make sure you get full credit for the time you've worked in your placement.  At the same time, your principal must file an experiential training plan for the placement, using the online Articling Program Reporting tool for principals.  If your principal has already filed one of these training plans in previous years, they will just need to log on, review it, make sure that it's up to date and that the practice can still support the training plan. 

We also recommend reviewing the experiential training plan with your principal periodically throughout your placements.  It is important that before and during your placement, you check your online licensing account often, since that's the primary way the Law Society will communicate important articling and licensing information to you.  It is also important that you notify us of any changes in your placement as soon as possible, or any changes to your personal information.  Your online account is also the best way to get in touch with the Law Society about anything related to the licensing process. 

At the end of your placement, you must file a form called the Certificate of Service under Articles.  Your principal also signs this form and it is required in order for you to become eligible for being called to the bar.  Also, at the end of your placement, you're required to file the Record of Experiential Training, or RET, using your online licensing account. 

Your principal is also required to file the RET at the end of the placement, but please note that these are separate requirements and should be completed independently.  For your RET, you will be asked to report on your experiences during the articling placement as it relates to the experiential training competencies.  It's a good idea during your placement to review a sample copy of the RET, which is available online, to understand the reporting requirements at the outset. 

So to recap, there are three key documents that you as a candidate will be responsible for filing.  First is the Articles of Clerkship at the beginning of your placement, and then at the end of your placement you file the Certificate of Service under Articles, and the online Record of Experiential Training.

Moving on  to Rights of Appearance which applies to both candidates in the LPP and PPD, and the articling program.  So the Law Society governs who may provide legal services and the scope of those legal services.  It is important as a candidate in the licensing process that you understand what you are permitted to do as an articling candidate, or a candidate who's completing their work placement term.  During articling or the LPP, you will be conferred certain Rights of Appearance to appear on certain matters before courts and tribunals. 

Before you make any appearance on any matter, the first step you should always take is to consult the Rights of Appearance page on our website, which provides a detailed list of the types of matters you're allowed to appear on.  In addition to ensuring that your matter falls within that list, you and your principal, or your supervising lawyer, must always ensure that the lawyer's attendance is not necessary, that you are adequately supervised and properly prepared, and that the matter is appropriate for your level of training, experience and ability. 

Please note that Ontario courts and tribunals are entitled to control their own processes, so although these Rights of Appearance set out certain matters for which the Law Society is governing legislation and bylaws permit candidates to appear, it is always advisable to consult any applicable enabling legislation, rules of practice, rules of procedure, of that court of tribunal, as well as any practice directions.  You should also contact the court or tribunal in advance whenever possible to obtain express permission to make an appearance. 

After you've read our webpage, if you still have questions about your Rights of Appearance or would like some clarification, please feel free to contact our office.  When you do make an appearance, you're also obligated to identify yourself as an articling student or LPP/PPD work placement candidate.  You may also use the term student at law.  If you've completed your articling placement or the LPP/PPD and you would like to continue to provide legal services, including making court appearances, before your call to the bar, you can do so by filing a Supervision Agreement. 

The Supervision Agreement needs to be signed by a lawyer who will be directly responsible for supervising any work you do and appearances you make until you're called to the bar.  You can find a copy of the Supervision Agreement form on our website.  And with that, I will turn it back to Gina, who will tell you a bit more about the call to the bar.

Gina Haros:      Thanks, Paul.  So I'll be telling you, as Paul mentioned, a little bit about your call to the bar of Ontario, and, as most of you know, the call is the final step in what will no doubt feel like a very long and challenging process.  It's also a wonderful and well-deserved moment for you and your loved ones.  Recently, as a result of the ongoing health situation, we transitioned last year to an administrative call process which doesn't require candidates to be in attendance in order to be called. 

What this means is that candidates, as they complete their requirements, they will be contacted by Licensing & Accreditation, and provided with the next steps regarding their licensure and what else needs to be filed in order to facilitate that.  

I'm going to move on and talk about some resources that are available to candidates in the process now.  The Law Society has two financial assistance programs in place to assist candidates in the process.  Information is available online right now regarding the Law Society's Monthly Payment Plan and the Law Society's Repayable Allowance Program for the 21/22 licensing year. 

I would urge you to check out the information and note that there are spring deadlines associated with each of these programs, and they're outlined on the Dates to Remember section of the website.  Candidates should be mindful of those dates when making arrangements to pay, so that they don't delay access to materials and the registration for their online examination. 

The Monthly Payment Plan allows you to pay an exam or study material and/or experiential training fees in five or 10 pre-set equal monthly instalments during the licensing year.  There are two plans that commence this spring, one that commences this fall and one that commences in the winter.  You can select whichever plan suits your needs, but again, be mindful not only of the enrolment deadlines and the start date of the program, but also consider when the payment plan ends, as you won't be able to be licensed until the plan is over or the fees are paid in full. 

The Repayable Allowance Program is a loan that can be granted if a candidate meets the required criteria and has exhausted all other avenues for tuition funding of licensing fees.  In addition to the financial assistance information, other supports available are examination accommodation.  In addition, the financial assistance programs, the Law Society provides other forms of assistance to candidates in the process. 

The Examination Administration Team aims to improve the test environment for students who are otherwise unable to comply with some of the conditions of the licensing process by providing accommodation.  When you applied online, you were asked whether you planned to seek an accommodation and were required to provide supporting forms and documents for such a request. 

If, however, at this time you're a person with a condition or an emerging need that requires accommodation for exams, please see the Candidate Support section of the website to review the information on how and when to seek an accommodation.  Accommodation requests and all supporting forms and documents related to the request should be emailed directly to the confidential email account listed online to ensure privacy and that it is reviewed and assessed by an Accommodations' Coordinator. 

The updated information should now be posted on the Candidate Supports page, as I mentioned.  Another support available by the Law Society, or from the Law Society, is when a candidate is unsuccessful on an examination, they can reach out to us to obtain tutoring services.  And candidates who request tutoring services will be connected with a tutor for up to five hours of tutoring paid for by the Law Society.  Again, all of this information is online at Becoming Licensed/Candidate Supports. 

Some of the dates to remember we touched upon very briefly, but once again I encourage you to visit and bookmark the Dates to Remember page on the website, as well as the Online Examination Information for 21/22, to review the relevant due dates for the examinations, accommodations and all of those programs.  Be mindful that the new deadlines that apply to your 2021 licensing year will be posted as they become available, in addition to the exam dates, which we expect will be posted – candidate schedules will be posted later on this month. 

For the time being, refer to your web account, where all of the invoices are posted, as they too have deadlines indicated on them for payment, and I do see a couple of questions in our Q&A section relating to deadlines for experiential training which we'll address in the Q&A portion.  In terms of how to pay fees, candidates pay their fees primarily online, but other options on how to pay are outlined on your invoices as well as in the Fees and Forms section of the website.   

As I mentioned earlier in the presentation, the examinations are  typically held in the summer, fall and winter of each licensing year.  Since we've transitioned from a one-day in-person exam to an online exam delivery method, there are actually multiple dates and what we call windows, as I said before, to choose from in order to complete for your examination. 

We do anticipate when we post the candidates' summer exam dates this month that they will be held in June, once again, and we anticipate also posting further information for the rest of the licensing year some time in April. 

Once the candidates meet the payment deadline for exam and material fees, we'll send you information to your online account regarding how and when you'll be able to select the precise date and time with the online examination provider.  So although you select your summer, fall or winter exam date with the Law Society, once the registration deadline for that sitting passes, we'll be sending you more information with the provider in order to select your date and time.  

And now I'll hand it over to Ken for some final words.

Ken Osborne:   Thank you very much, Gina, and thank you Paul for your assistance on this webcast today.  We are 52 minutes into the webcast; we've completed the presentation portion of it.  We're receiving quite a few questions and I would encourage you to start sending in questions, if you haven't done so already, and we'll endeavour to address as many of them as we can. 

I do want to mention that some of the questions that we have been receiving relate in some respects to personal circumstances that frankly, are just best addressed with a representative of the Law Society directly, so that you can address your personal issue, and we can provide a bit more targeted response and guidance to you.  Generally, for today, what we're trying to do is address questions of a general application that would be appropriate and beneficial to all candidates who are on the webcast. 

So again, any questions that might relate to personal circumstances in terms of your registration, I would ask that you direct them to our licensing process staff, either through your online account or with a telephone call to the Law Society.  So with that, I would open up the session for questions and Gina, if you could assist me with that, I'd appreciate it.

Gina Haros:      Sure.  So a recurring question that we're starting to get in now is if we can clarify the registration process with the proctor or provider once registration is complete for a window.  And Ken, I don't know if you would like to speak to that, or I can chime in, if you like. 

Ken Osborne:   I'm sorry, Gina, I'm going to ask you to repeat that question please.

Gina Haros:      Sure.  The question we're getting is for us to clarify and provide a little bit of information as to how candidates would register for a sitting.  And I can take that on, if you like.

Ken Osborne:   If you don't mind, please.

Gina Haros:      OK.  So as I mentioned towards the tail-end of the presentation, what will happen is that you will be sent information after the registration deadline as to the links for you to select your date and time with the provider.  So all of the registration, once you've paid and registered with the Law Society, we will then connect you with the provider and you will be given information as to how to select the date and the time for your sitting, for both Barrister and Solicitor.

Another question that we seem to be getting a lot is – Paul, I don't know if you can answer or provide a little bit of information in terms of paid articling positions and touch upon maybe LPP paid positions?

Paul Opolski:    All we can really say is that at present there is no mandatory minimum salary requirement, so it is possible that some articling positions may be unpaid, and the same goes with LPP.  But as Ken mentioned, at least as far as LPP goes, at least 70% of them are paid, and we of course hope that that number increases.

Gina Haros:      Great, thanks.  Another question here, Ken, is whether or not the candidates can write the Barrister and Solicitor exams before starting their articling or whether they can do it throughout, so a question on timing.

Ken Osborne:   Sure, I can take that question.  As I mentioned at the early part of the presentation, the licensing process is designed in a way that allows candidates flexibility to determine when they wish to take the licensing examinations and complete the articling or the LPP experiential training process.  So yes, you can article first, or complete the LPP program first and then decide to write your examinations afterwards. 

The requirement essentially is to complete the elements of the licensing process within a three-year licensing term, and the way we have structured the examinations, really for a considerable amount of time, is that we offer those examinations in the summer, in the fall and in the winter.  And candidates can choose the best window or option for taking those examinations, based on the available schedule that we have.  So, you very much control the process, to some extent, to determine when you are ready to undertake the various elements, so long as you can complete them within a three-year term.

Gina Haros:      Thanks, Ken.  I have another question here about conferral dates on transcripts that are sent by the law schools.  The candidate is asking whether a conferral date is required.  And for the Law Society's purposes, yes, we would require a conferral date on the final transcript.  Sorry, I had some feedback there, everyone. 

Ken Osborne:   Gina, I have a question here which is similar, to some extent, to what I just responded to.  And the question is, is there any penalty for taking a break between writing the licensing examinations and articling.  And again, the answer to that really is no. You have the ability to complete the process within the time available, which is three years, and again, if you wish to write the examinations first, you may do so, followed by articling or the LPP. 

Conversely, if you wish to article or complete the LPP, you may do that and do your examinations afterwards, or you may actually decide that you wish to do them together and that option is also available, as you can complete both the experiential training requirement and the licensing examinations at the same time, if that is what you choose to do.

Gina Haros:      Right, I have a question here about whether or not candidates need to start a placement by April 1st in order to be called to the bar next June.  And that is not the case.  So candidates who expect to be called next year, either in May or June, typically commence their articles in August.  And so, we're still in the process of the 2020/2021 licensing year, so you may be confused about that information. 
But in terms of candidates who are articling starting this summer, we anticipate that if they do an eight-month placement, they'll be done somewhere around April or May.  Alright, just scrolling through the questions here. 

Ken Osborne:   Gina, I have a question.

Gina Haros:      Go ahead, Ken.

Ken Osborne:   Sorry, I have a question here that I think Paul could perhaps assist us with, and the question is, what is the criteria and process for applying for an exemption from the experiential training component?

Paul Opolski:    Yes, I've seen that pop up a couple of times.  So if you are licensed in another common law jurisdiction and you have at least 10 months of practice experience from that common law jurisdiction, you may qualify for an exemption from the experiential training program.  There is an application process for that.  You can check out our website which will outline everything that you need to submit and how we consider these applications.  If you are granted an exemption from the experiential training program, you do still need to pass the licensing examinations. 

And I saw another question that someone asked whether as a foreign-trained lawyer should I apply for an exemption or should I still article or do LPP.  Because of course you can, even though you may qualify for an exemption.  You may still choose to article.  That's really a personal decision that I think you have to make for yourself.  There are definitely some lawyers who do that, but I think you have to decide for yourself if you think you would benefit from doing an articling term, despite possibly qualifying for an exemption.

Gina Haros:      Thanks, Paul.  I see a couple of questions regarding foreign-trained lawyers and what they would need to submit in order to sit the examinations.  I encourage you all to send us a message through your online account, basically to clarify if you are going through the NCA process, then the NCA certificate is what would be required by the LSO.  And that has to be sent in before the examination registration deadline in order to qualify.

Ken Osborne:   Gina, I have a question here.  If I may, I can respond to it.  It is a question related to whether the licensing examination materials change every year, and the answer to that question is yes, licensing examination materials are developed for each specific licensing cycle. 

So as we approach the start of the new licensing cycle on May 1st of this year, we will be issuing a new set of licensing materials which will be available to you and will support the examinations that are occurring within licensing cycle 2021/2022.  So the materials that we'll be issuing in the coming month or two will support the examinations that will occur in the summer, fall and winter of 2021/2022. 

Gina Haros:      Great, thanks Ken.  A couple of questions here that I'd like to address in terms of the June exam and scheduling.  I mentioned at the end of the application that we intend to post some tentative summer dates for everyone this month, and then firm those up next month in April. 

We do anticipate that the exam windows for Barrister and Solicitor will still remain for the most part in June, so  coming off a COVID year, so to speak, we're trying to normalize and get back to the schedule that we previously had.  And so, we do anticipate that the summer exam will be held in June for Barrister and Solicitor.  And again, we'll be messaging candidates through their online accounts and posting information in the coming weeks and months. 

Paul, I have a question here about rewriting an exam, whether rewriting an examination will affect their articling position.  Do you want to speak to that?

Paul Opolski:    Sure.  It may affect your articling position to the extent that you may have to take some time off in order to prepare for that exam, and of course to write that exam.  And if it's not your first attempt at the licensing examination, your principal is not required to give you the seven days off to prepare, as they would if it was your first attempt.  So to the extent that you may require some time off in order to write or prepare for the exam, it could be affected that way.

Gina Haros:      Thanks, Paul.  Ken, I have a question here about whether or not candidates can write the exams even if they're abroad.  Do you want to comment on that?

Ken Osborne:   Absolutely.  The answer to that is yes, but I'd like to caution those candidates, because we can experience from time-to-time technical difficulties resulting from weak internet connectivity from other countries. So you really have to be mindful about the technical requirements for the online examination.  If you choose to write from abroad, you may do so, and we're available to support that examination. 

But it's critically important that you ensure that you have the proper location, technical and connectivity requirements in order to support that exam.  And not all services are the same, so just be mindful of that.  The opportunity exists to write from overseas, but connectivity can be an issue, depending on the services that are available in the country that you're writing from.

Gina Haros:      Right, thanks, Ken.  I have a question here that I can address about the study materials and timing for receiving them.  So a candidate  – asks how much time it will take to receive the printed copy of the materials if they place a shipping request. 

And as I mentioned earlier, candidates who pay by the April 15th deadline will be eligible to start receiving information on the materials the following Monday, so the 19th.  So presumably, you'll be able to place your shipping request on that date, and it normally takes about three to five business days, depending on where you are. 
But while you await a shipment of your materials, you'll still have access to your online resources so that you can commence studying; but the actual paper copy will take some time.  And unfortunately, we don't have too much control over Canada Post or the other providers that ship out these materials, and it also does depend on how far you are. 

Ken,  I see some questions here about the articling fee and the timing surrounding payment for articling.

Ken Osborne:   Absolutely.  Would you mind clarifying I guess the recent invoicing that we did earlier in February and perhaps discussing how that invoice can be addressed?

Gina Haros:      Yes.  So candidates are asking about the April 15th deadline versus the June 15th deadline.  So April 15th is the deadline to pay for materials if you want to start receiving them right away.  So that's one thing.  The other thing is the examination fee is also due on that date, if you are intending to sit the summer examination. 

Now, following that initial release of invoicing for the fees, we also send a follow-up message indicating that although your invoice states April 15th for experiential training, you do have up to June 15th to pay or make arrangements to pay.  And we've had some students contact us, understandably, to enquire about payment plans or difficulty paying, so there is information online in terms of some of the payment plans that you can enrol in. 

But if you do have a particular concern and feel that you will have an issue with meeting any of these dates, I encourage you before those dates arrive that you contact our office for any further information or resources that might be available.  Ken, anything to add?

Ken Osborne:   No.  I can respond to a couple of questions that I'm seeing regarding shipping costs, if you like.  And additionally, there's a question that I see regarding the examination timelines that I'd like to address, if you don't mind, Gina.

Gina Haros:      Yes.

Ken Osborne:   So first, shipping costs.  Traditionally, in previous years, when we were not in the current circumstances that we were in, we offer in-person examination materials pick-up.  That obviously cannot happen at the moment, and , as a result we've made some adjustments.  In 2020 the Law Society paid to have materials shipped to candidates, wherever they were, either in Canada, US or overseas, and we're extending that again to this year. 

So in terms of the shipping costs or the hard copy shipping costs to candidates, the Law Society is paying those costs as part of the exam material fee.  So they will be sent to you at no cost, or I think it's like a nominal cost of a penny or something like that for our invoicing purposes.  So that I hope will assist candidates heading into the licensing cycle to allay and mitigate some of the impacts that the pandemic has been having on all of us. 

The second question is related to the exam length.  At the moment, going into this new licensing cycle, just like the licensing cycle 2020, the examination length is four hours.  So it is comprised and broken up into two parts, as was mentioned earlier in the webcast.  Part one is two hours in length; it's then separated by a 30-minute break, and then part two commences, which is also two hours in length, for a total time of four hours.

So again, the length of the exams is four hours and you may recall, I suppose, from candidates from previous years, that the licensing examination was seven hours in length previously.  So we have now shortened it for the online licensing examination format to a four-hour examination. 

Gina Haros:      Right, thanks Ken.  Just going through to get some questions here.

Ken Osborne:   I see a question, Gina, regarding how examinations are scored.  I can address that, if you like.  OK, so examinations are scored on a pass/fail basis.  It's quite simple.  You meet the standard that's been established by the profession for entry-level competence, which is a score that's been assessed for the examination based on input from our profession.  Candidates meet or exceed that score to pass the examination. 

Candidates that do not meet that score fail the examination.  We do not use any bell-curve process.  It's quite simply, the candidate's ability to perform and demonstrate competence on the examination that we're assessing, so it really doesn't matter how far past the line you go.  The point is that you've crossed the line and you've met the requirements of competence for that examination.  So the exams are scored on a pass/fail basis.

Gina Haros:      Thanks Ken.  A couple of questions here in terms of making payment and whether or not any alternative forms of payment are accepted when candidates pay online.  We only accept credit cards, so that information is on our Fees and Forms page on the Billing section. 

There are other ways to pay that are also listed there, but you cannot do that online, you'll have to do it by way of certified cheque or money order to our finance department.  But all of the information is posted on our website under Fees and Forms in the Billing section, and on your invoices - I believe there are links there as well. 
I also see some questions about a mandatory date to commence articling and whether or not it's applicable to both eight-month and 10-month articling terms.  I can speak to that, if Ken and Paul, you're alright. 

Ken Osborne:   Sure, go ahead, Gina.

Gina Haros:      The mandatory date as is referenced here is really not mandatory.  There is flexibility as to when candidates can begin their articles - I want to start off by saying that.  The calculation on when they'll be eligible to be licensed if they do commence in August, an eight-month person will likely be eligible to be licensed in April or perhaps May, depending on when they start.  And then a 10-month person will likely be licensed in June. 

So it totally is dependent on when you begin, how long you'll be articling, if you took any extra dates, and things of that nature.  So that's a specific question for our articling team, once you know a little bit more information about your placement and your start and end date, and they'll be able to guide you through to give you a sense of the earliest that you'll be able to be licensed.

Lots of questions coming in here.  There are some questions as well about contracts that were initially signed for 10 months and now that we've reduced the requirement to eight months, people are enquiring what to do in terms of their articling placement.  And again, that's a question for our articling team, so I do encourage you to either message us through your online account or call the articling team, so that they have the full information in front of them when they provide you with some guidance and information.

Paul Opolski:    Just on the eight-month period, I see someone asked if the eight-month minimum applies to international articles as well, and the answer is yes, it does; it applies to the international, national articling placements as well.

Gina Haros:      Thanks Paul.  We have a question here, Ken, about the call to the bar ceremony at Roy Thomson Hall.  Do you want to address that? 

Ken Osborne:   I'm sorry, the question relates to whether the call to the bar ceremony takes place at the Roy Thomson Hall?

Gina Haros:      For next year.  I think that candidates are curious to see whether or not an administrative call or a live ceremony will be available.

Ken Osborne:   I see.  So, for licensing cycle 2021/2022, at least for the near term and certainly going into the summer, and likely into the fall, we can expect administrative calls to be the process for which licensure will be given to or afforded to candidates.  Until we see a fundamental change in the Public Health circumstances that allow for a broader attendance, in-person attendance at events, we can expect that we're going to be limiting those interactions for the time being. 

And that really is part of the Law Society's need to be seen as good stewards, be responsible in terms of our processes, and to ensure that we are not really seen to be acting in a way that's counterproductive to what our community requirements expect of us and the law.  So for the time being, the call to the bar ceremony as an in-person ceremony is in abeyance, and we're moving with the administrative call processes. 
I just want to mention one thing about the call to the bar ceremony, it's important to stress that it is a ceremony; it is frankly nothing that cannot be achieved through the administrative process in terms of licensure.  And our focus is on assuring licensure and that candidates are given the ability to achieve that goal and that candidates that meet it are accessing the ability to provide legal services. 

The ceremonial component really is secondary to the idea that what the Law Society is endeavouring to do in meeting its requirements under the Law Society Act is to issue licenses to those individuals who meet the minimum requirements of eligibility for that license.  The call to the bar ceremony really is just pomp and pageantry; it is a sidepiece to the more important critical element, which is licensure as a lawyer or a paralegal in the Province of Ontario. 

Gina Haros:      Right, thanks Ken.  Paul, we have a question here about whether or not an NCA student can register for articling before the Certificate of Qualification reaches the Law Society.  Do you want to quickly answer that one?

Paul Opolski:    Sure.  I don't believe that you can.  We need to have your Certificate of Qualification before you can register with the licensing process.  Gina, do I have that right?

Gina Haros:      Yes, correct.  Just scrolling here to get some more questions.  A couple of questions that I'll take on in terms of candidates who are still seeking articles and enquiring how late they can enrol in the LPP in the event that they're not able to secure articling.  So the deadline to enrol, register and pay for the LPP this year is June 15th, and so you would have up to that date to enrol in the LPP.  We do have candidates that come to us after that deadline and those are reviewed on a case-by-case basis in order to be allowed to enrol after that date, but that is the official deadline. 

Also, some questions here about whether or not it's possible to write the Barrister and Solicitor exams during the LPP program.  It's not recommended that candidates write the examinations while they're doing their work placement component.  It's not forbidden either, but it is certainly not recommended.  But you are able to simultaneously write your exams while you're completing the experiential training program.

Just scrolling through the questions here, everyone, bear with me.  So questions here about the call to the bar ceremony and if candidates are precluded from attending an in-person ceremony in the future, even if they've already been granted the formal licence.  Ken, I'm going to go ahead and say that any ceremony is only for those candidates that are being licensed at that time, so there wouldn't be an opportunity for past candidates to join a future call to the bar once they've been licensed – first, for capacity reasons. 

We just don't have the space when you factor in all the guests that'll also be attending a live ceremony, but also because everyone that is called at a call to the bar ceremony walks across the stage and we wouldn't be able to pull information from a member list, as well as the candidate list, in order to do that.

Ken, I have a question here about whether or not you can write the Barrister and Solicitor exams on different days, on different cycles, at different periods of the year.  Do you want to speak to that briefly?

Ken Osborne:   Sure.  So the examination schedule, at least as it is right now in terms of the online format, is designed to be as flexible and as available to candidates as we can possibly make it.  So again, keeping in mind that examinations are offered in the summer, fall and winter, and for lawyers, obviously, you have to complete both examinations, Barrister and Solicitor, we do try to align a set of Barrister examinations and Solicitor examinations within each of those periods of time, summer, fall and winter. 

But you can take one exam at one point, in one window, in the summer, for example, and you can decide that you wish to take the second examination in the fall or winter, or whenever later date.  The critical piece in all of this, folks, is that you have a three-year term to complete all the licensing requirements that are expected of you for lawyer licensure. 

And as long as you can complete all the requirements in that time, you can move about using that time as much as you can to meet your own individualized need.  So yes, you can,  take the Barrister exam on window one in the summer and decide that you're going to do the Solicitor exam in window two in the winter, and that's totally fine.  You can do that. 

Gina Haros:      Thanks Ken.  I have a question here, Paul – I don't know if you are able to address – someone is asking whether or not international articling placements allow for Rights of Appearance and what that would look like. 

Paul Opolski:    So if you're doing an international placement, you must conform to the rules of professional conduct and all other rules of the jurisdiction that you're in, so it really depends on where you're going and what that jurisdiction's rules have to say.  The Law Society only regulates Rights of Appearance in Ontario. 

Gina Haros:      Thanks Paul.  More questions about when people can opt out of the LPP if they find an articling position.  And I would strongly encourage anyone who's in that position to opt out of the LPP as soon as they are notified about an articling position.  And we want that to occur probably by the early point in August, because of course our LPP providers are busy preparing and matching up students for the work that will be involved in the LPP or PPD, and also, they're in the middle of a recruit. 

So we want to make sure that as soon as candidates find that they have secured an articling position and need to withdraw from the LPP, that should probably be done well in advance of the first day of the program, because of the preparation that's required.

Paul Opolski:    Gina, I saw a couple of questions just asking for study tips for the exam, which of course you covered.  There's one other resource that I want to mention, and I apologize, Gina, if you've mentioned it already.  If you did, it's worth mentioning again, I think.  You heard Ken talking about the exam and that it's testing entry-level competence.  In the Exam section of our website, there are two pages that are worth bookmarking. 

They each deal with the competencies that each exam is testing.  There's one for Barrister entry-level competencies and one for Solicitor.  I highly encourage you to again bookmark those pages, work with them, and to really incorporate them into your studying.  I think it's an excellent resource that should not be overlooked.

Gina Haros:      Right, thanks Paul.  A few more questions here as the session slows down.  Ken, I have a question here that I don't know if you want to handle.  It's an enquiry about how many questions candidates can expect for each portion of the examination. 

Ken Osborne:   So the examination – sorry, go ahead, Gina, I cut you off.

Gina Haros:      Sorry about that.  Now that the exam time, or the length of the examination has been decreased, candidates are asking approximately how many questions can they expect for each portion of the exam.

Ken Osborne:   So each exam, the Barrister exam and the Solicitor exam, is comprised of 160 questions, divided into two parts, so 160 for Barrister, 160 for Solicitor. 

Gina Haros:      Great, thank you.  We have some questions, Paul, about candidates who haven't been able to find an articling position, and maybe some information that would be helpful to them, or some direction on the website.

Paul Opolski:    Yes, so as we discussed, or as I mentioned in my portion of the presentation, we do have an articling registry on our website where employers who are looking for students will post essentially job ads, articling position ads.  So be sure to check that on a regular basis.  Articling positions pop up at various points throughout the year, so I think overall, I would say don't get discouraged if you haven't found a position right now. 

Maybe you've been looking for a month or two, don't get discouraged, like I said; these things do come up from month to month.  Sometimes it takes practitioners a bit of time to figure out if they can take a student, when they can take a student, or how many students they can take. 

So take advantage of the resources that we talked about and I encourage you to check out the mentorship program as well, so you can work with a lawyer who will – the lawyer's not going to find a position for you, but they will help give you some guidance on where to look, how to apply and so on.

Gina Haros:      Right, thanks Paul.  And of course, there is always the Law Practice program as well.

Paul Opolski:    Right.

Gina Haros:      OK, just scrolling through here.  Ken, Paul, is there anything?

Ken Osborne:   There's one question I see here again about the examinations and whether it's recommended to write them separately or not.  That decision really comes down to the individual candidate.  You know what your strengths and weaknesses and challenges are in respect of these activities, how ready you are to undertake them. 

It's important to stress that the licensing examinations, like the experiential training program, are the requirements that must be met.  And they are high-stakes requirements in a sense that licensure is depended upon your successful achievement of them.  So candidates typically will take the licensing examinations together; they'll register for bar and they'll register forsolicitorat the same time. 

Some candidates will choose to separate them to give themselves the ability to focus and do the daily tasks of life as well as work and separate those requirements out so it's not a stressor on them.  So really, it comes down to what's best for you, how quickly you wish or think you can proceed through the licensing process, given the three-year timeframe that you have to complete it, and make appropriate individualized decisions that will support your ability to get through that process in the manner that you wish to do. 

So it ultimately comes down to you and your own personal assessment as to how ready and able you are to undertake each of these requirements over the time available.
I see that we're now at 11:30.  May I bring the session to a completion? 

Gina Haros:      Yes, so I have the final slide of the presentation up with our contact information, so that coming out of this.  I know we didn't get to some of the questions that we received today, but certainly more than happy to entertain those if candidates want to contact our office.  Please don't call them right now, all at once, but we are happy to help and happy to answer the more personal or specified questions that we've received but didn't get to today. 

Ken Osborne:   OK, so just to help summarize.  Again, we have not been able to address all questions today, so you are reminded, as Gina's mentioned, to reach out to our team to discuss any licensing process, experiential training or licensing examination questions that you might have.  Also, remember you can refer those questions through your online accounts, which is also available to you.  I'd like to thank Gina and Paul for their subject matter expertise on the lawyer licensing process, and for assisting us today to bring this information to you. 

I'd also like to thank the Law Society's technical staff who work behind the scenes tirelessly to ensure that we can make these webcasts happen each and every year.  And finally, I'd like to offer my thanks to all of you, the candidates, for your enthusiastic participation.  We had lots of questions today, and that's great.  We're very pleased to answer more of your questions, so if things do come up, feel free to reach out to our team and ask us those questions. 

And again, if there's anything that we didn't get to today, then you certainly can reach out to us using the contact information that you see on your screen before you.  Also, I'd like to encourage candidates to keep track of the Law Society's developments and remain engaged with us, and again continue to watch those developments, either on our COVID webpage or on the Law Society's webpage, to ensure that you're informed and updated on developments occurring within the licensing process. 

So again, in closing, the Licensing & Accreditation Department team is first and foremost responsible for superintending the LSO's licensing process for candidates seeking licensure in Ontario.  We also endeavour to work very hard to facilitate a candidate's transition from their academic legal studies into the profession of law in Ontario.  And on behalf of the Law Society of Ontario, I look forward to welcoming each and every one of you to the legal profession at some point in the future.  Thank you very much.

[End of recorded material 01:33:16]
 

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