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Licensing Process Information Session Transcript

[Start of recorded material 00:00:00]

Ken:      Good afternoon. On behalf of the Law Society, 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 licensing at the Law Society of Ontario.
                          My name is Ken Osborne, I'm the Director of Licensing and Accreditation here at the Law Society of Ontario. This afternoon, I have with me, Gina Haros, Manager, Licensing Process, and Claire Hepburn, Manager, Experiential Training Programs.
                          I'm going to start today by taking you through some housekeeping items that will apply to today's webcast. I'm going to speak for about 45 minutes or so, and our agenda 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. We're going to leave about 45 minutes for questions after the end of the presentation, and we want to take as many of your questions as we possibly can today. Please submit your questions using the Q&A tab on your screens, located just below the webcast window. Questions will be addressed at the end, but please feel free to submit your questions to us at any point during the webcast.
                          If we don't get to all of your questions today, and you still need more information about the Law Society's lawyer licensing processes, we invite you to reach out to us via email or by phone, and we're going to provide you with that information in our contact details, at the end of the presentation. If you're not able to watch 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.
                          I'm going to begin by introducing to you the lawyer licensing process and to give you a bit of information on the context for our presentation today. I wanted 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 attitudes that new lawyers must have to practice law in Ontario today.
                          You will 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 the 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. This particular infographic, that you have now on your screen, depicts the components of the licensing process.
                          What it really speaks to is the flexibility in the process and many of the components that you must complete in order to obtain licensure, after your graduation from law school, or after receipt of your certificate of qualification from the National Committee of Accreditation.
There are three main components to becoming a lawyer in Ontario. There are two lawyer licensing examinations – the Barrister and Solicitor Examinations, there is an experiential training component and the requirements to demonstrate good character in Ontario.
                         And note that you can fulfil the experiential training requirements by completing either the Articling program or the Law Practice Program, and you'll learn more about both of these pathways of the Experiential Training program a little later in our presentation as well. As you may be aware, the Law Society launched the Law Practice Program and the Programme de Pratique du droit in 2014. The program will soon be commencing its seventh year and, effective December 10th, 2018, the Law Society's governing body or convocation adopted the Law Practice Program, the Programme de Pratique du droit and articling as the two transitional pathways in the lawyer licensing process for achieving entry level competence.
                          Overall, you will have three years to complete the lawyer licensing process. If you are applying to the licensing process, in the coming months, your three-year licensing term will begin on May 1st, 2020 and you will have until April 30th, 2023 to complete all components to become a licensed lawyer. This process is flexible and allows you to complete the components in the order that you wish, as long as you do it within the three-year term. We find that most candidates are able to complete the lawyer licensing process within about a year or so.

We are 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 about the licensing process.

Gina:                 Thanks Ken. Today I'll be taking you through some high-level information about the application process, but you can also review the more detailed section, on the website, entitled Completing the Lawyer Licensing Process Application, which outlines how to get started, and the next steps, once you’ve applied.
                          So, the current application for the 2020/2021 licensing year will be launched, next week, for applicants hoping to select the June or November 2020 sittings or the March 2021 sittings. We will notify law schools and the NCA when you may go ahead and apply via messaging. The application process begins online at LSO.ca by clicking Becoming Licensed and then selecting Lawyer Licensing Process. You'll then be taken to a page where you'll see a button called Apply Now, to start the online application process. The process is a two-part process: part one consists of the online application and payment of the application fee, and part two of the process, requires you to print and commission your application and supporting documents in order to submit them to the Law Society's Licensing and Accreditation Department.
                          When you apply online, you’ll be required to provide certain information such as the name of your law school, when you expect to graduate, when you intend to write your licensing examinations and so on. You'll also be required to answer a section regarding what the Law Society calls “good character” and make an experiential training selection at that time. Candidates may preview the good character questions before they apply by downloading the Good Character Amendment Form under the Fees and Forms section of the website in order to get an idea of the information to disclose in relation to good character.
                          Applicants who have not yet decided if they will article or complete the Lawyer Practice Program must make the most appropriate selection at the time of application. They will have the opportunity to adjust their selection, over the next couple of months, if their situation changes. The application itself takes about 20 to 40 minutes to enter online.
Once you’ve finished the online portion of the application process and pay the fee, you'll be assigned a Law Society web account. This account is what you'll log into to print out the PDF file of your application that you just created.
                          This personal and confidential web account is also where grade results and the invoices for fee payment will be sent to. It's recommended that applicants check their account weekly, once they apply, and even more regularly when preparing for the exams, commencing articles, or the LPP, and up to the time that they’re licensed. The deadline to submit the application, fee and the required supporting documents is December 2nd, 2019. An application would still be accepted after this deadline but would be subject to a late fee. The December deadline is not only to submit an application online, it’s to ensure you’ve made the payments, submitted all relevant supporting documents for that application, including your hard copy, as well. All of these have to be submitted in order to complete the application process and become enrolled in the licensing process.
                          If anything is missing from an application, Licensing and Accreditation staff will advise applicants via their web account, once their paper application and supporting documents have been received and processed. Once you fully pay and apply, you'll also start to receive other relevant information and timelines regarding study materials, distribution, examinations, invoicing and other important information regarding experiential training.
                          I did want to mention that candidates are required to follow up directly with their institution next June to request that a final transcript is sent by the law school or the NCA directly to the Law Society upon graduation. It may feel like a long time from now until next summer, but please diarize this requirement, as the final due date for transcripts must be submitted by August 7th, 2020 for those writing next year.
                          Before we move onto the competencies tested on the licensing examinations, I wanted to first mention that all candidates are required to successfully complete, as Ken mentioned, a Barrister and a Solicitor Licensing Examination, as part of their requirements. 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. Each exam is seven hours in length. They are open-book, self-study and multiple-choice examinations. The examination study materials are aligned with the required entry-level competencies and have been designed to support the self-study process.
                          The barrister examination assesses competencies in the following categories: 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 the solicitor examination also assesses competencies in ethical and professional responsibilities, knowledge of the law and practice management issues, but also focuses on case law, 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 is available online, in the examination section, and I encourage you to review them as part of your preparation.
                          For those who pay their exam and study materials fees by the spring deadline, which is April 15th, 2020, the study materials are released in late April, of each year, in a number of ways. Study materials are distributed in person, once a year, on site, at the Law Society during a two-week period in April. That timeline will be posted very, very shortly, for your reference, and once this period is over, candidates are expected to obtain and print materials either online, through their online account, under My Examination and Study Materials, or by placing a shipping request to have them shipped at an additional cost. Note that candidates cannot bring a digital copy of the materials to the exam site because only a paper copy is permissible.
                          So, if you decide not to pick up materials in person during the two-week period and instead wish to study from them digitally, you still must print them, in order to bring them to the exam testing area for reference during the exam. In addition to the study materials, candidates will also be provided with a Law Society candidate identification card when they receive their materials either during the in-person distribution or tucked into their shipment. The identification card will be what you will bring to the examination site in order to check in, on the day of the exam.
                          I'm now going to speak about some 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, setting out this information. So, it's recommended that you review all of these materials closely when you begin studying for each exam.
                          Candidates often ask our office how they can best prepare for the exams, and the short answer is that you should probably use the study habits and methods that have helped you succeed thus far. There is no one best way to prepare for these exams and the best way is whichever one works for you. We know that there are almost as many studying styles as there are candidates who write our exams, and most importantly, performing well on the licensing exams requires a strong understanding of the study materials. While the open-book format means you can bring these materials into the exam site, it doesn't mean that you can overlook the need to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the materials being tested.
                        The exams require you to analyse the information within the materials and to apply it to new situations. This will require reviewing the materials closely and at length. As I mentioned, there’s no one best way to develop your understanding of the study 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 is always a good idea to begin studying early and to do so in manageable increments, spaced out over time, as opposed to cramming all the material in long, last-minute study sessions.
                          Given that it 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 questions; make them user-friendly for yourself, is the best advice. Three suggestions for organizing your materials include: 1) using tabs or a colour-coding system to delineate certain subject areas and key topics, 2) preparing short, manageable summaries on selected topics, and finally, creating an index that lists key topics and the corresponding pages where those topics are located in your study material and notes. Some candidates may find tabbing, indexing and/or highlighting the material helpful at the outset of their preparation in order to help absorb the materials. 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 examination feeling prepared. Keep in mind, as well, that all of the questions on the licensing exams are in multiple choice format.
                          We have some material in our exam guide, online, that gives tips about maximizing your performance on multiple choice questions, which you should review during your preparation time. We also provide sample questions for both the barrister and the solicitor exam to give you a sense of the format of those 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 be aware of examination prep courses offered by other providers and it’s certainly up to you whether you wish to take courses like that, but please 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 to help maintain a calm, focused and positive attitude. Keep the goal of staying positive and focused in mind throughout your preparation.
                        We do have some tips online about how to manage anxiety that you may feel in the lead up during the examination period. On the day of the exam be prepared. As was mentioned each licensing examination is seven hours in length with a lunch break after the first three and a half hours. It is a full day event. 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 at a large venue with a very formal setup, including dedicated check-in stations, coat check and security screening areas. Remember there will be hundreds of other candidates checking in and being screened at the same time as you are. Arrive early or at the very least be on time. This is important not only to ensure that the examination is administered smoothly, but also to give you a chance to get settled into your surroundings and relieve any anxiety that may understandably come with having to write an important exam amongst many strangers in a large room.
                          Since it is an open-book multiple choice examination, you can bring in your marked-up study materials, as I've mentioned, your study notes, a dictionary etc. However, once the exam is over you must leave these items that you brought into the testing area, at the testing area. There are several important pages on our website, in the licensing and examination section, that you should review to prepare for the examination. These provide detailed information on what to expect and prepare for and will help ensure a smooth experience on the morning of the exam, including information about the security and screening procedures.
                          You should note that these are more formal and structured than you may be accustomed to from university or from other exams. These pages also include information about the check-in process, and what items to bring with you. We have lists of permitted items that you can bring into the testing area as well as prohibited items, and please review those in greater detail.             
                         Finally, you should also review the website to understand the conduct that is expected of candidates at the exam venues. We appreciate that it is a high-stakes day for candidates, and we need to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that a respectful and stable environment is maintained for the benefit of everyone. One week prior to each exam, make sure you double-check key information like the venue address, the arrival time and the check-in time. The information online is there to avoid any hiccups on the morning of the exam. Bring lots of snacks, leave your cell phone in the car and try to carve out a rare moment of calm before you begin writing. Once you check in and pass through the security screening area, you will be expected to sit in your assigned seat for the duration of the exam period, except of course when you break for lunch. So, before you know it, you'll be writing your exam.
                          Now a quick note on receiving your exam result. Inevitably, as soon as each examination concluded, candidates begin wondering about how they performed. Please note that results will not be released until six to eight weeks after the examination date. We will send your result to your confidential, online licensing account, and you'll get an email notifying you that it’s there, so there’s no need to call the office and check whether the results are out yet. Results cannot be released before that six to eight-week timeframe for several reasons. In order to ensure the integrity of the marking process, up to six to eight weeks are required to receive, grade and verify exam results, and to provide them to candidates. Exams are held not only at the large main site in Toronto, but also in other cities and venues and they are written in both official languages, so it takes some time to ensure that all those licensing exams are not only received but marked appropriately.
                          If you're unsuccessful in a licensing examination, don't panic. You can re-register for one of the subsequent scheduled exam sittings. Candidates are permitted a maximum of three attempts, at each licensing examination, within their three-year licensing term. All information regarding re-writing an exam will be sent confidentially, in a message to you, through your online licensing account. You won’t be the first or the last person to be in that situation, I assure you. So, please feel free to contact our office in Licensing and Accreditation, if you have any questions on the next steps for rewriting.
                          Finally, a note on the process for deferrals. If, closer to the day of the examination that you selected, you find you're unable to write, you must defer your examination by sending a deferral form to Licensing and Accreditation, at least ten business days prior to the examination date. Now I'll hand it over to Claire, to speak a little bit more on the Law Practice Program.

Claire:               Thank you, Gina. Now we’re going to move on to the next item on our agenda, which is experiential training. We’re going to be talking about the experiential training component of the licensing process and I will start off by telling you a little bit about the Law Practice Program or the LPP or PPD. There are two ways to complete your experiential training program. You can either article for 10 months under the enhanced articling program or you can choose to complete the Law Practice Program. 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 program 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.
 
                          The Law Practice Program runs for a total of eight months. It consists of a four-month training course and a four-month work placement. The training course begins towards the end of August for Ryerson and in early September for the Ottawa program, and runs until the end of December. The work placement will begin in January and runs until the end of April. If you select the LPP, you would register for the 2020/2021 program.
                          I'm now going to hand it over to Ken, to talk a little bit more about the work placement portion of the LPP.

Ken:                  Both the French and English programs are based on the national competency profile, which has been established by the Federation of Law Societies and has been adopted across the country. 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, but in a structured environment. It involves dynamic activities that will require you to interact with clients, lawyers, work providers and a variety of different practice areas in both French and English, depending on the program.
                          There’s also an extensive involvement with the legal profession in the form of instructors, mentors and assessors. The two programs have a slightly different format. The English program is delivered through a blended format that involves a sophisticated online learning platform with certain mandatory attendance weeks, in Toronto, at various points throughout the program. The dates of those mandatory attendance weeks will be posted later, probably towards the spring of 2020.
                          The French program, being much smaller and with fewer candidates, is delivered primarily in person in more of a seminar style. The work placement portion, as I said, is four months long, and begins in January and ends in April, and the work placements are an opportunity for you to apply what you’ve learned, in the training portion of the course, in an actual practice setting. The work providers 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 in a position in those interest areas.
                          While we cannot guarantee the four-month work placements are paid, over 70% of the placements have in fact been paid. The settings that we’re seeing for work placements are varied. They include in-house settings, quite a few legal clinic settings, government and non-government organizations and, of course, firms of all different sizes. All work placements will require that the candidate’s supervisor submit a training plan ensuring required competencies are being fulfilled, and also that the candidate and the supervisor fulfil certain assessments and filing with the LPP, PPD. Both Ryerson and the University of Ottawa have developed web pages for their particular programs. We have links to those web pages and the providers, which include quite a bit of detail on what to expect, how the programs work and those sorts of things. I encourage you to review this information as part of your preparation for the licensing process.
                          Now, I'd like to turn it back over to Claire, to address the second pathway in the Law Society's experiential training program, and that is articling.

Claire:               Thanks Ken. So, like the LPP, or PPD, articling is an enriching and rewarding training component to 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 and tutelage of an experienced principal. While articling placements vary depending on the setting, there will be common elements in each. We call these the experiential training competencies. They 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 10-month 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, we will require you 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 cultivate good habits that will ensure not only competence but success as you enter the legal profession.
                          During the 10 months of articles, you're permitted to take up to 10 business days off without it affecting the length of your placement. This time can be used for vacation, study days or sick days. If you're away from your articling placement for more than those two weeks, you may need to extend your articling term. In some cases, such as illness or emergency you may qualify for a compassionate abridgment of the articling term. If that does become an issue, please contact our office so 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. 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 10-month full-time articling placement in Ontario, the Law Society also permits, in appropriate circumstances, joint articling placements with two or more principals, part-time articling placements, national or international articling placements.

I would encourage you to consult our website if you are considering any of these alternative options as they do sometimes have additional requirements. 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 practicing lawyer who provides guidance and support to the candidates in their search process.
                          So, I would like to now go over the key filing requirements of the articling program. All 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. This isn't 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 placement. 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 hasn’t had an articling student before, it is important that you remind them to file the principal application well in advance of the placement commencing.
                          The first filing requirement, for you, falls at the beginning of your placement or within 10 business days after it starts. You must first 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 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 and ensure that their practice can still support the training plan and that no revisions are needed.
                          We also recommend reviewing the Experiential Training Plan periodically throughout your placement. It is important that before and during your placement you check your online licensing account often, since that is 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.

At the end of the placement, you must file a form called the Certificate of Service under Articles. Your principal also signs this form. If you intend to be called in June, there is an early filing deadline of April 1st by which you need to have filed the Certificate of Service under Articles form. Also, at the end of the placement or by April 1st for candidates being called in June, you are 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 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.
                          To sum up, there are three key documents that you will be responsible for filing with respect to your articling placement: the Articles of Clerkship at the beginning of the placement, a Certificate of Service under Articles and an online Record of Experiential Training or RET at the end.
                          The next item that I will be discussing applies to both candidates in the LPP or PPD and in the articling program. First, I will outline the rights of appearance. 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 the work placement term.
                          During the LPP or PPD, you will be conferred certain rights of appearances 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 are 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’s governing legislation and bylaws permit candidates to appear, it is always advisable to consult any applicable enabling legislation and rules of practice or rules of procedure of that court or tribunal in question. 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 web page, 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 obliged to identify yourself as an articling student or LPP, PPD work placement candidate, and you may also use the term “student-at-law”.
                          If you’ve completed your articling placement or the LPP or PPD and you would like to continue to provide legal services, including making 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. You can find a copy of that Supervision Agreement form on our website.
                          I'll now be handing it over to Gina, to talk a little bit more about the call to the bar.

Gina:                 Now, finally, I'll be telling you a little bit about your particular call to the bar. The call to the bar ceremony is the final step in what will no doubt feel like a long and challenging process. It's also a wonderful and well-deserved opportunity for you and your loved ones to celebrate your achievement. On the day of your call you'll get a chance to wear your robes and cross over from being a licensing candidate to becoming a lawyer.
                          Once you've satisfied all the components of the licensing process and are eligible to be called, you'll receive an information bulletin, through your online licensing account, giving you all the information you need for your call to the bar ceremony, including what you need to prepare, where to rent your robes, and where you need to be on the day of the call. The call ceremonies are held in three locations in June of each year: Toronto, Ottawa and London, and there are also ceremonies in Toronto in September and January of each year. Date and venue information is posted online as it becomes available.
                          So, before we wrap up, the Law Society has two financial assistance programs in place to assist candidates in the process. I wanted to mention that in late February 2020, information will become available, online, regarding the Law Society's monthly payment plan and the repayable allowance program for the 2020/2021 licensing year. Please note, there are deadlines associated with enrolment in each of these programs, but essentially, the monthly payment plan allows candidates to pay exam study material and experiential training fees in five or ten pre-set equal monthly instalments during their licensing year.
                          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 programs, like the monthly payment plan, and the repayable allowance program, the Law Society provides other forms of assistance and supports to candidates in the process. Within the Licensing and Accreditation Department, the examination administration team aims to improve the testing environment for students who are otherwise unable to comply with some of the conditions of the licensing process by providing accommodations to these candidates.
                          If you are a person with a disability or condition that requires accommodation for exams, please indicate that you will be submitting an accommodation request with your application and ensure you provide the request form and all other supporting medical documentation by the application deadline in December.
                          Accommodation requests and all supporting forms and documents related to the request should actually be emailed directly to the confidential email account listed online in the accommodations section to ensure it is reviewed by an Accommodation's Coordinator. The updated accommodation request will be available very shortly, under the candidates support section of the website, so I encourage anyone requiring accommodation to review the form and accompanying information, should they wish to explore that service.
                          In addition to the financial and accommodations supports I've mentioned, candidates who receive an unsuccessful result on an examination may contact the Tutoring Coordinator, within Licensing and Accreditation for tutoring services. Candidates who request tutoring can be connected with a tutor for up to five hours of tutoring, paid for by the Law Society. Again, more information is available or will shortly be available on our website under the Becoming Licensed/Candidate Support section.

Once again, I encourage everyone to visit and bookmark the Dates to Remember page, on the website, for many of the relevant due dates that we've mentioned during this presentation. Please be mindful that deadlines are all in business days unless otherwise indicated, and the new deadlines that apply to your 2020/2021 licensing year, will be posted shortly, if not already.
                          Please also refer to your web account, where all invoices are posted, as they too, will have deadlines specific to that invoice, for payment deadlines, depending on when you apply.
                          So, to recap, the most imminent deadlines and dates of importance for you to me mindful of, for anyone wanting to write examinations next year, in particular in June, the first deadline coming upon us is December 2nd for the application, and the application fee. The next important date is the billing date in February, where you'll receive all of your invoices for your tuition fees, and the study materials, and lastly April 15th, 2020, will be the deadline to pay for the examination and study material fees, should you wish to write in June.
                          Most of our candidates usually elect to pay their fees online, but other options on how to make payment will be outlined on your invoices, as well as in the Fees and Forms section of the website.
                          Lastly, the licensing examinations are currently held in June, November and March of each licensing year. So please review the precise exam dates which should be posted very, very shortly for your licensing year.
                          Now, I'll hand it back to Ken for some final words.

Ken:                  Thank you Gina and thank you Claire, for your assistance on this webcast. We're about 45 minutes, now, into the webcast and we've completed the presentation portion of the webcast. We have been receiving a few questions, and I would encourage you to start sending in questions, if you haven't done so already, and we will endeavour to address them as well as we can.
                          I do want to mention that some of the questions that we are or have received relate to some personal circumstances; I just want to ensure that the types of questions, that we do receive, should be questions of a general application that would be appropriate and beneficial to all the individuals who are on the webcast.
                         Questions that might relate to personal circumstances, in terms of your registration, into the licensing process, are probably best addressed with the staff directly, and I would encourage you to contact the staff with the contact information that you will see on your screen right now. And I think that gives us the opportunity to address the particulars of your personal circumstances in the context of the licensing process requirements. This forum really is an opportunity to address matters of a general application.
                          So, we're seeing a few questions come in. Do note that some individuals may have had some technical difficulties at the beginning of the session, and they seem to be asking that we provide a recap of some of the material that we discussed and mentioned earlier in the session. What I would suggest is I just sort of reiterate what I've told to everyone on the webcast, and that was that this webcast will be available, in a few weeks' time. So, you do have the opportunity to review the webcast and the transcript in a few weeks' time. So, don't worry that you may have missed some portions of it, either at the beginning or intermittently throughout the broadcast. You can see and hear the webcast at a later date when it is posted.

Gina:                 Okay, Ken, we have a question here that I'll answer regarding when does registration become open, and I'm assuming the person posting this question is asking about the application process, and that should be either the first or second week of October. We usually aim to open the application and have candidates apply by the December 2nd, 2019 deadline.

Claire:               So, I can respond to the next question, Gina, about whether the exams are written by hand or filled out on a computer. So, currently, as was mentioned in the presentation, both licensing examinations are all multiple choice and the candidates are required to fill out answers on a scantron sheet. So, pencil and paper is still part of the process, and the scantron is read by a computer, but they're filled out by hand.

Ken:                  Gina, we have a question regarding a success on an exam, a first attempt success on an exam. How soon can an individual write a second attempt on the exam?

Gina:                 Great question. We do get phone calls on this all the time, and as soon as someone receives an unsuccessful result through their confidential email account, they can certainly go ahead and register for the very next sitting that is available. As I mentioned, the exams sittings, right now, are currently held in June, November and March. So, for example, if someone is unsuccessful in June, they can elect to write the exam again either in November, or the following March of that year, provided they still have time, within their three-year licensing term.
                          We have a couple of questions here regarding the total cost of the licensing process and I do want to direct everybody's attention, very shortly, or if not already, we've posted the new fees and forms for the incoming 2020/2021 candidates. So, you can review those too, to see what exactly is involved in terms of cost for the experiential training program, the examinations and the associated study materials. So, I encourage you to do that.

Ken:                  We have a question here related to articling placements. If a candidate experiences difficulty in their articling placement, what resources are provided by the Law Society to assist the candidate?

 Claire:              I'm happy to answer that question.  I would say the first step for any candidate who's dealing with any issues during their articling placement, they can call the articling office and set up a time to speak to council or myself. There are also other resources available through the Law Society. There is discrimination and harassment counsel, which is provided to all lawyers or anybody who's experienced harassment or discrimination by a lawyer or paralegal.
                          There's also, the member assistance plan, which is another service that's funded by the Law Society. Both that service and the discrimination and harassment counsellor are confidential services, I should note, and can be accessed through our website.

Ken:                  Just, because it's highly related, one question might be, as well, what if one experiences difficultly on the LPP or PPD? What resources are available and what steps might be considered in that context. As Claire had mentioned, for example the discrimination/harassment counsel, the member assistance program, those resources are equally available to individual candidates who are on the LPP, PPD. But considering that the structure of the program is different and that the program is being delivered by either Ryerson or the University of Ottawa, the candidate should be directing their issues back, or their concerns and questions back to the respective university that has placed them, or situated them into the work placement.
                          Having said that, as well, of course the Law Society is a final recourse or a resource that is available as well. But the first course of action is to contact the LPP or the PPD provider.

Gina:                 Ken, we have a question here. Someone is enquiring about payment fees by a third party, and how to do that. So, there is a section on the website about billing and payment information that will describe the best way to make payment if a third party is involved and I encourage you to contact our office if you have any difficulty during that process.

Claire:               So, I see another great question here. Must the bar exams be completed before starting articling, and the very simple answer is no. There's no requirement. Most candidates do, who come into the process in May or June, will write their examinations in June and begin articling, usually later in July, early August, to be eligible for the next June call, but certainly you can write the examinations at any of the sittings provided throughout the year, during your articling, before your articling or after.

Ken:                  I have a question here about writing the barrister and solicitor examination in the same month. The question is, Can I write the barrister and solicitor examination in the same month? The answer to that question is yes, of course. You have the ability to do that. Of course, you control that, to the extent that you know, if you are feeling ready, then that is something that you can do. Of course, there is no obligation on you to write in any particular month because we do offer multiple opportunities to write these exams over the course of a licensing year.
                          So, and we do that with a view of providing you opportunity to schedule and control your schedules as best you can, to ensure that you are absolutely ready to take on this particular aspect of the licensing process. But that said, individual candidates can write both the barrister or solicitor examination when they are offered in the same month. Candidates can divide up those offerings over the course of a licensing year. That is entirely within the control of the candidate.

 Gina:                Thanks Ken, just a little bit of information, further to that, to keep in mind, and you'll see, once the examination dates have been posted, that in each sitting, so in the June sitting, or the November sitting, or the March sitting, the barrister and solicitor exams are about two weeks apart, and I always mention that to candidates so that they're aware that, you know, the exams are pretty close together in terms of dates. So, you'll have to keep that in mind, when you make that decision, that they literally are one after the other, after two weeks, rather.

Ken:                  I have a question here regarding materials. So, the question is what happens if there is some change in the law after the release of the study materials and the question is, are we responsible to keep up to date on the legal developments? So, just in terms of responding to this question, the study materials are designed to provide support to the candidate to prepare for the licensing examinations within a licensing year. For example, at the moment, we're in the process of preparing and working up those materials to be effective in the spring of 2020, and they would be distributed to candidates who would be writing the licensing examinations in June, for example, as the first opportunity to write.
                          The currency date for those materials would crystallize in the spring of 2020, and it would be effective until May of the following year. So, April 2020 to May 2021. It does happen that there is changes to the law that occur within that currency period. The expectation is that those materials are to be used by the student to support their studies for the exams and that the Law Society will publish amendments or addendums that are posted and candidates are informed so that if there is information that changes that is relevant, or that we believe is relevant for candidates to know, in preparations for those exams, then that information is provided.
                          But the expectation is that the materials are reflective of the state of the law within that currency period and we endeavour to ensure that the examinations are addressing that material as best as possible.

Gina:                 Ken, we have a couple of questions related to the good character section of the application and what to disclose. I would suggest that you review the actual form, online, that lists what is to be disclosed or not, and if you have any further difficulty in deciding whether or not to disclose an item, I would suggest, strongly, to seek independent legal advice so that they can assist you in filling out the form and information.
                          I have another question here. Someone is enquiring whether they can register for a March 2020 exam, if they are graduating this December, and yes. On this application that's shortly going to go live, you will have the opportunity to select the earlier March sitting, rather than the March 2021 sitting, provided you can meet all of the requirements and provide a transcript to the Law Society, you would be able to select that on your application.

Ken:                  We have a question here regarding the examination. The question is, is the examination based on an overall score or do you have to pass each section of the exam? It is an overall score that is set for the examination. So, no, there's no individual score for each section. One overall score.
                          I'd like to encourage folks to please continue sending their questions.
We seem to have come – or nearing the end of the questions that we have here. So, if you do have questions, we'll take a couple of minutes here and see if some new questions come in.

Gina:                 Actually, Ken, I have a question here regarding the application deadline. They are asking whether they missed the deadline to apply in December, whether we'll accept the applications, and we certainly will. There is a late fee associated with it, but we definitely have a continuous intake period and registration for the different sittings depends on when you can meet the admissions requirements and the application requirements. So, all is not lost if you don't meet the December 2nd deadline. You can still apply when you have met your law school degree requirements.

Ken:                  One last opportunity. Are there any additional questions that you would like us to address?
                          Okay, it would seem that the questions have slowed down. In fact, have stopped, so perhaps I can bring our session to a conclusion and we can come to the end of the webcast.
                          First, I'd like to thank all the panellists for their knowledge and information on the lawyer licensing process. It's been a great assist today to have that information. First, I'd like to thank all the panellists again for their information and assistance with questions. It's been great to convey this information to you and to get this information out, so it assists you with the upcoming entry and admission into the lawyer licensing process. Just remember too, that there will be an archived version of this presentation, which will be available, following this session, over the next few weeks or so, and it will be available on the Law Society's website.
                          Further, I'd like to thank all of you, the candidates, for your enthusiastic participation and for your questions today. We're very pleased to answer more of your questions, so if things do come up, over the course of the licensing process time frame, feel free to reach out to our team and ask those questions. If there was any question that we did not get to, then please feel free to reach out to us using the contact information that you see on your screen before you.
                          Also, I would encourage candidates to keep track of Law Society develops and remain engaged with us, and again continue to watch the develops that are coming out with the Law Society's licensing process and remain in contact.
                          In closing, we're always pleased to answer your questions and try to facilitate a smooth transition from your academic work into the lawyer licensing process. So, feel free to reach out to us. Finally, I would like to wish all of you the best of luck with your legal studies, and the best of luck with your lawyer licensing examination preparations and the work that you will be performing in the experiential training program and we look forward to welcoming each and every one of you into the legal profession at some point in the future. Thank you very much.
 
[End of recorded material 01:00:28]
 

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