On November 21, 2013, the Law Society of Upper Canada approved a motion by its Articling Task Force to implement the Law Practice Program (LPP) – an alternative to traditional articling. This pilot program has been initiated in response to Ontario’s articling crisis. In 2012, 15% of applicants were unable to secure articling positions. This equates to approximately 400 unemployed law graduates.
The LPP comprises of an 8 month program, 4 months spent in skills-training courses, and 4 months spent in a co-op work placement. According to the National Post, many of these work placements will be unpaid positions at small or rural firms. The Law Society of Upper Canada published a news release on November 21, 2013 confirming that Ryerson University will provide the LPP skills-training courses to English students, while French students enrolled in the LPP will attend the University of Ottawa. Beginning in 2014, Ontario law graduates may elect to article with a firm or participate in the LPP in order to become a licensed lawyer. For more information on the LLP, see http://www.lsuc.on.ca/uploadedFiles/pathways-fact-sheet-EN.pdf.
How this program will affect the legal industry in Ontario remains to be unseen, but we’ll be watching.