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Dialogue on Licensing: Discussing the Realities, Challenges and Opportunities of Lawyer Licensing in Ontario

Convocation, the Law Society of Ontario’s governing body, decided to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the lawyer licensing process following its 2016 review of the Pathways Pilot Project which included the Law Practice Program pilot and enhancements to the Articling Program. The goal of this analysis is to formulate long-term recommendations for an appropriate and sustainable licensing system for lawyers.

To support this analysis, the Law Society committed to engaging directly with the profession and other stakeholders. This past spring we held a series of facilitated in-person and webcast discussions about the realities, challenges and opportunities of lawyer licensing.

Discussion groups were scheduled from April through June, in Hamilton, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor, Thunder Bay and Sudbury. Each discussion group focused on one of the following four topics: The Need For Change; Market Dynamics and the Lawyer Profession; Licensing Examinations: Assessment of Entry-level Competence; and Transitional Training.

Although the discussions groups have wrapped up, you may submit written input.

Stay up-to-date by joining the mailing list.

Next steps

In the coming months, the Professional Development and Competence Committee will review the input received from the profession and stakeholders during the Dialogue on Licensing and continue its review of the lawyer licensing process as a whole.

The Committee is expected to make recommendations on the lawyer licensing process to Convocation by early 2018.

Feedback on these recommendations will be sought from the profession and other stakeholders at that time, with final decisions on the future of the lawyer licensing process to be made in 2018.

The ultimate goal is to formulate a long-term vision for an appropriate and sustainable licensing system for lawyers in Ontario.

Lawyer Licensing Process in Ontario

The purpose of the lawyer licensing process is to ensure that candidates can provide legal services effectively and in the public interest. Professional competence is achieved through a combination of knowledge, skills, abilities and judgment. To be called to the Bar of Ontario, candidates must complete the following mandatory components:

Barrister Licensing Examination & Solicitor Licensing Examination


Articling Program


Law Practice Program


Good Character Requirement

Call to the Bar of Ontario (Become Licensed)