About

Dialogue on Licensing

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 was to formulate long-term recommendations for an appropriate and sustainable licensing system for lawyers in Ontario.

In the spring of 2017, the Law Society engaged directly with the professions and stakeholders and held a series of facilitated in-person and webcast discussions about the realities, challenges and opportunities of lawyer licensing.

Drawing on those discussions and extensive research, the Law Society’s Professional Development and Competence Committee developed four options for pathways to licensure (PDF) and the Law Society consulted with the profession and others on the four options from May to October 2018. Consultation activities included a call for input through written submissions, facilitated focus groups held across the province and several in-depth telephone interviews.

On December 10, 2018, the Law Society of Ontario’s governing body approved the Current Model with Enhancements option for lawyer licensing. This model retains articling and the Law Practice Program/Programme de Pratique du droit (LPP/PPD), with significant enhancements.

Enhancements include paid articling and LPP/PDD work placements in accordance with Law Society requirements, with limited exceptions. Measurements, audits, or other forms of monitoring will also be provided for greater oversight of articling and LPP/PPD work placements. In addition, mandatory education and training will be required for articling principals and LPP/PPD work placement supervisors.

The following recommendations from the Professional Development and Competence Committee were also approved by Convocation:

  • Candidates will continue to have the flexibility to complete the Barrister and Solicitor Licensing Examinations and a transitional training requirement in any sequence, within three years;
  • Consideration of some form of skills testing in the licensing process, as outlined in the report, to be further considered by the Committee; and
  • The Law Society will reach out to the legal academy to explore areas of collaboration in integrating more experiential learning into the law school experience.

To allow time for development, these enhancements will be implemented May 1, 2021.

See Full Report (PDF)

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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

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Articling Program

or

Law Practice Program

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Good Character Requirement

Call to the Bar of Ontario (Become Licensed)