As Chair of the OBA’s Law Practice Program Committee, I’m pleased to provide you with more information about the program as it prepares for its August launch. As you may know, the LPP is an alternative to traditional articling being developed by Ryerson University. Ryerson is looking for feedback as it develops its program, and the OBA is ideally suited to provide comments, ideas, and advice from the practicing bar.
First, some background. The LPP is based on the skills and tasks contained in the National Entry to Practice Competency Profile for Lawyers (the National Standards). All candidates will complete their transitional training over an eight month period divided into two four-month components.
The first four months will focus on practical training. This component will run from August to December, 2014, and will see students organized into virtual law firms of 4 to 6 people. Students will conduct tasks and carry files in the areas of civil, criminal, estates, family, administrative, business, and real estate law. Their work will see them covering all the skills required by the National Standards, including oral advocacy, research, practice management, and alternative dispute resolution. They will also be trained in communication skills, ethics, professionalism and maintaining a client relationship.
After the training period is completed, candidates will begin a four month work placement. These placements will be in large and small firms, as well as in government offices, NGOs, clinics, and corporate law departments. The placements can be situated anywhere in Ontario, and candidates will be paid for their work.
How to get involved
There are many ways for you to participate in the LPP. You can start by visiting our website at oba.org/lpp and giving us your input about how to make the training as strong as possible. You can also review the following opportunities that Ryerson has presented:
You might choose to be a Mentor, and support and guide the candidates through their learning exercises (about 4 hours per week between September and December).
You might choose to be a Subject Matter Expert, offering support in specific practice areas to Mentors (about 2 hours per week between September and December).
Another opportunity for lawyers is to be an Assessor, evaluating candidates on their various assignments (for specific periods of time between September and December).
You could also become a Work Placement Host, offering a full-time, four-month work placement opportunity at your firm or organization.
Participation in the first three roles is virtual, and Ryerson is hoping for involvement from across the province. Although the key practice areas are civil, criminal, estates, family, administrative, business, and real estate law, lawyers from all sections could make a great contribution as mentors, assessors, and work placement hosts.
If you have any questions about the LPP, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.