Discussion about modernizing access to the profession includes acquiring law practice management skills before being called to the bar.
The Law Society of Ontario released a paper earlier this year proposing solutions to improve the prerequisites to being called to the bar, many of which include a place for experiential learning. What seems consistent is that there is a place needed for acquiring law practice management skills before being called to the bar in order to thrive in the legal industry. This is only more obvious as practicing law involves abilities and responsibility beyond an academic mastery of the law, great work ethic, and making a good impression at an interview.
As uncomfortable as it is to point out, not all articling positions offer the opportunity to produce innovative and diverse legal practitioners with relevant or comprehensive experience upon completion of articling. This is not to say that the articling experience is without its merits, but the incentive to offer to new law grads the emotional guidance and entrepreneurial know-how needed to acquire law practice management skills is not always obvious and often comes piecemeal, if at all. There is no denying that the practice of law is a long learning process, but one can wonder if there's a way to speed it up.
Innovative programs attempt to respond to this need by offering new grads a space to experiment and develop their law practice management skills. With the fall season starting comes also the latest cohorts of Law Practice Program candidates, one in Toronto and one in Ottawa, trying out their law practice management skills in a simulated work environment. In its fifth year of operation, these types of experiential learning opportunities still have doubters skeptical of it being a worthwhile investment. What is clear is that the LPP is one of the only options that systematically teaches law practice management skills in a holistic way before entering the profession.