A Long Road to Licensing - An ITL's Tale & Personal Experience

  • 24 mai 2021
  • Chigozie Enwereuzo

Yes, a long road. It has been eight years and counting in my quest to obtain an Ontario license to practice law. I took a longer route than the typical internationally trained lawyer (ITL). My plan on landing in Canada was to obtain employment in the legal field that would enable me to fund my licensing activities as well as pay my bills. Even though I obtained a junior legal assistant job at a family law firm, circumstances made it imperative to seek alternative employment in order to shore up my income.

I decided to expand my search for employment beyond the legal sector, a mind-set that led me to pursuing a diploma in supply chain and logistics management and an opportunity to intern at a customs brokerage company as a customer service representative. At some point, I set my mind on going the route of entrepreneurship in the creative sector and followed that quest by studying fashion design at the Toronto Film School. On graduation, I was immediately offered admission to study for a bachelor’s degree in business administration (“BBA”) by Yorkville University, a sister organization to Toronto Film School.

With a Canadian BBA degree, I decided to weave my path back into law through obtaining an Ontario law clerk certification. Through a government-funded program for foreign immigrant professionals, I got a law clerk intern position at a mid-sized full service law firm on Bay and was hired on a full-time basis at the end of my internship. I worked as a legal assistant with the Corporate Commercial group and later got promoted to a junior law clerk position. After almost three years being exposed to corporate commercial law practice, I was laid off, just as I was offered admission by Osgoode Hall Law School (“Osgoode”) to study for a Master’s degree in Canadian Common Law as my preferred pathway to obtaining the NCA’s Certificate of Qualification.