Monday, October 17, 2016

Precedent magazine calls "bullshit" on Law Society over call to cancel alternative to articling

Precedent magazine, the lifestyle magazine for Ontario-based lawyers, has published an editorial saying that doing away with the Law Practice Program (LPP) would be a "bullshit move" by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Now in its 3rd year  and, as a pilot,  taught in English at Ryerson University and in French at the University of Ottawa,  the LPP provides an alternative route to becoming lawyers to the traditional articling system that offers fewer places every year. 

The Law Society is expected to vote November 9 on whether to accept a committee's recommendation to discontinue the LPP.
"Do you want to help law grads from racialized groups get called to the bar? Do you value mature students who went to law school after a previous career or having children? And do you want our profession to welcome foreign-trained lawyers who reflect Ontario’s diversity? 
"If that’s the world you want, you should be on high-alert. Something is about to go terribly wrong," the editorial said. 
Paradoxically, a report from the Professional Development and Competence Committee of the Law Society says the program should be scrapped, though its own research shows that it helped mature and racialized students to become lawyers, as was intended. The committee argues that LPP grads are less likely to pass the bar on their first try than articling students and that there is a stigma attached to going through it because many students see it as a second-tier option.
"To state the obvious: of course today’s students see the LPP as a second choice! Who wouldn’t prefer an articling job to a new program already pre-judged by the powers-that-be? But we should fight stigma, not succumb to it. We should also think long-term. We may need this program dearly in the coming years, as the number of big-firm articling jobs continues to fall each year
"Now for the most enraging part of the report. The committee says that the stigma attached to the LPP runs so deep that it may never disappear. And how does it suggest we protect racialized and mature law grads from stigma? By cancelling the LPP and making it more difficult for them to become lawyers in the first place. Well, thanks for nothing."

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