While it’s too early to declare Ontario’s English- and French-language Law Practice Program an overnight success after just one year, it’s interesting to consider its successes and breakthroughs, and acknowledge it’s a program many law grads might have benefited from in the past — perhaps more so than from traditional articling.
After a few weeks of law school Frances Mahon boldly went to professor Alan Young’s office at Osgoode Hall Law School and in her words, “begged him for a job.” His response to her plea was disappointing yet encouraging at the same time. “He said: ‘Come talk to me in the summer when you actually know something and you’re not a baby law student,’” recalls Mahon, who would later that year begin a two-year journey working on one of the most pivotal cases in recent Canadian history.
Randy Campbell sits at the front of the class, usually without neighbours. “I like to feel like it’s just me and the professor,” says the University of New Brunswick law student of his spot in the lecture hall. “Nothing to distract me.” Wearing a collared shirt and grey dress pants, the 32-year-old sits with exceptional posture, typing his notes into prepared case brief templates. Campbell fills each box from issue to reasoning before moving on to the next, keeping pace with the lecture. While his classmates succumb to temptation at lulls in the lecture, Campbell’s screen does not waiver from the notes. No Facebook. No Buzzfeed.
|Photo: Claudio Calligaris|
Ontario’s new law practice program has taken flight providing budding lawyers with the opportunity to get their licence to practise law outside the traditional articling structure. Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa will be running the concurrent three-year pilot programs in English and French. There has been much fanfare, discussion, and gnashing of teeth about the LPP but the rubber is finally hitting the road on this seismic shift in legal licensing.