|Photo: Gavin Young|
In July 2001, 14-year-old Navratan Fateh arrived in Canada from the Indian state of Punjab with his parents and younger sister. They settled in Surrey, B.C., and the young teen soon loved his new home, developing a fascination for the Canadian education system. He found it more organized and analytical than India’s system, as he was encouraged to express his creativity rather than memorize facts. But then came the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. Being Sikhs, Fateh’s family feared that they might face possible repercussions in Canada so they moved back to India once he finished Grade 8.
|Photo: Naomi Lear|
A growing shortage of articling positions has left hundreds of law grads saddled with the prospect of having run up massive student debts for a shot at a profession that has no room left at the inn. The problem — primarily concentrated in Ontario, although British Columbia appears to be experiencing a minor shortage as well — has a simple explanation. More prospective lawyers than ever before are seeking entry to the legal profession, especially practitioners trained outside Canada. Stats show that in 2006, the Law Society of Upper Canada accepted 1,400 registrants to its licensing program. That number spiked to 1,750 in 2010. Meanwhile, in 2008, 5.8 per cent of applicants failed to secure an articling position within their first year of eligibility. That number rose to 12.1 per cent in 2011.
More than a few times as I’ve wandered the halls of the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria during my first two years of law school, my grey hair has caused otherwise intelligent (I’m sure) people to mistake me for a professor. Of course, they rarely make that mistake after I open my mouth during class, when it quickly becomes apparent that I’m like every other student trying to make sense out of this mystifying thing called “the law.”
Since late 2008, the Bowmanville, Ont., branch of the Clarington Public Library has been like a second home to Osgoode Hall Law School student Corinna Traill. After winning her spot at Osgoode, she decided to move home to her parents’ house in the town east of Toronto, and make the 80-kilometre commute for class. With the law school undergoing major renovations, and its library severely shrunk, Bowmanville filled the gap for Traill’s study space.