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Career Map: Lawyer

This Career Map was updated in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade in May 2015. The information is accurate at time of writing. Requirements may have changed by the time you apply. Please refer to the Law Society of Upper Canada and National Committee on Accreditation websites for the latest information. Please contact the Law Society of Upper Canada before commencing your application process.

Copyright in this Career Map is held jointly by the Queen’s Printer for Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada, © 2015. This Career Map may be used or reproduced by any third party for non-commercial, not-for-profit purposes, if no fee, payment or royalty of any kind is charged by the third party for any further use or reproduction of the Career Map by any person. Any proposed commercial or for-profit use or reproduction of this Career Map requires a written licence from the Queen’s Printer for Ontario and The Law Society of Upper Canada.

Access to the Barrister and Solicitor Designation in Ontario

Ontario lawyers hold the title “Barrister and Solicitor.” They are also known in Ontario as counsel, corporate counsel, Crown attorneys, Crown prosecutors, general counsel, law partners, or legal advisors.

A law passed by the Government of Ontario in 1797 created The Law Society of Upper Canada, today also known as the “Law Society”. This law put the responsibility for governing the legal profession in the hands of Ontario’s lawyers. Since then, law has been a self-governed profession in Ontario.

A 48-member board of directors runs the Law Society. The directors are known as “benchers”. Ontario lawyers elect 40 members of this board of directors, and the Ontario government appoints the remaining 8 members. This board of directors meets most months, in an official gathering called Convocation, to deal with matters related to the legal profession. Convocation is the statutory body that regulates the legal profession.

The Law Society acts independently from the government, which is not involved and does not intervene in the admission, competence, licensing regulation and discipline of lawyers. The Law Society holds responsibility for overseeing these activities. In addition, under the Law Society Act, the Law Society sets out all licensing requirements for Ontario lawyers. Everyone who wants to practise law in Ontario must obtain a licence from the Law Society. Individuals who do not have a licence to practise law from the Law Society cannot represent themselves as Ontario lawyers.

Lawyers can practice law in Ontario in one or both of Canada’s official languages – English and French.

Responsibilities

Ontario’s lawyers use their best judgement and understanding of the law to assist their clients. They gather and understand the details related to a case, give their clients information on the law, and provide legal opinions or advice. They have the inter-personal skills to communicate well with their clients and in courts of law. They keep up to date on the law and legal procedures – as well as the community where they practise – through ongoing training and development to maintain their knowledge and skills. They act for the benefit of their clients, while maintaining client confidentiality and avoiding potential conflicts of interest.

The responsibilities of these well-educated and highly skilled professionals include some or all of the following:

  • Advise clients of their legal rights and all matters related to law;
  • Research legal precedents and gather evidence;
  • Plead clients’ cases before courts of law, tribunals and boards;
  • Draft legal documents such as real estate transactions, wills, divorces and contracts;
  • Prepare statements of legal opinions;
  • Negotiate settlements of civil disputes;
  • Perform administrative and management functions related to the practice of law;
  • Act as mediator, conciliator or arbitrator; and
  • Act as executor, trustee or guardian in estate and family law matters.

Who this Career Map is not for

The following professionals in Ontario may provide legal services, but are not licensed to practise law as lawyers in Ontario:

  • Paralegals, also known as Legal Service Providers. These licensed professionals can only provide legal services in very specific situations, such as matters before Small Claims Court, provincial boards and agencies, and Provincial Offences Act matters (such as driving offences) before the Ontario Court of Justice. Their education, training and examinations are very different from the education, training and examinations required to become a lawyer. In 2007, the Law Society became the regulator of this profession. Paralegals who are licensed to practise in Ontario have to comply with the Paralegal Rules of Conduct and By-Laws approved by Convocation. You can get further information on how to become a licensed paralegal or obtain further information about paralegal regulation at http://www.lsuc.on.ca/licensingprocessparalegal/
  • Foreign Legal Consultants are lawyers who are licensed to practise law in another country, and have applied and received permission from the Law Society to practise the law of that country while living in Ontario. They cannot practise the law of Ontario itself until they apply to the Law Society and meet the Law Society’s requirements to qualify for an Ontario license. Ontario lawyers can employ, partner, associate or affiliate with Foreign Legal Consultants in Ontario, but only if they do so in compliance with Law Society By-Laws, rules and policies. You can get further information on Foreign Legal Consultants at www.lsuc.on.ca/For-Lawyers/About-Your-Licence/Lawyers-from-Outside-Ontario/Foreign-Legal-Consultant-Permit
    foreignLegalConsultants.jsp
  • Legal department directors, legal firm managers. These are administrators, rather than practising lawyers.
  • Notary publics witness signatures on legal documents and certify that photocopies of original documents are true and accurate copies of the original documents. They also sign other documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards, Passport Applications and court statements, certifying that the written facts are true.

Requirements for Practising as a Lawyer in Ontario

Step 1 — Demonstrate that you have attained the educational equivalent of Ontario’s Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) or Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Receive a Certificate of Qualification from the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA). The NCA is a standing committee of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada consisting of members involved with the administration of provincial and territorial law societies, members of the practising bar, and representatives of the Council of Canadian Law Deans. The mandate of the NCA is to assess the qualifications of individuals with legal education and professional experience obtained outside of Canada, (or in a civil law program in Québec) who wish to be admitted to a common law bar in Canada.

    The assessment is based on the academic and professional profile of each individual applicant. The NCA applies a uniform standard on a national basis so that applicants with common law qualifications obtained outside of Canada can apply regardless of where they wish to practise in Canada. As a result, applicants do not need to satisfy different entrance standards to practise law in different provinces and territories of Canada.

    After reviewing an application, the NCA issues a letter to the applicant listing the subjects and/or legal education that is required (if any) to ensure that the applicant’s legal education and training are comparable to that provided by an approved law school in Canada. Once the applicant has successfully completed the NCA’s requirements, the NCA issues a Certificate of Qualification. Most law societies in Canada accept the NCA’s Certificate of Qualification for the purpose of entry to their bar admission or licensing process.

    The Certificate of Qualification is not the same as a Canadian law degree. Applicants who wish to obtain a Canadian law degree should apply to a Canadian law school.

    For more information about an NCA assessment, please visit www.flsc.ca

    or

  2. Graduate from an approved common law program. A Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) or Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program is normally at least three years long. The following Ontario university faculties offer a common law program that is approved and recognized by the Law Society of Upper Canada:

    The following university faculties in other provinces of Canada offer a common law program that is approved and recognized by the Law Society:

Step 2 — Successfully Complete the Licensing Process To Become A Lawyer

Ontario’s Licensing Process to become a lawyer has three mandatory components. You must successfully complete them all.

  1. Barrister Licensing Examination
    and
    Solicitor Licensing Examination
     

    These two self-study, open-book examinations test your knowledge of the law and your competence in skills you will need as a lawyer – skills that have the most direct impact on the protection of the public and that influence an effective and ethical practice.

  2. Experiential Training Requirement

    Candidates entering the Licensing Process may choose from two experiential training paths: the Articling Program or the Law Practice Program. Candidates must complete either the Articling Program or the Law Practice Program to satisfy the experiential training requirement of the Licensing Process.

    Candidates who have gained prior practice experience in another jurisdiction may be eligible for an Exemption from the experiential training requirement, or for an Abridgment of the Articling Program, based on their prior practice experience. Exemptions and Abridgments are discussed in greater detail below.

    If a candidate is granted an Exemption from the experiential training requirement, the candidate must take the Professional Conduct and Practice in Ontario (PCPO) course. Attendance for the 3-day interactive course is mandatory. It will provide training and discussion on the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct andselected By-Laws regarding client identity, financial management, trust accounting and practice management as applied to the practice of law in Ontario. Topics covered in the course include civility and professionalism, fiduciary duties to clients, duties to the administration of justice, ethical advocacy, client service and communication, and practice management.

    i. Articling Program

    The Articling Program is similar to apprenticeship in a skilled trade. You must work under the direct supervision of a lawyer – in a law firm, a government legal department or a legal department in the private sector – for 10 months, including up to two weeks of vacation. You may be paid for your work in an articling placement; compensation can vary between articling placements and is generally negotiated directly between the employer and employee. The Articling Program is discussed in greater detail below.or

    Articling candidates are required to complete the online Professional Responsibility and Practice course and assessment during the placement. This course will provide you with training on competencies related to professional responsibility, ethical issues, and practice management. You will immediately be able to apply the learning you receive in the course to your daily law practice activities and seek guidance and mentoring from your supervising lawyer (Articling Principal).

    For more information about the Articling Program, see www.lsuc.on.ca/articling.

    or

    ii. Law Practice Program

    The eight-month Law Practice Program (LPP) is held once per year. The program consists of a four-month training course and a four-month work placement. The English program is offered at Ryerson University in Toronto and the French LPP is offered at the University of Ottawa.he Law Practice Program is discussed in greater detail below.

Step 3 — Call to the Bar

The Call to the Bar is a ceremony where candidates who have completed the Licensing Process take the required oath, and receive the Law Society’s Certificate with the designation of “Degree of Barrister-at-Law” and the Courts Certificate that designates the recipient as a Solicitor. Acquiring these documents entitles you to practise law in Ontario. You can choose to receive the Certificates in either English or French – though you must make a written request to the Licensing and Accreditation Department if you wish to order them in both languages. The Call to the Bar ceremonies are held each year in June, September and January.

For more information on the Call to the Bar, see www.lsuc.on.ca/CalltoBar.

Certification Process to Practise as a Lawyer in Ontario

Before You Immigrate To Canada

Ontario’s Licensing Process to become a lawyer emphasizes practical skills and procedures, rather than substantive law. You must therefore be sufficiently knowledgeable in Canadian substantive law and procedure to show you are competent in at least the following subjects:

  1. Contracts
  2. Torts
  3. Property
  4. Foundations of Canadian Law
  5. Canadian Criminal Law and Procedure
  6. Evidence
  7. Principles of Canadian Administrative Law
  8. Canadian Constitutional Law (with Aboriginal component)
  9. Corporate Law
  10. Professional Responsibility
 

Applying to the National Committee on Accreditation

If you think you are eligible to enter the Licensing Process to become a lawyer by way of a Certificate of Qualification issued by the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA), you can apply to the NCA from your home country. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent Canadian resident to enter the Licensing Process or to be called to the bar and become a lawyer in Ontario. You will need to send the following documents to:

The National Committee on Accreditation
c/o the Federation of Law Societies of Canada
1810 – 45 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4
CANADA

  1. Transcripts of your post-secondary education. You will need to ask the post-secondary legal institution where you attained your legal education to send, under its seal, the final original transcripts of your law grades (or a certificate of standing) directly to the NCA. The NCA will only evaluate your education if you have completed and achieved your degree(s). Photocopies or certified copies of transcripts are not acceptable.
  2. If you have been licensed by the bar of another jurisdiction, you must provide proof of this. You will need to ask the legal institution or regulator, where you were licensed by the other bar, to submit a certificate of call or admission and a letter or certificate of good standing directly to the NCA. If you were admitted to the bar based on written examinations over and above examinations for a law degree, the legal institution or regulator where you were licensed must submit a transcript of your marks directly to the NCA.
  3. A National Committee on Accreditation Application for Assessment of Legal Credentials

    Please download the application form and instructions from the Federation website and complete the form as described in the instructions.

    You will need to type or word process your answers in English or French. You must answer all portions. If a question is not applicable, write N/A.

  4. Supporting materials. Along with the completed application form, you must provide:
    • Original transcripts of your pre-law grades, if any. You can provide a certificate of standing if a transcript is not available; and
    • A current curriculum vitae (c.v.) or résumé describing your work experience and professional development activities.

For more information regarding applying to the NCA, see: www.flsc.ca/en/nca/applying-to-the-nca

Fees

The fee for assessment is $450 (including all applicable taxes). The fee may be paid by credit card only. Other forms will not be accepted. This fee, as well as all other fees, is subject to change.

Note: The NCA will not return any original documents to you. If you want the NCA to return original documentation that you have submitted, you must also submit a separate photocopied set of the materials.

The NCA processes applications throughout the year in the order its office receives them. You will receive confirmation that the NCA has received your materials by e-mail (or mail if e-mail is unavailable). Once all documentation required to assess your qualifications has been received, you will receive your assessment result within three months.

How the National Committee on Accreditation makes its evaluation decision

The NCA will evaluate your application on an individual basis. It will base its recommendations on and take into account:

  • Your legal background – academic and professional
  • How long ago you earned your degree
  • The country where you got your legal education
  • The type of legal system in the country where you practised, such as common law, non-common law or hybrid
  • The subjects you studied
  • The content of the courses you studied
  • Your academic marks and standing in all years of the law program
  • The nature of the degree-granting institution you went to
  • The quality of undergraduate education or training you received
  • The professional qualifications you earned
  • Any relevant graduate legal education
  • The length and nature of your professional legal experience
  • Your law teaching experience

What the National Committee on Accreditation will recommend

The NCA will make one of four recommendations:

  1. You are eligible to receive a Certificate of Qualification and are therefore eligible to apply to Ontario’s Licensing Process to become a lawyer. Most Canadian common-law law societies either require or accept the NCA’s Certificate of Qualification.

    or

  2. You must demonstrate competency in specific subjects before you are awarded a Certificate of Qualification and therefore are eligible to apply for Ontario’s Licensing Process to become a lawyer. Once your qualifications have been assessed and you have received your assessment result letter outlining your prescribed subjects, there are two ways you can demonstrate competency in these subjects:
    1. Write and pass the NCA challenge examinations. The NCA provides three-hour open-book (open statutes) examinations on each subject, marked on a pass/fail basis. Four examination sessions are offered each year in Toronto with all NCA subjects offered each January and August; additional sessions for the four mandatory Canadian subjects are also held in May and October. You will find out whether you have passed or failed within approximately 10-12 weeks following the examination session. If you fail an examination, the marking professor will provide you with a detailed memorandum. You are allowed to rewrite exams you have failed, but only once. If you fail an NCA challenge examination twice, you will have to take that course at a Canadian law school.

      Information about the NCA challenge examinations, including the syllabi for the subjects and examination registration forms, are available at http://flsc.ca/national-committee-on-accreditation-nca/meeting-the-assigned-requirements/completing-nca-exams/.
    2. Seek permission to register as a special student in a Canadian law program and complete the assigned subjects as part of its program of studies. Some faculties may, before admitting you, require you to write the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Once you achieve an unconditional pass in each subject, you will need to arrange for an official transcript, under seal, to be sent directly to the NCA from the University. If you fail any examination(s), you may be eligible to apply for independent and third party evaluation of your failed paper(s), as part of the school’s regulations. Do not assume you will be able to rewrite any examinations you fail. This will depend on the rules of the law school you are attending.

    or

  3. You must take a stipulated number of courses or years at a Canadian common law school or take a specified program of studies at one of the Canadian law schools recognized by Convocation, before you are eligible to apply for Ontario’s Licensing Process to become a lawyer. You will need to obtain an unconditional pass for every credit hour of your program of studies and satisfy the law school’s overall Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements.

    The exact number of courses or years you will need to take depends on your individual background of legal education and professional experience. Your NCA assessment result letter will describe the courses you are required to complete.

    or

  4. You must apply to and pass a Canadian common law program before you are eligible to apply for Ontario’s Licensing Process to become a lawyer.

Getting into a Canadian law school

NCA applicants can seek admission into a Canadian law school to attain their law degree either as regular full-time students or, where the law school’s regulations permit, as special students on a fee-for-course basis.

Applicants applying for admission to Ontario law schools must do so through the Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS), a division of the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). Contact information for the Centre is at the end of this document.

Please note that the NCA’s recommendation will not automatically get you into any Canadian law school. You are responsible for applying to Canadian law faculties, and satisfying their academic requirements, admissions procedures and regulations. Admission into Canadian law schools is extremely competitive for Canadians as well as for qualified people from outside the country. Once you are qualified, it is wise to apply to several law schools across the country.

Deadlines for admission are:

  • November 1 for admission to first-year studies that start in September of the following year; or
  • May 1 for admission to the second or third year of the LLB program if there is space (assuming you have a Letter of Permission from your home institution to complete some or all of your legal studies at this Ontario institution, or are an NCA applicant with advanced standing who is entering the program to complete your requirements).

If you want to appeal your NCA assessment

An applicant may appeal the assessment issued by the NCA by submitting a letter to the NCA together with payment of the prescribed appeal fee, indicating the reasons for the appeal. An Appeal Panel established by the NCA considers the appeal and issues its decision on the basis of the applicant’s submission and the written documentation contained in the file. The Appeal Panel may reduce or supplement the requirements set out in the decision being appealed.

The fee for an appeal of an assessment is $280 CDN, plus applicable taxes payable by credit card only. Please review the NCA Appeal Policy prior to submitting an appeal.

NCA Appeal Panels are constituted to consider any appeals received on or before the following dates during each year: January 30; April 30; July 30; October 30.

Once You Arrive in Canada

Ontario’s Licensing Process To Become A Lawyer

No matter how much experience you may have in the legal profession in your home country, you must complete Ontario’s Licensing Process to become a lawyer. At every step of this process, you must pay all required fees.

Step 1 — Apply

To become a lawyer in Ontario, you must apply to be registered in the Law Society’s Lawyer Licensing Process. You can submit your application to the Law Society online at http://www.lsuc.on.ca/licensingprocesslawyer. Applicants who are completing the National Committee on Accreditation (“NCA”) process may begin to submit their Licensing Process application supporting documents to the Law Society before they have received their NCA Certificate of Qualification; however, such applicants will not become registered in the Licensing Process until their NCA Certificate of Qualification has been submitted by the NCA to the Law Society

The Law Society encourages NCA applicants to review the Licensing Process information available online and to contact the Licensing Process staff to discuss their individual circumstances and any applicable deadlines well in advance of applying. Licensing Process staff may be contacted by email at licensingprocess@lsuc.on.ca or by phone at 416-947-3315 or toll-free at 1-800-668-7380 ext. 3315.”

Step 2 — Licensing Examinations

You must write two examinations as part of your licensing requirement – the Barrister Licensing Examination and the Solicitor Licensing Examination. They are available in English and French.

The Barrister Licensing Examination assesses competence in ethical and professional responsibility, knowledge of the law (public law, criminal procedure, family law and civil litigation) and establishing and maintaining the barrister-client relationship.

The Solicitor Licensing Examination assesses competence in ethical and professional responsibility, knowledge of the law (real estate, business law, wills, trusts and estate administration and planning) and establishing and maintaining the solicitor-client relationship.

The Licensing Examinations may be written in English or in French. Sittings of the Licensing Examinations are offered on dates in June (Toronto, Ottawa, London and Windsor), November (Toronto and Ottawa) and March (Toronto and Ottawa).

Each Licensing Examination is seven hours in length. You do not have to take formal classes to prepare for them. You can study on your own. The Law Society will provide you with the study materials – in English or French – that you will need. You will be allowed to mark these study materials and take them with you into the examination testing area. Once you have completed the examination, you will have to leave behind all materials you brought with you into the examination testing area.

The Law Society’s Support Services staff for the Licensing Process offers assistance to persons who may need special accommodations because they have a disability, impairment or other reason covered in the Ontario Human Rights Code. This assistance may include offering examinations in audiotape, Braille and text-to-speech, or providing special equipment for persons with visual and auditory impairments.

Step 3 – Experiential Training Program

Candidates entering the Law Society’s Licensing Process may choose from two experiential training paths: the Articling Program or the Law Practice Program. Candidates must complete either the Articling Program or the Law Practice Program to satisfy the experiential training requirement of the Licensing Process.

Candidates who have gained prior practice experience in another jurisdiction may be eligible for an Exemption from the experiential training requirement, or for an Abridgment of the Articling Program, based on their prior practice experience.

The Articling/Law Practice Program fee is currently $2,800 (plus applicable taxes) and is due at the beginning of July each year. The total Licensing Process fee, including the fees for the initial application, the Barrister and Solicitor Licensing Examinations, the Articling Program or the Law Practice Program, and the Call to the Bar, is $4,710 (plus applicable taxes).

A detailed Lawyer Licensing Process Fees Schedule is available on the Law Society website.

 

Articling Program
You can begin to search for an articling placement while completing your NCA Certificate of Qualification requirements. It is important that you begin your search for an articling placement as soon as possible, as the competition for these positions is very high.

To be eligible to begin the Articling Program, you must have:

1. Registered as a candidate in the Licensing Process; and

2. Completed your LL.B, J.D. or NCA requirements and have the institution submit the required transcript or certificate to the Licensing and Accreditation Department at the Law Society.

Candidates must complete a total of 10 months in an articling placement, at all times under the direct supervision of an approved Articling Principal (a lawyer at a law firm or legal environment) who has filed an Application to Serve as an Articling Principal with the Law Society. If you begin your articling placement without an approved Principal, you will not receive credit for any of your time spent working.

You are responsible for finding your own Articling Principal and articling placement. Articling placement opportunities are posted on the Law Society’s Articling Registry, and licensing candidates seeking a placement may post a personal profile on the Articling Registry describing their interests and previous legal experience. Employers also advertise articling placement opportunities through a variety of other listings and sources.

The Law Society also facilitates a Mentorship Program, which matches candidates who are seeking an articling placement with a mentor who will provide encouragement and advice during their search.

More information about these and other resources for the Articling Program can be found at: www.lsuc.on.ca/licensingprocess.aspx?id=2147498112.

While articling placements are traditionally for 10 consecutive months with a single lawyer or law firm in the Province of Ontario, there are exceptions:

  • If you have prior practice experience as a lawyer in a common law jurisdiction, you can apply for an Exemption from the Articling Program OR an Abridgment of the articling placement. Exemptions and Abridgments are considered on a case-by-case basis, based on previous legal experience. The criteria for Exemptions or Abridgments and the application forms can be found at www.lsuc.on.ca/licensingprocess.aspx?id=2147498211.
  • Internationally-trained candidates who apply for and obtain an Exemption from the Articling Program are required to attend a three-day course called Professional Conduct and Practice in Ontario, which is held at the Law Society of Upper Canada in Toronto each year.
  • You may be eligible to seek permission from the Law Society to enter into a non-traditional articling placement:
    • Joint Articling Placement, where you do 10-month articling placement with two or more Principals. You can work for both Principals concurrently, or for one followed by the other.
    • National Articling Placement, where your articling placement is located in a Canadian province other than Ontario, or an International Articling Placement, where your articling placements is outside Canada.
    • Applications for non-traditional articles are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The length, scope and diversity of the proposed legal experience will be reviewed and the relevance of the proposed legal experience will be assessed.

Articling candidates are required to complete the online Professional Responsibility and Practice course and assessment during the placement. This course will provide you with training on competencies related to professional responsibility, ethical issues, and practice management. You will immediately be able to apply the learning you receive in the course to your daily law practice activities and seek guidance and mentoring from your supervising lawyer (Articling Principal). For more information about the Articling Program, see: www.lsuc.on.ca/articling/.

Candidates who are registered in the Licensing Process and who have not completed the Articling Program are eligible to register for the Law Practice Program to fulfil the experiential training requirement of the Licensing Process.

Law Practice Program
The Law Practice Program (LPP) consists of a four-month training course and a four-month work placement. The program is held once a year in English and in French. 

The English LPP is provided by Ryerson University. It normally begins late August and ends in April of the following year. The training course component runs for four months beginning August and ending in December. The four-month work placements run from January to April. The LPP at Ryerson replicates the experience of working in a law firm using interactive web-based modules and digital simulation tools. The training course component of the LPP at Ryerson is offered largely online; however, candidates will be required to attend in person in Toronto three times during the course for approximately one week at a time. Contact lpp@ryerson.ca or visit www.ryerson.ca/lpp/ for more information.

The French Law Practice Program at the University of Ottawa is normally held from September to April. The training course component will run from September to December and the work placements will run from January to April. The program provides intensive, hands-on training in a smaller group format. Candidates are required to attend in person in Ottawa for the duration of the four-month training course.


The University of Ottawa requires that candidates enrolled in the LPP be fluent in French in order to maximize success in the interactions, skills activities and assessments. Candidates who have not previously studied law in French will be required to successfully complete a language proficiency examination before being accepted into the French LPP. The proficiency examination will be administered by the University of Ottawa. Candidates are encouraged to visit the University of Ottawa’s Law Practice Program website.

Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa, as providers of the Law Society’s Law Practice Program, will arrange for four-month work placements for candidates registered in the LPP. The LPP will provide candidates with work placement opportunities in a variety of practice areas and contexts, including traditional law firms, in-house legal departments, non-governmental organizations, legal clinics, small firms, rural firms, and criminal and family law practices.

More information on the English LPP can be found at: www.ryerson.ca/lpp/

More information on the French LPP can be found at: https://commonlaw.uottawa.ca/en/students/career-and-professional-development-office/law-practice-program

Special Note: Provision of Legal Services and Rights of Appearance during Licensing Process

A candidate who is registered in the Licensing Process is not allowed to provide legal services pursuant to Law Society By-Law 4, nor to make appearances on behalf of clients before courts or tribunals in Ontario, except during the period when that candidate is employed in an articling placement or LPP work placement.


Candidates who are registered in the Licensing Process and have filed Articles of Clerkship with the Law Society are considered articling candidates for representation of matters before courts and tribunals. Candidates who are participating in the work placement portion of the LPP are permitted the same rights of appearance as articling candidates.


For more information regarding rights of appearance for candidates in the Licensing Process, see: http://lsuc.on.ca/licensingprocess.aspx?id=2147498113

Step 4 — Call to the Bar

To become eligible to be Called to the Bar in Ontario, you must:

    • Successfully complete Steps 1 through 3 above
    • Pay all Law Society fees
    • Be of good character, as required by section 27(2) of the Law Society Act. Candidates’ answers to the questions set out in the Good Character Section of the Licensing Process Application must be current, complete and correct right up until before the day they are called, and
    • Submit all documents required by the Law Society. These include:
      • Certified proof of your legal name as required by the Law Society;
      • An official law school transcript that confirms the granting of the LL.B. or J.D. degree or the NCA Certificate of Qualification (issued directly by the University or the NCA to the Law Society)
      • Two recent passport photos
      • A printed copy of the Licensing Process Application duly signed and commissioned; and
      • If you selected the Articling Program, the Articles of Clerkship is due within 10 days of starting your articling placement; A Record of Experiential Training in Articling Program is to be completed by both the candidate and the Articling Principal before the end of the articling placement; and the Certificate of Service under Articles, to be completed by you and your Principal when your articling placement is finished.
      • If you selected the LPP, a record of completion of the program.

    Note that all components of the Licensing Process must be completed within the three-year Licensing Term. Deferrals or rewrites of licensing examinations or deferral of the experiential training requirements may affect a candidate’s ability to complete the Licensing Process within this time frame.

    Equity and Diversity in Ontario’s Law Profession

    The Law Society of Upper Canada is committed to promoting equity and diversity in the legal profession and to help stop discrimination and harassment. Through its activities, and through its Equity Initiatives Department, it seeks to ensure that both law and the practice of law are reflective of all the peoples of Ontario, including Aboriginal people, Francophone people and equity-seeking communities.

    The Law Society’s Equity Initiatives Department is not, however, involved with the evaluation of foreign legal credentials.

    Equity and Diversity Activities

    The Law Society’s Equity Initiatives Department plays a leadership role in coordinating a number of activities that help identify equity needs. It ensures that the Law Society:

    In addition, the Law Society provides a range of services and programs to lawyers, internationally trained lawyers and students, law firms, licensing candidates and Articling Principals, and works closely with community groups and schools to encourage law as a career. Its services and programs include:

    • Support Services, which provides supports and services that improve the learning environment for all candidates and offers assistance for those who are unable to comply with the conditions or requirements of the Licensing Process because they have a disability or because of other reasons covered in the Ontario Human Rights Code. These include examinations in audiotape, Braille and text-to-speech, and special equipment for persons with visual and auditory impairments.
    • An Equity Public Education Series that promotes, in partnership with legal associations and community groups, education and discussion among members of the public and the profession on the challenges and opportunities for Francophone, Aboriginal and equity-seeking communities in the legal profession. This initiative also provides networking opportunities for students and recently-called lawyers.
    • A Discrimination and Harassment Counsel that confidentially assists anyone who may have experienced discrimination or harassment by a lawyer or within a law firm. This service is free of charge to the Ontario public and lawyers.

     

    Equity and Diversity Mentoring Program

    This Program matches candidates in the Licensing Process and those recently called to the Bar with experienced members of the legal profession. Lawyers provide candidates and recently called lawyers with advice and support. Candidates and lawyers can gain insight into the practice of law by spending time in a lawyer’s workplace, observing courtroom work, and by attending Law Society public education programs.

    More information about the Mentoring Program can be found here: www.lsuc.on.ca/For-Lawyers/Improve-Your-Practice/Lawyer-Mentorship-Programs

    More information about Equity and Diversity activities can be found here: www.lsuc.on.ca/with.aspx?id=2147487013

    Labour Market Information

    According to Ontario Job Futures, there were 41,330 lawyers in Ontario in 2010 – a number that has risen to 47,428 in 2014. Their annual income is $186,691 – well above the provincial average for all occupations of $61,495 (in 2011). However, employment growth for this occupation is only about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2010. Although job growth will create new positions, most new jobs are only expected to become available when current workers retire. More significantly, the high cost of legal services may persuade some to use less expensive services, where a lawyer is not mandatory. These less expensive services include dispute resolution, electronic filings and computerized legal databases.

    Demand for lawyers is linked to population growth and the volume of business activity, and can therefore be cyclical. Demand for legal services involving real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, for instance, tends to decline during a recession, while those involving bankruptcy activities increases. One growing area of demand in today’s complicated business environment is corporate regulatory compliance – helping companies keep up with government and other regulatory rules.

    For more information on labour market conditions for this profession, consult the Ontario Job Futures website at www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/labourmarket and the Government of Canada Job Bank at www.jobbank.gc.ca. In Ontario, this information is available at public libraries and at Employment Resource Centres in your community.

    Key employers

    The federal, provincial and municipal governments employ lawyers. So do prosecutor’s offices, educational institutions and private businesses, particularly businesses providing scientific or technical services. In addition, lawyers can join partnerships or law firms, or open their own private practices.

    Fees and Costs

    (in Canadian dollars)

    The following fee schedule was accurate at time of writing, but is subject to change. Unless otherwise indicated, you will need to add Canada’s applicable taxes to these fees.

    Before you come to Ontario

    Costs of sending transcripts of your post-secondary education and proof you have been called to the bar are your responsibility. Purchasing textbooks for the challenge examinations are also your responsibility.

     Costs:
    National Committee on Accreditation
    Assessment fee to National Committee on Accreditation
    (all taxes included)
    $450
    (not refundable)
    NCA examinations Fee per examination
    (plus applicable taxes)
    $300
    Both payable by credit card only.
     
     Costs:
    Law School Application Fees
    Application for Admission (not refundable) $200
    (not refundable)
    Law School Application Service Fee $90
     
     Costs:
    Applying to law school
    One school $290
    Two schools $380
    Three schools $470
    Four schools $560
    Five schools $650
    Six schools $740
    Seven schools $830
    Average annual tuition for Canadian law school
    (Does not include room, board or books)
    $13,000
     

    The Law Society of Upper Canada

    Lawyer Licensing Process

    Applicable taxes will be applied to all fees. All fees are subject to change.

     Costs:
    Application Fees
      Application Fee
     
    $160
    (not refundable)
    Application Fee - Transfer Member
     
    $160
    (not refundable)
    Late Application Submission Fee (deadline is mid-December)
     
    $75
    (not refundable)
    Licensing Examination Fees
      Barrister Licensing Examination
    (Includes paper copies of the examination study materials)
    $750
    Solicitor Licensing Examination
    (Includes paper copies of the examination study materials)
    $750
    Rewrite of Barrister Licensing Examination
    (Includes examination study materials)
    $600
    Rewrite of Solicitor Licensing Examination
    (Includes examination study materials)
    $600
    Articling Program/Law Practice Program $2,800
    Professional Conduct and Practice in Ontario
    (Program for candidates exempted from Experiential Training Requirement only)
    $900
    Articling Program Fees
      Application for Exemption from the Experiential Training Program $160
    Application for Abridgment of Articling Placement $160
    Application for National or International Articling Placement $160
    Administrative Fees for the Monthly Payment Plan
      Five-month Payment Plan Fee $50
    Ten-month Payment Plan Fee $100
    Incidental Fees
      Call to the Bar $250
    Late filing of any document submitted after the deadline
    (Includes transcripts, NCA Certificates, Articling Forms, Licensing Examination Registration or Deferment Forms)
    $100
    Replacement of a Call to the Bar certificate $75
    Official copy of Licensing Process transcript provided directly to a third party $25
    Unofficial copy of Licensing Process candidate transcript $15
    Replacement of a Licensing Process candidate photo ID card $15
    Replacement Tax Receipt $10

    To assist candidates enrolled in the Licensing Process who experience difficulty meeting their educational costs, the Law Society provides the Repayable Allowance Program (RAP) and a Monthly Payment Plan.

    RAP is a program offering financial assistance to candidates enrolled in the Licensing Process who demonstrate need and have exhausted all other sources of funds. The RAP is a program of last resort for candidates who are struggling to pay their licensing fees and/or meet their living expenses during the Licensing Process.

    More information about the RAP and the Monthly Payment Plan is available on the Law Society website at: www.lsuc.on.ca/FeesandForms.

    For More Information

    For more information on registration requirements in Ontario, contact:
    The Law Society of Upper Canada
    130 Queen Street West
    Toronto, ON M5H 2N6
    CANADA
    Telephone: 416-947-3315
    Toll free: 1-800-668-7380
    Fax: 416-947-3924
    Email: licensingprocess@lsuc.on.ca
    Website: www.lsuc.on.ca

    For more information on the legal profession in Canada and the National Committee on Accreditation, contact:
    National Committee on Accreditation c/o
    Federation of Law Societies of Canada
    1810 – 45 O’Connor Street
    Ottawa, ON  K1P 1A4
    CANADA
    Telephone: 613-236-7250 ext. 229
    Fax: 613-236-7233
    Email: info@flsc.ca
    Website: www.flsc.ca/en/

    For further information on applying to an Ontario law school, contact:
    Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS)
    Ontario Universities’ Application Centre
    170 Research Lane
    Guelph, ON N1G 5E2
    CANADA
    Telephone: 519-823-1940
    Fax: 519-823-5232
    Email:olsas@ouac.on.ca
    Website: www.ouac.on.ca

    For other useful information:

    For information on where and how to get help with settlement in Ontario, visit www.settlement.org or contact:
    Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
    110 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 200
    Toronto, ON M4R 1A3
    CANADA
    Telephone: 416-322-4950
    Fax: 416-322-8084
    Email: ocasi@web.net
    Website: www.ocasi.org

    For a government contact on accessing professions and trades in Ontario:
    Government of Ontario
    Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade
    Global Experience Ontario
    Telephone: 416-327-9694 or 1-866-670-4094
    TTY: 416-327-9710 or 1-866-388-2262
    Fax: 416-327-9711
    Email: geo@ontario.ca
    Website: www.ontarioimmigration.ca/en/geo/index.htm

    Copyright in this Career Map is held jointly by the Queen’s Printer for Ontario and The Law Society of Upper Canada, © 2015

     
 
 
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