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|News from the LSO|
Dialogue on Licensing Consultation (DOL) - May 2018
From April to June 2017 the LSO conducted an extensive consultation with the profession called “Dialogue on Licensing” on the realities and challenges of lawyer licensing. The Professional Development and Competence developed and is currently consulting on four options for pathways to licensure (PDF). The consultation will run until October 2018. For more information and to participate in the consultation, please visit the Dialogue on Licensing website.
Close of Treasurer Nominations
On June 28th, Treasurer Paul Schabas’ term as Treasurer will come to an end and Convocation will elect a new Treasurer. Nomination closed on May 10th and the following three benchers have put their names forward as candidates: Ross Earnshaw, Jacqueline Horvat and Malcolm Mercer. To learn more about the candidates visit the Gazette.
LSO Name Change Passage
On Tuesday, May 8th, the amendments to the Law Society Act received Royal Assent, changing the name of the society officially to the “Law Society of Ontario”. This change of name is a crucial aspect of its ongoing efforts to better serve the public and engage with its stakeholders. Look for a public awareness campaign this fall to enhance the public’s understanding of the Law Society. Find further details on the LSO website.
Review Panel on Regulatory and Hearing Processes Affecting Indigenous Peoples
In June 2017, Treasurer Schabas announced the creation of a Review Panel to address regulatory and hearing processes affecting Indigenous peoples. This followed experiences that showed there is much to learn, and that Law Society processes need to be reviewed and adapted to accommodate the unique historical and cultural circumstances of Indigenous peoples and cultural sensitive approaches to conflict resolutions. Convocation approved a series of strong recommendations designed to make the Law Society’s regulatory and hearing processes more culturally competent and culturally safe for Indigenous Peoples. Read the Full report.
The LSO’s CPD Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Requirement
The Law Society has revised its Continuing Professional Development Requirement. Licensees must complete three Professionalism Hours of accredited programming focused on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI Hours), by the end of 2020 and one EDI Hour per year of accredited programming thereafter. EDI Hours count towards the licensee’s Professionalism Hours for the year in which they are completed. The LSO website has more details.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion - Guide to the Application of Recommendation 3(1): Statement of Principles
The Law Society’s Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee has developed a guide to help clarify Recommendation 3(1) of the report Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions, which requires licensees to adopt and abide by a Statement of Principles.
Provision of Legal Services through CSOs
Last week, Convocation (the Law Society's Governing Board) approved, in principle, a policy to permit lawyers and paralegals to provide legal services through civil society organizations (CSOs), such as charities and not-for-profit organizations.
Under the policy, CSOs will register with the Law Society, provided certain conditions are met, including that:
A CSO will be de-registered if these requirements are not met. Lawyers and paralegals providing legal services through registered CSOs will continue to be fully regulated by the Law Society.
The following additional principles will be included in the by-law:
Pathways to the Profession Pilot Project
To Articling Principals:
Call for Nominations - 2014 Law Society Medals and Awards
The Law Society Medal was established in 1985 as an honour to be awarded by the Law Society to members who have made significant contributions to the profession. The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding service within the profession, whether in a particular area of practice, the academic sphere or in some other professional capacity where the service is in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession.
The Lincoln Alexander Award is awarded annually in recognition of an Ontario lawyer who has demonstrated long standing interest and commitment to the public and to the pursuit of community service on behalf of residents of Ontario.
The Laura Legge Award was established in 2007 and is to be given annually to a
female member of the Law Society who has exemplified leadership within the
Law Society announces new, innovative paths to lawyer licensing
The Law Society announced the names of the providers of its Law Practice Program (LPP). The addition of the LPP will offer aspiring lawyers multiple-pathways to the Ontario Bar. Ryerson University will provide the Law Society’s English LPP and the University of Ottawa will provide the French LPP. Lawyer Licensing Process candidates may choose to either complete the enhanced Articling Program or the LPP.
Additionally, Convocation approved another innovative option for fulfilling the experiential training component of its licensing requirements: the Integrated Practice Curriculum offered by Lakehead University as part of its law degree program. Upon completion of their JD degree, Lakehead graduates will only need to pass the licensing examinations and satisfy the good character requirement to complete the Lawyer Licensing Process and be called to the Bar in Ontario. They will not need to article or complete the Law Practice Program. More information on the Pathways Pilot Project.
Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Project
Notice of Focus Group and Research Consultation
The Law Society of Upper Canada is committed to advancing equity and diversity in the legal profession. In 2012, Convocation created the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group with a mandate to investigate those challenges and consider strategies for enhanced inclusion at all career stages.
The Law Society has retained an independent consulting firm to conduct a consultation with the legal profession towards the fulfillment of the Working Group's mandate. As part of the consultation, focus groups will be held in the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa and London.
Licensed paralegals and lawyers who are in good standing and identify as racialized are invited to participate in the focus groups, to take place between May and September 2013. All discussions and information shared in the focus groups are strictly confidential and anonymous. Reports will not reveal the identity of focus group participants.
If you qualify and are interested in participating in one of the focus groups, please click on this link.
Upon completion of the focus groups, all lawyers and paralegals, both racialized and non-racialized, will be invited to participate in a comprehensive survey on the same topics (in August / September 2013). There will be further communications about the survey in the coming weeks.
Your contribution to this Working Group consultation is important - it will enhance the Law Society's service to all members, the justice system, and the Ontario public interest.
If you have questions or comments about the project, please contact Josée Bouchard, Equity Advisor, at email@example.com
On behalf of
 'Racialized' expresses race as the process by which groups are socially constructed, as well as to modes of self-identification related to race, and includes Arab, Black (e.g. African-Canadian, African, Caribbean), Chinese, East-Asian (e.g. Japanese, Korean), Latin American and Hispanic, South Asian (e.g. Indo-Canadian, Indian Subcontinent), South-East Asian (e.g. Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Filipino), and West Asian (e.g. Iranian, Afghan) persons.
 Please note that not everyone who registers will be able to participate as space is limited and the researchers need to ensure they get a reliable cross-section of the Law Society of Upper Canada membership. If you are selected to participate, a recruiter will contact you by phone.
Changes to the LSUC CPD Requirement
The Law Society has made changes to the CPD requirement in response to lawyer and paralegal input and following its two-year review of the program.
TLA played an integral part in the process by advocating for allowing credit to co-authors and co-editors as well as those writing for firm publications, suggesting greater flexibility in applying the professional criteria, and recommending improvements for the reporting system. Some of the changes are effective immediately and the remainder will be implemented for the 2014 reporting year.
The Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours has been revised to clarify the descriptions and provide increased flexibility with regard to its application. The revised Criteria is broader and recognizes a range of professionalism issues that may arise in different practice areas and practice contexts. Content submitted for accreditation on or after May 30, 2013 will be assessed according to the revised criteria.
Changes to be implemented in 2014
Licensing in Ontario: Articling and the LPP
As you are aware, there is an increased demand for articling positions in Ontario. Many law students seek articling positions in Toronto and numerous positions are offered and filled in this city year after year. The TLA and many of its members continue to strongly support articling as the preferred pathway to licensing and hope that it continues to be the primary licensing pre-requisite. For more information on how to become an articling principal, please visit http://www.lsuc.on.ca/HowtoBecomeaPrincipal/ or contact us or the Law Society of Upper Canada.
There are students still looking for 2013-2014 articling positions and the selection process for articling in 2014-2015 take place this July and August.
Law Practice Program (LPP)
As an alternative pathway to licensing, the Law Society recently approved a pilot project for a Law Practice Program (LPP). This program includes a four month training course and a four month work placement to commence in 2014-2015. Trainees during the Work Placement can do the same work as articling students. It is preferred that trainees be paid for their work, although some exceptions might include not for profit organizations, legal aid clinics, etc.
Both the Ryerson and Osgoode LPP projects are looking for Ontario lawyers to commit to providing Work Placements by May 31, 2013 to start in the summer of 2014. Ryerson and Osgoode are each looking for work placements as the identification of a minimum number of potential placements is a requirement of their respective bid proposals. Lawyers interested in providing such a placement are not required to choose between the bidders and can commit to both proposals if they wish. The information about potential placements obtained by all bidders will be made available to the successful bidder at the end of the process.