Law Times

April 29, 2019

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LAW TIMES 2 COVERING ONTARIO'S LEGAL SCENE | APRIL 29, 2019 fourth year was not meant to re- place articling or the Law Prac- tice Program. In the first year, Ryerson says, courses would be co-taught "in- volving the employment of prac- titioners," and in the second year, each afternoon would include "hands-on application overseen by mentor" and "group work conducted in 'firms' compris- ing seven students," according to the course list posted online. It is proposed that, in students' third year, they would have one semester of professional place- ment, the website said. Eva DiGiammarino, a sole practitioner who works out of Toronto, Woodbridge and Osh- awa, Ont., says the proposal by Ryerson law school to bypass articling is a sign that the trad- itional way law schools operate needs to change. "I had what I would consid- er a fantastic education, but it still had shortcomings," says DiGiammarino, who attended the University of Ottawa. "No one taught me how to open a client file — the basic things. I didn't fill out any paper- work — family lawyers do the same paperwork every day and I never did that. I learned on the job. Regardless of if we keep articling, the way we have it now, the traditional articling is not enough." When Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Mer- rilee Fullerton rejected Ryerson's initial proposal in November 2018, her statement said "jobs are expected to be more difficult to find" in the legal occupation. Ryerson said in November 2018 that it would keep working with the provincial government on the law school idea. Ten per cent of Ontario law firms offer articling gigs, and 200 to 300 students each year have not yet found an articling job by August or September, ac- cording to a separate May 2018 report from the LSO. The LSO's Discrimination and Harass- ment Counsel said in February that students complained of "abusive" employment relation- ships including "being forced to work 100+ hours per week every week." If approved, Ryerson's pro- gram would not be the first one to allow students to do more "experiential" licensure tasks in school — Lakehead University's faculty of law had a similar pro- gram approved in 2013. Lee Stuesser, founding dean of Lakehead's law school, told Law Times that, unlike Bay Street firms, Northern On- tario law firms did not have the same tradition of articling and on-campus interviewing. By doing the same thing in Toron- to, Ryerson might push the big firms to reassess their focus on articling, says Stuesser. "At existing law schools in Canada, most academics are not practice-oriented," says Stuesser. "Ryerson is new. If they hire the right people, if they can create a culture that they are [a] school that's different . . . I think it's the right thing to do." Yavar Hameed, principle of Hameed Law in Ottawa, is a bencher candidate who is run- ning for a position in the law so- ciety's board. He says he ran in part be- cause he would like to see chan- ges in how the law society and law schools work together. Hameed says he would like to hear more details on the cost effectiveness of its program. "Let's see what the law society can do to be more hands on," he says. "I think many law schools in Ontario are on board with that — having that opportunity for more clinical experience. But they do not by any means want to be seen as having that as the focus of what they do. . . . Ryer- son is ready to push in a different direction." LT NEWS Continued from page 1 Classes include practice skills Dispute over information provided Continued from page 1 tario's budget. It was also announced with the provincial govern- ment's 2019 budget on April 11. The letter also stated that, despite an extra $86 million in funding since 2013, the number of clients served each year by LAO has decreased by more than 100,000. "LAO is unsustainable in its current state," said Mulroney in the letter. Ontario Premier Doug Ford also echoed that figure when he phoned in to the Alan Carter Show on Global News radio show on April 22 and said, "There is more money being spent on lawyer fees and less cases [at the LAO]." After going through LAO annual and quarterly reports and the most recent auditor general's report, Fisher said there is no evidence to support what the premier and attorney general are saying. She said the auditor general found there was a 23-per- cent increase in the number of certificates issued by LAO be- tween 2013 and 2018. "That is indisputably more clients represented and not less," says Fisher. Petricone said that 95 per cent of her organization's funding went to salaries for people providing those legal services, so in spite of Ford's and Mulroney's concern about fewer people be- ing looked after, the cut of LAO's budget will certainly mean fewer are served. "We are funded in such a way that there is no fat; almost ev- erybody who works in a clinic sees a client [and] provides direct service. . . . It will mean we have to lay off workers and clinics," she said. The lawyers also disagreed with the figures used by the province. Fisher said the LAO "provided service and representation" to 13,000 more people in 2017-2018 than in 2013-2014. Fisher said Mulroney has not provided a source for her claim that the LAO served more than 100,000 fewer clients in 2017-2018 than in 2013-2014. "This claim is not true," says Fisher. "Whether or not Doug Ford knows that, the statement is inaccurate. He has misled Ontario." LT Celebrating Change Agents in Law BRONZE SPONSOR SIGNATURE SPONSOR MEDIA PARTNER COCKTAIL SPONSOR THE E B O L G AND MAIL The 2019 Lexpert Zenith Awards celebrate change agents in the legal profession. You can support these achievements while networking with winners and leading members of the legal profession at an elegant Cocktail Reception and Gala Dinner in Toronto. For sponsorship opportunites, contact Paul Burton at or 647-537-4705 Date: June 18, 2019 5:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception 7:00 p.m. Gala Dinner and Awards Presentation Location: Arcadian Court, Toronto Keynote Speaker Orlando Da Silva, LSM Senior Crown Counsel and Serious Fraud Office at Ministry of the Attorney General Mental Health Advocate Zenith_LT_Apr_19.indd 1 2019-04-26 11:36 AM

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