Canadian Lawyer

August 2019

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 57 of 63

FEATURE 58 4STUDENTS THE INABILITY of law graduates to find articling positions, the debt burdens with which they enter the profession and the vulnerability to abuse and harassment their precariousness engenders has led to a conversation about how articling needs to be reformed and whether it should be disbanded. Most Canadian lawyers begin their careers with an articling gig. But conditions for law grads seeking an opportunity are looking grim. They're competing with The end of articling? Aidan Macnab looks at how the Law Society of Ontario catalyzed a nationwide conversation about how well the articling system is working and whether it should be scrapped. 70-per-cent more licensing candidates than their peers did 10 years ago and only 10 per cent of firms offer an articling position, according to a Law Society of Ontario consultation paper on lawyer licensing. More and more of the competition is coming from abroad, making globalization responsible for a significant portion of the stress on the system, the LSO states. Thirty per cent of prospective licensees in the last five years have been internationally trained, and the National Committee on Accreditation of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada reports a 250-per-cent increase in the number of applicants in the last 10 years. The trends the LSO identified in Ontario are the reality out west, says Charlene Scheffelmair, who began her articles at Davidson and Williams LLP in Lethbridge, Alta. in June. "It really is just a shortage of positions altogether," says Scheffelmair, who is also vice chairwoman of the Canadian Bar Association law student section. "There's not a lot out

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