Canadian Lawyer

August 2019

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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FEATURE 60 www.canadianlawyermag.com 4STUDENTS there. They're very scarce." The result of more trained lawyers from home and abroad and law firms not offering enough articling positions to keep up with the increase is that, every year come August, 200 to 300 candidates will have still not found a position. Many of these candidates then won't end up in their preferred practice area or their ideal location and pay expectation, the LSO states. Scheffelmair says the LSO's findings sparked the CBA to do a broader examination of the issue. Particularly alarmed at the number of lawyers facing harassment for their gender, race or other personal characteristics, she says, the CBA asked the Federation of Law Societies to conduct a nationwide survey to get a wider lens at what her contemporaries are experiencing. Scheffelmair graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., which opened its law school in 2011. She says the market in cities such as Kamloops and Kelowna has become saturated since Thompson Rivers joined the universities of Victoria and British Columbia in producing lawyers for the region. per year and Scheffelmair says she and her friends typically have between $80,000 and $100,000 in debt. That's why her CBA section wrote to Patricia Hajdu, the federal minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, suggesting that a loan- forgiveness program like that offered medical professionals — where the government pays off a portion of the student loans of doctors, nurses or students who work in underserved rural and remote communities — to incentivize working in rural areas. "In our letter, we asked that that program that already exists just be expanded to articling students and lawyers to help encourage students looking for rural opportunities," she says. "Then, by extension, that would help the access to justice issue. "Students aren't going to those rural communities and we have a surplus of lawyers," she says. Donkers will soon begin her articles at Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General Crown Law Office in Toronto. As president of the Law Students Society of Ontario, Donkers prepared a submission for the LSO's "It really is just a shortage of positions altogether. There's not a lot out there. They're very scarce." Charlene Scheffelmair, Davidson and Williams LLP The LSO's study found that new lawyers were crowding in the cities, with 64 per cent of Ontario's articling positions in the Greater Toronto Area. Heather Donkers thinks law schools should do more to encourage students to seek opportunities outside of major urban centres. Donkers, who recently graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School, is the former chairwoman of the Ontario Bar Association's Students Section and president of the Law Students' Society of Ontario. She says that if students were searching further afield, there might be fewer still searching as the clock strikes midnight. "They would find solutions that are worth their time and that would pay them," she says. Scheffelmair was born in Maple Creek, Sask. and spent most of her childhood in Medicine Hat, Alta. Accustomed to smaller cities, she took an articling gig with the Lethbridge firm with which she spent her 2L summer. But she says students aren't looking outside of the major urban areas because their debt load leads them to the higher salaries at bigger firms. Tuition at Thompson Rivers was around $22,000 ONTARIO ARTICLING NUMBERS 70% more seeking articling positions than 10 years ago 200-300 candidates still looking for an articling job every August 10% of Ontario law firms offer articling

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