Canadian Lawyer 4Students

Spring 2013

Life skills and career tips for Canada's lawyers in training

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I can't imagine a firm would be willing to hire a young lawyer that hasn't had experience in their firm or a firm environment. So I really think the LPP licensees are going to be at a severe disadvantage when compared to students that are going through the articling process. Thomas Wilson, 3L at Osgoode Hall Law School assessment for all licensing candidates. This new program, to be delivered by one or more third-party providers, will combine a skills-training component and a co-op work placement for a total of eight months. It has not yet been determined who the providers will be. At press time, LSUC treasurer Tom Conway told Canadian Lawyer 4Students the law society was finalizing details of its request for proposals, which was issued in early February. In it, the law society set out the criteria and standards to be met by the LPP. It suggests the provider make efforts to ensure the co-op portion is paid (although that is not mandatory) as well as aiming to put aspiring lawyers into firms in underserviced areas. Final proposals must be submitted to the LSUC by May 31. Lee Stuesser, founding dean of Lakehead University's new law school — slated to open in Thunder Bay, Ont., this fall — says if possible, he would like to incorporate the new program into Lakehead's curriculum so when students graduate they can start practising law without articling or completing a co-op. "We are waiting to see the call for proposals to see what's required, and if we can, we are certainly going to look at incorporating professional legal training and placement within our existing program," he says. In order to do so, he would like to increase class hours so students can still graduate within three years and spread skills training throughout law school, starting in first year. Stuesser says it's time for a change in legal education, adding Lakehead is the first new law school in Ontario in 44 years and legal education hasn't changed much during that time. "There's what I might call a lot of fluff in third year, and I think that maybe we need to look at what we do in law schools a little differently," he says. On that front, Osgoode Hall Law School made a concerted move towards experiential learning last year by making it a graduation requirement for all law students. It also opened an experiential education office. Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin, an advocate of practical learning, says he'll be paying close attention to the details of the law society's request for proposals as there is some concern that the new program could interfere with the law school's existing experiential initiatives. "The concern is as LPP providers search for placements for their students, whether paid or unpaid, some of these may start to cannibalize or compete with our existing public-interest, pro bono, and other initiatives that have our students in placement-type settings," he says. Law deans outside Ontario are also curious to see who will run the LPP and how. 16 Spring 2013 CANADIAN L a w y e r 4 students

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