Guidelines for Lawyer Licensing Process Candidates Awaiting Call to the Bar

A candidate who is registered in the Law Society of Ontario’s Lawyer Licensing Process may only provide, without a licence, legal services in Ontario under the direct supervision of a licensed lawyer in one of the following three circumstances:

(1) The candidate is serving under an approved Articles of Clerkship;
(2) The candidate is enrolled in the Law Practice Program (“LPP”) and is currently engaged in his/her work placement term; or
(3) The candidate is serving under an approved Supervision Agreement.

Candidates who have completed the Experiential Training Program (either by completing Articles or the Law Practice Program), or have been approved for an exemption from the Experiential Training Program requirement, and have not yet been called to the bar are absolutely prohibited from providing legal services that are normally provided by a lawyer and from holding themselves out as a lawyer until they become licensed to practise law in Ontario as a barrister and solicitor.

Candidates who are in those circumstances listed above and wish to provide legal services under the direct supervision of a licensed lawyer (including appearing before Ontario courts and tribunals) pending their call to the bar may do so by filing a Supervision Agreement. The Supervision Agreement must be accompanied by a letter of request from the candidate, and must be filed at least 10 days before the date that the candidate intends to begin providing legal services pursuant to the Supervision Agreement.

Candidates may not provide legal services until their Supervision Agreement has been approved by the Law Society, and may only do so during the term that has been approved. Once the Supervision Agreement has been approved, it will appear in the “My Submitted Documents” section of the candidate’s web account. Supervision Agreements will generally be approved for a period of up to four months or until the next applicable call to the bar ceremony. Candidates seeking to provide legal services beyond the term approved in their Supervision Agreement must file a new Supervision Agreement with new dates, accompanied by a new letter of request, by the applicable deadline.

A Supervising Lawyer may directly supervise no more than two Lawyer Licensing Process candidates at any one time (regardless of whether the candidates are serving under an Articles of Clerkship or a Supervision Agreement). Supervising Lawyers must ensure that all clients on whose behalf a candidate provides legal services are the clients of the Supervising Lawyer, and must accept full responsibility for all legal services provided by the candidate. Prior to accepting a retainer in which a candidate serving under a Supervision Agreement will be providing legal services to a client, a Supervising Lawyer must advise the client of the arrangement between the candidate and the Supervising Lawyer and the reason for the arrangement. 

Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, candidates awaiting their call to the bar may not:

give legal opinions;
sign letters or documents that properly require a lawyer’s signature (e.g. letters which contain legal opinion and/or legal advice);
make appearances in court that may be made only by a lawyer or allow themselves to be referred to as a lawyer. 

This restriction prohibits candidates from having their names submitted for publication in telephone directories, law lists, etc. until they have been called to the bar. Similarly, a candidate’s name may not appear on any sign, letterhead, business card, etc. which holds the candidate out as qualified to practise law until they have been called to the bar.

For more information see Rights of Appearance for Lawyer Licensing Process Candidates.