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Claire: Good morning. On behalf of the Law Society, I’d like to welcome you to today’s webcast on the Lawyer Licensing Process. We’re pleased to be able to provide you with information about key steps and requirements to facilitate your successful license here, in Ontario. My name is Claire Hepburn. I'm Team Manager of the Articling Program at the Law Society. And I have with me Gina Haros, Team Manager of the licensing process and Will Morrison, Counsel, Licensing and Accreditation. I'm just going to start today by taking you through some housekeeping items that apply for today’s webcast. We’re going to speak for about 45 minutes, and our agenda is posted under the agenda tab at the upper right hand corner of your screen.
The agenda includes relevant links to the information on our website that will assist you in understanding some of the steps and processes we’re talking about. The larger window on the right hand side of your screen will display the presentation slides that we’ll be speaking to. We’re going to leave about 45 minutes for questions after the presentation, and we want to take as many of your questions as possible today. So please submit your questions using the Q&A tab located just below the webcast window, and keep those questions coming throughout our presentation. And we will address them all at the end; but if you do have questions, you can submit them at any time.
If we don’t get to all your questions and you still need more information, we invite you to reach out via e-mail or phone. We’re going to provide you with all our partnering contact details at the end of the presentation. If you’re not able to watch the entire webcast today, you can always access the archived webcast which will available on the Law Society’s website within a few weeks’ time. I'm going to begin by introducing the licensing process and giving you a bit of context for our presentation today. I wanted to start by noting that the Law Society’s Lawyer Licensing Process is based on entry-level competencies that have been developed and validated by the profession. These are the more critical and frequently performed skills and tasks in the first few years of practice.
And it’s this competency-based licensing framework that ensures lawyers are being admitted to the profession based on consistent standards and criteria, regardless of where they went to law school or what courses they took; and this is all in the public interest. You’ll be hearing a lot more about the barrister competencies and the solicitor competencies and the experiential training competencies during our presentation today. They are available on the website as well. I encourage you to review them so you are familiar with the standards against which you will be admitted to the profession. So this is an infographic that depicts the components of the licensing process. And what it really speaks to is the flexibility in the process and that you can actually do the components in any order that you wish, after you’ve completed law school or obtained your certificate of qualification from the National Committee of Accreditation.
The three main components to becoming a lawyer in Ontario are the two licensing examinations, the experiential training component and demonstrating that you are of good character. You will note that you are able to fulfill the experiential training requirement by completing the Articling Program or the Law Practice Program. You’ll learn more about that later in our presentation. As you may be aware, the Law Society launched the Law Practice Program in 2014, and the program is now in its fourth year and has been approved by the Law Society for one further year starting in September 2018. Overall you have three years to complete the licensing process.
If you are applying into the licensing process now, your three-year licensing term will formally begin on May 1st, 2018, and you will have until April 30th, 2021 to complete all components and become licensed. The process is flexible and allows you to complete the components in the order you wish, as I mentioned, as long as you do it within that three-year term. We find that most candidates are able to complete the licensing process within about a year. We are going to begin our discussion by having Gina Haros take us through the application process, which is the starting point for the licensing process. And I'm assuming that a number of you are in the midst of preparing your applications or will be doing so shortly. So, Gina.
Gina: Thanks, Claire. I’ll be taking you through some of the high-level information about the application process, but you can also review the more detailed section on the website called “Completing the Lawyer Licensing Process Application.” And this outlines some of the things to have accessible during the application process and what you need to prepare. As always, if information you’re looking for cannot be found online or isn't addressed during this webcast, or if you have particular question relating to your specific or unique situation, you can contact Licensing and Accreditation for further assistance after this webcast. So the current application for the 2018-’19 licensing year was launched last month for applicants hoping to select the June or November 2018 sittings or the March 2019 sittings.
The application process begins online at www.lsuc.on.ca, and by clicking “For Lawyers,” and the “Become a Lawyer.” At the bottom of that page you’ll see the “Apply Now” button for the application. The application itself is a two-part process. Part one consists of the online application and the payment of the fee, and part two of the process requires you to print and commission or notarize your application and submit it to the Law Society by the deadline. When you apply online you’ll be required to provide certain information such as the name of your law school, when you expect to graduate, when you intend to write your licensing examinations and things of that nature. You’ll also be required to answer a section regarding what the law society calls good character and make an experiential training path selection.
Candidates can preview the good character questions before they apply by downloading the Good Character Amendment Form under the “Fees and Forms” section of the website; and that’ll give you an idea of the information that is to be disclosed in relation to your good character. Applicants who have not yet decided if they’ll article or complete the LPP must make the most appropriate selection at the time of application. You will have the opportunity for a certain time period to adjust your selection over the next couple of months if your situation changes. The application itself takes about 20 to 60 minutes to enter online. And once you finish the online process, which is part one, and pay the fee, you’ll be assigned a Law Society web account.
This account is what you’ll log into to print out the PDF you just created. This personal and confidential web account is where your great results from the examinations as well as you invoices for fee payment will be sent to. It’s recommended that applicants check this account quite frequently – I would say about weekly – once they apply, and even more regularly when preparing for the exams and up to the time that they’re licensed. Once you’ve accessed and printed off the PDF file of your application from your online account, begin collecting all the supporting documents which must be submitted with the application. The deadline to submit the application is December 1st, 2017. An application would still be accepted after this deadline but would be subject to a late fee.
Once the application is received by the deadline, it’s reviewed and processed and the applicant is then invoiced for their examination and study material fees in February of next year. Please note you may have your documents notarized outside of Canada in the event that you’re away during the time that the application is due. The December deadline is not only to submit the application online; it’s also to ensure you’ve made the payment and submitted all relevant supporting documents with your application. All of these must be submitted in order to complete the process and become enrolled in the licensing process. If anything is missing from an application, licensing and accreditation staff will advise applicants via their web account.
I did want to mention that candidates are required to follow up directly with their law school next June to ensure a final transcript is sent by the law school directly to the Law Society upon graduation. This is a part of your registration and filing requirements during the licensing process. NCA candidates must also ensure that once they’ve applied, they have the NCA send a final certificate of qualification confirming their credentials. It may feel like a long time from now until next summer, but please diarize this requirement. The final due date for transcripts to be submitted is Aug 3rd, 2018. And without this on file you’ll be removed from the licensing process and must cease your experiential training. So obviously we want to avoid that.
Before we move on to the competencies of the licensing examinations, I wanted to mention that as part of the licensing process all candidates are required to successfully complete a barrister and a solicitor licensing examination as part of their requirements. Each of the exams measures performance on a pass/fail basis and assess whether a candidate has met the minimum standard of competency required in order to be licensed in Ontario. Each exam is seven hours in length, and they are both open book, self-study and multiple-choice examinations. The examination study materials are aligned with the competencies and have been designed to support the self-study process. The barrister examination assesses competencies in the following categories. Ethical and professional responsibilities, knowledge of the law, establishing and maintaining the barrister-client relationship, problem and issue identification analysis and assessment, alternative dispute resolution, the litigation process and practice management issues.
The solicitor examination also assesses competencies and ethical and professional responsibilities, knowledge of the law and practice management issues, but also focuses on case law, policy, procedures and forms, establishing and maintaining the solicitor-client relationship and fulfilling the retainer. In a moment, Will will speak further on exam preparation, but please note that more detailed information of all of the competency areas is available in online, in the “Examination” section; and I encourage you all to review them as part of your preparation. For those who pay the exam and study materials by the due date next spring, on April 9th, 2018, the study materials are released in late April in a number of ways.
Study materials are distributed in person and on-site at the law society during a two-week period, from April 23rd to May 4th, 2018. Once this period is over candidates are expected to obtain materials either online, through their candidate account, or by placing a shipping request to have them shipped directly to them at an additional cost. Please note that candidates cannot bring a digital copy of the materials to the exam site; only a paper copy is permissible. So if you decide not to pick up material in person and instead wish to only access them digitally, you’ll still have to print them in order to bring them to the exam-testing area for reference during the exam. In addition to the study materials candidates will also be provided with a Law Society identification card when they receive their materials.
The identification card will be what you’ll bring to the examination site in order to check-in. And now I’ll hand it over to Will, who’ll speak in more detail about preparing for the exams.
Will: Thank you, Gina. I'm now going to speak about some key strategies and considerations to help you prepare for writing each licensing examination. The first point I want to emphasize is that we have extensive materials on the Law Society website setting out this information. So you should review all of those materials closely when you begin studying for each exam. Candidates often ask our office how they can best prepare for the exams. The short answer is that you should probably use the study habits and methods that have helped you succeed thus far. There’s no one best way to prepare for these exams, and the best way is whichever way works best for you.
And we know that there are almost as many studying styles as there are candidates who write our exams. Most importantly, performing well on the licensing examinations requires a strong understanding of the study materials. While the open book format means you can bring these materials into the exam, it doesn’t mean that you can overlook the need to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the materials being tested. The exams require you to analyze the information within the materials and to apply it to new situations. So this will require reviewing the materials closely and at length. As I mentioned, there’s no one best way to develop your understanding of the study materials. However, there are some techniques and practices that will tend to work well for many candidates.
First, most candidates find it useful to implement a study strategy early on. This can include making a schedule for organizing your study time; and it is always a good idea to begin studying early and to do so in manageable increments spaced out over time as opposed to cramming all the material in long and last-minute study sessions. Given that it is an open book exam, you’ll also want to think from the outset about what materials you’ll want to have with you in the room on the day of the exam and what you’ll need to do in order to prepare those materials. We recommend organizing your materials in whatever way allows you to quickly access relevant information to answer questions. Make them user-friendly for yourself.
Three suggestions for organization your materials include, one, using tabs or a color-coding system to delineate certain subject areas and key topics; two, preparing short, manageable summaries on selected topics, and three, creating an index that lists key topics and the corresponding pages where those topics are located in your study materials and notes. Some candidates may find tabbing, indexing and/or highlighting the materials helpful at the outset of their preparation in order to help absorb the materials. Others find that preparing their materials in these ways is something they like to leave to the end as a way of rounding out their study process and reviewing important concepts.
Again, the best approach is the one that gives you the most confidence to walk into the exam feeling prepared. Keep in mind as well that all of the questions on the licensing exams are in multiple-choice format. We have some material in our exam guide online that gives tips about maximizing your performance on multiple-choice questions, which you should review. We also provide several sample questions for both the barrister and the solicitor exam to give you a sense of the format of those questions. While we do provide these sample questions as examples, I also want to note that the Law Society does not provide copies of old exams. You may be aware of exam prep courses offered by other provider; and it’s certainly up to you whether you wish to take courses like that, but please remember two things: first, none of those courses are endorsed by the Law Society, nor do we provide them access to our materials; and two, everything you need to prepare for your examination is contained in the study materials that we provide.
Finally, it’s also important throughout your exam preparation to use techniques to help yourself maintain a calm, focused and positive attitude. Keep the goal of staying positive and focused in mind throughout your preparation. We have some tips online about how to manage anxiety you may feel in the lead-up or during the examination. On the day of the exam, be prepared. As was mentioned, each licensing examination is seven hours in length, with a lunch break after the first three and a half hours. It is a full-day event. Make sure you’ve got enough sleep and nutrition in the days leading up to the exam to allow you to perform at your best. The exam is held at a large venue with a very formal setup, including dedicated check-in stations, coat-check and security screening areas.
Remember that there will be hundreds of other candidates checking in and being screened at the same time as you. Arrive early or at the very least be on time. This is important not only to ensure that the examination is administered smoothly, but also to give you a chance to get settled into your surroundings and relieve any anxiety that may understandably come with having to write an important exam among many strangers in a large room. Since it is an open book, multiple-choice examination, you can bring in your marked-up study materials, your study notes, a dictionary, et cetera. However, once the exam is over, you must leave behind any items you brought into the testing area. There are several important pages on our website in the “Licensing and Examination” section that you need to review to prepare for the examination.
These provide detailed information on what to expect and prepare for and will help ensure a smooth experience on the morning of the exam. Include information about the security and screening procedures at the exam venue; and you should note that these are more formal and structured than you may be accustomed to from university or from other exams. And these pages also include information about the check-in process at the venue and what items to bring with you. We have lists of permitted items that you can bring into the testing area, as well as prohibited items. You should review these lists in detail. Our website also offers a short orientation video to the licensing examination which I would encourage you to watch.
Finally, you should also review the website to understand the conduct that is expected of candidates at the exam venues. We appreciate that it is a high stakes day for candidates, and we need to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that a respectful and stable environment is maintained for the benefit of everyone. One week prior to each exam, make sure you double-check key information like the venue address, the arrival time and the check-in time. The information online is there to avoid any hiccups on the morning of the exam. Bring lots of snacks, leave your cellphone in the car, and try to carve out a rare moment of calm before you begin writing. Once you check-in and pass through the security screening area, you will be expected to sit in your assigned seat for the duration of the exam period; except, of course, when you break for lunch.
And before you know it, you’ll be writing your exam. So now a note on receiving your exam result. Inevitably, as soon as each exam ends, candidates begin wondering about how they performed. Please note that results will not be released until about six to eight weeks after the examination date. We’ll send your result to your online licensing account, which is confidential, and you’ll get an e-mail notifying you that it’s there. So there’s no need to call into our office and check whether the results are out yet. Results cannot be released before that timeframe for several reasons. In order to ensure the integrity of the marking process, up to six to eight weeks are required to receive and grade and verify exam results and to provide them to candidates.
Exams are held not only at the large, main site in Toronto, but also in other cities and venues; and they are written in both official languages, and it takes some time to ensure that all those licensing exams are received and marked appropriately. If you’re unsuccessful on a licensing examination don’t panic. You can re-register for one of the subsequent scheduled sittings. Candidates are permitted a maximum of three attempts at each licensing examination within their three-year licensing term. All information regarding rewriting an exam will be sent confidentially in a message to you through your online licensing account. And you won't be the first or the last to be in that situation, I assure you.
So please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions on the next steps for rewriting. Finally, a note on the process for deferrals: if closer to the day of the exam you find you are unable to write, you must defer your examination by sending a deferral form to our office at least five business day prior to the examination date. And now I'm going to hand it back to Claire.
Claire: Thank you, Will and Gina, for all that really important information. We’re now going to move on to the next item of our agenda, which is experiential training. We’re going to be talking about the experiential training component of the licensing process, and I'm going to start off by telling you a little bit about the Law Practice Program (LPP). As I mentioned at the beginning of the presentation, there are two ways to complete your experiential training program. You can either article for 10 months under the Enhanced Articling Program, or you can choose to complete the Law Practice Program or LPP. So this first slide shows that there are two providers for the LPP. Ryerson University is delivering the English Language Program, and the University of Ottawa is delivering the French Language Program.
If you choose to attend the French Language Program and you’ve not previously studied Law in French, you will need to successfully complete a French language test that is administered by the University of Ottawa. The Law Practice Program runs for a total of eight months. It consists of a four-month training course and a four-month work placement. The training course begins towards the end of August for Ryerson and in early September for the Ottawa program and runs until the end of December. The work placement will begin in January and runs until about the end of April. The dates we have here would be for the next LPP, which are now – you’re now eligible to apply for and to register for. In both the French and English Programs, they’re based on the national competency profile.
And that national competency profile has been established by the Federation of Law Societies and has been adopted across the country. These competencies set out the most critical and frequently-performed entry-level tasks for lawyers. The training course portion is meant to simulate the practice of law, but in a structured environment. It involves dynamic activities that will require you to interact with clients, lawyers, work providers and a variety of practice areas in both French and English. There’s also extensive involvement with the legal profession in the form of instructors and mentors, as well as a assessors. The two programs have slightly different formats. The English Program is delivered through a blended format and involves a robust online learning platform with certain mandatory attendance weeks in Toronto at various points throughout the program.
The dates of those mandatory attendance weeks will be posted later, probably towards the spring of 2018. The French Program, being much smaller and with fewer candidates, is delivered primarily in person in more of a seminar style. The work placement portion, as I said, is four months long and begins in January and ends in April. The work placements are an opportunity for you to apply what you’ve learned in the training course to a practice setting. The work providers and the LPP providers, meaning Ryerson and the University of Ottawa, will work with you to determine what your interests are, and they will exercise their best efforts to match you in a position in that area. Both providers continue to make best efforts to find placements. And while that cannot guarantee the placements are paid, we’ve seen over 70 percent of the placements of the program have in fact been paid.
The settings that we’re seeing for work placement are varied: in house settings, quite a few legal clinics, government and non-governmental organizations, and of course firms of all different sizes. All work placements will require that the candidate supervisor submit a training plan ensuring the required competencies are being fulfilled and also that the candidate and the supervisor fulfill certain assessments and fillings with the LPP. Both Ryerson and the University of Ottawa have developed web pages for their particular programs. We have links to those web pages and the providers, and they do include quite a bit of detail on what to expect, how to program works and those sorts of things. I encourage you to review the information as part of your preparation for the licensing process. So, like the LPP, articling is an enriching and rewarding training component of a licensing process; it’s really an opportunity to put legal theory into practice and to experience what it’s like to provide legal services while under the supervision and tutelage of an experienced principle.
While articling placements vary depending on the setting, there will be common elements in each. We call these the “Experiential Training Competencies.” They reflect the necessary skills, knowledge and tasks for entry into the professions. Tasks such as interviewing a client and writing a legal opinion and skills such as advocacy, negotiation and practice management. They’ll be performed in evaluating, during your ten-month articling term. For many of you articling will be your first opportunity to apply your legal skills in a practical environment. To succeed and get the most out of your placement, we’ll require you to shift your thinking from an academic mindset to a practical, service-based mindset. It’s really essential that you keep the lines of communication open with your principle and any other lawyer who assigns you tasks.
Often you’ll be juggling competing demands, and it is up to you to manage your work flow. Seek out feedback when you can, and don’t be discouraged by minor setbacks. This is your opportunity to cultivate good habits that will ensure not only competence, but success as you enter the legal profession. During the 10 months of articles you’re permitted to take up to 10 business days off without it affecting your placement. This time can be used for vacation, study days or sick days. If you are away from your articling placement for more than those two weeks, you may need to extend your articling term. In some cases such as illness or emergency, you may qualify for a compassionate abridgment of the articling term. If that does become an issue, please contact our office so we can guide you through that process.
If you decide to write the licensing exams during your articling placement, your principal must give you seven days free of articling duties for each of the licensing exams. Just note that this obligation only applies if it’s your first attempt at each exam. While all articling placements must align with the experiential training competencies, there is flexibility within the program itself. There are many different arrangements and practice settings that can support an articling placement. In addition to the traditional 10-month full-time articling placement in Ontario, the law society also permits inappropriate circumstances, joint articling placements with two or more principals, part time articling placements, national or international articling placements.
I would encourage you to consult our website if you are considering any of these alternative options as they sometimes have additional requirements. If you are entering the licensing process and are still seeking an articling placement, we also have resources available to assist you. These include a registry of articling placement job hostings and a membership program that matches unplaced candidates with a practicing lawyer who provides guidance and support to the candidates in their search process. So next I’ll be discussing the filing requirements for articling. All the documents I'm going to discuss are available for download from our website. First, I want to note that before the articling placement even begins, your principal must ensure that he or she is approved to serve as principal.
This isn't a requirement for you as a candidate, but it’s still important that you be aware of your principal’s requirement because it could affect your placement. We are not able to credit time that you spend working for a lawyer who has not been approved as an articling principal. If the lawyer who is going to act as your principal hasn’t had an articling student before, it is particularly important that you remind them to file the principal, application well in advance of the placement commencing. The first filing requirement for you falls at the beginning of your placement or within ten business days after it starts. You must file an “Articles of Clerkship” form signed by both you and your principal to avoid any late fees and to make sure that you get full credit for the time you worked in your placement.
At the same time your principal must file an experiential training plan for the placement using the online articling reporting tool for principals. If your principal has already filed one of these training plans in previous years, they’ll just need to log on, review it and ensure their practice can still support the training plan and that no revisions are needed. We also recommend reviewing the experiential training plan periodically throughout your placement. It is also important that before and during your placement you check your online licensing account often since that is the primary way the Law Society will communicate important articling and licensing information to you. It’s also important that you notify us of any changes in your placement as soon as possible.
At the end of you placement you must file a form called the “Certificate of Service under Articles.” Your principal must also sign this form. If you intend to be called to the bar in June, there is an early filing deadline of April 1st by which you need to have filed the certificate of service under articles form. Also, at the end of your placement, or by April 1st for candidates being called in June, you’re required to file the record of experiential training or RET using your online licensing account. Your principal is also required to file and RET at the end of the placement; but please note these are separate requirements and should be completed independently. For your RET you will be asked to report on your experiences during the articling placement as they relate to the experiential training competencies.
It’s a good idea during your placement to review a sample copy of the RET, which is available online to understand the reporting requirements of the outset. To sum up, there are three key documents that you will be responsible for filing with respect to your articling placement. The first is the Articles of Clerkship at the beginning of the placement, and at the end a Certificate of Service under Articles and an online Record of Experiential Training or RET. Now I'm going to hand it over to Will and let him tell you a little bit more about rights of appearance and the Call to the Bar. Will?
Will: Thanks, Claire. The next items that I’ll be discussing apply both to candidates in the LPP and in the articling program. First I’ll outline the rights of appearance. The Law Society governs who may provide legal services and the scope of those legal services. So it’s important as a candidate in the licensing process that you understand what you are permitted to do. As an articling candidate or a candidate who’s completing the work placement term during the LPP, you will be conferred certain rights to appear on certain matters before courts and tribunals. Before you make any appearance on any matter, the first step you should always take is to consult the rights of appearance page on our website, which provides a detailed list of the types of matters you’re allowed to appear on.
In addition to ensuring that your matter falls within that list, you and your principal or your supervising lawyer must always ensure that the lawyer’s attendance is not necessary, that you are adequately supervised and properly prepared and that the matter is appropriate for your level of training, experience and ability. Please note though that Ontario courts and tribunals are entitled to control their own processes; so although these rights of appearance set out certain matters for which the Law Society’s governing legislation and by-laws permit candidates to appear, it is always advisable to consult any applicable enabling legislation and rules of practice or rules of procedure of that court or tribunal in question. And you should also contact the court or tribunal in advance whenever possible to obtain express permission to make an appearance.
After you’ve read our web page, if you still have questions about your rights of appearance or would like some clarification, please feel free to contact our office. When you do make an appearance, you’re also obliged to identify yourself as an articling student or LPP work placement candidate; and you may also use the term “student-at-law” to do so. Finally, if you’ve completed your articling placement or the LPP and you would like to continue to provide legal services, including making appearances before your Call to the bar, you can do so by filing a supervision agreement. The supervision agreement needs to be signed by a lawyer who will be directly responsible for supervising any work you do and appearances you make.
And you can find a copy of the supervision agreement form on our website. And then finally I’ll be telling you a little bit about your Call to the bar. The Call to the bar ceremony is the final step in what will no-doubt feel like a long and challenging process. It’s also a wonderful and well-deserved opportunity for you and your loved ones to celebrate your achievement. On the day of your Call you’ll get a chance to wear your robes and cross over from being a licensing candidate to being a lawyer. Once you’ve satisfied all the components of the licensing process and are eligible to be Called, you’ll receive an information bulletin through your online licensing account, giving you all the information you need for your Call to the bar ceremony, including what you need to prepare and where you need to be.
The Call Ceremonies are held in three locations in June of each year: Toronto, Ottawa and London. There are also ceremonies in Toronto in September and January of each year. And now I'm going to turn it back to Gina to discuss financial assistance and other candidate supports.
Gina: Thanks, Will. The Law Society has two financial assistance programs in place to assist you in the licensing process. In late January 2018, information will be available online regarding the Law Society’s Monthly Payment Plan, as well as the Repayable Allowance Program for the 2019 licensing year. Please note there are deadlines associated with enrollment in each of these programs, and candidates who may require this assistance can currently view the information posted online under “Fees and Forms” to get an idea of what these programs entail and how to qualify and enroll. In addition to the financial assistance program, like the Monthly Payment Plan and Repayable Allowance Program, the Law Society provides other forms of assistance to candidates in the licensing process.
Within the Licensing and Accreditation Department, the examination administration team aims to improve the testing environment for students who are otherwise unable to comply with some of the conditions of the licensing process. Supports that can be provided include examinations in alternative forms such as audio tape, brail and text-to-speech, as well as special equipment for persons with visual and auditory impairments. If you’re a person with a disability or a condition that requires an accommodation for the examination, please contact an accommodation coordinator directly once you submit your application to explore options that may be available in order to best support you during the licensing process. An accommodation request form is also available online under “Candidate Supports,” so I encourage you to review that form should you require it.
In addition, candidates who receive an unsuccessful result on an examination may contact the tutoring coordinator to enquire about tutoring services. Candidates who request tutoring will be connected with a tutor for up to five hours of tutoring. As always, you can find more information online under “For Lawyer/Become a Lawyer/Candidate Supports.” I encourage you to also visit and bookmark the – what we call – the “Dates to Remember” page on the website for many of the relevant due dates of the licensing process that I’ve mentioned today. Please be mindful that deadlines are all in business days, unless otherwise indicated; and also refer to your web count, web account, excuse me, where all invoices are posted, as they too will have deadlines indicated on them for payment depending on where you apply. To recap: the most imminent deadlines for anyone wanting to write exams next summer are of course the December 1st, 2017 application deadline; the next one is the April 9th, 2018 deadline in order to pay for exams and study material fees, and lastly the deadline for the law school transcripts to be sent by your law school to the Law Society by August 3rd, 2018.
It’s recommended that where possible candidates pay their fees online in order to not only speed up the process, but also keep track of their own transactions. Other options on how to pay will be outlines on your invoice, as well as in the fees and forms section of the website. So please take a look at that once the first invoices start appearing in your account. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the licensing examinations are held in June, November and in March of each licensing year. And you can review the precise dates on the website as the 2018-’19 dates have now been posted. And now I’ll hand it over to Claire for some final words.
Claire: Thank you, Gina. So that actually concludes the information portion of the web cast. Thanks to Gina and Will for providing all the information. And thank you all for listening. We’re going to move on to the Q&A portion. So I actually have a good question for Will first, which is: with respect to days off, how should we classify or consider religious holidays? Is it possible that it would require using all 10 days off during the 10 months period with nothing left for sick days, emergencies, et cetera?
Will: Thanks, Claire. Yes, regarding days off: for a 10-month articling term you have up to 10 days off that you can use. And a day off for our purposes is any day that you’re not fulfilling, working in your articling placement. So it could include a sick day, an emergency, a religious holiday, any other type of day off that happens during a work day. So that’s the maximum that you can take over 10 months is 10 for our purposes; but of course with our employer you could always negotiate a higher number of days off that you could take. It would just mean that for our purposes you’d need to extend that articling term a little bit longer to make sure that you’ve still met the minimum amount of time in the articling placement.
Claire: And the other point I’ll just add to what Will said was particularly for religious holidays: if you didn’t want to extend the term, you can always write in and ask for a compassionate abridgement, and we frequently see those requests for religious holidays. And it’s just a matter of writing a letter with the support of your principal to request that your term be abridged. So we’re going to actually turn it over to Gina who has another question.
Gina: Thanks, Claire. I have a question here that inquires as to how physically substantial the exam materials are and how long the process takes of obtaining the materials in person. The materials, both barrister and solicitor, are quite large; about 800 pages or so. It’s definitely not a small volume of material. So we ask that our students either bring a wheelie-bag or a very, very sturdy knapsack to pick those up in person. In terms of the timing, obviously certain days are busier and certain times are busier than others. A lot of the students working in the area tend to come just after work or at lunch time. So I would say if you were hoping to speed up the process of picking up those materials in person, I would stay away from those kind of peak period throughout the day.
Claire: Thanks, Gina. So basically you’re saying invest in a good backpack.
Will: I have a question here, and it’s about studying for the exams: while studying techniques vary, do candidates typically need a full month or so to study? And it’s a good question. It really does depends on your own study habits and, as well, your own, personal schedule. I think it is most common that candidates would take at least a month or so. If you find though that you really do not have the amount of time that lets you feel prepared for the exams and let’s say you’re writing in June, which is what the person asking the question was anticipating, you can always defer one or both of those exams to a later sitting. You don’t need to write both exams within the same month. You can certainly do them in either order and at different times.
Claire: Thanks, Will. I have another question here asking: would a student need to do articling in Ontario in order to be called in the Ontario bar, even if that student has already been called to the Quebec bar? I.e. completed the Quebec bar [stage]. The student would like to obtain both the Quebec bar and Ontario bar license. So that one’s actually a bit complicated and involves mobility. There actually is a provision to receive an exemption from the articling or the experiential training requirement, but that actually requires 10 months of practice, post-call practice in a common law jurisdiction. So what we would ask this person to do who wrote the question is just to call us, and we can guide you through that process. I think Gina’s got another question?
Gina: Yes. Actually, we have a couple of questions from NCA candidates going through the process with the NCA, wondering about the timing of applying to our process and how they can kind of get a jump on that but not be too quick about it. So, without obviously having the full picture here, I would suggest that if someone is planning on writing any one of the exam sittings in 2018-’19 to begin the application now and start the process now, and then they can also contact our office with any other relevant details so that we can assist them. It all depends on when you will be wrapping up your NCA requirements, and we can definitely guide you through our process after knowing a little bit more about when you’ll be completing their process, so – I also have a question here from somebody who is away on exchange and inquiring about the supporting documentation that they require to submit with their application and how they can get that to us by the deadline. I would obviously encourage you to give us a call and give us a little bit more information on what it is you can't submit at this time, but I would advise that you complete the application entirely online, go through the process of printing the document off, having it commissioned and sending it in by the deadline; and we can obviously work on the legal name document after the fact. We can discuss you submitting it when you get back into Canada depending on how long you’ll be away, but that is certainly something that you can discuss with our team in Licensing and Accreditation.
Claire: Okay. So I think that looks like all the questions for now. Obviously we would invite you to call us or e-mail us if you have any other questions. So that concludes the program for today.
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