Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Law society report pushes for end to licensing course

By Thomas Claridge
February 15 2008

A “consultation report” by a Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) task force has recommended scrapping a four-week licensing course that two years ago replaced the law society’s four-month-long Bar Admission Course (BAC).

The Licensing and Accreditation Task Force was appointed last spring with a mandate to make recommendations in three areas: the most effective means by which competency requirements for call to the Bar of Ontario could be achieved; the criteria for approving law degrees, and the impact of rising numbers of law graduates on the viability of the current licensing process.

The report was submitted to the law society’s January Convocation, which approved its dissemination to the profession, law schools and legal organizations to obtain feedback on its findings concerning the licensing process and the related articling process.

Headed by former LSUC treasurer Vern Krishna, the four-member task force noted in its report that the current Skills and Professional Responsibility Program began as a five-week instructional program but was reduced by Convocation to a four-week instructional program in 2007 “after the candidate evaluations indicated a perceived repetitiveness within the learning modules.”

At present, the candidates get 3.5 hours of instruction per day, for four weeks, for a total of 12 instructional days, six assessment days and one reassessment day for those who require it. Attendance is mandatory, and the law society has set aside two full days to conduct each of three assessments during the program.

The task force found that with 1,400 candidates in the process last year, assessments were limited to 15 or 20 minutes plus five to 10 minutes of performance feedback on each activity. The total time spent in and out of class on program requirements was 60 hours.

The report warned that present trends indicate that by 2009 the number of law students wanting to enter the profession will reach 1,730 — an increase of about 30 per cent from last year...

Read the whole article at The Lawyer's Weekly.

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