At the moment, in order to be admitted to the practice of law, the requirement in most provinces is that
- a candidate possess a law degree from a recognized law school, and
- a candidate serve a period of apprenticeship as an Articling Clerk under the supervision of a qualified member of the Bar in the province.
Articling usually involves working on a full-time basis with modest pay as a clerk in a law firm, a court, or the legal department of the government or a corporation. The length of this articling clerkship varies from ten months to one year, depending on the province. Each provincial law society also administers a bar admission course or set of bar admission examinations that must be completed successfully before a candidate may be admitted to the provincial bar. Bar admission courses and examinations cover a wide range of topics. Their emphasis is generally on practical knowledge and skills. The evaluations in these programs are designed to ensure that new members possess the knowledge, skills, and attitude expected of an entry-level lawyer in a competent and professional practice.
Ontario has recently introduced a companion program to Articling. Known as the Legal Practice Program (LPP), it consists of a period of post-JD full-time skills-based study, together with a period of internship in a legal setting. At the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University, which has a particular mandate to train lawyers for northern, rural, and Aboriginal practice, the JD program has been given special accreditation to incorporate the LPP with the JD program itself with the completion of extra credits during the JD. For more information, contact The Law Society of Upper Canada.
Bar admission in Quebec usually requires graduation from a civil law school, followed by a term attending Bar School, and a period completing the Stage, which is the civil law equivalent to Articling.
Bar admission procedures and bar admission exams are being monitored and reevaluated in Canada. One should always contact the law society in the particular province concerning the structure and format of its individual course and examination prior to graduation from law school. For a listing of Canadian law society websites, go to www.flsc.ca.