Entry to Practice: Articling and the LPP
Based on currently available information, the LPP should be kept and expanded while articling is phased into the LPP as the four month placement.
Since 1970, the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized, with approval, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. It strikes me as bewildering that in creating the LPP program and running it as an equivalent alternative to articles, the Law Society did not consider the ratio from Brown, specifically:
“We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
The LPP is accessible, and can be made more so by either including it into the law school curriculum as is done at Lakehead, or by working with the government to ensure that the period during the LPP is covered by OSAP.
In addition, the Society needs to clarify how much of the difficulty new lawyers are having in finding work is due to an oversupply of new lawyers, and how much to a problem of distribution such that there are still areas with too few legal practitioners. A distribution problem can be fixed by working with the government and with senior and retiring lawyers from smaller firms or sole practices –especially in rural or northern areas that are already under-served– to set up a plan that will ensure that students who graduate with high debt loads can benefit from choosing to work in under-served areas or smaller practices. That benefit may be provided by government loan-forgiveness plans, reduced LSUC fees, or improved communication regarding the availability of challenging and interesting work in rural and northern towns.