On September 22nd, 2016, the Professional Development and Competence Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada released its Report to Convocation, addressing the Pathways Pilot Project. In that report, the committee recommended ending the Law Practice Program following the completion of its third year (2016-2017) because it “[…]does not appear to be providing an alternative to articling that has gained acceptance by candidates and the profession and that is sustainable in the long term.” (Report to Convocation – September 22, 2016, page 2)
Following the release of that report, the LSUC received “[…] 93 public submissions from individuals, plus 104 additional individual comments linked to a petition, and 32 from organizations, associations, legal clinics, law schools and others.” The overwhelming majority of these submissions argued in favour of retaining the program, citing – amongst other things – the lack of verifiable data to support the allegation of the creation of a two-tiered system, as well as their own positive experiences with the LPP.
In response to the submissions received, the Professional Development and Competence Committee has produced a revised final report to be presented to Convocation at a meeting today. The Committee has amended its recommendation that the LPP be terminated at the end of this current year. Says the report,
“All but two members of the Committee recommend that to enable this longer-term analysis, the current Pathways Pilot Project (both the LPP and articling enhancements) should be extended. In the Committee’s view, that extension should be for two years, specifically the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 licensing years, to enable the gathering of more data on the LPP and articling and the larger analysis of licensing.”
At a meeting yesterday, Convocation reviewed the Professional Development and Competence Committee’s most recent report and has made the decision to extend the Pathways Pilot Project – which includes the Law Practice Program, Enhancements to the Articling Program and the Evaluation Process of both – for an additional two licensing years. Says the LSUC, “The extension of the pilot follows a call for comment on initial recommendations presented in a report to September Convocation.”