Last month, as a temporary response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Law Society reduced the 12-month articling requirement to a minimum of 8 months for those students-at-law who had already commenced their articling term. At that time we also advised that we were monitoring the COVID-19 situation, seeking feedback and exploring options that would provide flexibility to help firms get through this crisis and proceed with a student for the upcoming articling term. Since the COVID-19 situation has continued to develop in such a way that it appears that a failure to reduce the minimum articling requirement for incoming articling students will disadvantage some firms and students, the Law Society has made the decision to permit a reduction in articles for this incoming group of students as well. This reduction will apply to any student who commences their articles in 2020.
The Law Society’s goal in making this reduced articling term available to incoming students is to avoid articling positions being terminated as a result of the COVID-19 situation. If a firm is in a position to have their articling student commence articles as planned and complete the standard 12-month articling term, that is the ideal scenario and we encourage you to proceed on that basis. However, for those firms who feel they are unable to proceed with a position for the upcoming articling term as a result of the COVID-19 situation, we are hopeful that the flexibility created by this option will be sufficient to allow you to take on an articling student. This option makes it possible for an articling position to commence at some later date in the summer or into the fall, while still facilitating a spring 2021 admission date for the student. We are hopeful that the additional time to “weather the storm” and get re-established, as well as the reduction in salary costs associated with an 8-month articling term as compared to a 12-month term, will be sufficient to alleviate the pressure felt by some firms to make a decision at this point not to proceed with an articling position.
The Law Society will continue to explore options in an effort to provide the flexibility needed by firms to proceed with articling positions. The CPLED Board is also exploring options to increase flexibility for incoming PREP students. If you have committed to taking on an articling student for the upcoming year, please reach out to us to discuss options before making a decision to terminate the position.