We are now one year into the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation continues. We do not know the full impact this lingering pandemic is having on firms, nor do we know how long it will persist. Therefore, we are highlighting the following changes and informational items that will provide additional flexibility to students and firms:
Back in the spring of 2020, as a temporary response to the COVID-19 situation, the Law Society reduced the 12-month articling requirement to a minimum of 8 months for those students-at-law who concluded or commenced their articling term in 2020. The reduced term option was later extended to students-at-law commencing articles up to March 31, 2021.
As we near the end of March, the COVID situation persists (and is currently escalating), and it is not expected that the situation will improve significantly for the foreseeable future. In response to this, the Law Society is attempting to implement measures that generate flexibility for firms in an effort to increase articling positions in our province. For this reason, the temporary waiver of Rule 706 to permit the reduction of the articling term from 12 months to a minimum of 8 months is being extended to students-at-law commencing articles up to September 30, 2021.
It is important that firms and students understand that the reduced term option is limited in its application and may cause a timing issue, specifically:
To ensure principals/firms fully understand the purpose and practical application of the reduced term, principals who wish to utilize the reduced term option will be required to declare that:
Effective March 12, 2021, as a temporary pandemic impact measure for students seeking articling positions, the Law Society is lifting the restriction set out in subrule 704(4) to permit members to act as a principal to two students-at-law at the same time. This temporary measure will be available for the duration of the 2021-2022 articling term. Principals interested in taking a second articling student will be asked to provide supporting information on how they plan to appropriately accommodate and supervise two students. For more information, please contact the Law Society at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) changed the admission requirements for the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) for the 2020/2021 year and is maintaining that change for the 2021/2022 year. Students with a Canadian common law degree or Certificate of Qualification from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada may register and complete PREP without secured articles.
As Phase One of PREP (Foundation Modules) consists of self-directed study (estimated to take 100 to 110 hours), firms have the option of their student dedicating uninterrupted time to PREP at the outset of their articles to complete these online modules (students need to begin PREP no later than June 28, 2021). This will allow students to be dedicated full time to articling until Phase Two of PREP (Foundation Workshops) commences on September 27, 2021 (with Foundation Workshops prework opening on August 27, 2021). For more information, please review the June 2021 PREP schedule here.
To offer students and firms greater flexibility, CPLED will continue to offer a second intake of PREP from December 2021 to September 2022. All portions of PREP are currently being offered virtually due to COVID-19.
If you have questions related to any of the above measures or wish to provide feedback, please email us at email@example.com.