LAO welcomes 51 articling students to meaningful jobs throughout Ontario
Posted on: Friday, June 15, 2012
The chances of joining Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) as an articling student are better than ever. LAO selected 51 articling students from a field of 195 applicants for 2011-12 – way up from eight positions the year before. Better yet, LAO hopes to hire the same number of articling students next year.
Good news for law students
That’s particularly good news at a time when law students are finding it increasingly difficult to find articling positions. As the Law Society of Upper Canada noted in an April 2012 meeting, one in seven law graduates – that’s 15% of applicants – will be without articles in 2013.
LAO’s newest articling students got their jobs thanks to an inclusive new Lawyer Workforce Strategy initiative LAO developed three years ago.
LAO’s Lawyer Workforce Strategy
“Our goal with this initiative was to attract law students who want to combine their passion for social justice with the opportunity to serve the most vulnerable members of Ontario’s society,” explains Sue McCaffrey, LAO Vice President and General Counsel.
“We need to expand our ranks and build our province-wide team in the long run. And we know that one of the best ways to do that in the short run is to attract young people, and encourage them to build a career with us.”
Awards and accomplishments even before joining LAO
Our newest articling students join a team that earned a track record for excellence before joining LAO. Previous students recruited through the Lawyer Workforce Strategy had earned multiple academic awards and scholarships as well as post-graduate degrees in law and social sciences. Their national and international accomplishments in the past include social justice work in human rights, war crimes prosecution and development projects and training on Bay Street.
Seeking out talented law students
LAO staff seeks out students from Ontario’s six law schools with the skills and commitment to serve low-income Ontarians. Because LAO has a diverse clientele that includes many people who consider French their first language, LAO also seeks candidates outside Ontario. We visit Dalhousie University and the University of Manitoba looking for students keen to practice in Ontario, and we go to McGill University and the Université de Moncton, seeking students who are bilingual.
Formal interviews in the fall narrow the field down to the most suitable candidates, pursuant to the schedule and other requirements set out by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
LAO’s diverse services, clients and business
From the day they arrive, LAO’s articling students are immersed in LAO’s diverse services, clients and business. They also learn and grow through rotating placements throughout the province, gaining exposure to – and support in – diverse, substantive areas of the law and different, possibly even remote areas of the province.
The 2011-12 articling team, for instance, includes one student who will start in criminal law and seven who will start in refugee law. It will also include 15 students who will start in family law rotations, and 28 who will take duty counsel or clinic resource roles or positions that combine family and criminal law rotations.
LAO offers a satisfying career in social justice
Wherever they go, the students will enjoy a supportive work environment, dedicated mentors and reasonable wages.
Plus, if LAO’s Sue McCaffrey has her way, the experience will be just the beginning of a satisfying career in social justice. “Upon successful completion of their articling and a positive recommendation from their principal/mentor, each and every student will be offered an opportunity to join Legal Aid Ontario’s dynamic, responsive and flexible legal team.”
Get more information
For general information about working for LAO, contact LAO’s Human Resources toll-free at email@example.com or by phone at 1-800-668-8258.