Foreign-Trained Lawyer Series: The Licensing Process, Part II

If you missed Part I of this post, check it out here.

Yet Another Application Process

Becoming a lawyer in Ontario costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time. There are many steps and lots of dollars that will flow from your pocket to the powers-that-be. This may seem critical, but it’s just a fact. It’s not cheap, but it is worthwhile if this is your chosen profession.

Continue reading “Foreign-Trained Lawyer Series: The Licensing Process, Part II”

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Foreign Trained Lawyer Series: The Licensing Process, Part I

You’ve successfully completed the NCA process. Congratulations!

Unfortunately, the bureaucracy doesn’t end there. The following post is going to discuss the licensing process in Ontario only. That is the only process with which I’m familiar because it’s the process that I went through. I will note, though, that once you’re called to the bar in one of the provinces, there is a streamlined process for practicing in other provinces, however, I have not explored that and will not do so here.

The Licensing Process

Lawyers in Canada are self-regulated, meaning that it is the lawyers themselves who govern entry into the profession and the rules by which we all practice. In Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) is the governing body for lawyers. All lawyers who are admitted to practice in Ontario must go through the licensing process, which includes sitting for the bar exam and articling. This is the same for foreign-trained lawyers, although you may not need to article depending on your practice experience in your home country. As a side note, the number of articling positions has steadily decreased over the last few years and the LSUC introduced the Law Practice Program as an alternative to articling. It is still a pilot project and has only been approved for another 2 years. I’m going to break this down over the next couple of posts because this will otherwise be a bit too daunting to read in one go.

The LSUC’s Expectations for New Lawyers

The purpose of the licensing process, according to the LSUC is:

. . . to ensure that candidates have demonstrated they possess the required entry-level competencies, in order to provide legal services effectively and in the public interest.

Seems straight-forward enough, right? Well, sort of. Continue reading “Foreign Trained Lawyer Series: The Licensing Process, Part I”

Parenting Series: Preparing Your Personal Life for Parental Leave

The Basics

There are a lot of unknowns in pregnancy and parenthood. As a family lawyer, I can attest to the fact that no parent can ever really be certain that they’re doing everything correctly – even when everyone is doing their best. When it comes to preparing for a maternity leave, there are some right ways and some wrong ways to make the transition from working person to working parent.

Talk It Out

First, talk with your partner about your expectations for parental leave before you start trying to have a baby. Depending on your age and stage, one of you may have more or less flexibility around parental leave or you may be at a critical point in your career where taking a substantial amount of time off just is not feasible. Obviously, if you’re the person who is planning to have the baby, you’ll need to take some amount of time off to make sure your body has time to heal and recover following the birth, but taking a full year of parental leave (as you’re able to do in Canada) is not a foregone conclusion. Also, allow for the fact that your partner may want to spend some alone time with the baby. As the birthing parent, you are an important part of the child’s life, but you do not want to become the gatekeeper of all things baby. In Canada, parents can (and I think should) share the parental leave benefits to the extent that it’s possible. Starting early on will ensure that you’re able to develop a healthy co-parenting relationship with your partner. However, for some people, taking a full year off may spell financial/career disaster, which leads me to my next point.

Continue reading “Parenting Series: Preparing Your Personal Life for Parental Leave”