It has long been an open secret that our articling system is deeply flawed. But is it unethical?
Articling today is a system that would be equally at home in Downton Abbey and in Booker Prize Winner Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
While I don’t think articling is inherently unethical, I do believe that it is inherently unequal and therefore creates an environment where unethical behavior is possible. Articling takes a vulnerable and powerless law student who is often carrying a significant financial debt and requires her to be at the beck and call of an experienced lawyer with largely no oversight. Desperate students will do almost anything to obtain articles and they will put up with almost anything to fulfill their articles. Some students even article for free, a possibility that exists only because articling is exempt from general wage and hour legislation that protects most employees.
Read the rest of the post on SLAW here: http://www.slaw.ca/2013/12/09/the-ethics-of-articling/