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/
From Blogging for Equality, and posted on November 3, 2012
Seizing the Opportunity: Lawyer Licensing and Legal Education for the Future
Professor David Wiseman
The Ontario legal community is being presented with an historic opportunity to forge a new partnership between legal regulators and educators on the nature and content of professional licensing and education. To seize this opportunity, we need to bring together all the stakeholders at a table that is set for open identification of wants and needs(and interests and impacts), meaningful engagement with issues, difficult discussions about resources and collaboration on innovative problem-solving. The law schools and legal regulators should have equal seats at the table, which ought to be at arms-length from both, and which should also include law firms and lawyers, practitioner associations, Legal Aid, legal clinics, pro bono law, law students, equality-seeking groups and the general public(to name the most obvious). The results could usher in a new horizon of experiential legal education with integrated lawyer licensing that harnesses the profession’s practical expertise and promotes knowledge and skills for systemic advancements in access to justice. Imagine!
For the full post, click HERE