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mygif

“Trust me as a member of the profession when I say we invented most of them.”

So that’s a vote *against* the “most lawyer jokes are repurposed ethnic jokes” theory, then?

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mygif

Engineers have to work for 4 years under supervision before they can work independently. Doctors have Residencies that last for years. Why not put in a similar requirement for Lawyers?

As you yourself say, A law school graduate can’t just hang up a shingle and practice law independently. They do need to work for someone else (and, articling doesn’t provide enough knowledge).

What we need is some sort of supervised residency, say 2 years, with somewhat restricted privileges – perhaps limits as to the amount you can hold in trust, but as an actual lawyer, not as Junior Bitch.

All this ends up doing is formalizing the real process. After your two years is satisfactorily completed, you can strike out on your own as a full fledged lawyer.

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mygif

Articling sounds like apprenticeship: and there’s no guarantee that articling would work if the mentoring lawyer is a bad one. You run that risk for any mentoring program, I know. But mandating it increases the risk.

What other ways are there to get recent law grads into training employment? Working in law libraries, perhaps good for researching skills but not for trial work or contracts. Employment (at min wage) to social services offices? What else is there?

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mygif

chris 11:36 has it right.

I’m a current articling student. There is no way I should be touching actual files without supervision. At very least I need a program with regular access to a competent, experienced lawyer. This cannot be voluntary.

On the problem of graduate over-supply …

1. Should every graduate be *entitled* to a position? At the risk of sounding harsh, because some of this is dictated by economic conditions, but as a profession, perhaps we’re better off with some degree of filter.

2. There is blame to be laid here, and it rests with middling schools like Ottawa that cranked up enrolment in recent years with no consideration of job prospects. That is straight-up irresponsible. There are also at least 3 schools actively lobbying to build law schools in Ontario. Professional schools too often serve as prestige vanity projects and cash cows for universities. Students pay the price for both.

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mygif

Should every graduate be *entitled* to a position? At the risk of sounding harsh, because some of this is dictated by economic conditions, but as a profession, perhaps we’re better off with some degree of filter.

I’m just going to go ahead and restate: the filters should come before somebody spends sixty thousand dollars on a law degree.

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Mitchell Hundred said on November 13th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Can you propose a more useful replacement for the process? You make an effective argument here, but if I understand you correctly the profession will still need a bridge between the theoretical and the practical.

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Mitchell Hundred said on November 13th, 2012 at 7:44 pm

And I speak as a complete layperson in these matters, so feel free to set me straight or whatever.

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mygif

Speaking as a teacher whose student teaching period was seriously shortened due to just such reasons… I’d suggest looking everywhere for a better solution than cancelling articling. A proper ten-month apprenticeship would have left me so much better prepared for my current responsibilities; I pity my overwhelmed Teach For America colleagues who have no apprenticeship experience. Removing the requirement also removes the opportunity for most – an opportunity badly needed.

Of course, the problems described in the post need a solution, and if no other can be found… but is there really no better solution than abolishing the system?

(I think my lawyer-father would agree that an articling system would have been handy for preventing his being shoved into the lead role as defense on a capital case six months into his legal career. I dunno that America is doing “just fine” without such a system. In lieu of that, Dad strongly recommends that all law school students watch My Cousin Vinnie for a crash course in theory versus practice.)

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mygif

I’m in 1st year at Queen’s right now, so articling will be on the horizon in the near-future.

One of the big problems with articling positions is that to a great extent articling students aren’t really necessary to firms; they’re often taken on essentially as a service to the profession. But the number of spots available continues to shrink as a result of this.

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Tim O'Neil said on November 14th, 2012 at 1:52 am

As someone who is looking at having to produce a 3-400 page dissertation before I get my sheepskin, one article doesn’t sound quite so bad . . .

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TeraTelnet said on November 14th, 2012 at 4:35 am

I note your assertion that no other common-law jurisdictions maintain an articling system, but it does sound suspiciously like the apprenticeship system that leads to admission to the solicitor’s profession in Northern Ireland. The big difference, of course, is that you have to obtain an apprenticeship placement *before* you begin your professional training, so at least you’re not throwing the expenditure on it out there blindly.

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mygif

So basically, the requirement to get a law degree, is to get a law job. Kind of ass-backward, the degree is supposed to be the thing letting you get a job.

I’m an engineer so I understand the whole “levels of responsibility” thing. But if the job market for my profession is bad, at least give me the damn degree, instead of screwing me twice. Don’t make the degree dependent on a possibly bad job market.

Articling should be abolished, it just seems like mandated slave labour unless you get lucky.

But hopefully the word gets out and less people try to become lawyers…? Because that might be a bigger problem. No reason not to fix articling of course (or perhaps *more* reason).

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mygif

Also, replacement for articling = first year on job. Why is this not obvious?

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Pantsless Pete said on November 14th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Is Articling the same things as your Letters?

Because I’m pretty sure Lawyers still have to do their Letters in Australia.

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mygif

So basically, the requirement to get a law degree, is to get a law job. Kind of ass-backward, the degree is supposed to be the thing letting you get a job.

Assuming that Northern Ireland works broadly similarly to the rest of the UK (and I think it does), then the part where you need to get a job is before you do a post-graduate qualification. You will have already done an undergraduate degree in law to show your proficiency in the theory and this is a professional qualification which focuses on the more day-to-day, hands-on aspects on the job.

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Mitchell Hundred said on November 14th, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Also, replacement for articling = first year on job. Why is this not obvious?

Because the post specifically says that law school does not prepare you for the specifics of being a lawyer. So expecting someone to do this right out of university without getting hands-on experience seems a little mean-spirited.

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