Law school grads can't find mandatory work

Many Ontario law firms are not hiring prospective law school graduates who need to complete articiling work in order to finish their degree.

A lack of articling positions has law schools and lawyers looking for new ways to help graduating students practice in Ontario.

The Law Society of Upper Canada estimates one in seven law graduates will not secure practical training next year. That is despite the fact articling is necessary for law students if they want to practice in Ontario.

The society is drafting recommendations for private practice and schools in the fall to address the shortage of articling jobs.

The creation of a mandatory legal training course is one piece of education they believe could replace articling work.

Dan Pinsky, a recent civil law graduate at the University of Ottawa, said he has applied to more than 100 articling positions and so far has only received rejection letters.

"I definitely was aware that I probably won't be going to the biggest firms, but I thought there'd be a lot more small firms out there hiring," said Pinsky. "I guess I've slowly become disillusioned that they are not all out hiring."

Bruce Feldthusen, the dean of law at the University of Ottawa, said articling students could be expensive hires for law firms.

That has changed the way some perceive new graduates.

"Many people think it's the greatest way of training lawyers that's ever been and I think there's lots of merits to it," said Feldthusen.

"I just don't think it's financially sustainable."