Young Lawyers’ advocacy efforts deliver new findings about the articling experience

  • October 23, 2019

The CBA’s Young Lawyers Section, in partnership with the Law Students Section, has shown that it can make a difference in shaping their own careers and those of their peers. Through their advocacy efforts, the legal community has more information about the articling system in Canada and the experiences of new lawyers within it.

The quality of the articling experience has been a subject of regular discussion for the Young Lawyers Section in recent years. As a result, in February 2019, the Young Lawyers Section and Law Student Section  wrote a letter to urge law societies to track and improve the articling system.

The Law Society of Alberta committed to survey young lawyers and articling students to better understand the current state of the articling system. In conjunction with the law societies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Law Society of Alberta conducted separate surveys, one with students and one with principals, recruiters and mentors, across the three provinces in May and June 2019.

The student survey was completed by 736 articling students and new lawyers, a 23% response rate. A total of 407 principals, recruiters and mentors were also surveyed.

The results were made public in September. The key findings are:

  • Nearly one in three (32 per cent) respondents reported experiencing discrimination or harassment during recruitment and/or articling. Women and members of minority groups were more likely to say they experienced discrimination and/or harassment.
  • Only about half the student respondents felt prepared for entry level practice, based on what they learned during articling.
  • Both student and principals/mentors responding to the survey reported room for improvement in the quality of mentorship and the feedback mechanisms afforded to students.

Look for additional coverage of the survey results and the issues they raise at CBA National.