(Calgary) October 18, 2021
– Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) and The ITL Network proudly announce a new collaboration to support internationally trained lawyers (ITLs) in their career path journeys. This one-year agreement brings together local and international expertise to provide ITLs with much needed connections, learning opportunities and mentoring.

“We are excited about the opportunities we can jointly create for ITLs”, noted CRIEC Executive Director Bruce Randall. “We have been working with ITLs since 2012 and each year see more and more outstanding lawyers arriving in Calgary. There is room for all lawyers including those trained here in Canada and those trained abroad, whether in private practice, in-house, clinics or government. ITLs bring unique perspectives that enrich their local legal communities and indeed, Canadian society itself”.

According to the ITL Network’s President, Cynthia Okafor, “As many ITLs grapple with limited resources and opportunities, there is a growing need for mentorship, and we are more determined than ever to collaborate with community partners like CRIEC, to find effective solutions for ITLs in the Canadian legal sphere. We couldn’t be more excited to get to work and look forward to a successful relationship”.

CRIEC and ITL Network are developing workshops, experiential learning and mentoring opportunities to support ITLs. Further announcements on upcoming sessions are forthcoming.

Founded in 2020, ITL Network, a new Canadian federal not-for-profit organization, seeks to promote and foster diversity and inclusion in the Canadian legal market and assist ITLs, as well as international law graduates, through the licensure process. ITL Network looks to positively change the narrative and perception of ITLs within the Canadian legal landscape through networking and advocacy.

Founded in 2010, CRIEC, a robust Alberta not-for-profit organization, connects newcomer professionals, including ITLs, with Calgary mentors drawn from relevant industries, professions and sectors, in occupation-specific mentoring partnerships. These connections are designed to support newcomer professionals secure and retain career paths reflective of their education, training, experience and future aspirations.

CRIEC and ITL Network teaming up for success – helping ITLs and their local communities thrive.

For further details, please contact:

ITL Network: Arianna Carlotti (Director of Mentorship), ariannacarlotti@itlnetwork.ca ; Idayat Balogun (Director of NCA Affairs), idayat.balogun@itlnetwork.ca

Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council: Bruce Randall, Executive Director  bruce@criec.ca

 

 

Starting the licensing journey as an internationally trained lawyer in a new jurisdiction can be a nerve-racking ordeal. For experienced candidates, it can feel like starting a career from scratch given the various requirements they have to meet such as equivalency exams and courses. The need to foster a community to mentor and inspire internationally trained lawyers was the motivation behind the ITL Voices project! ITL Voices is a platform to mentor, inspire and support our diverse community of internationally trained lawyers and encourage them by shinning the spotlight on stories of legal professionals in Canada.

In our second edition of ITL Voices, a well-known guest joined us – Deborah Wolfe, the Executive Director of the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA). Most ITLs are familiar with her as the NCA is usually the first organization and the rite of passage to get licensed to practice in Canada. During the session we learnt an interesting fact about Ms. Wolfe, which is that she’s not a lawyer! She is a civil engineer who served as a former Military Engineer in the Canadian Armed Forces. She has previously worked with Engineers Canada, where she was responsible for accreditation of undergraduate engineering programs in Canada. Therefore, she has a wealth of experience in the accreditation and evaluation of foreign credentials.

Ms. Wolfe discussed the various options available to ITLs to satisfy their NCA assessments. After getting an evaluation, ITLs can either self-study and write their exams themselves or attend a Canadian law school that offers NCA courses or specific NCA programs. The law schools which offer specific NCA programs include the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Toronto, and Osgoode Hall Law School. It is important to note that some assessments may require ITLs to fulfill their requirements by going through a law school.

For ITLs from non-common law jurisdictions, Ms. Wolfe explained that the licensing process had been made easier for them through directed policies. If an ITL from a non-common law jurisdiction is a licensed paralegal or notary, they can take the NCA exams instead of attending a law school.  A popular question that has generated mixed reactions from internationally trained lawyers is the NCA’s shift to remotely proctored online exams. We asked Ms. Wolfe about this, and she clearly stated that the NCA would not be moving back to in-person written exams. She explained that online exams benefit both the NCA and candidates in terms of logistics and flexibility. ITLs can now write their exams from their home countries or anywhere in the world.

Ms. Wolfe also informed us that the NCA is introducing a Legal Research and Writing competency requirement for ITLs that get their assessment from January 1, 2022. She emphasized the necessity of this additional requirement because ITLs come from various jurisdiction where the standards and methods of legal research and writing may differ. We understand there have been different feelings about these developments, so we would love to know how you feel about them under this blog post!

We had an enlightening experience learning about the licensing process and the new assessment requirement from Ms. Wolfe. ITL Voices will bring many more amazing guests in the coming weeks, so make sure you stay tuned to our blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

By: Christianah Adeyemi