September 27, 2022 – The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto (SABA) and the ITL Network are proud to announce, the ITL Manual, a new collaboration to support internationally trained lawyers undergoing the licensing process in Canada.

“The objective of the ITL Manual is to compile all the necessary information every ITL needs to succeed in Canada”, noted Co-Founder and Director of the ITL Network Kenny Okunola. “Since we started the ITL Network, we have had to respond to similar questions and concerns and the underlying issue has always been the availability of information at the right time. There is no gainsaying the fact the availability of information can contribute significantly to the quality of decision making in this licensing journey.”

According to the ITL Network’s President, Cynthia Okafor, the idea is for the ITL Manual to include various sequential volumes which serve as road map materials for ITLs at different phases in their career trajectory – starting from the pre-NCA qualification phase to the NCA and provincial qualification phases, and even for ITLs just called to the Bar. Each volume will provide information on each phase distinctively. We intend to make this Manual a holy grail of information for ITLs”.

According to SABA’s President, Devin Persaud, “this is an idea that we have had for a few years and we are pleased to see it come to fruition with this partnership. A large number of SABA Toronto members are current or former internationally-trained lawyers. We have seen firsthand the challenges that they face in trying to navigate the licensing process in Ontario in the absence of consistent and clear guidance. This project fills this large information gap. We hope it will become a trusted resource for NCA candidates and Internationally Trained Lawyers, and a way to ensure that they are reaching their full potential as they enter our Bar. 

The ITL manual will be published in volumes starting from Q1 2023 and details of the launch event will be announced shortly. SABA and the ITL Network’s team of volunteers are currently working on this project and are hoping that this reduces the information gap currently experienced by many internationally trained lawyers in Canada.

The ITL Network, a 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 licensing process. The ITL Network looks to positively change the narrative and perception of ITLs within the Canadian legal landscape through networking, community, support and advocacy. Founded in 2005, SABA’s membership is dynamic, ever-expanding and includes lawyers from large and small law firms, sole practitioners, government agencies and departments, non-profit organizations, and corporations. Members of the judiciary, academics and law students also form an integral part of SABA. These connections are designed to support newcomer professionals secure and retain career paths reflective of their education, training, experience, and future aspirations.

For further details, please contact:

ITL Network: Kenny Okunola (Co-Founder & Director), kenny.okunola@itlnetwork.ca ; Cynthia Okafor (President & Co-Founder), cynthia.okafor@itlnetwork.ca

South Asian Bar Association: Devin Persaud (SABA President), dpersaud@goodmans.ca ; Richa Sandill (Director, Board of Directors) richa.sandill@dvcls.clcj.ca 

 

The On-Campus Interviews (OCI) are here! Though they may not be exactly “on-campus” considering that they will be conducted virtually, but the name does stick on. These are interviews which are conducted by employers to recruit for 1L and 2L summer positions. In these interviews, you have 17 minutes (give or take) to meet with members from a firm and make an impression on them. Wondering how to ace these speed interview situations? Read on!

Recently, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) issued a newsletter addressing some concerns relating to the decision of moving to an in-person examination method for the 2022-2023 licensing cycle. This update arrived as a consequence of the cancellation of the summer examinations announced by the LSO in March 2022. The decision to cancel the summer examinations was made due to the examination content being improperly accessed by some candidates and/or third parties.

            Expectantly, this decision severely affected approximately 1,100 candidates, who were set to write their online examinations. In an open letter directed to the LSO and the Attorney General of Ontario, licensing candidates expressed their frustration and disappointment regarding the LSO’s decision to postpone the June 2022 bar exams to July 2022, in addition to cancelling online assessments. Lawyers and students have also expressed their confusion with returning to an in-person format – solely because the examination content was leaked, as they argue that it can potentially be leaked again even if they were to cancel online assessments.

 

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend an evening with Justice McLeod (Ontario Court of Justice), Justice Braid (Superior Court), Justice J.L. Waddilove (Ontario Court of Justice) and Justice Jain (Superior Court), all remarkable female judges in the industry. This event was an initiative by the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) (amongst several other similar events being organised by law schools across Canada), to encourage young female lawyers to join the judiciary. The IAJW is actively working towards removing impediments faced by female lawyers and judges in the world with a focus on the high attrition rate of females in the profession. The evening was full of riveting and intriguing conversation as our judges talked about increasing representation, equity and diversity within the law, and what it takes to be a judge.
By virtue of Osgoode’s Women Network, attendees of the evening received the chance to personally interact with the Judges. Attendees not only learned from the fierce personal experiences narrated by the esteemed judges that formed the panel but were also allowed time to ask direct questions.

The Articling Program has been a challenging journey for many law students. It is intended to satisfy the Law Society that the applicant has practical & substantive knowledge of being a lawyer in Canada. It is a significant step in a law student’s legal career that enables the transition from school to practice. The Law Society of Alberta’s (“LSA”) admission program requires an eight-to-twelve-month articling term. Students must also enrol in the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) administered by the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED). You can learn more about the process of becoming a lawyer in Alberta here.

The Articling Placement Program has been introduced by the LSA with the goal of assisting articling students exit their current position and find replacement articles if they are placed in untenable or unsafe work environments and subjected to harassment or discrimination.

Harassment or Discrimination during Articling

Continue reading “The Articling Dilemma & LSA’s Intervention”

The journey to becoming a licensed lawyer in Canada involves various stages of examinations and plenty of studying. We understand that sometimes, Internationally Trained Lawyers (“ITLs”) are unsure of which province to launch or recommence their legal career in. That is why in this blog post, we will examine the different licensing requirements of the major provinces in Canada that may assist ITLs in deciding which one compliments their experiences more.

British Columbia (“BC”).

The first step for ITLs to get licensed in BC is to complete a common law program at a Canadian law school and complete their National Committee on Accreditation (“NCA”) requirement. For information on completing NCAs, kindly click on this link. Consequently, they must complete the Law Society Admission Program that takes a period of 12 months. This program involves a 10-week Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) examinations, and a 9-month articling period in a law firm or legal workplace. The PLTC essentially concentrates on building practical skills, ethics, and training for lawyers to use what has been taught in law school into practice. The examinations cover some of the core practice areas in which ITLs will be examined: business (commercial and company), real estate, wills, civil, criminal procedure, family, professionalism (ethics and practice management).

The final step in becoming a lawyer in BC is to apply for call and admission with the necessary documentation. Thereafter, new lawyers declare the barristers and solicitor’s oath in a call ceremony and become eligible to practice law in the province of BC. More information can be found on this link.

Alberta

Becoming a licensed lawyer in Alberta is a four-step process that begins with completing the NCA exams and obtaining a Certificate of Qualification. After this certificate is sent to the Law Society of Alberta, ITLs must apply for a student-at-law status. It is important to note that ITLs must secure an articling position before applying for the student-at-law status. The articling period can range from 8 to 12 months. 

Continue reading “Becoming a Licensed Lawyer in Canada: A Marathon, not a Sprint.”

 

Landing in a new country is always daunting. Especially for Internationally Trained Lawyers (ITLs), all of us landed here with our bags, hopes, dreams and a big eerily alive hook with a dot at its bottom asking us “what next, buddy?”. From finding accommodation, satisfying the NCA requirements and finding an articling position many such semantic figures float around in our minds at all times.

Continue reading “I’m here, what’s next?”

 

The ITL Network is seeking nominations for election of three (3) Directors to take office for a two-year period commencing from December 17, 2021. We are seeking nominees from across the country, from different backgrounds, various career stages and lawyers working in a range of roles and who demonstrate:

• Commitment to the vision, mission, and strategic objectives of the Network;
• Willingness and ability to commit time and resources to serve on the Board and its committees, participate during events and other strategic initiatives of the Network;
• Willingness to facilitate effective connections and discussions with individuals and organizations working on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues;
• Capability and willingness to hold a portfolio; and
• Commitment to attend Board meetings diligently, committee meetings and undertake other responsibilities as may be assigned by the Board.

Governance experience, including familiarity with Board processes will be an asset but not required.

Nominations must be received on or before 5:00pm ET December 9, 2021. To apply, please visit www.itlnetwork.ca/nominations

 

Introduction

There has been a lot of chatter about the proposed legislation regarding internationally trained skilled workers revealed by the news release dated October 21, 2021 in Ontario. However, given the limited information available on the subject at the moment, there isn’t a lot of clarity on what exactly this legislation will mean for ITLs once enacted.

So here, we attempt to understand the new guidelines, and the scope of their applicability on ITLs.

Proposed Law

After deliberation and much consultation with groups of industry leaders, immigrants, and faith communities, the Ontario Provincial Government is proposing a legislation to ease the transition of internationally trained newcomers into the Ontario workforce. This law, if passed, would be a first of its kind in Canada.

Continue reading “A New Dawn for ITLs in Ontario?”


(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