LAO welcomes 51 articling students to meaningful jobs throughout Ontario

Posted on: Friday, June 15, 2012

What LAO’s articling students say about the Lawyer Workforce Strategy

“Through the Lawyer Workforce Strategy, I’ve gotten to meet with clients and appear in court. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about many different areas of the law from dedicated, incredible lawyers and other staff.”
– Joo Eun Kim, one of the eight articling students who joined LAO in 2011. He has worked for LAO’s family law service centre in North York, criminal duty counsel at College Park, the Refugee Law Office, the Office of General Counsel and LAO Law

“I’ve been here for a month, and it’s already more than met my expectations for hands-on experience in the areas where I am most interested – refugees and immigration.”
– Audrey Alix, one of the 51 articling students who joined LAO in 2012. She began her 10-month articles in LAO’s Refugee Law Office

The chances of joining Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) as an articling student are better than ever. LAO selected 51 articling students from a field of 195 applicants for 2011-12 – way up from eight positions the year before. Better yet, LAO hopes to hire the same number of articling students next year.

Good news for law students

That’s particularly good news at a time when law students are finding it increasingly difficult to find articling positions. As the Law Society of Upper Canada noted in an April 2012 meeting, one in seven law graduates – that’s 15% of applicants – will be without articles in 2013.

LAO’s newest articling students got their jobs thanks to an inclusive new Lawyer Workforce Strategy initiative LAO developed three years ago.

LAO’s Lawyer Workforce Strategy

“Our goal with this initiative was to attract law students who want to combine their passion for social justice with the opportunity to serve the most vulnerable members of Ontario’s society,” explains Sue McCaffrey, LAO Vice President and General Counsel.

“We need to expand our ranks and build our province-wide team in the long run. And we know that one of the best ways to do that in the short run is to attract young people, and encourage them to build a career with us.”

Awards and accomplishments even before joining LAO

Our newest articling students join a team that earned a track record for excellence before joining LAO. Previous students recruited through the Lawyer Workforce Strategy had earned multiple academic awards and scholarships as well as post-graduate degrees in law and social sciences. Their national and international accomplishments in the past include social justice work in human rights, war crimes prosecution and development projects and training on Bay Street.

Seeking out talented law students

LAO staff seeks out students from Ontario’s six law schools with the skills and commitment to serve low-income Ontarians. Because LAO has a diverse clientele that includes many people who consider French their first language, LAO also seeks candidates outside Ontario. We visit Dalhousie University and the University of Manitoba looking for students keen to practice in Ontario, and we go to McGill University and the Université de Moncton, seeking students who are bilingual.

Formal interviews in the fall narrow the field down to the most suitable candidates, pursuant to the schedule and other requirements set out by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

LAO’s diverse services, clients and business

From the day they arrive, LAO’s articling students are immersed in LAO’s diverse services, clients and business. They also learn and grow through rotating placements throughout the province, gaining exposure to – and support in – diverse, substantive areas of the law and different, possibly even remote areas of the province.

The 2011-12 articling team, for instance, includes one student who will start in criminal law and seven who will start in refugee law. It will also include 15 students who will start in family law rotations, and 28 who will take duty counsel or clinic resource roles or positions that combine family and criminal law rotations.

LAO offers a satisfying career in social justice

Wherever they go, the students will enjoy a supportive work environment, dedicated mentors and reasonable wages.

Plus, if LAO’s Sue McCaffrey has her way, the experience will be just the beginning of a satisfying career in social justice. “Upon successful completion of their articling and a positive recommendation from their principal/mentor, each and every student will be offered an opportunity to join Legal Aid Ontario’s dynamic, responsive and flexible legal team.”

Get more information

LAO’s Lawyer Workforce Strategy

LAO’s Lawyer Workforce Strategy careers

For general information about working for LAO, contact LAO’s Human Resources toll-free at or by phone at 1-800-668-8258.