When Simon Mortimer first heard about the Law Practice Program (LPP), he was, in his own words, “a bit of a doubting Thomas.” It was four years ago, and Ryerson University had just announced that it would offer a new path to licensing in Ontario. Mortimer, a senior partner at Hicks Morley LLP, was skeptical that it could be as effective as articling.
But as he read up on the program, his attitude changed. “I was impressed by what Ryerson put together,” says Mortimer, “in particular, the fact that the program would focus on practical skills.”
The LPP begins in the fall with four months of online and in-person training. The program then concludes with a four-month work placement. In each of the past three years, Hicks Morley has offered a placement to an LPP candidate. And this past year, the firm hired its most recent candidate back as an associate.
That associate is Hossein Moghtaderi, a law grad from the University of Ottawa. Mortimer served as his formal mentor. When he was a 3L, Moghtaderi considered a career in politics. So, after law school, he found work at the federal Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. But after a year, he decided to article. “By then,” he says, “I had missed the opportunity to follow the traditional Bay Street hiring process.”
At first, Moghtaderi planned to pound the pavement to find an articling job. That is, until he looked into the LPP. “I saw how many firms take part in the program,” he says. Names like: Koskie Minsky LLP, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP and, of course, Hicks Morley. Moghtaderi signed up, and his choice paid off.
So what does Mortimer, a top legal employer, think of the LPP today? We sat down with him to find out.
Your firm, Hicks Morley, has taken on three LPP candidates for work placements. How did they perform?
They were great. They had drafting and legal-research skills that we could put to use immediately.
What sort of law students, in your experience, enroll in the LPP?
There are so many reasons that someone might take the LPP instead of articling. Some law students, for instance, spend their summers pursuing careers outside of law, in business or politics, that are fascinating, but prevent them from taking part in the traditional articling recruitment. There are excellent candidates in the program.
So it’s a worthwhile complement to the articling system?
Absolutely. I think the program has a valuable role to play in the training of new lawyers. It gives every law grad the chance to get called to the bar.
Do you have a message for law students who are considering signing up for the LPP?
In my view, it’s clear that the LPP offers practical training that helps transition candidates to the practice of law. Students should also know that, one year out of law school, no one will care if you articled or took the LPP. It’s that simple.
The Law Practice Program at Ryerson University is a rigorous eight-month training program that equips law-school graduates with the practical skills they need to become great lawyers. To learn more, visit ryerson.ca/lpp.