By and large, students like the Law Practice Program. But they have some complaints. So we put them to Chris Bentley, executive director of the program, to see if any changes are in the works.
Complaint: Of the 221 placements, 27 percent were unpaid — no one should work for free.
Bentley’s response: “I agree. That’s why we push employers to o er paid positions. And we’re doing better than the first year, when 30 percent were unpaid.” He adds: of those who took the first year of the LPP, about 75 percent had full-time legal jobs within six months of getting called to the bar.
Complaint: Some mentors skimp on feedback.
Bentley’s response: “I’ve heard this,” he says. His solution: reduce the mentors’ workload — by, for instance, having students evaluate each other on minor assignments. Then, he hopes, mentors will have the time to give detailed feedback on the most complex work. He also wants to bring on more mentors to help out.
Complaint: When students land a placement through Ryerson’s job portal, they shouldn’t be forced to accept the position right away.
Bentley’s response: “When candidates accept offers instantly, that makes it easier for us to start helping the next person,” he says, in the LPP’s defence. “But I think this is a fair comment, and we are looking at ways that we can relax the rule.”