2019 Manitoba Articling Review Survey Results

by Kris Dangerfield, Chief Executive Officer

The Law Society of Manitoba, in conjunction with the law societies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, conducted a survey in May and June of this year of articling students and new lawyers (those who articled in the last five years) as well as principals and those who mentored articling students or new lawyers in the last five years.

The intent of the survey was to help us better understand the nature of articles, the types of training and mentoring that articling students are receiving and how prepared articling students feel to practise law in the 21st century. We also wanted to better understand if articling students have or are experiencing any issues related to discrimination and harassment in their workplaces.

In total, the survey was completed by 736 articling students and new lawyers (549 in Alberta, 104 in Saskatchewan and 83 in Manitoba) and 407 principals, recruiters and mentors (295 in Alberta, 64 in Saskatchewan and 48 in Manitoba). The response rate in Manitoba, although better than average for an external survey, was 17.8% for students and young lawyers and 12.3% for principals and mentors. Some of the key findings from the survey of Manitoba respondents were:

  • 7 in 10 students are very satisfied or satisfied with their articling experience. 17% are unsatisfied;
  • 24% of Manitoba articling students and new lawyers report experiencing discrimination and/or harassment during recruitment and/or articling;
  • The top challenge for Manitoba students is inadequate compensation.
  • 6 in 10 articling students work 50-plus hours per week;
  • 50% of new lawyers lacked confidence in their training and felt only somewhat prepared or not prepared for entry level practice;
  • The quality of mentorship for students, mentors and principals is a challenge and impacts satisfaction with the articling experience.

Overall, the survey provided rich data which deepened our understanding on a number of issues including workloads, compensation and retention rates, and areas where both students and mentors felt that further resources or assistance may be beneficial.

The results also contained troubling reports about the incidence of discrimination and/or harassment during both the recruitment phase and the articling experience, with 24% of students in Manitoba reporting such experiences. Seventy percent of those who experienced discrimination or harassment were women. The primary types of discrimination and harassment reported included:

  • Discrimination based on being female or a visible minority;
  • Females given more administrative non-billable work;
  • Complimenting female students’ outfits and bodies;
  • Senior male counsel dismissive towards a female student;
  • Fewer positions offered to visible minority students;
  • Racist jokes;
  • Using students to attract clients from the same minority group.

These findings are generally consistent with a 2017 survey in Ontario which reported that one in five respondents faced harassing or discriminatory comments or conduct based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, citizenship, disability, or other personal characteristics during their articling terms. Anecdotally, in Manitoba we have been aware of complaints concerning harassment and discrimination in the profession, but it is disappointing nonetheless to hear of the extent to which these concerns exist. As one Manitoba Bencher stated when the results were provided to them in September, even one report of harassment or discrimination is too many.

Next Steps

What are we going to do about it? The survey results will be provided to the Law Society’s Equity Committee for consideration and discussion as to how best to address the concerns. A number of findings in the survey will help to inform our thinking around how articling might better integrate with the new PREP program and what changes and improvements might be made in future. That work is already well underway with our partners at CPLED for implementation in the new program. In addition, staff at the Law Society of Manitoba are currently reviewing the report with a view to identifying a number of opportunities to ensure that students and young lawyers are aware of existing resources available to support them in the early years of practice.

We wish to thank those who took the time to participate in the survey. Although the survey is closed, our door is always open and if you have information you wish to share, please contact our Equity Officer, Alissa Schacter.

PREP Pilot Coming Soon to Manitoba – Stay Connected on all CPLED related news

PREP pilot launches in Alberta and Manitoba is next, launching in February 2020.

The Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) is excited to report the first pilot for the new Bar admission course, the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP), has launched. Twenty-seven Alberta students were welcomed to PREP in an in-person orientation on August 1st.

Built on best practices around the world, PREP delivers practical skills and competencies in an integrated approach that combines interactive, transactional learning and simulation. The program includes online modules, face-to-face workshops and something really unique – an interactive virtual law firm where students work as lawyers, managing cases in business law, criminal law, family law and real estate. Finally, students participate in a final capstone case and reflection before being called to the Bar.

A second pilot will take place in February of 2020 in Manitoba. Applicants who have received a JD or a certificate of qualification from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and who are interested in participating in the Manitoba PREP pilot can fill out this form to express interest.

To learn more about PREP, visit CPLED’s website, or attend an upcoming CPLED Information Session being held at the University of Manitoba on September 17 for law students and faculty.

CPLED is now on LinkedIn and Facebook!

CPLED is encouraging Law Society members to follow them on LinkedIn and like them on Facebook. They are working to create online communities for the legal profession that will extend beyond the Bar admission course and create discussions on legal education.

CPLED will also be launching an e-newsletter in the coming weeks, featuring the latest news on the PREP pilot and recruitment opportunities for legal professionals beginning in 2020. To stay up to date on all CPLED related news, visit their website to sign up today.

Articling Review Survey

Are you a current articling student, new lawyer, principal, firm recruiter or mentor of articling students?

Together with the Law Societies in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Law Society of Manitoba is launching two surveys: one directed at articling students and new lawyers (articled in the last five years); the other directed at principals, recruiters and mentors. The surveys are designed to help the law societies better understand the experiences and supports that articling students are getting during their articling term in order to critically assess whether our existing systems are appropriately preparing lawyers for the future.

The surveys take approximately 15 minutes to complete and all responses will be analyzed in aggregate form only. Nothing shared by you will be linked to you in any way. As an incentive, you will have the option of submitting your name at the end of the survey for a chance to win a complimentary registration to any Law Society of Manitoba CPD of your choice (prize must be redeemed within the next year).


Articling Students and New Lawyers

Principles, Recruiters and Mentors

The surveys will remain open until June 17, 2019.

For more information visit the Articling Survey FAQ

If you have any questions, please contact Richard Porcher, Director of Admissions & Membership, at rporcher@lawsociety.mb.ca or Kris Dangerfield at kdangerfield@lawsociety.mb.ca

Thank you in advance for your participation.

CPLED Redevelopment

[Reprinted with permission from the February 2019 edition of Communiqué by Joan Holstrom.]

The CPLED Program has been the Manitoba bar admission course for the past 15 years. It has been delivered through three provincial organizations, the Legal Education Society of Alberta, the Law Society of Saskatchewan-Bar Admission Office and the Law Society of Manitoba. While the past 15 years have successfully launched many law graduates into rewarding careers, it is a program that is due for a refresh to bring it in line with the changing nature of the profession and the practice of law. Technology, diversity, increased cultural and gender awareness and changes in the way legal services are delivered have called out for changes in how we bridge law graduates from being students to being professionals. As a result, CPLED hired a new CEO last spring and significant strides have been taken to redevelop our Bar Admission program into what we are calling CPLED 2.0.

CPLED is preparing to have CPLED 2.0 ready for all articling students in the 2020-2021 year. In anticipation of that, a pilot program offering of CPLED 2.0 will be available for articling students in the 2019-2020 year. The pilot program offered will operate from January 2020 to September 2020. It will be offered at half the tuition cost of the legacy CPLED program which will run during the 2019-2020 year from September 2019 to April 2020. The pilot program will be offered to articling students when registering for the 2019-2020 bar admission year. Please consider allowing your articling student(s) to participate in this pilot program. The pilot program will be of interest to you or your articling student if:

  • Tuition costs are a concern;
  • The student cannot start articles before August 2019 (e.g. student is travelling or clerking elsewhere; your firm cannot hire someone before August 2019 due to budget);
  • The student cannot start CPLED before September 2019 (e.g. still awaiting a Certificate of Qualification from the National Committee on Accreditation).

The CEO of CPLED, Dr. Kara Mitchelmore, will be in Winnipeg during the first week of March and would like to meet with as many employers and principals as possible. Dr. Mitchelmore would like to share with the profession what changes will be forthcoming with CPLED 2.0 and what impact that might have on articling students and their relationships within their workplaces. Larger employers will be contacted directly to set up meetings with Dr. Mitchelmore. If you are a smaller workplace that routinely takes on articling students or if you anticipate taking on an articling student in 2020 or beyond, please contact Joan Holmstrom, the Director of Manitoba CPLED, at 204-926-2017 to attend one of the presentations given by Dr. Mitchelmore on March 4th or on March 8th, 2019.

Recruitment of Practitioners to assist with CPLED 2.0

CPLED 2.0 will require practitioners to assist by providing feedback to students on their submitted work and performances within the formative phases of CPLED 2.0. It will also require practitioners to assist with evaluating students’ work and performance in the evaluative phases of CPLED 2.0. Finally, CPLED 2.0 will require practitioners to act as practice managers for students as they work through CPLED 2.0. These practice managers will act as a resource for students as they develop skills in managing themselves, their work and office systems. If you are, or may be, interested in helping CPLED 2.0 in one of these capacities and you have been called to the Bar for at least 5 years, please send an email to jholmstrom@lawsociety.mb.ca setting out:

  • Your teaching experience;
  • Presentation experience;
  • Academic writing experience;
  • Your area of expertise;
  • Your area of interest;
  • Experience as a mentor or principal.

This will be an enriching experience for lawyers who have a passion for teaching and mentoring. We hope to hear from you.

The library will be closed on Monday, May 20th for Victoria Day