Ending soon: Manitoba Articling Program Review

The Law Society of Manitoba (in conjunction with the law societies of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society) is seeking feedback on the types of training and mentoring articling students are receiving, issues related to discrimination or harassment and how prepared articling students feel to practice law in the 21st century.

Articling Students and New Lawyers

Principals, Recruiters and Mentors

The surveys take approximately 15 minutes to complete and your survey responses are anonymous and confidential.

The surveys will remain open until Thursday, June 20, 2024.

2019 Survey Results

In Manitoba, the survey was completed by 83 articling students and 48 principals, recruiters and mentors. The survey revealed several key findings regarding the articling experiences. To learn more download the final report by clicking the link below.

Articling Program Assessment Research Report

Red Dress Day

If you or someone you know needs immediate mental and emotional wellness support, call The National Inquiry into MMIWG2S Toll-Free Support Phone: 1-844-413-6649

Sunday, May 5 is The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ Peoples, more commonly known as Red Dress Day, inspired by the 2010 REDress Project created by Métis artist Jaime Black.

In the 2019 report, Reclaiming Power and Place, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls recommends Calls For Justice. Under Calls for Attorneys and Law Societies (pg. 194, 10.1(iii)), the report makes the request that:

All courts must have a staff position for an Indigenous courtroom liaison worker that is adequately funded and resourced to ensure Indigenous people in the court system know their rights and are connected to appropriate services.

Although we are not court staff, Manitoba Law Library would like to honour the Calls for Justice by providing legal information and direction to legal resources to those who need them.

Community Legal Education Association has a phone line and dedicated email address to provide prompt legal information and referrals to resources.

Family Law For Children

A booklet designed by CLEA to help children cope with the family court process. Topics include: Separation of parents; Living arrangements; Family violence; Blended Families.

wood love people woman


Understand the requirements for obtaining a divorce as well as the difference between divorce and annulment.

person in white long sleeve shirt and black pants

Parenting Arrangements

Introduces the concepts of parenting time and decision-making responsibility in family law. Topics include how parenting arrangements are decided; what happens if a parent or guardian wants to move with a child; how the child’s wishes are considered; and contact by non-parents.

child holding hand of another person

Right to Counsel by Jennifer Dunik

“Once young persons become involved in the justice system there is an obligation to make sure that their rights are fully protected. The right to retain and instruct counsel is one of the most important rights.”

themis figurine at lawyers office

Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System / Jonathan Rudin
[A print copy is available in the Manitoba Law Library.]

“Indigenous people are the most over-represented population in Canada’s criminal justice system. Their experiences within the system are interwoven with issues of colonialism and discrimination. Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System, 2nd Edition, examines these issues and their impact to provide lawyers and judges with a deeper understanding of this area of the law.”

Legal Aid Manitoba (LAM) works to ensure that eligible Manitobans have access to justice, including those who are disadvantaged and facing a well-resourced individual or entity in court”

If you have a concern about your lawyer’s conduct you may want to file a complaint. Lawyers who do not practise competently or in compliance with the Law Society’s high standards of ethical conduct may be subject to an investigation and/or discipline.”

Access to Justice Week 2022

The National Access to Justice Week is taking place from October 24 to 28.

The Law Society of Manitoba has partnered with the Manitoba Bar Association and the University of Manitoba for the third annual National Access to Justice Week and will offer four free virtual events open to the public. See here for more info or view all the events on our Calendar.

The University of Manitoba Faculty of Law along with the Law Society has also created an Access to Justice blog.
“The site will highlight developments related to access to justice from across Canada, with an emphasis on those relevant to Manitoba.  Assistant Professor Gerard Kennedy has initiated the blog in collaboration with Natasha Brown, Access to Justice Coordinator at the Law Society of Manitoba. This joint initiative of Kennedy and Brown will host posts on at least a weekly basis authored by themselves and law students, along with occasional posts from other law professors and access to justice stakeholder organizations within Manitoba.”
Click here to view the most recent posts.

For even more events, The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters has national online events posted on their events page.

If you wish to learn more about Access to Justice, the Manitoba Bar Association has a useful list of Agencies that help provide services and information on equal access to justice.

Interested in the Work of the Law Society? Become a Bencher.

Information Session –
Open Invitation
Thurs. February 20, 2020
12:00 noon

The policy work of the Law Society is conducted by both benchers and committee members. If you are interested in learning about this work, volunteering for a committee or running/applying to be a bencher, please join us for a light lunch in the Law Society classroom on February 20, 2020 at 12:00 noon. 

To help us accommodate the number of attendees, please
RSVP your interest in attending to ekinchen@lawsociety.mb.ca

If you have any questions in advance, please contact any one of the following: 

Kristin Dangerfield
Chief Executive Officer 

Leah Kosokowsky 
Director – Regulation 

Anita Southall 

Lynda Troup 
Vice President 

Kathy Bueti 
Past President 

Coming soon … Legal Information Hub

The Manitoba Law Library, in partnership with the Law Society, Dept. of Justice and others, and funded by a grant from the Manitoba Law Foundation, is piloting a legal information program in the Winnipeg courthouse.

The goal of the project is to provide information and assistance to members of the public who are struggling with dealing with the courts. Representation without legal counsel is difficult and challenging, particularly when trying to follow the rules and procedures that the legal system requires, and puts extra pressure on judges and parties who are represented. Additional assistance for self-represented litigants is important in order to increase fairness and access to justice.  

Under the supervision of a practising lawyer, law students will be available to provide assistance on a drop-in basis in the Great Library on Monday afternoons and Wednesday mornings. At times when in-person assistance is not available, the public will still be invited to use the ante room at the front of the library during regular library hours, and there will be a computer available for legal research.

As part of the pilot project, data will be collected on the types of problems people are encountering and the number of people the Hub assists. The pilot will start Monday, February 10th and last four months. 

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.