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.

Manitoba Reports are now on CanLII

[Guest author Sarah Sutherland. Cross-posted from The CanLII Blog.]

Over 9,500 decisions from the Manitoba Reports have been added to CanLII! 

CanLII is grateful to have received a grant from the Manitoba Law Foundation to add decisions from the first and second series of the Manitoba Reports to CanLII.org. 

For the last year we have been doing research into what gaps there are in legal research for jurisdictions across Canada. In Manitoba we discovered that there was a gap in access to historical caselaw for the province. Following this we applied for a grant to help fill that gap.

We have added around 4,500 decisions from the first series and 5,000 from the second series of the Manitoba Reports. You can find them on CanLII using this search query

Thank you to Karen Dyck, Erin Wilcott, and the staff at the Manitoba Law Foundation for making this grant possible, and Karen Sawatzky at the Manitoba Law Library for helping us identify local needs.

Happy researching!

3 Weeks Left to Take Advantage of Early Bird Pricing for the 2019 Isaac Pitblado Lectures

The 2019 Isaac Pitblado Lectures
Capacity to Decide: Planning for Death and Dying

November 8, 2019 │ 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Fort Garry Place Conference Centre, Grand Ballroom

3 Weeks Left to Take Advantage of Early Bird Pricing 

6 CPD hours, including 1.5 EPPM hours

Jointly presented by the Manitoba Bar Association, The University of Manitoba Faculty of Law & The Law Society of Manitoba

This year’s Pitblado Lectures will provide thought provoking presentations as well as concrete guidance for practitioners on topics including:

  • Testamentary Capacity
  • Predatory Marriages
  • Medical Perspective on Capacity
  • Video Recording Will Instructions
  • Capacity Assessments
  • Assisted Dying – constitutional, philosophical and ethical issues
  • How Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) works in Manitoba 

Featured out of province speakers include Professor Albert H. Oosterhoff
(Oosterhoff on Wills, 8th ed. and Oosterhoff on Trusts: Text, Commentary and Materials, 9th ed.) and Kimberly A. Whaley, of the Toronto litigation firm Whaley Estate Litigation Partners.

Stay tuned for updated information and speaker announcements on the
Pitblado website: www.pitbladolectures.com

Important Changes to the Anti-Money Laundering Rules for Manitoba Lawyers

[Reprinted with permission from the August 2019 edition of Communiqué, by Leah Kosokowsky, Director – Regulation at The Law Society of Manitoba.]

On January 1, 2020, rule changes affecting client identification and verification and the receipt of cash will come into effect.

What does this mean for you?

All firms need to review and revise their processes to ensure compliance with the existing and new rules. These rules are critically important in the international fight against money laundering and terrorism financing and thus compliance will be enforced robustly.

What help can you expect?

The Law Society of Manitoba will provide several education sessions with resource material to assist you. The education sessions will be provided at no cost and can be applied toward your annual continuing professional development requirements.

Why are we making these changes?

Lawyers must never knowingly assist in or encourage any dishonesty, fraud, crime or illegal conduct. As the Code of Professional Conduct puts it,

… a lawyer should be on guard against becoming the tool or dupe of an unscrupulous client or others and should be alert to and avoid unwittingly becoming involved with a client or others engaged in criminal activities such as mortgage fraud or money laundering.

Money laundering and terrorism financing are significant global problems. Lawyers and law firms do not want to knowingly or unknowingly allow clients to launder money by washing it through a lawyer’s trust account.

For some time, The Law Society of Manitoba has had two sets of rules in place, known as the “client identification and verification rules” and the “no cash rules”. These decade-old rules were based on model rules developed by the Federation of Law Societies in an effort to help lawyers prevent money laundering. Over the last several years Canadian law societies have identified that to be effective a more robust set of rules is required.

After consultation with the legal profession throughout Canada, the Federation of Law Societies changed the model rules in October 2018, which changes were adopted by The Law Society of Manitoba benchers in May of 2019. The new rule amendments are being drafted and will be finalized by the benchers this fall with an implementation date of January 1, 2020 for all Manitoba lawyers.

What Kind of Changes can you expect?

Receipt of Cash Rules

  • Additional definitions
  • Greater clarity
  • Fewer exceptions to the rule that prohibits lawyers from accepting cash in excess of $7,500.

Client Identification and Verification Rules

  • Greater clarity of the information that must be obtained and recorded when identifying clients on all files
  • New methods to verify a client’s identity on files where you are paying, receiving or transferring funds
  • Clarification of files exempt from verification
  • Removal of the “reasonable measures” standard for verifying identity
  • Obligation to inquire into the source of the funds
  • Reduced time to verify a client’s identity
  • Additional obligations when handling financial matters for corporations, businesses, trusts or other entities
  • Amendments relating to the use of agents
  • Ongoing monitoring obligations articulated

New Trust Accounting Rule

  • New rule expressly prohibiting lawyers from depositing any monies into trust other than trust money that is directly related to legal services that are being provided
  • This will eliminate the ability of lawyers to deposit fiduciary property into trust when acting solely in a representative capacity
  • No change to other recently enacted rules that place record keeping and reporting requirements on lawyers who act in representative capacity

To learn more, attend one of the three free education sessions offered by The Law Society of Manitoba this fall.

Richard J. Scott Award nominations due Friday, September 27, 2019.

The award honours former Chief Justice Richard Scott, who served as Manitoba’s Chief Justice for over 20 years and is a Past President of the Law Society of Manitoba.

The Richard J. Scott Award is presented annually by the Law Society of Manitoba to an individual who advances the rule of law through advocacy, litigation, teaching, research or writing. Activities that support an independent judiciary, an independent legal profession, access to legal services, access to justice, and public interest advocacy are all eligible.

Past recipients include:
Byron Williams (2013)
Irene Hamilton, Q.C. (2014)
Allan Fineblit, Q.C. (2015)
Jeff Hirsch (2016)
John Myers (2017)
Karen Dyck (2018)

The award is presented in conjunction with the annual Isaac Pitblado Lectures which take place on November 8, 2019.

The deadline for nominations is September 27, 2019.

Nominations can be sent to:

Chief Executive Officer
The Law Society of Manitoba
200 – 260 St. Mary Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0M6
or
by e-mail to Pat Bourbonnais
at pbourbonnais@lawsociety.mb.ca.

Nominations should be accompanied by the nominee’s c.v. and an explanation as to why the nominee deserves this award.

For more information, contact Kris Dangerfield at 204-926-2013 or by e-mail at kdangerfield@lawsociety.mb.ca.