In response to concerns from both students and the legal profession related to the economic and logistical challenges that are resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Law Society of Manitoba has made changes to the articling requirements to provide flexibility for both students and law firms as they navigate the articling period. These changes directly impact current articling students who are about to complete their 2019-2020 articling term and students scheduled to commence their 2020-2021 articling term later this spring or summer.
Changes to duration of articling terms
Effective immediately, those who are admitted as an articling student in the 2019 or 2020 calendar year will be eligible to be Called to the Bar providing that they have completed all educational requirements and have served articles for a minimum of thirty-six weeks. This will be accomplished through allowing articles to be abridged by up to 16 weeks. Those law firms who are able to continue to employ and effectively supervise their articling students are encouraged to do so for the usual 52 week term.
Students who are scheduled to begin their articles in 2020 may begin as late as October 1, 2020 and will still be eligible to be called to the Bar in June 2021.
Lawyer competence and articling remain a priority
Despite the challenges presented by the current environment, the Law Society remains committed to ensuring that Manitoba’s newest lawyers are given every opportunity to succeed and that the public will be protected through the provision of legal services by a competent legal profession.
Articling requirement changes will be reviewed by the Benchers before the end of 2021
The Benchers have committed to continuing to monitor the impact of COVID – 19 on articling. The Benchers will review these changes to the articling requirements by the end of 2021 (or earlier if required) once we have a fuller understanding of the impact of the change on the profession.
Postponement of the Mass Call
The Call to the Bar scheduled for June 18, 2020 will be postponed indefinitely and rescheduled likely to late Fall of 2020. In the interim an administrative process will enable students to receive a conditional call subject to being presented to the Court of Queen’s Bench at a date and time to be set by the Law Society.
For more information, please see:
Changes to Articling Requirements Due to COVID-19 – FAQ
This resource and answers to other frequently asked COVID-19 questions can also be found on our COVID-19 FAQ & Resources For Lawyers page.