CBA National Magazine: We must remove barriers for foreign-trained lawyers
September 30, 2020
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September 30, 2020
It was 11:30 on a February evening, and I had just arrived in snowy Winnipeg. As my cab driver drove me to my hotel, we started talking and an all too familiar refrain emerged. When he found out that I was the CEO of the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED), the conversation turned to his story.
He had come from India, where he had studied law, hoping to start a better life in this cultural mosaic we call Canada, where we encourage skilled professionals to come and build both their career and the country. However, upon arriving he found little assistance for foreign-trained law students coming to Canada. The accreditation process for acknowledging his legal credentials was unnecessarily cumbersome. Like many new Canadians, his savings quickly dwindled, and he had to take a job that would help support his family. However, this job took time away from his ability to study, sit for examinations, and actively seek an articling position. Over time, his dreams of becoming a lawyer in Canada faded.
Sadly, this was not my first time hearing this story. In a recent article, Onai Petra Paswani-Abote shares a similar one and dives into the challenges qualified new Canadians face finding meaningful employment in healthcare.
It’s no different in the legal community. Foreign-trained law students, whether they are Canadians who study abroad or students who complete their law degree abroad before immigrating here, face daunting and unique challenges. To illustrate, let’s compare their journeys to those of Canadian students who graduate from a Canadian law school. READ THE ARTICLE…