What is ILCO? The Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario (“ILCO”) is a professional association providing continuing education, fellowship and networking for its members and strives to advance and protect the status and interests of the profession.
Can anyone belong to the ILCO? You cannot just be a member of ILCO without the required education and there are two ways that you can do that: going to college for the Law Clerk Program in full-time studies, or going to night school taking four requisite courses and taking writing the exams.
I decided full- time studies was best for me. I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in a law office, but not in a court room. So being a Law Clerk was the next best thing for me. My program (many years ago) was a three year program and had two placements in law firms. Not many institutions have the three year program anymore, most are 2 years.
Once I graduated and started working in a law firm, I became an Associate Member of ILCO and have been a member since 2006.
There are many institutes that have the ILCO approved courses that are generally held one night a week, and only two courses every year. Therefore, it would take two years to complete all four of the courses and write the exams. This option is geared towards those working full-time
There are pros and cons to each option. The first choice would be full-time studies during the day, allowing for at most part-time employment outside of school. That said, you get introduced to law firm through placement, and also touch on subjects such as law firm accounting and communications, which as you know is a huge aspect of a firm.
The second choice is geared towards those who already are employed in a law firm and looking to gain the additional education to be certified as a Law Clerk, which means packing a lot of information in and having one three hours of instruction per week.
Being a Law Clerk, we are required to follow the Code of Ethics, and complete three hours of mandatory of ethic courses every five years. These courses are ensuring that the Law Society of Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct and the ILCO Code of Ethics are refreshed for the Law Clerk and ensures we are conducting ourselves in connection with these Rules.
There are people who say they are a Law Clerk, but are they? Did they complete the courses? Do they have the ILCO Certificate on the wall in their office? I do, you know why, I love what I do and I’m going to show off my accomplishments.
Christine Allan, Law Clerk