So you think we have too many Teachers

Last week there was an announcement from the Ontario Government: the number of Teacher’s College openings will be cut in half. The announcement was due to a “large glut” of teachers on the market.

Many people who are not teachers were shocked to read about the “glut”.

Well, if you think there is a glut of teachers, wait until I tell you about the glut of lawyers. Seriously.

In order to be a lawyer in Ontario you can either attend a Canadian Law School or be a foreign trained lawyer who passes the NCA exams and then the Bar Exam. Many Canadian born students cannot gain admission to a Canadian law school due to the competition to enter so they travel abroad, obtain a degree and then go the NCA route.

A Canadian Law School student, who funds their entire education on Student Loans, can graduate with $75 000.00 in debt. Currently 80% of those graduating and the foreign trained NCA graduates are unable to find a Articling Position, the final key to becoming a lawyer. The Ontario Law Society is implementing an alternative to Articling shortly, however, many consider that a two tier system – the best and brightest will Article, the rest will not.

We have just added a new Law School in Ontario, this will add more, but not that many more lawyers each year – this cannot continue.

A “simple” solution to the glut of lawyers is to have one way to become a lawyer in a Canadian Province: you must be a graduate of a Canadian Law School, you must Article and you must be called to the Bar. The one way option would be available to foreign trained lawyers as well, they simply have to compete with everyone else for Canadian Law School positions.

I’ve head the argument that just because you get a law degree, does not mean you intend to practice law. That might be true, but if that is not your true intention, study what you do intend to do.

Let’s help the students of the future with their career planning in all professions, not just teaching.

Inga B. Andriessen JD
iandriessen@andriessen.ca

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