The Articling Revolution Will Be Tweeted

Image via skepticblog.org

The Law Society of Upper Canada has spoken about the future of articling.

Well, the Benchers sure spoke a lot during the Convocation meeting— motioning to vote, motioning to defer the debate, motioning for a “friendly amendment” to the deferral of the vote, and, amusingly, Treasurer Tom Conway motioning to one Bencher on the phone to press “*6″ and mute his line and stop talking about “Irene”.

Meanwhile,  back at the War Room, my co-panellists and I listened, commented and tweeted. Check out the archive of the live discussion on the Law Society website here

The general consensus appears to be that the Articling Debate proved anti-climactic, as the Law Society voted unanimously to defer the articling debate until November 22nd.

Over at slaw.ca, Steve Matthews waxes nostalgically about his own articling experience and seems to favour the majority proposal, noting:

Having both Articling and the LPP may cause a two-tier system. But is Articling not already a two tiered system? As mentioned above, not all programs are built the same.

Also at slaw.ca, my co-panellist, Mitch “Provocative” Kowalski (well, he said that’s his middle name on the Twitter), was thoroughly unimpressed; the title of his post ” Benchers Hijack a Convocation Gripped by Fear” certainly leaves no room for debate how Mitch feels about what went down:

What if a law society created an articling task force that canvassed the view of stakeholders over the course of many months, prepared an interim report, then a final report and then asked for a vote.

One would think that a vote would then take place, no?

No.

Today the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Bencher debate was hijacked by a group of Benchers who – wait for it – wanted even more time to study the issues and seek stakeholder input.

The climate of fear in Convocation was palpable as a number of Benchers seemed completely unprepared to vote on an issue that for over a year has been considered to be critical.

Benchers are elected to govern and to make decisions.

Instead, a group of dithering Benchers succeeded in kicking the can down the road to the next Convocation to more carefully consider the matter.

What exactly has this small group of elected (and paid) Benchers been doing since the final report was released?

Apparently, nothing.

Nice one, Mitch.

Globe & Mail Law Reporter, Jeff Gray offers a concise report  here.

I commend the Law Society and Treasurer Tom Conway in promoting transparency and accountability by webcasting the articling debate at Convocation and giving us a ‘peek behind the curtains’ on how the Law Society governs our profession. Some remain skeptical, but I was honoured to participate in the live discussion and webcast.

While the online format and use of the Twitter hashtag #articling allowed lawyers, law students and the general public to put in their respective “two cents”, I don’t think that the Benchers will either have the time or inclination to read any of the archived comments. I’m sure they will all be busy arm-twisting, but, hopefully not drafting up replies, rebuttals, sur-rebuttals to the Majority and Minority Reports.

Debate delayed is access to justice denied? I hope not. Yes, the debate was delayed for a only a month, but as Harvey Cox said ““Not to decide is to decide”.

Well, what he actually said was:

Somewhere deep down we know that in the final analysis we do decide things and that even our decisions to let someone else decide are really our decisions, however pusillanimous.

HARVEY G. COX, On Not Leaving It to the Snake, p. viii (1967).

As I tweeted yesterday during the live discussion:

There is no panacea; no quick fix; no elixir. A tough decision must be made, but if lawyers are anything, they are creative. Check out this potential solution to the #articling crisis: Make a rap video and get hired by a BigLaw firm:

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