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Applying for an Exemption from the Experiential Training Program

All supporting documentation must be emailed to articling@lso.ca. Certificates of Standing will be accepted only if they are emailed directly from the issuing jurisdiction.

Exemption Application Process

  • Overview

    An exemption from the experiential training program is a waiver of the Articling or Law Practice Program requirement. Only candidates who meet the eligibility requirements and are registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process may apply for an exemption.

    The general process for exemption applications is as follows:

    1. The candidate submits the exemption application and all supporting documents.
    2. Third parties submit supporting documents.
    3. The Licensing and Accreditation Department reviews the application and supporting documents.
    4. As appropriate, the Licensing and Accreditation Department sends questions or requests for additional documentation to the candidate.
    5. Once the application is complete, as part of the review process, the Licensing and Accreditation Department issues an invoice to the candidate for the application fee.
    6. The exemption application is subject to a detailed review. 
    7. A decision regarding the requested exemption is sent to the candidate. If a candidate is not eligible for an exemption, the candidate may submit a request for abridgement based on prior legal experience.
  • Eligibility Requirements

    Applicants must be fully registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process to proceed with this application.

    To be eligible for an exemption from the experiential training program requirement, a candidate must
    1. have been licensed to practise in a common law jurisdiction; and
    2. have had at least 10 months of experience after being called to the bar in that common law jurisdiction. 
  • Fees
    Please see the Fees schedule found on the Fees and Forms page.
  • Application and Supporting Documents

    To apply for an exemption from the experiential training requirement, the following documents are required:

    1. The Application for Exemption from the Experiential Training Program.
    2. A letter from the candidate, written in the candidate’s own words, setting out the specific period of the candidate’s practice experience in a common-law jurisdiction and a description of the practice setting. The letter must describe the relevance of the candidate’s common law practice experience to the legal skills, practices, and systems ordinarily experienced during an articling placement, making reference to the applicable experiential training competencies for candidates and providing specific examples. ​
    3. An original Certificate of Standing from the governing body of the legal profession of that jurisdiction sent directly from that governing body to the articling staff within the Licensing and Accreditation Department. The Law Society will accept either a physical copy of the Certificate of Standing or a Certificate of Standing emailed directly from the issuing jurisdiction (see below regarding translations).
    4. An original letter of reference from one or more lawyer or judge referees, sent directly from the referee(s) to articling@lso.ca. The letter must be written by the referee, verify the candidate’s legal experience in a common-law jurisdiction, and set out the relationship between that experience and the legal skills, practices, and systems ordinarily experienced during an articling placement. The reference letter(s) must refer to the experiential training competencies for candidates and provide TWO specific examples of the applicable competencies. Please note, applications cannot be reviewed until ALL listed referee letters have been received.


    Any documents that are not in English or French must be translated by an Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) Certified Translator. Candidates may wish to refer to ATIO's Directory of Certified Translators on its website at www.atio.on.ca. The original Certificate of Standing must be sent by the governing body of that jurisdiction directly to a certified translator. The certified translator must then send both the original and translated copies of the Certificate of Standing directly to articling staff.

  • Application Notes
    1. Supporting documents submitted by the candidate and all referees must be their own original work. Candidates must not provide draft content to a referee, although they may provide a referee with factual information to remind the referee of the candidate’s experience. Candidates must not copy any content from any current or former candidate’s application or supporting documents.
    2. Experience indicated in the candidate letter requires a reference to confirm the skills performed during the stated length of time.
    3. Referee letters should be sent to articling staff separately from the candidate’s letter. Letters confirming the contents of a candidate’s letter will not be accepted.
    4. Candidates must ensure that the name listed on all supporting documents is the same as the name associated with the candidate’s Law Society candidate account.
    5. Documents submitted in support of an exemption from experiential training requirements are valid for a period of up to six months following the Law Society’s receipt. If an application is not completed within that timeframe, the candidate will be required to ensure that more current documents are submitted (including the Certificate of Standing document). It is recommended that candidates have their supporting documents submitted after they have submitted the application.
    6. Candidates should ensure that articling staff receive a complete exemption application at least 45 days prior to the preferred licensing date.

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