Back to Navigation

Lawyer Licensing Process FAQs

Here you will find frequently asked questions and answers about the Law Society of Ontario's Licensing Process. Click on the headings below to reveal the questions and answers. 

  • General Information
  • Lawyer Licensing Process Application
    • How do I apply to the Lawyer Licensing Process?

      Please begin part one of the application online.

      Once you complete the online application, you will be notified through your online account to print your online application and submit the paper copy along with the required supporting documents in order to complete part 2 of the application process. Please be sure to review the “Completing the Lawyer Licensing Process Application” for further information. 

    • Can I apply to the Licensing Process at any time?
      Yes, you can apply at anytime, but you will incur a late filing fee if you apply past the due date indicated on the application.  You must complete parts one and two of the application first. Once your application is processed and verified you will be invoiced for your examinations and study materials. Once those are paid and any other necessary documents are received, you are fully registered. Please refer to the Dates to Remember page for information on relevant Licensing Process dates and deadlines.
    • Can I apply if I don’t have an articling position?

      Yes, you may apply to the Lawyer Licensing Process without having secured an articling position. You must be registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process and your proof of education must be on file in order to commence and obtain credit for articles. If you are a National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) candidate, you must ensure that confirmation of the completion of your Certificate of Qualification is sent by the NCA directly to Licensing and Accreditation  prior to commencing articles.

    • Have you received my paper application?
      Once you submit parts one and two of the application, you will receive confirmation of receipt of your application via your Law Society online account.  If you apply by the application deadline, confirmation is typically sent within 30 business days.
    • I want to write my licensing examinations in November or March: when do I apply to the Licensing Process?
      You can apply any time, but you must be fully registered and pay all applicable exam and material fees  by no later than the applicable registration deadline for the examination sitting. Your official final transcript or NCA certificate of qualification must be on file by no later than the applicable registration deadline for your sitting. These documents must be requested by the candidate in order for the issuing institution to send them to Licensing and Accreditation directly. In order to be fully registered, you must have submitted all parts of the application, supporting documents and applicable examination and study material fees.
    • I am completing my National Committee on Accreditation examinations in January. When do I submit my Licensing Process application?
      You can apply at any time once the application is available. The application is typically available on the website in the fall of each year. The deadline is indicated as sometime in December of the same year, but you can still apply after the indicated deadline. If you apply past the deadline you will incur a late fee, and you may not be registered in time for your preferred sitting. Your National Committee on Accreditation Certificate of Qualification must be received by Licensing and Accreditation from the NCA no later than the registration deadline applicable to your examination sitting, along with all other registration and application requirements. Please do not have the NCA forward documents or confirmation of completion to the Law Society if you have not completed the lawyer licensing application process.
    • Can I drop off my application in person?
      Yes, the Law Society is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Applications should be addressed to the Licensing & Accreditation Department and can be dropped off at the mailroom at the Law Society of Ontario.
    • I am not in Canada. Can I get my Licensing Process application and supporting documents certified in the country I am presently in?
      Yes, you may have your application and supporting documents signed/certified in another country if the individual has the authority to certify documents relating to your Licensing Process application.
    • Do you accept foreign documents?

      The Law Society’s Licensing and Accreditation Department accepts certain documents issued outside of Canada, namely, documents supporting applications for an exemption or abridgement and certain legal name documents such as marriage certificates issued abroad. As part of those and other administrative processes, we often receive documents that are not in English or French. Therefore, we ask that documents not issued in English or French be translated by an Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) Certified Translator. Candidates are solely responsible for ensuring the translation is completed by an Ontario ATIO Certified Translator and is sent to Licensing and Accreditation for review and verification.

      You may wish to refer to ATIO's Directory of Certified Translators on its website at Your document(s) will not be reviewed/processed by Licensing and Accreditation unless they are accompanied by a translated document from an ATIO Certified Translator, as well as an affidavit attesting to its authenticity.

    • Why do you need my legal name?
    • There is a mistake in my name on my birth certificate/Citizenship card. All my other documents show my name correctly. Why can I not use those other documents?

      The Law Society accepts specific proof of legal name documents in order to register and verify candidates in the Licensing Process and license them.  You can find the list of accepted legal name documents on your application.

    • I am not in Canada and I do not have my legal name documents with me. Can I send the application documents later and will I be charged a late filing fee?
    • Why do you require my "official" final transcript OR my Certificate of Qualification (CQ) to be sent directly from the Law School/National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) to the Licensing and Accreditation Department?
      The Licensing Process Policies state that for a candidate to be eligible to be registered into the Licensing Process of the Law Society of Ontario, the candidate is required to provide proof of education requirements being met. This is proof of either an LL.B. or J.D. completion or a CQ. This “official” proof of education must confirm that the candidate has graduated and obtained the required education from one of the accredited Law Schools listed on the Licensing Process website or the candidate has obtained the National Committee on Accreditation CQ. In order to satisfy this, the document must be requested from the issuing institution by the candidate and the issuing institution must send the proof of education document directly to the Law Society’s Licensing and Accreditation Department. Transcripts submitted by a candidate or anyone other than the Law School or NCA will not be accepted.
    • Can I apply to the Licensing Process even if I don’t have my law school transcript/National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) Certificate of Qualification (CQ)?

      Yes, you can apply but unless otherwise indicated by Licensing and Accreditation, your official final transcript or NCA CQ must be on file by no later than the registration deadline applicable to your  licensing examination sitting. You do not qualify to write a licensing examination or start the Experiential Training program until and unless the official transcript or the CQ has been received and approved by the Law Society.

      Please note that candidates writing a licensing examination in the summer sitting for the first time and graduating from law school in May/June of the same year, must have their institution send the transcript to the Law Society by the August transcript deadline.

      NCA candidates must ensure their CQ is submitted by the NCA by the registration deadline applicable to their  licensing examination sitting.

    • When and how do I submit my official final transcript/Certificate of Qualification?

      All transcripts/NCA documents confirming that your degree requirements have been met are due immediately upon completion of the requirements OR no later than the deadline posted on the “Dates to Remember” section online if your program is still in progress.

      All transcripts/NCA documents confirming that your degree requirements have been met are due by no later than the registration deadline applicable to your  licensing examination sitting if you have completed your educational requirements. Please note that first time writers of the summer examinations who graduate in May/June of the same year may have their law school submit their final transcript by the August deadline (in the same year).

      We do not accept final proof of education documents submitted by candidates. The Licensing and Accreditation Department must receive the proof of education directly from the issuing institution.

    • Will my criminal record/bankruptcy/driving infraction prevent me from obtaining a licence?

      Not necessarily. An affirmative answer to any of the good character questions does not necessarily mean that you will be refused admission to the Licensing Process. The information provided by you is thoroughly reviewed by the Law Society’s Professional Regulation Department, and before an application for a licence can be refused, the Law Society Act provides you an opportunity to appear before the Hearing Division if required. Please see the Good Character page for further information.

    • What types of good character questions do I have to answer on the application?

      To preview the good character questions before you apply online, please see the Good Character Amendment Form on the Fees and Forms page, which includes the questions that are asked on the online application.

      If your good character response(s) change after you submit your application, please submit this amendment form outlining the change in your original responses.

    • I have submitted my application. How do I get a Licensing Process Photo Identification Card?

      Once you are fully registered in the Licensing Process and you have paid for your examination study materials, you will be issued a candidate identification card. You will be notified through your web account on how and when you will receive your identification card.

    • I am having difficulty making the payment prior to the deadline. What can I do?

      The Law Society offers support to candidates registered in the Licensing Process through various payment options and financial assistance programs. Please see the Financial Assistance page for further information.

    • Can I give you my credit card over the telephone to pay for my Licensing Process fees?

      No, you cannot provide credit card information by telephone. You may pay online through your online web account prior to the deadline.

    • Why does my invoice have an issue date and payment due date that are the same date?

      If your invoice due date is the same as the issuing date, this means that your fees are due immediately because it was likely issued on or just before the registration deadline.

    • Why am I not able to select an invoice to pay online?

      If you are trying to submit payment past the posted due date for a licensing examination invoice or a study material invoice you will not be able to pay online. Since you missed the deadline, you are to defer your sitting to the next available sitting.

    • I will be submitting my application past the deadline. Will you invoice me for the late filing fee, or should I be sending in the payment with my application?

      If you submit your licensing process application past the deadline, you can either include the late filing fee payment or you can wait for the invoice to appear in your account and pay the fee through your online account. Please note, if you do not pay these application fees, you will not be invoiced your examination, Experiential Training and material fees. This will delay your registration in the process.

    • I have submitted my application and supporting documents. How soon can I receive the study material?

      Once you have registered for your licensing examinations, you will be invoiced for the examination and study material fees once your application is reviewed and verified by the Law Society. Both the examination and the study material fees must be paid in full by no later than the registration deadline applicable  to your examination sitting in order to be fully registered for the examination. The study material typically becomes available in late April to all candidates who have paid the study material fees by the April study material payment deadline. You will receive the study material in electronic format via your online account once payment is received and the materials have been released for the current licensing year. 

      See the Dates to Remember webpage for the distribution timelines.

  • Articling
    • When am I eligible to begin articling?
      Candidates who have fully applied and registered into the Lawyer Licensing Process may begin articling with an approved articling principal at any time upon completion of a J.D. or LL.B. or receipt of an NCA Certificate of Qualification.
    • What are the fees associated with the Articling Program?

      The Articling Program Fee applies to all candidates who complete the Articling Program regardless of whether the articling placement is abridged for any length of time.

      Candidates who apply for an articling abridgment, exemption, or national/international articling placement will be invoiced an applicable fee.  A detailed Lawyer Licensing Process Fees Schedule is available on the Law Society website and will be updated with any changes annually in/or around February for the next licensing year.

      The experiential training fee must be paid in full for you to be eligible to be called to the Bar.

      Articles of Clerkship, Joint Articles of Clerkship, Part-Time Articles of Clerkship and Certificate of Service forms must be completed and filed by or on behalf of a candidate who is registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process, no later than 10 business days after the start/end of the articling placement. Late filing of the aforementioned forms results in a late filing fee of $100 (plus applicable taxes).

    • How is the length of an articling placement calculated?

      If the anticipated end date of a placement falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the candidate's last day will be the Friday prior. Please refer to the table below for calculating the end of an 8-month articling term.

      Start End
      January September
      February October
      March November
      April December
      May January
      June February
      July March
      August April
      September May
      October June
      November July
      December August
    • When do I need to start my placement if I want to be called to the bar in June of the following year?

      Please refer to the Dates to Remember page for further information.

    • Something has changed during my placement. What does the Law Society need to know?

      The following changes during the placement should be reported to the Law Society as soon as possible:

      1. Consideration of withdrawal or termination of the placement
      2. Changing from one principal to another, within or outside of the law firm/organization
      3. Temporary Assignment of the Articling Placement
      4. If a full-time placement changes to a part-time articling placement or to a joint articling placement
      5. A candidate's leave of absence
      6. Request for Abridgement to the Articling Placement, based on compassionate grounds  
      7. Request for Abridgement to the Articling Placement, based on prior legal experience
      8. When a candidate would like to continue working after the placement ends and before their call to the bar (see Supervision Agreement)
      9. Change to principal or candidate contact information
    • What if a candidate is absent from the articling placement?

      For the 2022-23 licensing year, the Law Society will recognize a maximum of 10 business days off within an 8-, 9- or 10- month articling placement. These days can be used for (but are not limited to) vacation, study, exams, or sickness. When more than the recognized maximum number of business days are taken by an articling candidate during the placement, this time must be added in business days to the end of the articling term.

      Candidates may not shorten the length of articles by not taking time off during their placement.

    • Exam Study Policy

      Candidates making their first attempt at writing the solicitor licensing examination or the barrister licensing examination during the articling placement are entitled to be provided with up to a total of 7 business days free of articling duties per licensing examination. This includes any day(s) taken to write the examination(s).

      Please note that these days count towards a candidate’s recognized time off (per the Time Off Policy), meaning that if a candidate takes the maximum of 14 business days off for both licensing examinations, the candidate will have to add additional days to the end of the placement.

      There is no requirement to provide time off for a candidate’s subsequent attempt(s) at writing either licensing examination.

      Principals are not required to provide any minimum number of vacation days during an articling placement. The provision of vacation days, sick days and personal days is a private matter to be agreed upon between a principal and an articling candidate. These should be discussed when negotiating the terms of the articling placement employment.
    • How many Lawyer Licensing Process Candidates may a lawyer supervise at any one time?

      Lawyers may directly supervise no more than two candidates at any one time. This includes articling candidates, candidates under a Supervision Agreement and Law Practice Program candidates.

    • May I continue to work in a legal capacity up until my call to the bar? What do I need to file?
    • What should I do if I have any concerns with my articling placement?

      You may send a message through your online account outlining the situation or call an Articling Administrator in the Licensing and Accreditation Department at 416-947-3315 or 1-800-668-7380 ext. 3315 for further assistance. Our office will make best efforts to direct you to all available resources to address your concerns.  

    • How can I become a Commissioner of Oaths?

      An articling candidate or summer law student seeking to become a commissioner for taking affidavits should apply prior to the start of the articling placement, or before commencing employment.

      For more information, you may visit:

  • Enhanced Reporting Requirements for Articling
    • If the articling placement does not involve direct client contact, how would the principal evaluate the candidate’s performance of the tasks “Interview a client” and “Represent a Client in an Appearance"?

      Client may have a number of different meanings. The term is used generally to refer to the authorizing individual in the situation, file or interaction. For instance, a client could be defined as a private client, a client partner/responsible partner in a larger firm environment, in-house counsel in an organization, Ministry employees in a government setting, or others in non-private practice environments.

      If the activity is undertaken without formal exposure to a private client, then an explanation of how this task was supported will be required.

    • The Experiential Training plan requires that principals tell the Law Society how the articling placement will support fulfillment of the requirement for the principal to evaluate the performance of the candidate undertaking five tasks, based on the performance appraisal competencies of the experiential training competencies for candidates. What information is required for an appropriate response?
      The response must confirm that there is a structure in place at the firm or organization to support evaluating the candidate’s performance of the five tasks and must include a brief description of that structure. It should also include an explanation of how the firm or organization will manage the process of the performance appraisal, including, but not limited to, a formal schedule and/or designation of those who will provide feedback and document the performance.
    • Will principals or candidates be penalized if the articling placement does not provide exposure to all the experiential training competencies?

      The results of the reporting requirements (Experiential Training Plan and Record of Experiential Training or ‘RET’) will not be used to penalize or call attention to any one firm, organization, principal or candidate. If the aggregate results of the reporting requirements indicate that there are gaps or issues with the achievement of the competencies, those matters will be brought to Convocation’s attention. If changes to the Articling Program must be made to address these matters, the profession will be notified in a timely manner. The number of articling placements that support the candidate’s fulfillment of the skills competencies and to what extent, will be an important factor when evaluating the Articling Program.

      As with all existing filing requirements related to the Licensing Process, principals and candidates are expected to comply with these filing requirements to ensure the candidate is eligible to be called to the bar. In addition, any deficiencies with respect to the filing requirements may prompt further follow up from the Law Society.

    • What about articling placements with more than one principal? Will there be additional filing requirements?
      Form and Applications Deadline
      Articles of Clerkship Within 10 business days of the articling start date
      Joint Articles of Clerkship Within 10 business days of the articling start date
      Part-Time Articles of Clerkship Within 10 business days of the articling start date
      National/International Articling Placement Application 10 business days prior to the articling start date
      Experiential Training Plan Filed by the Articling Principal within 10 business days of the start of candidate’s placement
      Certificate of Service No sooner than the articling end date or by 10 business days after
      • If candidate intends to be called in June, this form is due on the first business day of April
      Record of Experiential Training Within 10 business days of the articling end date
      • If the candidate intends to be called in June, the RET will be due on the first business day of April
      Supervision Agreements 10 business days prior to the start date
      Temporary Assignments Within 10 business days of the start date
    • What are the filing deadlines for these requirements?

      The principal must file the Experiential Training plan before the start of the first articling placement being supervised by that principal, or within 10 business days from the start of that placement. A Principal’s Training Plan will be used to support all future articling placements being supervised by that principal. If a candidate changes principals during the term, the subsequent principal will be required to file an Experiential Training Plan before the start of the first articling placement being supervised by that subsequent, or within 10 business days from the start of that subsequent placement.

      The principal and the candidate must file their respective RET at the end or within 10 business days from the end of the placement. If there was a change in principals during the term, the subsequent principal and candidate must file their respective RET at the end or within 10 business days from the end of the subsequent placement. If the candidate is eligible and wishes to be called in June of the following year, all reporting requirements, including the RET, must be filed with the Law Society by the early filing deadline indicated on the Dates to Remember page.

    • Do these reporting requirements apply to abridged articling placements, national/international articling placements and part time articling placements?

      Yes. These reporting requirements apply to all candidates who have selected the Articling Program to fulfill the experiential training requirement of the Lawyer Licensing Process.

  • Licensing Examinations
    • How do I prepare to write the Licensing Examinations?

      No external material or information is required for preparation to write the licensing examinations. You are provided access to the online study materials that support all examined competencies. In addition to the study materials, which you will receive approximately six weeks in advance of the examination sittings, the Law Society offers on-line resources on how to study for and write the competency-based Licensing Examination.

      Candidates are to print their materials from their online account once they become available. More information is available in the licensing examination section of the website and the Study Materials page

    • Can I write the Licensing Examinations if I have not yet secured articles?
    • Can I write one examination at a time, for example, the Barrister Licensing Examination in the sum

      Yes. You may write both Licensing Examinations at one of the scheduled sessions or you may write one at a time in any session you prefer.

      If there are circumstances that prevent you from attending the examination session you have registered for, you must notify the Licensing and Accreditation department in writing and in advance of the deferral deadline that you wish to defer writing the examination(s).

    • What happens if I fail one or both Licensing Examinations?

      You will be able to rewrite the Licensing Examination(s) at any scheduled session in the same licensing year.

      Please note that if you write the examinations for the first time in the spring and you fail, your next opportunity to write will be in the summer, which falls into the following licensing year and are therefore required to purchase the updated study materials for that new licensing year in order to study for the examinations. Please refer to the Lawyer Licensing Process Policies for further information, the maximum number of permitted attempts, or see question further below.

    • If I am articling, will I be entitled to the same amount of study days to prepare for a second write of a Licensing Examination, and will that constitute an amendment to my articling contract with the articling employer?
      No, you will not be entitled to any formal uninterrupted study days during your articling placement to prepare for a rewrite. You will be responsible for studying on your own time and to make personal arrangements to do so either independently or in conjunction with your articling employer.
    • How many times am I permitted to write one or more failed Licensing Examination(s)?

      You are required to complete all components of the Lawyer Licensing Process within your Licensing Term. Your Licensing Term commences on the Date of Commencement of your Licensing Cycle which is May 1 of the year in which you submitted your Application to the Society or May 1 of the following year as stipulated by the Licensing and Accreditation Department when you were registered into the Licensing Process and ends three years from that date. During your Licensing Term you may not write either the Barrister Licensing Examination or the Solicitor Licensing Examination more than three times, or, if you have been authorized by the Executive Director, Professional Development and Competence pursuant to the Lawyer Licensing Process Policies, more than four times. 

      The Executive Director, Professional Development and Competence will approve your request to write a Licensing Examination a fourth time during your Licensing Term if you establish to the satisfaction of the Executive Director, Professional Development and Competence that there exist extraordinary circumstances that would affect or could be expected to affect your ability to successfully complete the Licensing Examination.

      If you are rewriting a Licensing Examination in a subsequent licensing year, you will be required to purchase the study materials for that new licensing year. 

  • Medical Absence Form
    • What is the deadline to submit this form?

      This form must be submitted within 10 business days of the missed examination. It is intended for candidates who are requesting special consideration based on illness or injury and were unable to meet the deferral deadline for their assigned Licensing Examination sitting.

    • Does my physician or licensed medical practitioner need to complete Part B?

      Although it is preferred that a physician or licensed medical practitioner complete Part B, we will still accept this form if a qualified staff member of the physician or licensed medical practitioner completes Part B. Please note, only a physician or other acceptable medical practitioner may complete Part C and sign the form.

    • My attending physician or licensed medical practitioner is not available within the 10-business day deadline. What should I do?
      In order to request an extension to the 10-business day deadline, you are required to inform the Licensing and Accreditation department of when you expect to have the form completed and submitted. Licensing and Accreditation will review the circumstances and information provided and inform you on how to proceed.
    • My chronic medical condition has been previously documented by the Law Society. Am I still required to submit this form?

      This form must be completed for each examination that is not deferred by the deadline due to illness or injury so that we are able to properly assess your request for special consideration.

      If you know in advance you will be unable to attend, you are to fill out the “Request for Change or Deferment” form and submit it at least 10 business days prior to the examination sitting. If your illness/injury occurs past that deadline, you will be required to submit the “Medical Absence Form” when you are unable to write at an examination sitting for which you registered.

Terms or Concepts Explained