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Guide to Licensing Examinations

Revised November 2020

This Guide provides important information about the Barrister, Solicitor, and Paralegal Licensing Examinations (the “Licensing Examinations”) administered by the Law Society of Ontario (the “Law Society”). All candidates should thoroughly review this Guide, as well as the Rules and Protocol applicable to Licensing Examinations in preparation for writing the Licensing Examinations. Capitalized terms used in this Guide not otherwise defined herein may be found elsewhere on the Law Society’s website. This Guide should not be interpreted as a legal document.

While every attempt has been made to provide up-to-date information, the Law Society may change or revise policies and procedures that affect the Licensing Examinations. Candidates should regularly check the Licensing Examinations webpage and their online accounts for the most current information about the Licensing Examinations. The Law Society provides information about specific sittings of the Licensing Examinations prior to the dates of those sittings.  

As part of their examination preparation, all candidates are expected to review their study materials and any other material updates posted in their online account on the study material access page. No updates to the study materials will be posted within two business days of the examination date.

Objective of the Licensing Examinations
Registration for the Licensing Examinations
Licensing Examination Development, Format and Content
Licensing Examination Scoring and Results
Preparing for the Licensing Examinations
Sample Licensing Examination Items  

Objective of the Licensing Examinations

Licensure is the official recognition by the Law Society that a candidate has met all the qualifications specified by the Law Society and is, therefore, approved to practise as a lawyer in Ontario or provide legal services as a paralegal in Ontario, as applicable. All lawyer candidates registered in the Licensing Process are required to successfully complete both the Barrister Licensing Examination and the Solicitor Licensing Examination in order to be eligible to become licensed to practise law in Ontario. All paralegal candidates registered in the Licensing Process are required to successfully complete the Paralegal Licensing Examination in order to be eligible to provide legal services in Ontario.

The Licensing Examinations are designed to assess whether a given candidate for licensure demonstrates the minimum level of competence required of an entry-level lawyer or paralegal, as applicable. The Barrister Licensing Examination assesses barrister competencies for entry-level practice, the Solicitor Licensing Examination assesses solicitor competencies for entry-level practice and the Paralegal Licensing Examination assesses paralegal competencies for entry-level practice.

Each of the Licensing Examinations is self-study: candidates are provided with the study materials that support all competencies on the Licensing Examinations.  

The Licensing Examinations test competencies required for entry-level practice. They focus on those competencies that have the most direct impact on the protection of the public and on effective and ethical practice.  

Registration for the Licensing Examinations

Usually, there are three sittings of each Licensing Examination per licensing year. Candidates who are registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process may register to write one or both Licensing Examinations at any given sitting. Candidates who are registered in the Paralegal Licensing Process may register to write the Licensing Examination at any given sitting.  

While the Law Society is offering online Licensing Examinations, the timing and approach for Licensing Examinations have changed, and candidates should review the information made available to them on the Law Society’s website and through their online account.

Lawyer candidates are not required to have commenced or completed an articling placement or the LPP/PPD in order to register for a Licensing Examination.

In order to be fully registered for the Licensing Examination sitting they have selected, candidates must ensure that they have completed all requirements, filed all required documentation and paid the prescribed Licensing Examination registration fee by the posted deadlines. For online Licensing Examinations, candidates must also ensure that they meet the scheduling requirements and deadlines set out on the Law Society’s website or provided to candidates through their online Law Society account or by the Law Society’s online Licensing Examination service provider. 

Candidates who have been approved for an accommodation will have additional information sent to them directly by the Law Society’s Examination Administration staff or the online Licensing Examination service provider.

Candidates who have registered for a sitting of a Licensing Examination and subsequently decide not to attempt that sitting may defer their attempt to a subsequent sitting. Candidates who wish to request a deferral must file a Request for Registration or Deferment Form on or before the applicable deadline. If the request is approved, the Law Society will refund or defer the Licensing Examination fee paid by the candidate. Where a candidate has registered for a sitting of a Licensing Examination and does not attend, and has not followed the procedure for deferral, the candidate will not be entitled to any refund of the Licensing Examination fee paid for that sitting and will receive an official result of ‘Unexcused Absence’ for that Licensing Examination.

Candidates who have registered for a sitting of a Licensing Examination and subsequently wish to change the choice of language for that sitting or, in the case of in-person Licensing Examinations, the choice of language or location, must file a Request for Registration or Deferment Form on or before the applicable deadline.

Candidates have three attempts to successfully complete each Licensing Examination within their three-year licensing term. Thus, if a candidate has failed a Licensing Examination and still has attempts remaining within their term, the candidate will be eligible to attempt that Licensing Examination again.


The Law Society provides accommodation for the Licensing Examinations to candidates based on grounds listed in the Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19. Candidates seeking accommodation must review the Law Society’s Policy and Procedures for Accommodations for Candidates in the Lawyer and Paralegal Licensing Processes and will be required to make a request for accommodation in accordance with the procedure established by the Law Society for making examination accommodation requests. For more information regarding accommodation, candidates should review the Accommodations page or contact the Examination Administration staff at

Medical Absence Form:

In some cases, candidates become unable to attend a sitting of a Licensing Examination due to serious illness or injury after the deadline for deferral has passed. Such candidates should contact the Licensing and Accreditation department as soon as possible to explain their circumstances.

Such candidates may make a request for an “Excused Absence” based on those criteria by submitting a Medical Absence Form to the Licensing and Accreditation department. If the request is approved, the candidate’s registration will be deferred to a subsequent sitting of the Licensing Examination, and the Law Society will refund or defer the Licensing Examination fee paid by the candidate.

A Medical Absence Form must be submitted by the deadline set out on the form.

Licensing Examination Development, Format and Content

Licensing Examination Development:

The Law Society’s processes for the development, administration, scoring and reporting of the Licensing Examinations are consistent with established best practices for professional licensure.

The Law Society engages experts across the legal profession to establish the entry-level competencies that are assessed in each Licensing Examination. A competency is defined as a “knowledge, skill, ability, attitude or judgment required for entry-level practice.” These competencies, which are set out in detail on the Law Society’s website, have undergone a rigorous development and validation process. Candidates are strongly encouraged to thoroughly review the Entry-Level Barrister Competencies, the Entry-Level Solicitor Competencies or the Entry-Level Paralegal Competencies, as appropriate, in preparation for the Licensing Examinations.

Once established, these entry-level competencies form the basis for the test specifications for each Licensing Examination. These test specifications are a primary component of the Blueprint document that is developed for each Licensing Examination. A Blueprint document is used to ensure that the items being assessed on each Licensing Examination are both content-valid and representative of legal practice. It also ensures that the same categories of competencies are being assessed, to the same standard of competence, even though items being assessed change from one sitting of a Licensing Examination to another. This provides consistency between each sitting of each Licensing Examination and enhances reliability, validity, fairness and defensibility. The competencies and the Blueprint parameters are reviewed on a regular basis, in accordance with established best practices for professional licensing examinations.

Practitioners representing all relevant practice areas develop Licensing Examination questions (referred to as “items”) under the guidance of psychometricians with expertise in professional licensing test development and validation. These items are derived from information in the study materials prepared by the Law Society for that licensing year and are reflective of the established competencies for the given Licensing Examination.

All Licensing Examination items undergo a rigorous review and validation process. A Barrister Advisory Group, Solicitor Advisory Group and Paralegal Advisory Group, each composed of exemplary practitioners from a cross-section of practice areas and firm sizes in Ontario, set their respective Licensing Examinations according to the Blueprint parameters. Setting a Licensing Examination involves approving the items that will be assessed.

A small number of new items are piloted on each Licensing Examination as “experimental items.” These experimental items are not counted towards a candidate’s score and therefore do not contribute to a pass/fail result. The majority of Licensing Examinations items are “operational items” on which the candidate’s score is based. To achieve the piloting objectives, and consistent with best practices for professional licensing examinations, there are no indications in the Licensing Examination to identify a given item as either an experimental item or an operational item. The administration of non-scored experimental items is an essential step in developing future Licensing Examinations.

Licensing Examination Format and Content:

General Information

The Licensing Examinations are administered in an open-book format. Candidates are permitted to bring any print materials (including any study materials, notes and textbooks) prepared for the purpose of assisting them in the writing of a Licensing Examination into the Testing Area.

All items on each Licensing Examination are in a multiple-choice format. Candidates must choose the best answer from four possible options provided. Each item has only one best answer, and candidates will receive credit only when they have selected the best answer. For any item for which the candidate indicates more than one answer, the answer will be marked as incorrect.

The items on each Licensing Examination assess the following three levels of cognitive ability:

  • Knowledge/Comprehension: the ability to recall facts, policies, procedures and standards (e.g., citing the appropriate Rule in the Rules of Professional Conduct or Paralegal Rules of Conduct, as applicable);
  • Application: the ability to apply knowledge/comprehension in a straightforward applied situation (e.g., recognizing the appropriate procedure to employ when faced with a routine situation); and
  • Critical Thinking: the ability to apply knowledge/comprehension in complex applied situations, requiring analytical problem-solving in addition to knowledge/comprehension and application (e.g., selecting and prioritizing appropriate courses of action when faced with complex situations, or recognizing the relative importance of conflicting pieces of information and arriving at a conclusion requiring sound judgment).

Each Licensing Examination will include items in both independent multiple-choice and case-based multiple-choice format. Independent multiple-choice items are independent of each other. Case-based multiple-choice items are preceded by a case scenario that will also apply to other items; however, each item within the series of items preceded by that case scenario is derived directly from that case scenario and is independent of all the others. In other words, determining the correct answer to item #3 in a series of case-based items is not dependent on answering either of items #1 or #2 correctly.

There are no “all of the above” or “none of the above” multiple-choice options in Licensing Examination items.

For each sitting of each Licensing Examination, multiple different versions of the Licensing Examination may be developed and set. Each candidate who is registered for that sitting is randomly assigned a version of that Licensing Examination. Each version of the Licensing Examination complies with the Blueprint parameters.

In-person (paper-based) Licensing Examinations

Each in-person Licensing Examination is 7 hours in total length and comprises a total of approximately 240 multiple-choice items. Each in-person Licensing Examination comprises two parts, each of which is 3.5 hours in length. Part 1 takes place during the morning, and Part 2 takes place during the afternoon, with a break between the two parts. During Part 1, candidates write only Part 1 of the Licensing Examination, and during Part 2, candidates write only Part 2 of the Licensing Examination. Candidates do not have access to Part 2 of their Licensing Examination during Part 1 in the morning, nor do they have access to Part 1 of their Licensing Examination during Part 2 in the afternoon.

Candidates must mark their answers on an answer sheet provided by the Law Society. Only those answers marked on the answer sheet will be scored. Answers marked within the Licensing Examination booklet will not be reviewed or scored. The answer sheet is numbered from 1 – 200; however, there are only approximately 120 items on each part of a Licensing Examination. Candidates should periodically check to ensure that the answer bubbles they are filling in on their answer sheet correspond correctly to the respective items they are answering.

Online Licensing Examinations

Each online Licensing Examination is 4 hours in total length and comprises a total of approximately 160 multiple-choice items. Each Licensing Examination comprises two parts, each of which is 2 hours in length. Part 1 must be written first. It is followed by a break of 30 minutes. After the 30-minute break, candidates must access and commence Part 2. During Part 1, candidates write only Part 1 of the Licensing Examination, and during Part 2, candidates write only Part 2 of the Licensing Examination. Candidates do not have access to Part 2 of the Licensing Examination during Part 1, nor do they have access to Part 1 of the Licensing Examination during Part 2.

Candidates must select the correct answer online. Candidates should periodically check to ensure that they are answering all questions.

Licensing Examination Pass Mark

The Licensing Examinations are marked on a pass/fail basis. Scores equal to or higher than the established passing mark receive a “Pass” result. Scores lower than the passing mark receive a “Fail” result. 

In addition to setting a Licensing Examination, the Advisory Group also formally sets and approves the passing mark for that Licensing Examination. The passing mark is the same for each different version of the same Licensing Examination. The passing mark represents a single overall score for the Licensing Examination; candidates are not required to individually pass separate sections or areas of law on a Licensing Examination.

The passing mark represents the expected performance of a minimally-competent entry-level lawyer or paralegal, as applicable. To ensure consistency between each sitting of the Licensing Examinations, the Advisory Groups apply this same standard to the particular set of items on each Licensing Examination. The setting of a passing mark is based on the judgment of these informed subject matter experts and is determined through rigorous consultation and dialogue.

This approach to setting the passing mark helps to ensure that the same performance standard is applied consistently for each Licensing Examination, so that only those candidates who meet or exceed this standard will pass the Licensing Examination. Only an individual candidate’s performance compared to this standard determines whether that candidate passes the Licensing Examination; the candidate’s performance is not assessed in comparison to the performance of other candidates, by using a curve or otherwise. There is also no pre-determined rate for the proportion of candidates who will pass a Licensing Examination.

Licensing Examination Scoring and Results  

Licensing Examination Scoring: 

The scoring process for the Licensing Examinations also conforms to established best practices for professional licensing examinations. 

A candidate’s score is based on the number of correct answers chosen. There are no penalties for failure to choose an answer or for choosing an incorrect answer.

In-person Licensing Examinations

For in-person (non-online) Licensing Examinations (where a scantron sheet is used) the scoring process also includes manual marking of certain answer sheets: every answer sheet that, when scored using the computerized scoring device, returns a result that falls below the passing mark or within a certain percentage of the passing mark is subjected to this manual marking process. The manual marking process involves Law Society staff comparing each answer indicated by the candidate to the verified answer key, to confirm the computerized scoring device’s accuracy. As a result of this rigorous result validation process, candidates may not request any further review of their Licensing Examination once results have been reported.

Online Licensing Examinations

For online Licensing Examinations, candidates input their responses directly. A manual quality control process is also employed. As a result, candidates may not request any further review of their Licensing Examination once results have been reported.

Licensing Examination Results:  

Within six to eight weeks after each sitting of the Licensing Examinations, or such other period as may be disclosed by the Law Society, candidates will receive a message in their online account (which is confidential) providing their result(s). Candidates will receive an email notification of this message and should ensure that the email address listed in their online account remains accurate.

The only result that is published to candidates is the “Pass” or “Fail” result. In keeping with established best practices for professional licensing examinations, the Law Society does not release the passing score for each Licensing Examination, nor does it release candidates’ individual scores.

A lawyer candidate will retain credit for the passing of the Barrister Licensing Examination and/or the Solicitor Licensing Examination for the remaining duration of the candidate’s licensing term.

The Law Society provides all candidates who receive a “Fail” result on a Licensing Examination with a Licensing Examination Profile, which is a detailed performance profile depicting the candidate’s performance across the different competency categories and area of law categories. Candidates who receive a Licensing Examination Profile are encouraged to carefully review their performance in order to assist in focusing their study efforts.

Preparing for the Licensing Examinations

Licensing Examination Study Materials:

The Law Society develops study materials that support all examined competencies on each Licensing Examination. The Licensing Examinations are developed with reference to these Law Society-provided study materials, and no external material or information is required (though candidates are permitted to bring other external print materials into the Testing Area at the sitting of a Licensing Examination). 

Candidates who have registered and paid for Licensing Examination study materials are provided with access to these study materials prior to the sitting of a Licensing Examination. It is essential that candidates review these study materials carefully in preparation for the Licensing Examinations. Candidates are permitted to mark up these study materials and bring them into the Testing Area at the sitting of a Licensing Examination; however, please note that all print materials candidates bring into the Testing Area must remain there and cannot be removed during the break between Part 1 and Part 2. For in-person Licensing Examinations, all print materials must also remain in the Testing Area at the conclusion of Part 2 of the Examination Sitting. Candidates should review the Rules and Protocol to understand the process for both online and in-person Licensing Examinations.

The study materials are updated once each year, in preparation for each new licensing year (which begins in May (for lawyer candidates) and June (for paralegal candidates)). All sittings of each Licensing Examination during that licensing year are developed with reference to the study materials current to that licensing year. Candidates are required to purchase the version of the study materials that is current to the licensing year in which they register for a sitting of the Licensing Examination.

Tips to Prepare for the Licensing Examinations:

Performing successfully on the Licensing Examinations requires a strong understanding of the study materials, a positive attitude and sufficient advanced planning and organization. It takes time to adequately prepare for a Licensing Examination. There are no shortcuts. While the tips and best practices below can help you prepare, there is no replacement for taking the time to build a solid base of knowledge, and the best approach will always be the one that gives you the most confidence to feel prepared at the start of a Licensing Examination.

Scheduling your Preparation Time:  

You should develop a systematic approach to studying each topic on a Licensing Examination. This can be accomplished by effectively organizing your preparation time. You should consider the following strategies:

  • Begin preparing early: literature suggests that studying in short, manageable increments spaced out over time is more beneficial than cramming all the material into closely spaced, lengthy or last-minute study sessions.
  • Maintain a regular study schedule: set aside a specific period of the day in which to study and stick to that time as you would any other commitment. It is best to study when you are wide awake and alert rather than studying late at night when you are tired and likely to have decreased retention abilities.
  • Set specific goals during your study time: for example, outline the number of chapters, pages or statutes that you intend to review.
  • Take breaks between study sessions and, when dealing with more difficult or complicated materials, take more frequent breaks.
  • Start each day’s study session by reviewing the materials you studied the previous day: reviewing previously learned materials without a long time delay will help you maintain, reinforce and integrate knowledge.

Effectively Reading and Note-Taking:  

Careful, active and systematic reading can assist you to retain knowledge. Most literature on the subject suggests that it is most effective to read through each portion of material at least three times, each with a different purpose. You should consider the following strategies:

  • In your first reading of a chapter, aim to develop a general understanding and overview of its content. This will increase your understanding of the content before focusing on the details. At this stage, try to avoid highlighting your materials and taking notes, as you are likely to highlight or write down more information than is necessary or helpful if you have not yet carefully reviewed the major concepts.
  • The purpose of a second reading should be to draw out important concepts from the chapter. During this second review, it is best to take notes or highlight main points in the chapter. Before highlighting or making notes, finish reading the paragraph, section or page so that you will give some thought to what you are highlighting. Consider using the Cornell method of note-taking: (1) draw a vertical line down a piece of paper, 2.5 inches from the left-hand column; (2) in the right-hand column, actively summarize or paraphrase the relevant information you have just reviewed; (3) in the left-hand column, write key words or phrases that are cues to the information in the right-hand column; and (4) practise retrieving your knowledge of the topics by covering your notes in the right-hand column and determining whether you can recall concepts by reviewing only the key words in the left-hand column. Finally, review your notes to ensure you have retrieved all the important information related to a topic. Testing yourself in this way will encourage active learning and retrieval, which are skills important to the Licensing Examinations.
  • The third reading of a chapter should be for review purposes. Reviewing materials on a regular basis will better ensure the information will be retained in long-term memory.

Organizing your Print Materials for Open-Book Examinations:  

The Licensing Examinations are an open-book format. At the sitting of a Licensing Examination, you are permitted to bring any print materials prepared for the purpose of assisting you in the writing of a Licensing Examination (including any study materials, notes and textbooks) into the Testing Area.

There is a common misconception that open-book examinations require less study and preparation time than closed-book examinations. The Licensing Examinations require candidates to analyze information and apply their knowledge to new situations; therefore, you must thoroughly familiarize yourself with the study materials. Candidates who have not done so will likely waste valuable time searching through documents during the Licensing Examinations, instead of devoting that time to thinking about and adequately answering items. 

It is especially important in open-book examinations to organize your print materials so that you are able to quickly access relevant information. Prior to the Licensing Examinations, you should attempt to make any print materials you intend to bring into the Testing Area (including the study materials provided by the Law Society) as “user-friendly” to yourself as possible. There are many different ways to do this. You should consider creating some or all of the following materials:

  • a tabbing or colour-coding system to delineate certain subject areas and key topics;
  • short, manageable summaries on selected topics;
  • index cards or a table of contents to list key topics and their corresponding page references in your print materials and notes; and
  • a list of relevant formulae or calculations for quick retrieval.

Some candidates prefer tabbing, indexing and/or highlighting their materials at the outset of their preparation, in order to help absorb the study materials. Others prefer to leave these preparations to closer to the end, in order to round out their study process and review important concepts. 

Optimizing your Performance on Multiple-Choice Items:  

All items on each Licensing Examination are in a multiple-choice format. Candidates must choose the best answer from four possible options provided. Each item has only one best answer, and candidates will receive credit only when they have selected the best answer. You should consider the following strategies to optimize your performance:

  • Before you answer any items, for in-person Licensing Examinations, review your Licensing Examination booklet to ensure that it is not missing any pages and contains no duplicate pages.
  • Carefully read all instructions.
  • Read each item and all options carefully before selecting an answer.
  • Pay attention to relationships between parties, dates or financial information. These will often signify important issues.
  • Be careful not to make assumptions that are not supported by the facts set out in an item.
  • Try to answer every item. There are no penalties for failure to choose an answer or for choosing an incorrect answer.
  • If you do not know the answer to an item, mark that item and move on to the next one. Finish the items you are able to answer more easily before returning to the more difficult items. In some cases, a previous item will spark your memory about the answer to another item.
  • For in-person Licensing Examinations, check your answer sheet carefully to ensure that you have marked all answers correctly on it; for online Licensing Examinations, become familiar with the online tools, such as any reviewing tool.
  • Use any extra time to review your Licensing Examination and ensure that you have answered all items.

Two of the most popular techniques for answering multiple-choice items are the “answer search” method and the “elimination” method. The answer search method involves reading the stem of an item and trying to answer it without consulting the four options listed below it, then choosing the option that most closely matches your answer. The elimination method involves reading each option first and immediately eliminating the options you believe to be incorrect, then reading the stem of the item along with each of the remaining options and choosing the best one available.

Controlling Anxiety:  

It is reasonable to expect that you will feel some anxiety prior to and during a Licensing Examination. Part of controlling anxiety involves being prepared for what lies ahead. You should consider the following strategies for controlling examination-related anxiety:

  • Prior to the Licensing Examination sitting, prepare yourself emotionally, physically and intellectually. Know your materials thoroughly and organize them to eliminate unnecessary searching during the Licensing Examination. Ensure that you are getting good nutrition and try to minimize the use of stimulants that can significantly increase stress levels. Make best efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including adequate amounts of rest, exercise, personal “down time” and social interaction. Think positively.
  • One week prior to the Licensing Examination sitting, you should double-check key information. For in-person Licensing Examinations, check the address of the Examination Site and the required arrival time and check-in time. For online Licensing Examinations, check the technical requirements, ensure that you have prepared in advance to prevent or mitigate unexpected technical glitches, check your start time and practise with the online sample examination. You should also review the Licensing Examination Rules and Protocol to ensure that you understand the conduct that is expected of candidates.
  • On the day of the Licensing Examination sitting, you should dress comfortably and allow yourself plenty of time. For in-person Licensing Examinations, ensure that you have adequate time to be processed through the registration station and security screening area, to enter the Testing Area and find your assigned seat and to organize your materials prior to the start of the Licensing Examination. You should aim to achieve a relaxed state of concentration prior to the start. You may also want to consider avoiding socializing with other candidates at the Examination Site. Anxiety can be infectious, and you should concentrate on remaining relaxed and confident. 
  • During the Licensing Examination sitting, if you start to feel overwhelmed, consider using some of the following techniques: (1) taking slow, deep breaths to relax; (2) shifting your focus away from the anxiety and towards the next task; and (3) maintaining a positive attitude.
  • You may not immediately know the correct answer to every item. It is unlikely that any candidate will. If you encounter an item that you did not anticipate, try to use everything you know about the content of the study materials as well as your reasoning ability to carefully analyze the question and identify the most logical answer. Try not to become preoccupied with any one difficult item.

Planning for the Environment at the Examination Site:

The Law Society endeavours to ensure that the environment for writing each Licensing Examination is optimal. Candidates may occasionally experience some minor distractions or temperature variations. Candidates should dress appropriately.

Sample Licensing Examination Items

These sample items for the Barrister, Solicitor, and Paralegal Licensing Examinations will give you an indication of the style of items that are assessed, the level of cognitive ability required (knowledge/comprehension, application, critical thinking) and the degree of difference between incorrect and correct answer options. Correct answers to these items are provided at the end of the applicable sections. For online Licensing Examinations, sample items are available online.


Sample Independent Items

1. Terri, a lawyer, returns from vacation. When reviewing the trust account for her firm, she discovers that her partner has withdrawn money from the trust account to pay his personal taxes and then redeposited the amount into the trust account. What is Terri required to do to meet her professional responsibility obligations?

(a) Report the incident to the Law Society of Ontario.
(b) Report the incident to the firm’s insurer.
(c) Nothing, because the money has been returned.
(d) Change office procedures to prevent a reoccurrence of this behaviour.

2. At what stage should a lawyer conduct a conflict search?

(a) When the potential client first contacts the lawyer.
(b) After the client has retained the lawyer.
(c) Prior to sending any correspondence on behalf of the client.
(d) Following the initial interview.

3. A criminal defence lawyer has just received and reviewed the disclosure material from the Crown Attorney. What should the defence lawyer do now?

(a) Advise the client that the disclosure material is complete.
(b) Provide disclosure to the Crown.
(c) Review the disclosure material with the client.
(d) Bring a Stinchcombe application to ensure full disclosure.

4. Tracy was charged with aggravated assault. She has instructed her lawyer, Kurt, to get her the fastest jury trial date possible. The Crown has not requested a preliminary inquiry. Kurt does not believe that a preliminary inquiry is necessary because of the quality of the disclosure. How can Kurt get Tracy the fastest trial date?

(a) Waive Tracy’s right to a preliminary inquiry and set the trial date.
(b) Bring an application under s. 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to force a quick trial date. 
(c) Conduct the preliminary inquiry quickly and set down the trial.
(d) Elect on Tracy’s behalf a trial in the Ontario Court of Justice.

5. Oscar seeks a resolution of a complex, ongoing employment dispute involving his employer. Oscar’s lawyer recommends that he attend mediation. What must Oscar’s lawyer do to properly represent Oscar in the circumstances?

(a) Provide a risk assessment and explore the client’s settlement expectations.
(b) Determine a client’s best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) in case a settlement is not reached.
(c) Draft a demand letter to the employer trying to maximize the client’s award.
(d) Prepare a draft release and minutes of settlement.

End of Sample Independent Items

Sample Case-Based Items

Case 1
David comes to Janet, a lawyer, seeking advice regarding his separation from his spouse, Sara, which occurred six months ago. David and Sara have agreed that their three children live primarily with David and spend alternate weekends with Sara, but they are unable to agree on a schedule for summer living arrangements. David and Sara have an amicable relationship and have resolved all property issues. Sara is a physician in private practice; David is a teacher. Sara has not been making regular support payments to David. David knows that Sara’s tax return reflects deductions from her professional revenue that are personal expenses (i.e., car, travel, and entertainment).

Questions 6 to 8 refer to Case 1

6. What should Janet do early in her retainer?

(a) Retain an accountant.
(b) Arrange for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer to represent the children.
(c) Explore various forms of alternative dispute resolution with David.
(d) Issue an application.

7. Which one of the following actions is most appropriate for Janet to take when advising David on the issue of fees and costs?

(a) Inform David that the issue cannot be addressed until an expert has been retained.
(b) Provide David with a block fee.
(c) Advise David of her hourly rate
(d) Provide David with estimates on the various courses of action.

8. Janet receives a letter from Sara’s lawyer containing a time-limited settlement offer. What should Janet do?

(a) Mail a copy of the letter to David.
(b) Obtain David’s instructions as to how he wants to have the letter delivered to him.
(c) Fax the letter to the main office of David’s place of employment.
(d) Ask Sara’s lawyer to send the letter to David directly. 

End of Case 1

Correct Answers to Barrister Items:

1. (a)
2. (a)
3. (c)
4. (a)
5. (a)
6.  (c)
7. (d)
8. (b)


Sample Independent Items

1. Who is responsible for appointing the auditor of a corporation?

(a) The board of directors.
(b) The voting shareholders.
(c) The chief financial officer.
(d) The audit committee.

2. Gertrude has come to Roberta, a lawyer, to draw up a power of attorney for personal care. Gertrude will be undergoing major surgery and wants to ensure that her wishes are fulfilled should anything go wrong. Gertrude’s husband is quite elderly and not in good health, so she may want her two adult daughters to be the attorneys. The religion of one of her daughters requires adherents to protect human life at all costs. Gertrude’s other daughter is struggling financially. What further information should Roberta obtain from Gertrude?

(a) The state of her daughters’ marriages.
(b) The state of Gertrude’s marriage.
(c) Gertrude’s personal care wishes.
(d) Gertrude’s health status.

3. Erin, a lawyer, has been retained to complete an estate plan for a wealthy family. Erin and the family have agreed on a flat fee for drafting wills and powers of attorney for the mother and father and establishing a trust fund for the children of the family. Erin has completed the wills and established the trust but still needs to draft the powers of attorney. The father has become very abrupt with her, and Erin no longer wishes to act, despite accepting the flat fee. What is the most appropriate action for Erin to take?

(a) Withdraw from acting.
(b) Refer the family to another lawyer.
(c) Return the flat fee.
(d) Complete her obligations.

4. Peyton, a real estate lawyer, is acting for a married couple, Lara and Chris, on the purchase of their first home. Lara’s mother will be lending the couple some money and would like to register a mortgage on title. Lara and Chris have asked Peyton to prepare and register the mortgage documentation. They are agreeable to Peyton acting for the three of them. Chris’ brother is also lending them money, but Lara and Chris have asked Peyton not to tell Lara’s mother this fact. Should Peyton act?

(a) Yes, because the parties consented.
(b) No, because there is a conflict of interest.
(c) Yes, because the parties are related.
(d) No, because she should not act on both the purchase and the mortgage.

5. Prior to the closing of a real estate transaction, in which jurisdiction should the purchaser’s lawyer search executions?

(a) Where the seller previously resided.
(b) Where the seller’s real property is located.
(c) Where the seller’s personal property is located.
(d) Where the seller is moving.

End of Sample Independent Items


Sample Case-Based Items

Case 1
A lawyer attends at a meeting with Mrs. Edwards, her three children Barbara, David and Andrew, and her tax advisor. The lawyer is consulted to address estate planning issues and to receive instructions regarding Mrs. Edwards’ will. Mrs. Edwards indicates that she owns property in Ontario and a condominium in Florida.

Questions 6 to 8 refer to Case 1

6. With whom can the lawyer discuss the terms of Mrs. Edwards’ will?

(a) Mrs. Edwards’ tax advisor.
(b) Mrs. Edwards only.
(c) Andrew, Barbara and David any time after the will is signed.
(d) Mrs. Edwards and all of her three children.

7. What should the lawyer do concerning the Florida property?

(a) Research U.S. estate tax law implications and provide advice to Mrs. Edwards.
(b) Consult with the children regarding their plans for the future use of the condominium.
(c) Draft a Florida-based will addressing only the condominium.
(d) Advise Mrs. Edwards that Florida counsel needs to be retained to deal with all U.S.-related issues.

8. Upon receipt of the lawyer’s final account, Mrs. Edwards expressed concern regarding the amount billed. What should be the lawyer’s first step in addressing these concerns?

(a) Report the matter to the Law Society of Ontario.
(b) Report the matter to LawPRO.
(c) Review the account with Mrs. Edwards.
(d) Have Mrs. Edwards’ account assessed. 

End of Case 1

Correct Answers to Solicitor Items:

1. (b)
2. (c)
3. (d)
4. (b)
5. (b)
6. (b)
7. (d)
8. (c)

Paralegal Items

Sample Independent Items

1. Joshua, a paralegal, is meeting with his client, Max, for the first time. Max is a landlord of an apartment building and is having problems with a tenant. What step should Joshua take next?

  1. Research the latest landlord and tenant cases.
  2. Ask Max for a money retainer.
  3. Send the tenant a letter.
  4. Ascertain Max’s objectives.

2. Dave is involved in litigation against his neighbour. He instructs Brigitte, his paralegal, not to give the other side any extra time to meet deadlines. What should Brigitte do in response to these instructions from Dave?

  1. Follow his instructions.
  2. Advise Dave that she cannot deny reasonable requests if his rights are not prejudiced.
  3. Write a letter to the other side informing them that she will not grant any extensions.
  4. Make a private agreement with the other side to grant each other extensions in all circumstances.

3. When should a paralegal open a client file?

  1. When a client provides the paralegal with a money retainer.
  2. When a client instructs the paralegal to commence an action.
  3. When the paralegal files documents with the court.
  4. When a prospective client provides confidential information to the

4. Before accepting a joint retainer, what must a paralegal tell the prospective joint clients about her obligations in the event that conflicts develop between the joint clients?
  1. She may have to withdraw.
  2. She may mediate the conflicts.
  3. She will apply to court to determine whom to represent.
  4. She will take instructions from one client only, while continuing to act for both.

5. In what type of matter can a paralegal accept a contingency fee?
  1. A summary conviction matter
  2. A spousal support matter.
  3. A provincial offences matter.
  4. A workers' compensation matter.

6. When should a conflicts check be performed by a paralegal?

  1. When a new party becomes involved in the matter.
  2. When the matter is completed.
  3. When the client pays his bill.
  4. When the retainer has been accepted by the paralegal.

7. Elliott, a paralegal, hires a collection agency to collect his fees from a former client. What information, if any, can Elliott disclose?

  1. No information, as all client information is confidential.
  2. The client's entire file.
  3. Only the information contained in the court record.
  4. Only as much information as is necessary to collect his fees.

8. What is the best method for a paralegal to communicate with a client in a timely and effective manner?

  1. Copy the client on all correspondence when received and sent.
  2. Show the client all correspondence at the next meeting.
  3. Include copies of correspondence with the final reporting letter.
  4. Provide copies of correspondence on the request of the client.

9. Which of the following subject matters falls under provincial jurisdiction in the Canadian legal system?

  1. Education.
  2. Interprovincial transportation.
  3. Offences under the Criminal Code.
  4. Banking.

10. Which one of the following employees would work for a Schedule 1 employer under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997?

  1. Construction supervisor.
  2. Insurance agent.
  3. Bank teller.
  4. Train engineer.

11. What is the most helpful source of the procedural rules before an administrative tribunal in Ontario?

  1. The Rules of the Small Claims Court, by analogy.
  2. The tribunal’s rules of practice.
  3. The registrar of the tribunal.
  4. The prior decisions of the tribunal.

12. The concept of “duty to accommodate” originates from which one of the following statutes?

  1. Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
  2. Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
  3. Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  4. Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.

13. What section of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 gives the Landlord and Tenant Board the discretion to refuse to grant an eviction order?

  1. Subsection 88(1).
  2. Subsection 83(1).
  3. Subsection 74(2).
  4. Subsection 77(1).

14. ABC Ltd. (ABC), a manufacturer of employee uniforms, retains Tamika, a paralegal, to represent ABC in a contract dispute with XYZ Inc. (XYZ). In 2012, a contract was entered into in which ABC was responsible to supply a minimum of 1800 uniforms annually. In 2014, XYZ laid off 300 employees and only paid for 1500 uniforms. What type of damages should Tamika claim for ABC?

  1. Punitive.
  2. Consequential.
  3. Restitutionary.
  4. Compensatory.

15. Which one of the following statements about a defence to a plaintiff’s claim is true?

  1. It must only admit or deny the allegations made in the plaintiff’s claim.
  2. It must be accompanied by all documents to which it refers.
  3. If the defendant does not specifically admit the allegations made in the plaintiff’s claim, they are deemed to be denied.
  4. If the defendant intends to prove a different version of the facts pleaded in the plaintiff’s claim, the defendant must plead them.

16. What document requires personal service or an alternative to personal service?

  1. Amended defence.
  2. Defendant’s claim.
  3. Notice of motion.
  4. Offer to settle.

17. A husband and wife retain a paralegal to bring a Small Claims Court action to recover a payment on their travel insurance policy. The insurance company has denied their claim, saying that the husband failed to disclose a pre-existing medical condition. The wife’s evidence will be that she was present when her husband verbally disclosed this information to the travel insurance agent. What is the best way to prepare the wife for her examination-in-chief at the trial?

  1. Advise her that she will only have to tell the judge what she stated at the settlement conference.
  2. Give her a list of questions and answers to memorize before the trial.
  3. Put questions to her in a conversational manner with respect to the facts and issues in the case.
  4. Tell her to emphasize the disclosure of the medical condition at every opportunity during the examination-in-chief.

18. Ruth is a paralegal hired by David to represent him at trial on a speeding charge. Who must call evidence of the speed David was travelling?

  1. David because he was driving the car.
  2. Ruth because she is the paralegal for the accused.
  3. The prosecution because it bears the burden of proof.
  4. The police officer who made the observation.

19. Which one of the following documents sets the criminal process in motion?

  1. An arrest warrant, based on reasonable and probable grounds.
  2. An information, laid by a private citizen.
  3. An indictment, laid by a police officer on reasonable grounds.
  4. A certificate to the defendant.

1. (d) 
2. (b)
3. (d)
4. (a)
5. (d)
6. (a)
7. (d)
8. (a)
9. (a)
10. (a)
11. (b)
12. (b)
13. (b)
14. (d)
15. (d)
16. (b)
17. (c)
18. (c)
19. (b)

Terms or Concepts Explained