The Law Society of Ontario announced that it has canceled the March barrister and solicitor examinations. This comes as a shock to many aspiring Ontario lawyers who were planning on taking the March exams and coming one step closer to qualification.
LSO stated that some candidates have “improperly accessed” the examination content. Information was received that “strongly indicates that examination content has been improperly accessed by some candidates, compromising the integrity of the upcoming examination period.”
The law society’s press release also stated that “Evidence indicates the potential involvement of third parties in this activity. A comprehensive investigation of the matter by a team of external investigators is underway,”
Diana Miles, LSO’s Chief Executive Officer said,” We appreciate that this decision is upsetting news to those candidates not involved in improper conduct”, then added “However, this is a critical and necessary step to protect the integrity of the licensing process and the reputation of those candidates not involved. Most importantly, as the regulator of the legal professions it is incumbent upon us to take immediate action to protect the public interest.”
LSO assured aspiring lawyers that the examinations will be rescheduled and accommodations will be made to lessen the impact of the cancelation. Miles said, “We recognize this will mean unexpected logistics and some inconvenience for some affected candidates.”
Regardless of rescheduling and accommodations, this cancellation had a major impact on many soon-to-be lawyers. For many, completing the March exams would mean that they would be called to the bar in the summer. Now, there is a growing atmosphere of uncertainty. This is not something that anyone wants when starting their professional career.
In the past few years, many professional organizations moved to online delivery and examinations, including law societies. With the increased use of technology in the legal sector and professional examinations, will such information leaks continue? Professional accreditation bodies must eliminate, or at least do their best, to provide security and consistency to their members.