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“I really love the work, it’s fabulous,” says an enthusiastic D’Cunha, who is now legal counsel, contract management at IO, an agency of the Ontario government.The job meshes together two of his passions: law and public policy.Prior to law school, he was a research assistant at York University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.When he was looking for an articling placement as law school was ending, he found an opportunity similar to a summer position he’ d had at a small Mississauga, Ont., law firm doing insolvency, foreclosures, and bankruptcy matters — but he realized he wanted to do something different with a broader experience, so he looked at the eight-month LPP, which includes a four-month work placement.“The other articling student was not well suited for the vacancy I had.She will be an excellent lawyer somewhere else.” The difference in skill set, says Dicker, is that D’Cunha came out of the LPP armed with the ability to manage files, with some supervision, but to a greater degree than an articling student right out of law school.Despite the criticism from traditionalists in the legal community who feel the program might be a “second-tier” option to traditional articling, D’Cunha says he doesn’t care what the detractors say, it was right for him, and taking a chance on the program paid off. “No one cared where I got my undergrad or how I came to Infrastructure Ontario or where I went to law school; they just wanted to make sure I could deliver. ” According to Infrastructure Ontario’s executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, D’Cunha did indeed deliver.Marni Dicker hired him over the articling student the legal department had working for it at the same time D’Cunha was doing his placement.
After the first four months, she landed a work placement in-house with Nissan Canada’s legal team from January to the end of April.“The first year of the program has now been completed and the first of the LPP candidates who fulfilled all of the requirements were called to the bar in June.The LPP is now moving into its second year of the three-year pilot, and we’ll know the final number of candidates registered with Ryerson and the University of Ottawa at the end of August/early September,” said Diana Miles, executive director, organizational strategy and professional competence with the LSUC in June.I was getting calls in Winnipeg but none in Ontario.Toward my last semester of law school, I heard about the LPP program and what interested me was that it was a simulated work environment with a greater range of experience, as opposed to going to a small firm and getting a more narrow range of experience,” she says.