Discrimination and Power Imbalances Plague Canada's Lawyer Training Process
A shortage of articling positions and the profession’s changing business model are also contributing to a need to review how the country licenses lawyers.
It was Melissa Ojanen’s first week at the Professional Legal Training Course, or PLTC, a mandatory component of the articling and bar exam process in British Columbia, Canada. But on Friday of that week, instead of concentrating on the day’s lesson or her weekend plans, Ojanen’s whole career path was shaken when a process server handed her a termination letter from her articling position and a notice that a civil claim had been filed against her for breach of contract, theft, wrongful use of marketing materials and trespass. It happened right in front of her classmates and future colleagues, according to court documents. Her principal (or formalized mentor), Paul Doroshenko, was behind the claim.
“The decision to serve Ms. Ojanen in front of her classmates at PLTC was unnecessary and psychologically brutal,” Justice Geoffrey Gomery of the British Columbia Supreme Court later said in a judgment issued this August dismissing the suit against Ojanen and awarding her almost $70,000 in a counterclaim for wrongful dismissal.
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