Skip to main content

Back in person for OITLD 2023!

June 28, 2023

Elisa Romano

The 9th annual Osgoode’s Internationally Trained Lawyers Day (OITLD) showcased how there are a variety of different paths to starting a fulfilling legal career in Canada. This year’s event took place in person and focused on how the Internationally Trained Lawyer community in Canada is helping expand and advance opportunities for others to find their own way into the profession.

The morning included information sessions and a networking lunch.

Deborah Wolfe (Executive Director, National Committee on Accreditation and Law School Programs) provided updates on the accreditation process.  She discussed the variety of assessments issued and the different ways candidates can complete the requirements assigned. 

Peninah Brickman (Senior Counsel and Manager, Entry Level Competence, Law Society of Ontario) and Paul Opolski (Counsel and Team Lead, Licensing and Accreditation, Law Society of Ontario) explained the many pathways and timelines licensing candidates can take toward becoming a lawyer. 

Chris Cheung (Interim Senior Director, Law Practice Program) detailed the Law Practice Program and the experiential training it provides to licensing candidates preparing to enter the Canadian legal market.

Panels and a Keynote speech concluded the event.

The afternoon opened with a panel on the On-Campus Interview process for Internationally Trained Lawyer Candidates for this upcoming summer.  The president of ITLNCA NetworkS, which runs the OCI process with employers for NCA candidates, explained the need to open up this process to NCA candidates and what this uniquely North American recruitment process is.  Also on the panel were OCI participants from previous years who spoke about their experience and advice:  Luciana Andrade (Articling Student with Fogler, Rubinoff LLP and GPLLM alumna of the University of Toronto), Ovo Efemini (incoming Associate at Gowling WLG and LLM alumnus of the OsgoodePD LLM), and Mohammad Awais Leghari (Associate at Miller Thomson LLP and LLM alumnus of the OsgoodePD LLM).

In the “Finding a Mentor and Sponsor” panel, Sadaf Shahzad (current OsgoodePD LLM student and incoming Articling Student at Campisi LLP), Kim Gale (Founder of NCA Network and its NCA mentorship program), and Gina Alexandris (Career Coach and Professional Development Consultant) discussed the difference between mentorship and sponsorship and how each plays a role in accessing connections and opportunities.  They emphasized going beyond mere networking and building meaningful relationships with members of the profession who can serve as mentors and sponsors in an otherwise isolating and solitary process.

The sessions concluded with a keynote speech from the Honourable Justice Michael T. Doi who talked about the overall journey of becoming a lawyer and his continued and unwavering commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the profession.

OITLD 2023 ended with an opportunity for participants to network with internationally trained lawyers who are very involved in legal associations and continuing to expand opportunities for other ITLs and NCA candidates to participate, including members of the NCA Network staff, Rachel Sachs (ITL and President of the Filipino Canadian Lawyers Network which runs NCA Office Hours), Priscila Atkinson (ITL and Director of the Brazil Canada Bar Association which has started a series of Pathways to Accreditation webinars), and Yonida Koukio (ITL and Ontario Bar Association IT&IP Public Affairs Liaison and Director of ITLNCA NetworkS).

Want to learn more about our programs and the options for international students? Sign up for an Information Session!