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UM Faculty of Law to launch micro-diploma programs for internationally-trained lawyers in 2025

Public and Private law options to improve access to justice

Starting in the fall of 2025, the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of law will offer two new micro-diplomas to allow internationally trained lawyers (ITLs) to become licensed to practice law in Manitoba. Consultations started in 2023 to identify what systemic barriers to legal education these individuals faced, and what remedial measures would improve access to legal education and, in turn, access to justice in Manitoba. The consultations resulted in the launch of the micro-diplomas – one in Canadian Public Law and one in Canadian Private Law.

A GROWING DEMOGRAPHIC
The impetus for the consultations came from a recognition that there are many ITLs in Manitoba struggling to become licensed to practise law in the province. During the consultations, Jason Gisser, President, Manitoba Bar Association (MBA), noted that “ITLs, including new Canadians and Canadians returning from studying abroad, are a growing demographic of the legal profession in Manitoba.”

Leah Kosokowsky, Chief Executive Officer, Law Society of Manitoba (LSM), reflected that the LSM has also noticed that the “number of ITLs seeking to pursue their legal career in Manitoba has increased tremendously over the last decade.”

Their rate of success in completing the steps to licensing, however, is “significantly and disproportionately lower for ITLs as compared to Canadian common law graduates,” said Kosokowsky.

LICENSING NOT EASY
Tamra Alexander, who led the consultations on behalf of the Faculty of Law, explained that an ITL’s path to licensing in Manitoba is not an easy one. First, ITLs must submit their international credentials to the Federation of Law Societies’ National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) for assessment. The NCA will send the applicant an “NCA Assessment Report” which identifies the subject areas in which the ITL must demonstrate competency before a Certificate of Qualification (CQ) will be issued. The applicant may choose to take NCA exams and/or courses at an accredited law school to satisfy the NCA’s requirements. Only after an ITL obtains their CQ may they register with the relevant provincial law society to complete the licensing process, which generally involves completing a bar admission program and a period of articles before becoming licensed.

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UM Faculty of Law to launch micro-diploma programs for internationally-trained lawyers in 2025

Starting in the fall of 2025, the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of law will offer two new micro-diplomas to allow internationally trained lawyers (ITLs) to become licensed to practice law in Manitoba. Consultations started in 2023 to identify what systemic barriers to legal education these individuals faced, and what remedial measures would improve access to legal education and, in turn, access to justice in Manitoba. The consultations resulted in the launch of the micro-diplomas – one in Canadian Public Law and one in Canadian Private Law.

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