The legal profession in Canada is governed by the laws, rules and regulations of the law society of which a lawyer is a member or to which a person is applying for membership. The governing body of the legal profession in most common law jurisdictions in Canada is called a “law society”.
Each law society is administered by a board of directors, generally known as Benchers. They meet on a regular basis and govern the affairs of the law society. Each law society has a professional and support staff, headed by a Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director or Secretary.
One of the primary responsibilities of the law societies is the admission to practice – the licensing process.
Generally speaking, an applicant as a student-at-law (also called a “student member” or “articled student” depending on the province) must provide documentation which establishes that he or she is the holder of a law degree from a recognized Canadian university.
As a student-at-law of a law society, he or she will complete an articling period, and will complete that law society’s bar admission course or professional legal training course. Upon successful completion of the articling period and the bar admission course, the student-at-law can apply for membership in the law society. Usually the student-at-law will be required to demonstrate that he or she is of good character and repute and will be required to make a formal appearance to be “called to the bar” of that society.