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Facing pandemic as a law practice program candidate

Friday, April 03, 2020 @ 8:30 AM | By Rabeea Khalid

Rabeea Khalid %>
Rabeea Khalid
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard to digest. No one knows how bad it’s going to get or not. Business activity in some regions has fallen sharply and supply chains have been disrupted. This has pulled down commodity prices and the Canadian dollar has depreciated. Consumers and businesses have become more cautious in their spending given the uncertainty.

After working from home the past eight days in my overpriced 300-square-foot apartment in downtown Toronto, I can’t help but fear this unknown territory I am entering into.

I am currently a Law Practice Program (LPP) candidate. The LPP is a requirement to satisfy the experiential training component of the lawyer licensing process in Ontario. The LPP consists of a four-month training course and a four-month work placement.

Every year students who complete the LPP are looking for opportunities to grow and begin their profession as a lawyer. With this world heading into a recession, I fear that there will not be enough opportunities this year when I will be starting out as a first-year lawyer. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that we all have worked hard for years to become lawyers but will face additional challenges to enter the workforce due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. No one knows how long this will last.

As much as I fear this unknown territory, I also recognize that I am lucky to be in Canada during this pandemic. Our leaders are taking immediate, significant and decisive actions to help Canadians who are facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

These measures, delivered as part of the government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan deal with a variety of issues such as increasing the Canada child benefit, mortgage support and introducing the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). It feels great to be part of a country where the government is constantly evaluating the situation and would do whatever it takes to support the nation.

I am also learning that the Internet is more powerful than we can imagine. As an LPP candidate, I can use this extra time to learn new skills with help of the tremendous legal resources available online and also provided by the LPP. The LPP staff has also taken quick measures to help out all candidates and is a phone call away for any questions.

They are constantly reminding us every week that they are here for us. To keep a positive attitude towards this situation, I have decided to use this time to work on things that I always wanted to do but could never find the time to do so. One such thing is writing articles. All students, whether in the legal profession or not, can use this time wisely to polish skills, explore a hobby and take on their own small projects.

No matter how positive we all are trying to be, there are still times during the day we all feel that this storm is hitting us hard. I mean who would’ve thought that all of us will be part of a story that will make it to history books years from now? I remember my grandmother used to tell me stories about the 1947 partition of India and my hometown in Pakistan.

She would tell me that the subcontinent descended quickly into riots and bloodshed. Millions of people moved to what they hoped would be safer territory. I only processed these stories as stories from the past. Stories that make it to the history books that you can only read and imagine. But today feel surreal because I am part of this story that I might be sharing with my grandkids years later.

On the bright side, this COVID-19 pandemic seems to be working in favour of my law school debt. I am saving money because I have learned that I can live a minimalistic life without having to spend the money I made entire week at a fancy bar every Saturday night.

Rabeea Khalid is currently completing her LPP work placement at Meridian Credit Union Ltd. She can be found on LinkedIn here.

Photo credit / Vaselena ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

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