Emond Exam Prep: Target your Bar Exam Studying with Key Competencies

The Ontario Licensing Exams are a fundamental cornerstone of the legal licensing process in Ontario, and to practice law in the province a lawyer must pass both the Solicitor and Barrister Licensing Exams. The purpose of the Licensing Exams is to test each budding lawyer’s aptitude on a set of established entry-level competencies. The LSO defines a competency as “a knowledge, skill, ability, attitude, or judgment required for entry-level practice.” The competencies examined are those deemed to have the greatest impact on public protection and the delivery of effective and ethical practice.

Reviewing the LSO entry-level Barrister and Solicitor Competencies will guide you in clarifying the primary concepts and scope of the information in each subject area covered on the exam. Locating where these primary concepts are addressed within your materials will also assist you in organizing an effective reference system and identifying areas where you may need to do further review or sub-organization. Focused, detailed, and well-organized reference materials are a critical component of success on the bar exams, and targeting the core competencies is a smart way to ensure that you concentrate on the most important material.

Below are summarized lists of competency categories provided on the LSO website, and the link to each full set of competencies (which you are strongly encouraged to review) is provided at the bottom.

Barrister Summarized Competencies

  • Ethics and professional responsibility
  • Knowledge of the law, specifically in civil litigation, criminal procedure, family law, and public law
  • Establishing and maintaining the barrister-client relationship
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • The litigation process
  • Complete list of Barrister competencies

Solicitor Summarized Competencies

  • Ethics and professional responsibility
  • Knowledge of the law, specifically in business law, real estate law and wills, trusts and estate administration
  • Establishing and maintaining the solicitor-client relationship
  • Issue identification, analysis, and assessment
  • Fulfilling the retainer
  • Complete list of Solicitor competencies

While the bar exams are based entirely on the LSO reference materials, it can sometimes be helpful to consult other resources on the same subject matter in order to better understand the information and put it into context. For example, the Ministry of the Attorney General provides public legal information and supplementary resource guides on its website, including flow charts illustrating civil procedure.

If you do consider other resources in your studying (such as previous law school notes, applicable statutory provisions, other texts, etc.) remember to restrain the scope of your review to ONLY the information you require in order to clarify or summarize what is covered in the reference materials.


Barrister Exam: June 1-4 and 8-11, 2021  |  Solicitor Exam: June 22–25 and June 29-July 2, 2021