Law Society of Ontario continues investigation into leaked bar exam materials

The Law Society of Ontario says there are “strong indications” that bar exam contents were leaked as it continues its investigation into a possible cheating scam.

Last month, the society cancelled upcoming barrister and solicitor examinations after learning that some candidates may have improperly accessed examination content.

The society says it had also obtained evidence indicating the potential involvement of third parties in the cheating ring.

The decision to cancel exams affected roughly 1,100 candidates who were set to write their tests online in March, however, they were able to proceed with their exams in-person this month in Toronto.

The society hired an external investigation team to immediately look into the possible leak, including a review of candidates who had previously written examinations.

Investigators have issued letters this week to individuals who may be involved in the cheating scam, stating that they will be subject to investigation.

The letters also request that all documentation and information relevant to the probe be provided to investigators.

As the investigation continues, the society announced last week that for the 2022-2023 licensing examination cycle it will provide all exams in-person instead of online.

The summer exams, which were initially supposed to be held in June, were pushed back a month and will be held from July 5 to 9 and July 19 to 22 in five cities across the province. Online examinations will not be offered.

“Continuing with online examinations in light of the ongoing investigation was not possible. In-person delivery provides the necessary degree of security to ensure examination integrity and to protect the reputation of all those candidates who are in no way implicated in the investigation,” Chief Executive Officer Diana Miles wrote in a statement on Wednesday.

The society says the four-week delay in summer exams was necessary to “safely and effectively” deliver in-person exams.

The society has also extended the deadline for examination deferrals, continues to provide human rights accommodations and is providing financial assistance to accommodate impacted candidates.

“Regardless of our efforts, we know that this decision has affected many candidates — their career plans, their plans to recharge after finishing law school, or their plans to travel with family or loved ones. I am truly sorry for those that are experiencing these impacts,” Treasurer Teresa Donnelly said in a statement.

The society says information about specific individuals being investigated are confidential, unless they result in regulatory proceedings which would be public.