Generally, we do not participate in articling recruitment, because we hire our second year students to return the following year for articling.
We offer our articling students a flexible rotation system. Students are asked to complete four months in Business Law (including corporate commercial, corporate finance, financial services, bankruptcy and insolvency, technology, transportation and tax), three months in Litigation (including bankruptcy and insolvency litigation, tax litigation and intellectual property litigation) and two months in Real Estate/Municipal. Students then have one “free” month to use as an “unassigned” month at some point during their articles, where they can work in any area they wish. During their rotations, we try to place students in offices close to lawyers who work in the students’ expressed areas of interest.
Articling students are assigned a mentor and a principal, who is usually a member of the Student Recruitment Committee. The responsibilities of the articling mentor and principal are generally the same as for summer student mentors, although principals are also responsible for signing the students’ Articles of Clerkship and other Law Society matters. Mentors and principals take on the same “networking” role as for summer students and are encouraged to have regular contact with their students throughout the articling session.
As in the summer program, students are responsible for managing their own workload. Information regarding which students are in what rotation is provided to everyone in the firm at the beginning of each month and lawyers contact students directly with work assignments. Students are encouraged, with the assistance of their mentors and/or principals, to seek out work of interest to them in their different rotations. Again, lawyers are always happy to involve a student in appropriate files when the student expresses an interest.
Formal reviews are held twice during the articling term: in December and April. Lawyers with whom the student has worked are asked to provide detailed feedback regarding the student’s performance, including practice and professional skills, professional development and initiative, client relations, co-operation within the firm and overall attitude and presentation. Articling students also receive informal feedback throughout their articles. They are encouraged to ask the lawyer with whom they have been working for directly for feedback and constructive comments after each assignment is completed. We rely on our student program as a primary means of growing the firm and endeavour to hire as many students as possible as associates.
The first week of articles is spent in our orientation program, which includes many of the topics covered in the summer orientation, as well as CD-ROM and LivEdgar training.
After orientation, we hold bi-weekly Lunch-and-Learn sessions throughout the articling term on a variety of topics. Our articling seminar schedule includes topics such as: “Researching and Writing Legal Memos: A Refresher," "The Basics of Corporate Law," a similar session on Securities Law, "What You Need To Know About Municipal Law," "Drafting Litigation Documents," "The Basics of a Lending Transaction," "When to Run to the Tax Department" and "The Dirt on Real Estate Law."
Our current articling student salary is $1,450 per week. Students are also included in our extended health and dental benefits program and receive two weeks paid vacation. We pay LSUC tuition and also pay tudents’ salary during a 14-day period in June. We prefer that our students write the Barrister and Solicitor Licensing Examinations at the June sitting.
While we work hard, we also play hard. We host a full roster of social events for our articling students. Past events have included a Welcome Dinner, a private cooking class, and the firm Holiday Party in December, complete with the crowd-pleasing Articling Student Skit. We also participate in a team-building event in the winter and an end-of-articles celebration where the location and guest list is chosen by the students themselves.