Our summer program is intended to serve as an introduction to the practice of law. Most of our summer students have little, if any, previous experience in a law firm, and our summer program is designed as the first step in the transition from the academic study of law to the practice of law.
We arrange temporary articles for our summer students to enable them to experience life as an articled student. Summer students receive generally the same range of work as our articled students, but do not participate in a formal rotation; we encourage our summer students to take advantage of the program’s flexibility and to explore specific areas of interest – to see whether a particular type of law is as interesting in practice as in the classroom. Summer students are, of course, also encouraged to participate in the firm’s various social activities.
Each summer student receives guidance and support from the student’s principal, from a mentor, and from our Professional Development team.
We present a series of seminars specifically for our summer students to discuss practice-related topics such as conflicts of interest, the business of law, professional civility and courtesy, risk management, and effective client communication. Our students are also encouraged to attend other firm-wide in-house professional development seminars.
We hope that our summer students will return to law school with a fundamental understanding of the practice of law that will serve as a solid foundation for their articling experience.
Compensation and Benefits
Our summer students’ salaries and benefits are competitive with those of other major Vancouver firms. We offer a $6,000 tuition bonus to our summer students upon signing on as articling students with us.
All of the firm’s administrative resources are available to our summer students as required.
In recent years, virtually all of our summer students have returned to article with the firm.
We will be participating in the on-campus interviews (OCI) and in-firms of the 2L recruitment process for our summer student positions. Please apply by the deadline by way of the viLawPortal.
The articling year comprises nine months in the office, plus the ten-week Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC). A student has several options as to when to take PLTC and when to start in the firm. A student’s start date is set in consultation with our Professional Development team. We try to accommodate each student’s preferred start date, subject to the firm’s needs.
Orientation – Getting Started
Our students spend their first few days at the firm in an orientation program, learning something of the firm’s history, practice, structure, and resources, and receiving computer and network training. The orientation program is intended to introduce an articled student to the firm (or to re-introduce a returning summer student), to provide useful background information, and to teach technical skills that will be essential during the articling year and in practice.
Rotations – Putting the “rounded” in “well-rounded articles”
After completing the orientation program, our articled students commence the first of their three rotations. The rotation process provides a flexible structure that enables our students to experience a broad range of practice areas and to work with as many lawyers as possible. This gives students a comprehensive articling experience and helps them to identify preferred areas of practice. Each rotation is three months in duration: one rotation is with our litigation/employment and labour group; one is with our corporate/commercial/real estate groups; and the final rotation is open, enabling students to self-direct and focus the nature of assignments as their call dates approach.
Guidance, Support and Resources
The articling year is rewarding, but challenging. Many articling assignments involve something new for a student, and we recognize the need to guide and support our students as they tackle tasks for the first time. The support team for our articled students includes their principals, their mentors, and our Professional Development team.
Each student is assigned a principal, who is an experienced lawyer responsible for generally overseeing the student’s training and for instructing the student on essential aspects of the practice of law and professional conduct. The principal serves a supervisory role; our principals are encouraged, and expected, to meet regularly with their students to monitor the nature and scope of their workload and the quality of their articling experience.
We also ask each of our articled students to choose a relatively junior lawyer as a mentor. Our mentors, recently students themselves, give helpful guidance about the articling year and the firm and provide practical advice about any concerns that may be raised by their student mentees. Our mentors, like our principals, are encouraged to meet regularly with their students to ensure that their articling experience is positive.
All of our firm’s administrative resources are available to our articled students as necessary.
Our law library, one of the largest legal collections in Western Canada, is a resource of particular note. The library is administered by a professional law librarian and experienced library professionals, who assist our students and lawyers. Online research is, of course, available and all of our students are trained in using and searching computer databases, including Lexis Advance and WestlawNext.
The professional development of our students is a priority. We present a series of seminars for our articled students designed to reinforce the training provided in our summer student seminars and to provide instruction and guidance on other practice-related topics. We drill down on topics previously covered in our summer student seminars, such as conflicts of interest, the business of law, professional civility and courtesy, risk management, and effective client communication, and we discuss additional topics such as advocacy, solicitors’ opinions, commercial closings, and drafting pleadings. Our students are also, of course, encouraged to attend other firm-wide professional development seminars and presentations.
Evaluation and Feedback
We feel that providing effective, constructive feedback to our students is essential. We obtain formal evaluation feedback from the lawyers for whom our students have worked, and we share the relevant feedback with each student. We also encourage our lawyers to provide informal feedback to our students about their work product and performance.
Compensation and Benefits
Our articled students’ salaries and benefits are competitive with those of other major Vancouver firms. The firm compensates for time spent in practical training courses or in studying for the bar exams, and related fees.
Over the past ten years, approximately one-half of our Vancouver articled students have accepted offers to remain with the firm as associates.
Our articling student positions are typically filled by the summer students hired through the 2L recruitment process noted above. Should an articling student position become available in one of our offices, we will update this page accordingly.