Our Vancouver office is pleased to offer opportunities to law students to join the firm for temporary articles during the summer following second year of law school, and to article with the firm following graduation.
Summer Program | Articling Program | Current Students | Contact Us
Every year, we hire outstanding second-year law students to experience a summer with our Vancouver office.
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 Director of Student Programs, Kerry Sheppard. After articling and practicing (as both a solicitor and litigator) with the firm, Kerry spent ten years as in-house counsel with the Lawyers Insurance Fund of The Law Society of British Columbia.
We present a series of weekly 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, when they return for their final year of law school, our summer students take with them a fundamental understanding of the practice of law and keen anticipation for the articling experience to come.
Compensation and Benefits
Our summer students’ salaries and benefits are competitive with those of other major Vancouver firms. The salary for summer students is currently $4,166.67 per month. In addition, a tuition allowance of $6,000 is paid to our summer students returning to the firm to article.
Offices and Administrative Support
Our summer students are provided with their own offices, and 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 intend to hire seven summer students for 2018, in accordance with the Vancouver Bar Association Guidelines. The deadline for applications is September 6, 2017.
Candidates wishing to apply for a summer student position should forward a cover letter and résumé, copies of transcripts (undergraduate and first year of law school), and a list of intended second and third-year courses, to Kerry D. Sheppard, Director of Student Programs. Reference letters may also be included, but it is not necessary to include writing samples.
We prefer to receive applications through the online portal, at vilawportal.com.
Program Description – The Articling Year with DLA Piper
We strive, through our articling program, to train highly capable, practice-ready lawyers who will remain with the firm as associates and ultimately become partners. Many of our current Vancouver partners and senior associate counsel articled with the firm.
Our articling program enables our students to complete the transition from the academic study of law to the practice of law. Most of our students take their first step in that transition as summer students, and then return to the firm to article.
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 Director of Student Programs. 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.
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 Director of Student Programs.
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.
Our Director of Student Programs also provides guidance and support for our students, and is always available to our students to discuss any issues that may arise.
All of our firm’s administrative resources are available to our articled students as necessary. Our students are provided with their own offices.
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 assistants, 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. All students and lawyers have access to Quicklaw and Westlaw.
The professional development of our students is a priority. We present a series of weekly 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 discuss additional topics such as advocacy, solicitors’ opinions, commercial closings, and drafting pleadings. Our students are also, of course, encouraged to attend other firmwide 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 annual salary for our Vancouver articled students is currently $50,000. Each student’s salary is paid while attending PLTC, and we also pay each student’s PLTC fees. Students are entitled to ten days of vacation during their articles.
Over the past ten years, approximately one-half of our Vancouver articled students have accepted offers to remain with the firm as associates.
In our Vancouver office, we typically hire seven to eight articled students each year. Virtually all of our summer students return to article with us. We occasionally seek to hire articled students in addition to our returning summer students; in any given year, the number of additional articled students to be hired will vary.
We have hired all of our articled students for 2017-2018 and for 2018-2019, and are not considering further applications at this time.
Articled Students 2017 – 2018
Articled Students 2018 – 2019
University of British Columbia
Articled Students 2019 – 2020
University of British Columbia
Summer Students 2018
Meghan Bellstedt - Dalhousie University
Rachael Breeze - University of Victoria
Kate Elperin - University of British Columbia
David Gore - Thompson Rivers University
Joyce Okofo Adjei - Thompson Rivers University
Alex Starr - University of British Columbia
Katie Taylor - University of British Columbia
Jason Yao - University of Alberta
If you have questions about our Vancouver Student Program, please contact Kerry D. Sheppard, our Director of Student Programs, at 604.643.6325 or [email protected].