For the past few years, our firm has hired summer students and has chosen articling students from our summer students. Our summer students enjoy the same kind of experience as our articling students – interesting work, exposure to many aspects of labour and employment law, and hands-on learning.
Role of the Student
Our students are involved not only in researching the law, which often includes novel and topical points, but they also participate in many of the practical and necessary aspects of practice such as meeting with clients, interviewing witnesses and assuming responsibility for the preparatory work required prior to an actual hearing or trial. Students at our firm are regularly involved in cases from beginning to end and are strongly encouraged to attend and assist at hearings of matters they have helped prepare. Through this hands-on approach, our students gain a real and beneficial understanding of how their research and preparatory work affects the cases our firm is involved in. By learning in this manner, our students also come to appreciate the practical and legal aspects of practising law in the labour field and share the sense of achievement that comes with seeing a matter through to a successful conclusion.
Articling Student Rotation
In light of the diversity of our practice, we have implemented a rotation system to ensure that our articling students are exposed to all aspects of the practice of labour law (e.g., Labour Board proceedings, arbitrations, negotiations and individual employment law matters such as wrongful dismissal suits and matters before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal).
Each articling student’s year is divided into rotations of three to four months’ duration. During each rotation the student is assigned to a group of partners. Three of the firm’s partners act as a Student Recruitment and Articling Committee to ensure that there is a positive experience for all summer and articling students throughout their time with the firm.
All partners work together to ensure that each student is exposed to a broad range of the firm’s practice. Through the rotation program, every partner also has an opportunity to work with each student, and get to know him or her.
In addition, the firm has partners who are designated as student mentors. Mentors act as a resource and confidante for students and can help ensure a student’s success by helping monitor the student’s workload to ensure the student is not being over or under-utilized.
Mentors can also help our students achieve a comprehensive articling experience by ensuring exposure to all of our firm’s practice areas.
Mentors are available to meet with students throughout the articling term to discuss their experience, provide feedback on their performance, and answer any questions the student may have with respect to their articling experience.
Mentors also participate in a formal review of our students’ work midway through the articling term. The purpose of this review is to identify types of work that the student needs to be exposed to in order to round out the articling experience.
Articling students are encouraged to seek out their mentor’s advice on any issues that arise throughout the articling term.
In recognition of the high standards upon which we insist, our firm’s policy is to provide salaries and benefits that are competitive with those provided by the major Toronto law firms. Articling students are covered by an excellent extended health care plan, as well as a group life insurance plan. Articling students can also take advantage of our firm’s fitness subsidy.
Our firm is committed to the concept of growth from within. In the last decade, without exception, we have hired one or more of our three to four articling students as associate lawyers. We are proud of the fact that most of the students who have not joined our firm have successfully pursued a career in the field of labour law. Read more about our alumni and their experiences.
In August 1993, the firm opened an office in London to service its clients in southwestern Ontario. Although articling students are typically based in Toronto, they may be asked to assist the London Office as required.
Each of our articling students has his or her own office and each is also assigned a legal assistant. As part of their introductory orientation, students are trained how to best use the wide variety of in-house computer-based and library resources available. Regular seminars are conducted throughout the year on important labour topics.
Our firm encourages an open-door policy. Students are encouraged to turn to associates and partners to answer questions and provide guidance and advice throughout their articling term.