Students spend half of their articling year on the solicitors' side of our practice, and the other half with our litigators. We introduce our articled students to as many practice areas as possible. In each area, senior practitioners offer guidance, advice, and direction.
While with our solicitors, our articled students gain experience in a wide range of commercial transactions and corporate matters and have the opportunity to develop their drafting skills by documenting various transactions, including purchases and sales of businesses and of residential and commercial real estate.
While with our litigators, our articled students learn the art of oral and written advocacy and are introduced to strategic considerations relating to the litigation process. Students become involved in the gamut of the litigation process, from briefing the law, to drafting pleadings, to assisting in the conduct of examinations for discovery and trial. Our students also gain valuable experience by appearing in court on contested and non-contested motions, and conducting trials in provincial court.
All of our firm's administrative resources are available to our articled students as necessary.
Our firm law library is administered by a professional law librarian and experienced library assistants, who provide reference assistance to our students and lawyers across Canada. 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. Our national Director of Student Programs coordinates 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, trial preparation, commercial closings, and drafting pleadings. Our students are also welcome and encouraged to attend other firm-wide professional development seminars and presentations.
Evaluation and Feedback
We feel that providing effective, constructive feedback to our articled 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 Edmonton firms, and are reviewed on an annual basis. Each student's salary is paid while attending the CPLED Course, and we also pay the course fee.
The hireback ratio in our Edmonton office has been strong. All four of our most recent articled students have been offered, and have accepted, positions as associates with the firm.
In our Edmonton office, we typically hire at least two and, in most cases, three articled students each year. We have hired all of our articled students for 2014-2015 and for 2015-2016, and are not accepting further articling applications at this time.