Articling Student Program
Articling Rotation System
At Blakes, we try to ensure the articling students receive well-rounded articles by getting experience in different areas of law. Our rotation system also ensures students work with a wide variety of lawyers at the Firm. Students complete four rotations in different practice areas. Each rotation is 2.5 months in duration.
We work with our articling students to help them get the experience they want and need to develop. Our students are required to do at least one corporate-focused rotation. We also recommend that over the course of the articling term students consider doing a rotation in litigation and one of the specialty areas of the Firm.
In our Toronto office, students complete rotations in the following areas:
- Financial Services
- Information Technology
- Intellectual Property
- Labour & Employment
- Litigation (corporate-commercial, media, aboriginal, public law)
- Pension & Employee Benefits
- Real Estate
- Restructuring & Insolvency
We also offer a number of rotations outside the Firm. In the past, we have offered rotations with the Ontario Securities Commission, the ARCH Disability Law Centre, the Deutsche Bank, Justice for Children and Youth, UPS, Coca-Cola, GE and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
During each articling student rotation, students are assigned a mentor whose role it is to ensure the student receives good work experience at the Firm. Mentors give the students work directly and make a concerted effort to find work for the student with partners and senior associates who can evaluate them. A mentor also helps the student deal with work flow, shows them precedents, reviews their work and gives the student advice about work styles of different lawyers.
The mentors enjoy the mentoring role and have a proven ability to work well with students. We collect feedback from our students about their mentors and use that information to continually improve our mentor program.
While the mentor will assign most of the work, other lawyers will also assign work to the students.
The mentor will ensure students receive ongoing feedback on their work. Students will also meet with a member of the Legal Personnel Committee and the Director, Student Programs & Junior Associates, who will review the student’s performance and discuss the experience at the Firm. There are also regularly scheduled group meetings with articling students to discuss development in the Firm and receive feedback from the students on matters that concern them.
When articling students start at Blakes, they receive an orientation on the resources at the Firm. We also have an educational plan for our articling students that focuses on developing substantive skills, such as legal research and writing, advocacy, and drafting skills. Click here (link on original site is broken) for the articling student education plan.
The “Nuts & Bolts” of Articling
The Law Society of Upper Canada requires students to complete the licensing process and complete 10 months of articling in order to qualify to practise as an associate. For more information, click here.
At Blakes, we strongly encourage all of our articling students to write the barrister and solicitor exams before starting the articling period at the Firm. For information about the licensing process, click here.
Feedback and Evaluations
At the end of the each rotation, articling students are asked to solicit reviews from the lawyers for whom they completed assignments. The identified lawyers complete an evaluation. Meetings are held with the Director of Student Recruitment & Development and one of the Co-chairs of the Student Committee to review the information gathered from the evaluations. The purpose of the meetings is to provide constructive feedback to help students hone their skills and become successful associates.
Compensation and Benefits
The Firm’s compensation package is competitive with other large national law firms. Articling students are paid during the study period for the barrister and solicitor examinations. Articling students receive medical and dental benefits, 10 days’ paid vacation (during the 10-month articling term) and a $4,000 tuition contribution for third year. Articling students also receive a fitness subsidy. Summer students receive ADD benefits, as well as a fitness subsidy.