WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT WHEN YOU ARTICLE AT BROWNLEE LLP?
We have a formal rotation through our three core departments: Litigation, Municipal and Corporate/Commercial. As a result, articling students spend approximately four months in each department. During each rotation, we will assign work to you from all of the practice areas within each department.
During each rotation, our articling students move their offices to sit within that particular department. Students become embedded within the practice groups operating within each department. In our experience, this allows students to be “seen and heard”, and provides students with the opportunity to experience the different personality of each department. When students physically move into each department, it is much easier for lawyers to identify the student working with them, and to ensure that appropriate work flows to the student. While you are encouraged to identify areas of interest to you, the lawyers within each department are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that you have an opportunity to complete appropriate work in all practice areas.
As an articling student, you will be assigned to a Principal who remains the same throughout your article. Your Principal will be a partner at our firm, and he or she serves as a “go-to” person who can help provide guidance and insight into the practice of law, skill development, managing your workflow, and generally ensuring that your article runs smoothly.
In addition, the Practice Area Leader (aptly named the “PAL”), who is the head of a department, also works with you throughout your rotation to ensure that you have the opportunity to work on a diversity of files. And, of course, the members of our Articling Committee have a particular interest in seeing you succeed, and can be approached at any time for assistance. Throughout the course of your article, it is our intention that you will receive work from, and have the chance to work with, all associates and partners in our firm.
In our view, the focus of your article should be on your education and practical skill development, as well as building relationships with our lawyers and clients. Students are encouraged to make use of as many learning opportunities as possible, from observing Examinations for Discovery, Court applications, trials, Judicial Dispute Resolution conferences, mediations and client meetings, right through to attending seminars and in-house training sessions. As your skills develop and your confidence grows, you will assume conduct of your own files with as much or as little support as you need.
In addition, you will be encouraged to attend and participate in our client-based functions and meetings to begin to develop an understanding of who our clients are and what they need, as well as to develop your own relationship with our clients. For this reason, our articling students have a lower billing target than associates and partners. As an articling student, your billable target is 1200 hours per year on the understanding that a significant portion of your time will be spent developing your practical skills and client relationships.
Throughout your article, but particularly as it draws to a close, we encourage you to have an ongoing discussion about your short and long-term professional goals, as well as growth opportunities within our firm. Your position as a future associate is yours to lose, not yours to earn. To this end, we hope to work with our future associates to find a department within our firm that works for the individual as well as the firm as a whole.
As an articling student, you will be paid a competitive salary. We re-visit our compensation packages annually to ensure that we remain competitive, and at a level reflecting our stature within the legal community.
In addition, articling students receive two (2) weeks’ paid vacation per year, and are eligible for medical, dental and life insurance benefits after a 3-month qualification period. Finally, after one year of service with the firm, you will be eligible for maternity and parental benefits, including a 1-year leave and 95% salary top-up for six (6) months, as well as participation in the associates’ RRSP match program.