Lawson Lundell has offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Yellowknife. We are a full-service regional firm with a well established, loyal client base. Our Vancouver office is the largest office and the base of operations for our articling program.
Vancouver is a growing, dynamic city which offers excellent, high-quality legal work opportunities, while at the same time allowing its citizens to take full advantage of many recreational opportunities in a beautiful setting amidst the mountains and the sea.
Our program includes the 10-week PLTC program as set out by the Law Society of BC (during which students are absent from the firm while attending the program), as well as a 42-week rotation through our main practice groups.
Students may begin the program at flexible start dates during the year, in consultation with the Director, Professional Development, to ensure that there are enough students at the firm at any given time. Students usually begin articles directly after graduation, in May, or after the summer, in September.
Once students have arrived at the firm, they begin with training to teach them about the firm, our expectations, and our systems, including our technology and our library.
Sessions are offered beginning in May, September and February of a given year. We consult with our students to come up with a mutually-agreed upon session (subject to availability of spots at PLTC) which accommodates our students' plans, such as travelling after graduation, and our own need to balance how many students are in the firm at a given time. More information on PLTC and articling generally can be found on the Law Society of BC's website.
Many of our students are fortunate to be chosen to clerk at various courts in Canada. We encourage and accomodate this experience. Clerks receive priority for PLTC sessions. We pay clerks as first year associates once they have received their grants of licence.
Articling students rotate through these four broad practice areas, giving them approximately 10 weeks in each rotation:
- litigation/labour and employment
- real estate/lending
These practice areas correspond roughly to the four floors of the firm, and students change offices for each rotation to allow them to get to know staff and lawyers on each floor.
During each rotation, students receive work directly from lawyers in those practice areas and are encouraged to take the initiative to seek work in areas of their own interest. Work is not allocated through a central person. However, we do hold monthly student meetings in order to check that work is being allocated fairly and to ensure that students have the opportunity to be involved in work that interests them.
Students may take up to 10 days of vacation during the 52-week articling term.
Frequently Asked Questions
Students frequently ask us about the following topics:
Please follow the above links to find the answers or continue reading below.
We consider students to be very important to the future of Lawson Lundell. We have a long tradition of looking to our students as the primary source of talent for future associates and partners. Just as you want to choose the right firm, we want to choose the right students for the long term.
When assessing potential students, we look for qualities which will give a student the best chance of success at our firm. These include:
- academic excellence
- intellectual curiosity and creativity
- reliability, perseverance and self-confidence
- polished communication skills
- well-rounded interests and experiences
- commitment to becoming an exceptional lawyer
During our interview process, students will meet with small groups of our lawyers at every level of practice, as well as have the opportunity to interact with a larger group. We strive to get to know our potential students in more than one setting to ensure a selection process that is fair and thorough for both ourselves and for our candidates. We want to hire a mix of students from various schools and backgrounds: there is no one "type" of Lawson Lundell student.
We are committed to providing and supporting ongoing educational programs. We encourage each student and lawyer to develop their professional skills to the highest degree possible.
Professional development has many aspects that must come together to create a well-rounded lawyer. We support programs that develop:
- substantive legal knowledge, such as new developments in tort law
- legal skills, such as drafting and negotiation skills
- "soft skills", such as time management
- business skills, such as marketing and client development
We recognize that learning is an individual process. In order to accommodate different learning styles, levels of experience and time demands, we deliver programs in various ways. These include:
- learning by doing – engaging people in meaningful work with the appropriate mentorship, as well as giving as much individual responsibility as the person can manage
- in-house programs taught by our own experienced lawyers and by invited guest speakers
- external courses and conferences put on by recognized service providers, in person and by webinars
- membership in various organizations such as the CBA
- client-centred activities such as seminars and workshops
- a yearly orientation session for new associates
- firm dinners and social events to develop good working relationships amongst our lawyers
- a formal mentoring program
- annual professional development plans for our associates
- annual reviews for associates, twice yearly for junior associates
We are constantly working to strengthen our professional development program. We have a Director, Professional Development as well as a Professional Development Committee to review and enhance our programs.
All of our students are assigned private offices which change with each rotation. Each student has a PC equipped with Internet and research data bases in their own office. We have an excellent IT department available to deal with technology issues that arise.
We have a comprehensive library staffed with helpful professionals who continuously support and train students in research matters and resources, including business and legal databases. We also have several dedicated research lawyers who are an invaluable resource to our students.
Our Director, Professional Development, Heather Frost, is always available to assist students with any issues which may arise before or during articling, and continues to assist in the development of associates. We also have a student co-ordinator, Cindy Davey, who guides students through paperwork needed for the articling process as well as assisting in scheduling rotations and assigning offices.
Our lawyers share support from legal assistants and paralegals. Our students do the same, working with assistants in a team environment.
Each student is articled to a principal. A principal is a senior lawyer who holds the general responsibility of ensuring that the articling requirements of the Law Society of BC are met. Principals meet with students periodically during the articling year to make sure students are getting the most from their articling experience. A principal can also act as an informal mentor to a student.
Our students are assigned one-on-one formal mentors from our associate ranks. Most mentors are still quite junior and can remember their own experiences as students very clearly. They are often associates who enjoy being involved in student recruitment. Mentors come from various practice groups, and we make an effort to pair up people who will have interests in common.
Mentors take their mentees to lunches, coffees and other events on an individual basis. In recent years, we have also had group events such as a bowling night or watching baseball at Nat Bailey stadium. The mentoring relationship is confidential, and mentees are encouraged to ask all the questions they want in order to learn more about the firm and the work we do.
In addition to formal mentorship, students also find that as they move through their rotations within the firm, they develop informal mentoring relationships with various lawyers.
Summer students retain the same mentor when they return as articling students. When a student becomes an associate, we assign a more senior associate or a partner to become the new associate’s formal mentor, but we encourage the previous mentor to continue to be involved in the new associate’s development.
We constantly receive feedback from our associates that they enjoy the experience of learning to be mentors themselves through their involvement with students. Our hope is that by being involved in dual roles of mentor and mentee early in their careers, our associates will develop lifelong mentoring skills that forge strong bonds with their colleagues in the firm.
We encourage students to seek feedback directly from lawyers on each assignment, and to be pro-active in finding out what will be done with their work product. Our lawyers are committed to providing regular feedback to students as work is completed. If there is a problem, we want students to know about it right away and to have a second chance to put things right. We recognize that when trying things for the first time, students face a learning curve and we seek to be supportive in this process. Our emphasis is on assisting students to do the best quality work they can do, at each stage in their learning.
In addition, students keep logs of work done during each rotation. At the end of a rotation, we question lawyers with whom the student has worked about the development of a student's legal knowledge, judgment, analytical skills, writing ability, work habits, initiative and interpersonal skills. The Director of Professional Development then meets with each student individually to discuss progress and to determine areas of development to target during the next rotation. Students are also welcome to set up a meeting of this kind at any time during the articling year if they wish to have further feedback on their progress.
Lawson Lundell LLP's culture is based on a tradition of collegiality, team work, mutual respect and superb client service. Put simply, it is a nice place to work. Our students are often surprised to find that a firm of one hundred plus lawyers can feel so comfortable. Our lawyers have open doors and questions are always encouraged.
We have a loyal and supportive staff, many of whom have been at the firm for many years. We have many social activities where all members of the firm have a chance to build interpersonal relationships which strengthen our working relationships.
All the lawyers at Lawson Lundell are committed to meeting the expectations of our clients in a timely way. While we strive to maintain a healthy balance between work and our personal lives, we understand that excellent client service may require us to help out at times when our colleagues need us. We hold our students to the same expectations we have of ourselves. However, we are not a firm that requires "face time" just for the sake of being here: when the work is done, and done well, we encourage students to spend time with family and friends outside of work.
We hold various social events during the year. While attendance is encouraged, we don't expect everyone to attend all events unless they wish to do so. We have an annual winter holiday party, firm dinners, golf tournaments, a semi-annual retreat and ad hoc sporting events. Every summer the students and the lawyers square off against each other in a friendly soccer match. Students have a monthly lunch on the firm at a restaurant of their choice and often enjoy student breakfasts together. We participate in community events such as fundraising for the United Way, the Steve Nash Foundation, and the 24-hour relay. We encourage everyone to take part in social, athletic and community activities both within the firm and outside it.
Our students are our future and our primary source of future associates and partners. Over 80% of our lawyers articled with us.
We hire only as many students as we are prepared to keep on as associates. In a typical year, we hire approximately 8 articling students and about 5 summer students. We have a policy of moderate, controlled growth. Because of the stability of our client base and our success in developing new clients, we expect this pattern of growth to continue. In recent years we have hired back 60-70% of our students. Hire-back decisions are made based on the input of all lawyers in the firm. We thrive to keep students who are a good "fit" within our firm over the long-term, rather than focus too narrowly on how busy we are at the time of the hire-back decision. We attempt to communicate decisions to students at least two months before the end of a student's articles.
Once a student becomes an associate with us, opportunities for advancement are always available. Our associates are encouraged to work with more than one senior lawyer in order to learn different styles of practice. Given our emphasis on team work, our files are staffed with the best teams of lawyers and students to solve a particular problem, rather than the same team every time. This gives rise to a number of exciting opportunities for learning and growth for all lawyers.
Our articling salary is competitive with the other highest-paying major law firms in Vancouver. Summer students are paid the same as articling students. We pay all of the PLTC tuition fees as well as paying the student's salary while they are in the PLTC program. Students are entitled to medical, dental, and extended health care benefits. We will contribute $300 towards health club membership fees. Summer students receive a tuition and book allowance of $6,500 in addition to their summer salaries.
We encourage involvement with the Vancouver legal community. We pay the annual fees for our students to join the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and the Vancouver Bar Association (VBA), as well as a variety of other expenses, such as CBA section meetings and professional dinners.
Applications are usually due in July following second year for articling positions, with articling interview week in August. More specific timing can be found on the Vancouver Bar Association's website.
In addition to our articling program, the Vancouver office of Lawson Lundell offers a summer program for students who have completed their second year of law school at a Canadian law school. Our summer program is an important part of our recruiting process and every year we fill approximately half of our articling positions with our returning summer students. Currently, we do not have a summer student program in our Calgary or Yellowknife offices. Applications are usually due in September of the start of the second year of law, with interview week taking place in October. More specific guidelines and timing can be found on the Vancouver Bar Association's website.
Is it different than articling?
Summer students are treated just like articling students, except that we do not rotate summer students through different practice areas. We assign students to a particular office and practice area for the summer months, in consultation with the student. Some students prefer to be placed in an area of interest to them, while other students want to challenge themselves by being placed in an area in which they have had less experience. Some students are still uncertain as to where they would like to be and in that case we can assist with the decision. The goal is for summer students to have an in-depth work experience in the summer.
What sort of work will I do?
Prospective summer students often ask what sort of work they can expect to be doing during the summer months. Summer students have a chance to do the same work as an articling student would do. They may be asked to assist in preparing for trial or a hearing in our litigation department. They may be organizing and preparing documents or performing due diligence on companies to assist on a corporate deal. Summer students are often asked to do longer, in-depth projects, as well as to assist in writing papers or preparing for presentations.
The focus for our summer students is not on billable hour targets but on meaningful work which exposes them to an interesting practice area. We recognize that our students have unique skills and backgrounds and we attempt to help find projects which will make the best use of their skills. For example, we recently had a student interested in environmental issues who was able to contribute to our new Climate Change Group's newsletter during the summer months.
We also understand that summer students are at the firm to fully participate in our firm's culture and professional development opportunities. Summer students can attend all of our in-house seminars for lawyers, as well as all social events such as the lawyer/student soccer game. We also have a series of lunch-time seminars just for our summer students where a lawyer from a specialized practice area speaks about that particular area.
We invite our summer students to keep in touch with us during their third year of school, and if students are in town, we invite them to attend student lunches and firm social events. Our summer students are wonderful contacts at the law schools for prospective students. We encourage prospective students to speak with our students about their summer experience.
Currently, our Recruitment Committee consists of the following members:
- Heather A. Frost, Director of Professional Development
- Kinji Bourchier, Partner, Litigation
- Mark Fancourt-Smith, Partner, Litigation
- Jag Shergill, Partner, Commercial Law, Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity and Venture Capital
- Amy Nathanson, Associate, Litigation
- Suzanne Woolley, Partner, Commercial Law and Mergers & Acquisitions
- Gareth Williams, Partner, Tax
- Lauren Cook, Associate, Litigation, Administrative and Environmental
- Shailaz Dhalla, Associate, Aboriginal, Environmental and Litigation
Our Recruitment Committee is dedicated to recruiting excellent students and to ensuring that the student experience at Lawson Lundell is a good one. We meet regularly throughout the year to discuss issues that involve students and to maintain our ties with the law school community. We are active in sponsoring school events, such as a Law Games team, orientation activities and a hockey tournament. We also sponsor various law journals. We send speakers to the law schools on a regular basis and we participate in on-campus interviews and career fairs. Our aim is to meet and support students from all Canadian law schools.
All recruitment committee members are happy to speak with students by phone or by email. Often we are able to set up a coffee meeting or a firm tour for interested students. We can also arrange for a student to speak with a lawyer or student in a practice area of interest to the student
We comply with the Vancouver Bar Association guidelines for both the articling and summer student hiring process. Please check the VBA website for exact dates.
Articles: Applications for articles are due in the summer following completion of the second year of law school. (For 2016, the deadline is June 30; students who are granted an interview will be called on Call Day, July 15.) Interviews will be held during the week of August 8th. Students should include a brief cover letter, a resume, and copies of both undergraduate and law school transcripts. Reference letters are always welcomed but not necessary.
Please address the application to:
Heather A. Frost
Director, Professional Development
Lawson Lundell LLP
Suite 1600 Cathedral Place
925 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 3L2
If you prefer to use email, please send your application to Heather A. Frost at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will acknowledge receipt of your application. We do not use viDesktop and the portal for our applications.
Summer Articles: Applications are due in the early fall after completion of first year law school, just as students begin their second year (in 2016, the deadline for applications is September 7; students who are granted an interview will be called on Call Day, October 13). Interviews will be held during the week of October 24th. Applications should include the same documents as required for Articles, above, and be addressed in the same manner.
We hope you will apply to our firm and that we will have a chance to meet you in person. We know that students can find the application process somewhat overwhelming. The following information may assist you:
- We will acknowledge all applications we receive.
- Contact our Director, Professional Development, should you have any questions about the firm or the application process.
- We participate in on-campus interviews (OCIs) at various law schools each fall.
- Once we select applicants for interviews in the OCI process, we will follow each law school's process for notifying applicants (some schools notify students for us, and other schools ask us to notify students directly – please check with your Career Placement Office should you have any questions).
- After the OCIs, we will be in contact with you on Call Day if granted an interview: if you are not granted an interview you will receive a letter letting you know that no interview has been granted.
- If there are no OCIs at your school, after the acknowledgement letter you will either hear from us on Call Day to set up an interview, or you will receive a letter saying that no interview has been granted.
- After acknowledgment of your application, you will either hear from us on Call Day if an interview has been granted or you will receive a letter saying that no interview has been granted.
- We do not contact students before Call Day to let you know if we will be calling you on Call Day; Call Day will be when you learn if an interview has been granted.
- On Call Day we may also invite you for a lunch or dinner with lawyers at the firm during interview week.
- All of our interviewing students are invited to a reception the Monday night of interview week at our firm and we encourage you to attend for part of the time, even if you have other obligations as well on that evening which require you to leave early or come late.
- We schedule interviews Monday and Tuesday of interview week – because of the new Call Day and Offer Day system, it no longer matters if you have your first interview early Monday morning. There will be enough time before the Offer Day to meet other lawyers if need be, so please do not worry about the timing of the interview.
- At the firm you will usually meet with two of our lawyers for your interview, one of whom will be on the Recruitment Committee. We will provide your interviewers' names to you in advance of the meeting. You will also meet one of our current students after the interview for a brief firm tour.
- We encourage you to ask questions, to relax and to be yourself in the interview: if you have been asked to interview with us, it is because we have a genuine interest in you. Be confident in your abilities and be prepared to talk about your experiences.
- We do not make offers or give indications that we will make offers until 8:00am PST on the Thursday morning of interview week, in accordance with the VBA guidelines.
- Once our offers have been accepted, we will contact all of our interviewing students to advise them that our process is complete.
Our articling students for 2015-2016 are:
- Thomas Boyd (College of Law, London)
- Nicholas Cosulich (Dalhousie University)
- Flora Griffith (University of British Columbia)
- Alexandra Hughes (McGill University)
- Andrew Ross (Dalhousie University)
- Max Walker (University of British Columbia)
Our articling students for 2016-2017 are:
- Jim Boyle (Dalhousie University)
- Rochelle Collette (University of British Columbia)
- Zander Grant (Dalhousie University)
- Caitlin MacDonell (Dalhousie University)
- Kellan McKeen (University of British Columbia)
- Nabila Pirani (University of Toronto)
- Jada Tellier (University of Toronto)
- Patrick Thomson (University of British Columbia)
- Christopher Yan (University of Calgary)
- Michelle Casey (University of British Columbia)
- Jason Harman (University of British Columbia)
- Braeden Wiens (University of Western Ontario)
- Erica Zacharias (University of British Columbia)