Lawson Lundell has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Yellowknife and Kelowna. We are a full-service regional firm with a well-established, loyal client base. A student who articles in our Calgary office has the best of both worlds: a small collegial firm environment in an exciting city, with the resources and client base of a large, well-respected western Canadian firm.
Students in the Calgary office are called upon to assist in a wide range of files throughout their tenure. Students do not rotate through practice areas, but are encouraged to seek out work that interests them and gives them broad training. We hold monthly student meetings to discuss work allocation and to make sure our students have the opportunity to be involved in interesting work.
Students may begin the program at flexible start dates during the year, in consultation with the Director, Professional Development, though most students usually begin articles in July.
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. We arrange for the Calgary student to travel to Vancouver from time-to-time for training and other student activities.
During the articling year, students attend and complete the professional legal education program required by the Law Society of Alberta. That program, known as the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) Program, is delivered in Alberta by the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA). The CPLED Program, which combines face-to-face and on-line training sessions, is offered twice per year. We pay the full Bar Admission tuition and materials fees as well as full salary during the course.
Memberships and Social Events
We encourage our students to become involved with the local legal community. We pay the annual fees for membership in the Canadian Bar Association, and the Calgary Bar Association. We also pay membership fees for Canadian Bar Association subsections, including lunch seminars.
Social events include a winter holiday party for lawyers, students and staff, annual firm dinners for all lawyers and students, and client-based events such as the annual Calgary Stampede party. A variety of other social and athletic events are arranged on an ad hoc basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Students frequently ask us about the following topics:
Our students are 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 allow a student to have success at our firm. These include:
- Academic excellence
- Intellectual curiosity, creativity and initiative
- Reliability, perseverance and self-confidence
- Polished communication skills
- Well-rounded interests and experiences
- Commitment to becoming an exceptional lawyer
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 they can.
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
Students in Alberta are invited to attend Vancouver office in-house programs as well as Alberta-based programs.
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 that develop good working relationships amongst our lawyers
- A formal mentoring program for associates
- 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 in our Vancouver office as well as a Professional Development Committee which includes a partner from each of our Calgary and Yellowknife offices 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 Vancouver-based IT department available to deal with technology issues that arise.
Our office technology is based on a computer-based document management system on a wide area network. The wide area network directly connects students, lawyers and staff in Calgary with those in Vancouver and Yellowknife.
In addition to the traditional law library resources located in our Calgary office, we have a full service library in the Vancouver office staffed by experienced law librarians and technicians. Students are trained in and provided with a variety of business and legal databases.
Our Student Coordinator, Cindy de Graauw, is available to 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 Alberta 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.
We have junior associates who act as mentors to our students. We link our Calgary students with a student mentor in Vancouver. As well the smaller size of the Calgary office offers many opportunities for the Calgary articling students to get to know the lawyers there and develop informal mentoring relationships.
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 have the opportunity to try again. 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, Articling Students receive two formal reviews – one at the mid-way point in their year and one near the end of their articles. The review considers the student's legal skills, practice management skills, and communication skills. The Director, Professional Development meets with each student individually to discuss progress and to determine areas of development to target. 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. Some of the events that take place each year include a winter holiday party, firm dinner, and a Calgary Stampede party. 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.
We try to hire only as many students as we are prepared to keep on as associates. 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. 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.
For 2018/2019 we will have a full complement in our Calgary office and will not be hiring a student. At this time, we do not offer a summer student program in Calgary.
We will be hiring for a 2019/2020 articling position in our Calgary office. Our application deadline for 2019/2020 articles is May 21, 2018.
Applications should be submitted following the completion of second year law school, and should include a covering letter, resume and copies of transcripts (both undergraduate and law school). Applications should be addressed to the attention of Jennifer Vermiere and can be submitted via viDesktop and should specify that the application is directed to our Calgary office.
Director of Professional Development
Lawson Lundell LLP
Suite 1600 Cathedral Place
925 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3L2
We comply with the Law Society of Alberta rules and guidelines for the timing of interviews and offers.
Our articling students for 2017-2018 are:
- Grace Kang (University of Ottawa)
- Carson Falk (University of Manitoba)
Our articling student for 2018-2019 is:
- Holly Barker (University of Calgary)