Articling

Effective September 1, 2011, new Law Society Rule 2-32.01 permits an articled student to provide all legal services that a lawyer can offer, with some exceptions. For further details, please see the article in Benchers' Bulletin, Fall 2011

Information Sheets and other articling resources 
CBA Articling Registry 
Rural Education and Access to Lawyers (REAL) initiative – program that places summer law students and articled student in rural law firms and smaller communities

To be called to the British Columbia bar, applicants are required to complete the 12-month Law Society Admission Program that includes nine months of articles.

Students must obtain an articling position before applying to enroll in the program.

Articling responsibilities and obligations

How to obtain an articling position

The Law Society does not arrange articles. Students must secure an articling position. For further assistance for BC law students, contact the career services office at your respective law school:

Careers Services Office, Faculty of Law, UBC 
Law Careers Office, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch
Thompson Rivers University, Faculty of Law (contact apappas@tru.ca)

Canadian law students attending other law schools should contact the career services office at their law school. Non-Canadian law students or NCA students can contact the career services office at the UBC Faculty of Law to order a Legal Careers Guide, which provides advice on the articling job search in BC.

Attendance requirements and leaves

An articling student must work full-time in the office of a principal for a continuous period of not less than nine months, except for law clerks or others who have been granted a reduced articling period.

A principal may give a student up to 10 working days as vacation during the articling portion of the program. Any vacation time will not be calculated in the nine-month period.

If you are required to take more than 10 working days off from your articles for holidays or sick time, you must apply for a leave of absence (Law Society Rule 2-41).

To apply for a leave of absence you must notify the Law Society in writing in advance of the leave or, in the case of a maternity or parental leave, as soon as possible.

Leaves can be granted provided that:

  • the total time of the leave, other than maternity and parental leaves, does not exceed 22 working days or such longer period approved by the Executive Director (Law Society Rule 2-41(8));
  • the leave does not affect your attendance in the Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC); and
  • your principal consents to the leave.

Any time taken for a leave of absence will not be calculated in the nine-month articling period.

Maternity and parental leaves

Parental leave a student who becomes a birth or adoptive parent during or within 12 weeks before the articling period is entitled to 12 weeks or, where the student is the primary caregiver of the child, 16 weeks parental leave.

Maternity leave a student is entitled to 18 weeks maternity leave during the period from 11 weeks before to 17 weeks after giving birth, in addition to the parental leave entitlement.

If the maternity or parental leave causes you to fail to attend any part of PLTC, the Credentials Committee may require you to attend all or part of PLTC at a session held after the completion of the maternity or parental leave.

Employment outside of articles

During the articling term and while you are enrolled in PLTC, you are not permitted to accept employment from any person other than your principal or a person to whom your articles are seconded, except with the approval of the Law Society (Law Society Rule 2-40). Working at your firm while attending PLTC is not advised.

Any employment outside of articles must have the principal's consent, be performed outside normal office hours, and in no way interfere with your articles or commitment to PLTC. You must first apply to the Law Society for approval in advance of engaging in any employment outside of articles.

Part-time articles

You may apply to complete some or all of your articles on a part-time basis by submitting to the Law Society at least two months before the enrolment start date:

  • the enrolment application and enrolment fees; and
  • a letter from you and your prospective principal setting out:
    • your principal's express approval of the part-time arrangements;
    • the type of experience to be provided to you;
    • the hours per day you will work in the office of your principal; and
    • the length of your proposed articling term.

Your proposed articling term must be a continuous period that will give you work experience equivalent to the regular nine-month articling period, and your articles must be completed within two years of the articling start date.

The part-time equivalent of the articling period must be calculated on the following basis:

  • eight hours of scheduled work equals one day of articles (22 working days @ 8 hours = $176 x 9 months = 1,584 hours); and
  • no credit will be given for more than eight hours per day.
  • Any request to alter the above requirements must first be approved by the Credentials Committee at one of its regular monthly meetings.

Reporting requirements

You and your principal must prepare and submit a mid-term report (Law Society Rule 2-32.1) and a final report (Law Society Rule 2-48(1)(a)(iii.1)) to the Law Society,

  • There is no prescribed form for the reports.
  • The reports should be made by letter.
Mid-term report
Final report
  • Completed at the end of the articling term
  • Certifies completion of the obligations under the Articling Agreement
Bencher interview

During the articling term, a student receives instructions respecting a personal interview with a Bencher which is to take place when you have completed three months of articles.

Secondment during the articling period

You may be permitted to attend in the office of another lawyer who is qualified to act as a principal, for a period or periods not exceeding in total eight weeks of your prescribed term of attendance, for the purpose of obtaining training in practice areas in which the principal is unable to instruct you.

The Law Society should be informed by letter of the period during which you will be attending another office. Permission may also be granted, with or without conditions, for an extension of the eight-week period of secondment.

Appearances as counsel and undertakings

You are allowed to appear as counsel and accept undertakings provided you and your principal follow the limitations of Law Society Rule 2-32.01  and you are properly supervised. If a particular case is not specifically covered by this Rule, you are not permitted to appear.

Since the authority granted to practising lawyers under s. 60 of the Evidence Act does not extend to articled students, they are not permitted to act as commissioners for oaths.

Students enrolled in temporary articles are not permitted to appear as counsel except within the limitations of Law Society Rule 2-43.

Termination of articles

Neither you or your principal should terminate articles without a report from each party being made to the Law Society and, unless the termination was by mutual agreement of you and your principal, the matter will be referred to the Credentials Committee.

For more information, contact Member Services






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