Articling Guidelines for Principals

General articling information
Assigning articles  
Articling forms

Obligations of a principal

  • It is the responsibility of the principal to see that the student is instructed generally on the various aspects of the practice of law and of professional conduct. Familiarize yourself with the Articling Skills and Practice Checklist and read the following for more information.
  • Review the list of courts or tribunals listed in Law Society Rule 2-43 and ensure that the counsel experience of your student in front of these courts or tribunals is permitted and is properly supervised. These responsibilities cannot be adequately fulfilled unless you or another lawyer on your behalf attends with your student until you are completely satisfied as to the student's ability to appear alone.
  • You are at all times responsible for the conduct and actions of your student and the following should be particularly noted:
    • Except in routine matters, your client must first understand and agree that your student will be handling the matter;
    • You must ensure that your student, on all occasions, advises the judge or presiding official of his or her name and that he or she is an articled student and articled to you;
    • You have a responsibility to the court or tribunal to brief your student adequately on all matters on which she or he will be appearing alone. This applies, not only to briefing on the facts and the law, but also on proper etiquette and decorum.
  • Speak to a student about any conduct that is unprofessional or unsuitable for a lawyer
  • Report to the Law Society any student who, in the principal’s judgement, may not be suitable for call to the Bar for reasons that may include:
    • Instances of a student being guilty of untruths or conduct towards a client or lawyer
    • Conduct considered unprofessional or unbecoming a lawyer
  • Provide mid-term and final progress reports during the articling period.

Further information on the principal’s role

Functions of professional bodies
Lawyer competence
  • Responsibility to clients and the profession to maintain competence
  • Responsibility not to practise in fields in which either they have not become or maintained competent
  • Obligation to refer clients in a particular field to a partner, associate or another firm
  • Requirement to keep current on all developments in the areas of law in which lawyer practises, particularly on new legislation
  • Encouragement to take advantage of courses offered by the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC
Professional conduct and responsibility towards the courts, clients, the public and other lawyers
Practical training
  • Ensure student has adequate exposure to the lawyering skills and at least three practice areas set out in the Articling Skills and Practice Checklist
  • Arrange with another lawyer to give the student the required experience in areas in which the principal's practice or firm, corporation or government department cannot give the student sufficient experience
  • See that the student becomes familiar with good general office practice and is shown how to treat clients in a competent and courteous manner, including obligation to respond promptly to correspondence and telephone calls
  • Expose the student to office practices such as maintaining general and trust accounts and generally give instruction on the way to run a law office on a day-to-day basis
What to avoid as a principal
  • Do not channel the student’s time into particular practice areas to the exclusion of others
  • Do not use the student as a runner or registry clerk to an excessive degree (more than an average of four hours of the student's working week)
  • Do not use the student to an excessive degree for the preparation of opinions

For more information, contact Member Services