Downtown Vancouver firms: articling offers to stay open to August 20

Law firms with an office in the downtown core of Vancouver (west of Carrall Street and north of False Creek) must keep open all offers of articling positions they make this year until noon on Monday, August 20. This timeline is set by the Credential Committee under Law Society Rule 2-31. It applies to offers firms make to second-year law students or first-year law students, but not offers to third-year law students or offers of summer positions (temporary articles).

Rule 2-31 gives law students greater choice in selecting law firms for articles by relieving them of the pressure to accept short-fuse offers before they have had an opportunity to interview with other firms.

A law firm may set a deadline of noon on August 20 for acceptance of an offer. If the offer is rejected, the firm can then make a new offer to another student the same day. Law firms may not ask students whether they would accept an offer if an offer were made. The Credentials Committee has found this practice improper because it places students in the very position Rule 2-31 is intended to prevent.

If a lawyer in a downtown Vancouver firm makes an articling offer and later discovers circumstances that mean it must withdraw the offer prior to August 20, the lawyer must receive prior approval from the Credentials Committee. The Committee may, for instance, consider conflicts of interest or other factors that reflect on a student’s suitability as an articled student in deciding whether to allow the lawyer to withdraw the offer.

If a law student advises a law firm that he or she has accepted another offer before August 20, the firm can consider its own offer rejected. However, if a lawyer learns from a third party that a student has accepted another offer, the lawyer should first confirm with the student that the offer is no longer open for this reason.

Any firm with a question respecting articling offers may contact the Member Services department at 604 605-5311.