We recognize that the articling experience is critical to your career. Because we are a mid-sized firm, we can offer promising students the chance to work on meaningful assignments in the early stages of your career. With our firm, not only do you get the opportunity to work closely with senior partners on complex legal matters, you get to do it in an environment that is motivating and supportive of your long-term goals.
Our firm has two human resource goals:
- To train and nurture each articled clerk to achieve his or her full professional potential; and
- To build our firm into the strongest in the province, by attracting and retaining great lawyers and staff.
Describing a company’s culture is difficult. We encourage you to look around our website and talk to people in our firm. We want to paint as accurate a picture as we can, about who we are, how we think and what is most important to us in the practice of law.
We want to attract people who are committed to meeting the needs of our clients, are committed to the practice of law and committed to working at a firm that has the highest standards of practice. We believe the best way to do that is to create a firm where lawyers want to stay because they enjoy the work, and they enjoy working here. That is a corporate goal for our firm and we organize ourselves and our work to achieve it.
We do appreciate the present-day realities involved in balancing work and families. We compensate our lawyers competitively, and reward extraordinary effort and accomplishment. However, in our view, money is not, and should not be, the primary reason articled clerks come to us, or stay here for their careers.
Training and Development
We train our articled clerks and our lawyers in the same way: a combination of practical assignments on files with particular responsibility, ongoing evaluations, in-house seminars, and external Continuing Legal Education.
Articling with Patterson Law begins with a comprehensive orientation program during your first week with us. This will acquaint you with the firm’s libraries, support services, computerized research facilities, office equipment, accounting procedures and organizational structure. The orientation program also includes customized computer training and an introduction to our document management and precedent systems.
Our clerks are expected to participate in external continuing legal education programs. In fact, many of our lawyers are presenters at these CLE programs.
During your articles, you will be exposed to a wide variety of interesting and challenging legal matters and you will be given increasing amounts of responsibility as you progress. We will help you develop the technical, practical and analytical skills you need to be a successful lawyer and a good addition to the firm, and will encourage you to seek out work in areas of particular interest to you.
Working closely with lawyers from each practice area, you will gain practical experience by being involved in client meetings, corporate commercial transactions, drafting of legal documents and attending on motions, trials and administrative proceedings.
Feedback and Mentors
Each clerk is articled to a senior lawyer and in addition provided a mentor with whom they are encouraged to discuss matters of interest or concern in confidence. You will meet regularly with your mentor, who will monitor your workflow and your exposure to various areas of law and ensure you have an opportunity to work on matters you are interested in. Your mentor will provide a sounding board for ideas or concerns you may have, and you are encouraged to provide your mentor with feedback relating to your expeiences in the articling program.
During your articles, you will receive two formal evaluations and meet with your mentor to review your progress.
In addition to formal mentorship, students are encouraged to seek guidance and assistance from any lawyer in our various practice groups. We have an open door policy at Patterson Law, and all associates and partners welcome the opportunity to work with students.
Patterson Law uses the latest communications technology and electronic research tools available. All students have their own computer, with Internet access. We operate in Windows XP Professional using Microsoft Word and Hummingbird DM document management system. We use Microsoft Exchange, integrated with the Microsoft suite of programs, as well as remote access services that allow high-speed Internet access from outside the firm.
Your introduction to our systems and resources will include the training necessary to ensure your proficiency with our office procedures, library and research capabilities, and our technology.
Benefits and Salary
Our students are paid at a competitive rate within our local market. Salary rates are reconsidered at the commencement of each articling year. In addition, we have a group health insurance plan covering medical expenses, prescription drugs, life and travel insurance benefits.
We pay the Bar Admission course fees and registration fees for various seminars and lectures. Our students and lawyers are encouraged to participate in these ongoing continuing education activities.
It is our policy to pay the call fees and yearly practicing fees for those students staying on with the firm.
Articling students are entitled to two weeks paid vacation, as well as all statutory holidays.
Our Hireback Policy
Our objective in hiring students is to attempt to identify individuals who will remain and grow with the firm, initially as associates and, ultimately, as partners. In hiring students, we consider academic achievement, outside interests, and personality. We specifically look for students who can produce quality work, take responsibility and relate well to members of our firm and our clients.
Hireback decisions are generally made in February after consideration of each articled clerk’s overall performance and the needs of the firm.
We are proud that our office has a very strong hireback ratio.
Our Student Committee
Our Student Committee oversees the development of our student programs including recruiting, hiring and mentoring of our students. Feel free to contact our Student Committee chair with questions regarding our firm or programs.
Karen J. Killawee