AS the countdown begins to the annual recruitment of law students for the Ministry of Justice’s articled student program, here are the top 10 reasons the nation’s brightest law students should apply:
1. Exposure to diverse areas of law
Nowhere else in British Columbia can students get exposure to the diverse range of practice areas as those offered by the ministry’s articled student program. It allows for a number of rotations, covering areas that may include criminal law, civil law, legal research, human rights law, constitutional law and legislative drafting.
2. Financial and lifestyle benefits
Students are hired as time-limited regular employees and receive full medical and dental benefits as well as paid holiday leave. The salary is $48,446.79 annually.
Articled students can also apply for the Pacific Leaders Loan Forgiveness program. The Ministry of Justice pays the Law Society of British Columbia enrolment fees, including Professional Legal Training Course fees, for students and continues their salary during the training course. Student call fees also are covered at the end of articles.
While articled student positions are demanding and may not always end at 5 p.m., these positions offer meaningful work-life balance.
3. Excellent mentors and supportive colleagues
The atmosphere is highly respectful as students work among a network of supportive, experienced and highly qualified mentors who are more than happy to assist with any project. Both current and former students are especially fond of their experiences working alongside some of the most well-respected and talented lawyers in the province on complex issues that matter to British Columbians.
4. Individually tailored experiences
The ministry’s program is flexible and tailored to student interests. Students actively participate in the development of a rotation schedule that balances their particular interests while at the same time providing opportunities to work with a number of different practice groups.
5. Ongoing professional development
The Ministry of Justice provides articled students with a series of legal education seminars and events throughout the year. The flexible curriculum provides students with information about key legal topics as well as the opportunity to meet with their peers. Continuing legal education takes a variety of forms, including skills development seminars, scholarly presentations and tours of provincial facilities, such as the legislature.
6. High levels of responsibility
Under the supervision of highly experienced legal counsel, students are given a significant amount of responsibility from the start, which allows for development of legal skills at an accelerated pace. Students can appear with counsel in a trial, research and draft legal opinions, and provide advice to government agencies. Articled students with the Ministry of Justice often have greater responsibilities than most junior lawyers at private firms.
7. Likely to secure a permanent position with the ministry
In recent years, more than half of the students who articled with the Ministry of Justice were hired back when their articling term was complete. The ministry looks to its students as a key source of growth and recognizes the valuable experience gained through the challenging, hands-on work students experience on cutting-edge files.
8. Enhanced employment prospects
Students who pursue other opportunities after leaving the ministry are equipped with the skills they need to flourish in their career. They receive practice-focused training and develop key competencies essential for employability. Experience with the Province is highly respected and future career prospects are promising following 12 months working with a diverse and unique caseload and mentorship by some of Canada’s brightest legal professionals.
9. Opportunities throughout the Province
Opportunities are available around the Province. Students selected to article with B.C.’s prosecution service in a Crown counsel office, for example, may have the opportunity to work in Kamloops, Nanaimo, Prince George, New Westminster, Surrey or Vancouver.
10. On the frontier of justice system transformation
The Ministry of Justice is aggressively pursuing system-wide reforms to improve accessibility and reduce delays. B.C. looks to the new generation of lawyers for their leadership in achieving reforms that will modernize the justice system to make it more accessible for British Columbians.
Applications are accepted January 15, 2014, to February 28, 2014. Additional details can be found here: http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/articling-program/