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Law Students

Join Lerners Law Students

We know how to grow lawyers. We've been doing it since 1929.

Being a lawyer is one thing. Having a satisfying law career is a different thing altogether. The difference is striking a balance between challenging work and stimulating play. Making sure docket time is offset by downtime for relationships, family and fun.

At Lerners, we create an environment that not only serves our clients exceptionally well, but also encourages the professional and personal development of the lawyers we’ve chosen, and who’ve chosen us.

We know how to grow lawyers. We’ve been doing it since 1929. We know the inside of courtrooms and boardrooms, but we also understand how to help future lawyers in summer and articling positions learn the ins and outs of legal practice. Rather than waste your time with minutiae, we’ll help you focus your talent and energy on being the best lawyer you can be.

We have two offices: one in London and one in Toronto. Each offers its own type of legal training opportunities for students. For more information, simply click on the city that interests you. If what you learn puts us on your short list, we’d like to talk to you.

London

Students who work in our London office have the opportunity to practise high-calibre law, but also enjoy the lifestyle advantages that come with a smaller city: affordable housing, minimal commuting time and a greater opportunity to develop congenial relationships with other law professionals. Please use the menu below for quick access to information about specific topics.

What types of law are practised in London?

Our London office offers legal services in a wide range of areas:

  • Banking and Insolvency
  • Business Law
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Commercial and Residential Real Estate
  • Construction Law
  • Class Actions
  • Criminal Defence
  • Employment Law
  • Estate Planning, Administration and Litigation
  • Family Law
  • Health Law
  • Insurance Defence
  • Landlord and Tenant
  • Municipal Law
  • Personal Injury Claims
  • Professional Liability

What kind of work do students handle?

Articling Students

Our articling program is organized according to four rotations.

They have been structured to give students a chance to work with many different lawyers and to get exposure to many different areas of practice. This kind of professional “cross-training” during articles helps you develop a strong base of knowledge and skill. This will help you in your career no matter what shape it takes. For example, family lawyers need to understand basic personal income tax law to advise clients about support payments. A trial lawyer handling a lawsuit over an aborted real estate deal may need a working knowledge of the law of tender. Articles at Lerners will help you understand “the big picture.”

To give you an idea of how our articling system is structured, here is a description of our usual rotations:

Litigation rotation

During this rotation, the student handles research, drafting, trial preparation and other assignments related to litigation files, including criminal defence files. This rotation lasts for approximately 27 weeks, which may not be consecutive. For example, the student could be in the litigation rotation for twelve weeks, then complete the remaining weeks later in the articling term.

Solicitors’ rotation

The student assists lawyers in the Real Estate/Land Development and Business Law practice groups with non-litigious matters. These could range from drafting corporate documents and wills to researching the legislation governing condominiums. This rotation lasts approximately five weeks.

Advocacy rotation

This rotation is designed to give each student an opportunity to handle court appearances and hearings, such as criminal court appearances, and contested and uncontested motions in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The student in the advocacy rotation is the first one selected for court appearances during the rotation. Court appearances are handled by other students only if the student in the advocacy rotation is unavailable. This rotation also gives students a great chance to learn by watching. The student in this rotation handles very few research or drafting assignments and so can take the time to accompany lawyers to observe proceedings such as trials, motions, appeals, hearings and discoveries. The advocacy rotation lasts approximately six weeks.

Family rotation

During this rotation, approximately five weeks long, students learn the ropes of family law practice. This rotation offers students a great chance to build their knowledge of the rules and procedures particular to family law, and also a chance to develop their skills in communicating with clients.

In the rotations, you will see what day-to-day practice is like in many areas of law. Research is a significant part of the articling experience, but by no means the only activity. You will have plenty of real-world contact with clients in interviews and meetings. You will draft commercial agreements, pleadings and opinion letters. You will assist in the conduct of examinations for discovery and prepare for trials and appeals. You will acquire valuable advocacy experience by appearing in court on contested and uncontested motions, assisting on trials, conducting small claims court or provincial offences trials on your own, and representing clients at tribunal hearings. You will meet with new clients, and by doing so you will develop your skills at interviewing, identifying legal issues, and assessing when you can assist someone with a legal problem and when you cannot.

Summer Students

Summer students work primarily on litigation matters and have limited exposure to the solicitor’s world. Their work, however, still has a great deal of variety, covering a wide range of substantive areas of law under the litigation umbrella.

Summer students have similar responsibilities to those of articling students. The only significant difference is that they have fewer opportunities to appear in court.

There is no rotation structure in our summer program. Our student administrative team, in assigning work, makes sure that summer students get diverse assignments—with different lawyers and in different areas of law—over the course of the summer.

How Is Work Assigned?

We think both articling and summer students benefit from a structured system for assigning work. That way we can be sure each student gets a similar volume of work, and as much variety in experience as we can offer.

The key to our system for assigning work to students is our student administrative team. Kim Morrison, our Student Administrator, is a very experienced legal assistant who has worked at Lerners for over 10 years. She has been assisting our students since 2008. She has primary responsibility for directing assignments to articling and summer students. She considers the workload of each student and the type of experience each student already has or still needs, and then assigns projects accordingly. This approach ensures that, by the end of the articling or summer term, each student has worked with several different lawyers, on a variety of tasks, and in most of the major areas of law in which we practise. If Kim is away, Sylvia Davis, our Director of Associate and Student Development, looks after assigning work to our students, in the same manner. Sylvia has worked with the firm for over 25 years, first as an articling student and then as an associate lawyer and in recent years, has served as a senior administrator in the firm with responsibility for our students and associate lawyers.

If there are particular experiences you’d like to have as a student at Lerners, beyond the assignments you would receive in the normal course, there is definitely a chance for you to seek them out. We encourage students to approach lawyers to find out about opportunities to assist them, from sitting in on a new client interview to attending a trial. Lawyers are very receptive to having articling and summer students join them for meetings or court proceedings, so students can soak up all the training they want.

Guidance and support

Training

In addition to a comprehensive orientation program provided to our articling students when they first join us, we organize over 25 seminars and workshops on practical topics for them during their 10 months of articling. These include reviews of more obscure but important areas of law that are often not covered in law school, such as construction law, and “how-to” presentations on drafting wills, arguing motions and conducting examinations for discovery.

To give you an idea of the topics on which the articling students can expect training, the workshops for our 2017-2018 London articling students will include the following:

  • client interviewing skills
  • small claims court trial procedure
  • construction litigation
  • conflicts of interest
  • drafting pleadings
  • courtroom decorum and advocacy skills
  • class actions

Our summer students have a full orientation at the beginning of their summer employment. We also offer four to six additional in-house lectures on litigation topics for them during the course of the summer.

Articling and summer students usually have an opportunity to attend one continuing legal education program outside the firm during their articles or summer employment. The students can select a program of interest to them (within reasonable parameters as to location and cost). The most commonly attended programs are half-day or full-day seminars put on by the Ontario Bar Association or the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Staff Support

Kim Morrison, a very experienced legal assistant, serves as the student administrator in the London office of the firm. In addition to assigning work equitably, she also makes sure that students get a chance to observe before doing. For example, if you will be arguing a motion for the first time next month, she’ll make sure that you go with a lawyer or experienced articling student to watch them argue a motion before it’s your turn, so you will feel more confident on your feet. She also acts as a resource on office procedures. If Kim is away, our Director of Associate and Student Development, Sylvia Davis, steps in to help.

Lawyer Support

Each of our articling and summer students is paired with a senior and junior mentor. The senior mentor is a partner or a senior associate, while the junior mentor is a more junior associate. The mentors meet with students periodically during the articling or summer term for lunch or just a chat, and are available when students are looking for advice or just a friendly “sounding board.”

As you can tell, if you’re a student at Lerners, you’ll have several of us watching out for you!

Library Support

Lerners is committed to providing a professional library environment for its lawyers and students. Students make regular use of the firm’s extensive print and electronic resources. They benefit from the commitment of the firm’s Manager of Library and Research Services to assist them with initial orientation to the firm’s research and information services, and to assist them with research and information needs throughout their student experience.

Our automated library and knowledge management platform is a tool all students have come to rely upon to navigate through the muddy waters of locating reference and research materials. Our rapidly expanding subscriptions to electronic resources are efficiently accessed through an automated software system and the firm uses electronic checkout to track all items within the firm. Students and lawyers can renew or request books directly from their desktop, with over 200 key electronic titles currently available on the system.

Students receive a series of training seminars which focus on the development of the skills required to proficiently navigate a host of databases that will be used on a regular basis to conduct legal, medical and business computer assisted research.

Our London office students benefit from close geographic proximity to the Middlesex Law Association library and to the library of the Western University Faculty of Law, where they can access additional resources.

With this range of library support, our students can tackle their research assignments with confidence.

How are students evaluated?

Students want to know that they are doing a good job and how they can improve their work.

Many of our lawyers provide informal feedback to students on assignments shortly after they have been completed. To make sure that students have a full picture of how they are doing, however, we also conduct formal evaluations. Summer students can expect one evaluation at the midway point of their summer experience, and one after their summer employment has been completed. Articling students will have at least two evaluations during the course of their articles.

Lawyers are asked to prepare written feedback on articling and summer students’ assignments as the assignments are completed. This feedback is relayed to the students as soon as it is received. At the evaluation meetings, our Director of Associate and Student Development meets with each student, along with the student’s senior mentor, to discuss the feedback received during the time period for which the student is being evaluated. The meeting provides a good opportunity to identify areas of strength for the student, as well as any areas needing greater attention.

The evaluation process is not only about the evaluation of students; it also serves as a chance for students to evaluate our articling and summer program. At their evaluations, we ask students what aspects of their work with the firm they are most enjoying and what changes would make their experience even better.

Living in London

A workplace encompasses far more than just the place you work; it’s a full constellation of opportunities for living and expanding your experience while you are with Lerners. London offers an excellent environment in which to live. London was ranked 15th out of 200 Canadian communities in “Canada’s Best Places to Live 2013” (MoneySense Magazine).

Those of us who live in London believe there is much to recommend working in a mid-size city, especially one of London’s calibre:

  • very limited time spent in commuting between home and work
  • increased opportunities to become acquainted with lawyers outside your own firm and to develop collegial working relationships with the other 800 lawyers who practise in London
  • affordable housing (As an example, the aggregate price for a two-storey home in London is $391,715 compared to the aggregate price of a similar home in Oakville ($1,224,288), Mississauga ($873,194), Toronto ($1,124,097) and Ottawa ($464,391). Source: Royal LePage House Price Survey, Third Quarter 2017
  • amenities within the city and nearby, such as productions at The Grand Theatre, the Budweiser Gardens and the nearby Stratford Festival, and water sports on Lakes Huron and Erie.

And there is much more if you are looking for more. You can make a mark as a Lerners student in London—and have a pleasant and stimulating time living in an affordable community.

For more information about living in London, we invite you to visit the websites of the London Economic Development Corporation and The City of London.

What sort of student thrives at Lerners' London office?

We want students whose solid law school grades show their abilities in legal analysis and reasoning. But Dean’s Honour List marks are not our sole measure of potential. We are looking for articling and summer students who fit our firm’s working culture: outgoing personality, attentive to detail, hard-working, excellent oral and written communication skills, a good sense of humour, well-organized and good at managing their time so they can balance work with the other dimensions of their lives.

We also want law students who appreciate that excellent legal work is only part of what clients are entitled to expect from their lawyers: excellent client service is equally vital.

Balancing work and outside life

Articling and summer students in our London office work hard. But that is true of any student at any firm offering articling or summer experience that counts for something in the real world. The workload of our London articling students fluctuates, but generally they count on working 50-65 hours per week. Our summer students would typically work 40-50 hours per week. We try our very best to ensure our students work on matters that matter. Photocopying, making deliveries or other clerical tasks are exceptional occurrences for them.

You will be busy, but we do not expect that you will abandon family, friends or social activities. Client service comes first, but we also respect the important role that downtime—recreation and relationships both—plays in making you a whole person, not just a legal drone.

To help our students take a break from work, we organize social outings for them from time to time. Activities have included a corn maze tour, attending baseball games, bowling and theatre outings, among others. Students also participate in our annual summer picnic, join our firm sports teams and decompress at parties during the December holiday season.

We encourage our students to help out as volunteers with local charities and community groups. Students from Lerners have volunteered in a school lunch program; collected donations for fund-raising auctions; bowled, swam, ran and walked for pledges; and served on boards and committees of not-for-profit groups. They are not just training to be lawyers. They are training to be good contributors and leaders in the community, and we support them in doing that.

Money matters

Sometimes students are a little hesitant to ask “the money questions” in interviews. To save you anxiety, here are the answers.

Articling

Salary

Our London articling students receive a salary that is at the upper end of the pay scale for London firms. In addition to receiving their salary during articles, students will also be paid for 14 days while they are studying for and writing their licensing examinations.

Vacation

Our London articling students are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation, which they can take when they choose.

Law Society fees

The firm pays the licensing process fees for all our London articling students. The firm pays each student’s fees to join the Law Society as a student member, and the Call to the Bar fees for students if they are hired back as associate lawyers.

Health care plans

The firm’s benefit plan covers 80% of the cost of extended healthcare and dental benefits for articling students and their spouses and their children during the time that students are preparing for and writing their licensing examinations, as well as the time that students are articling.

Fitness allowance

The firm provides articling students with an allowance of up to $500 per year, to be applied to the cost of membership in a fitness facility or the cost of participation in a recreation or wellness program.

Summer Students

Our London summer students receive a salary that is at the upper end of the pay scale for London law firms. They are not entitled to vacation days during their summer employment, but do receive vacation pay equal to 4% of their total compensation. Because of the shorter term of their employment, they are not entitled to other benefits.

Preparation for your career

Interested in your future beyond your articling or summer experience? So are we. We look to our summer students for our future articling students, and to our articling students for our future lawyers.

Our hire-back record proves it:

Articling

  • 2016-2017: 5 students, 2 hired back as associates
  • 2015-2016: 6 students, 3 hired back
  • 2014-2015: 6 students, 4 hired back
  • 2013-2014: 7 students, 5 hired back
  • 2012-2013: 6 students, 3 hired back
  • 2011-2012: 6 students, 3 hired back

Summer Students

  • 2016:  4 students, 4 hired back for articles
  • 2015: 4 students, 4 hired back
  • 2014: 4 students, 4 hired back
  • 2013: 4 students, 4 hired back
  • 2012: 4 students, 4 hired back

One thing to remember: when students are not hired back, it does not necessarily mean the firm was not interested in hiring them. For example, students may decide to move to another city because of a spouse’s job change. Sometimes they pursue graduate studies, or decide they want to apply their legal skills outside of private practice.

If we are not able to offer associate positions to all of our articling students, we try hard to support the job search of those we do not hire. For example, we give feedback on draft resumés and covering letters, provide reference letters and contact lawyers in other firms to encourage consideration of our former students if those firms are expanding.

Whether their legal careers will be at Lerners or elsewhere, we believe that our articling students finish their articles well-positioned for their careers with a background of very good training. In fact, we are often contacted by other firms to inquire if we have articling students whom we are not able to accommodate as associates. This reflects the confidence other lawyers have in the calibre of the students we hire and the training we give them.

Lerners—a great stepping stone to the rest of your legal career.

What our students say

“The wide variety of practical experiences which I participated in during Lerners’ summer program – discoveries, mediations, motions and more – have left me with a good appreciation of the day-to-day life of a lawyer. I am better prepared and more excited than ever for the challenges and rewards ahead.”

Jordan McKie, 2013 London summer student, 2014 – 2015 London articling student

“My summer experience at Lerners was invaluable.  First, the work was always challenging and meaningful.  I was given the opportunity to meet clients, speak to matters in court, attend discoveries, and conduct settlement conferences.  Secondly, the lawyers and support staff embrace the students and the student program.  Each person I encountered always took the time to introduce themselves, and always encouraged me to visit.  Whenever I needed support, both professionally and personally, I always found that everyone was more than willing to help.  Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, Lerners makes its students feel a part of the team through its BBQs, trivia nights, and sports teams. As a result of my summer experience at Lerners, I entered third year law as a professional rather than a student and couldn’t wait to get back to article.”

Jake Aitcheson, 2012 London summer student, 2013-2014 London articling student

“Summering at Lerners provided me with an unmatched opportunity to gain meaningful, hands-on experience within the comfort of a dedicated and supportive mentorship system. I was encouraged to take initiative from the outset and was exposed to numerous aspects of a litigation practice, including: appearing in court and attending examinations for discovery with associates and partners; researching interesting and relevant legal issues; drafting statements of claim and statements of defence, and playing an integral role within the legal team during client interactions.  I have gained substantial knowledge, increased confidence in my legal skills and discovered new areas of interest.

There is a tremendous sense of collegiality, respect and a commitment to professional development amongst Lerners’ lawyers, law clerks and administrative assistants.  The firm is a seamless network of people helping people in order to achieve the best result for the client.”

Kirsten Parker, 2013 London summer student, 2014-2015 London articling student

“One of the challenges that students face moving forward is bridging the gap between the study of law and the practice of law.  Lerners provides students with a multitude of resources, training and experiences in order to ensure that the transition between law school and practical work is a smooth one.  During my time here, I have had exposure to a wide variety of legal work in many different practice areas.  Lerners also recognizes the importance of allowing students to explore areas of law in which they may have a particular interest.

The environment in the firm is very encouraging, and the lawyers and support staff are dedicated to ensuring that our time spent at Lerners as students is as valuable and rewarding as possible. The formal mentoring program is particularly helpful in providing guidance for the students as they continue to learn.  I am very grateful and fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work as a summer student and articling student at the firm.”

Katherine Serniwka, 2012 London summer student, 2013-2014 London articling student

“My summer student experience at Lerners LLP was an excellent learning opportunity.  The lawyers and support staff were very helpful and provided advice and feedback on all assignments.  As a summer student, the firm’s resources are at your disposal enabling you to develop your understanding of the practice of law.”

Joe Hentz, 2013 London summer student, 2014-2015 London articling student

“During my time as a summer student and articling student, I found that one defining characteristic that distinguishes Lerners from other London firms is the presence of a Student Administrator, junior and senior mentor, and Director of Associate and Student Development. These individuals all ensure that students are provided with the necessary resources and support to get as much out of the program as possible. The open door policy that every firm member shares makes the transition from law school into practice dramatically easier and fosters a strong learning environment. Lawyers and staff alike are keen to share their insights that extend beyond whatever work has been assigned; they take the time to explain how our involvement fits into the overall progression of the file. This, combined with the broad spectrum of different assignments and practice areas that students are exposed to, makes for an invaluable learning experience and provides for the opportunity to truly hone an interest in forming your future practice.”

Nick Cummings, 2014 summer student, 2015-2016 articling student

“The time I have spent at Lerners, both as a summer and articling student, has been enriching and meaningful.  I have had opportunities for client contact, drafting court documents, managing carriage files, court appearances and various other experiences with respect to the daily practice of law.  The lawyers at Lerners have always been welcoming, making themselves available to act as mentors, a great example of their commitment to the student experience.  The firm culture is one of collegiality and professionalism.  Relationships build the foundation of practice at Lerners.”

Stephanie Doucet, 2014 summer student , 2015-2016 articling student

“Lerners provides an excellent learning environment which allows their students to truly experience the practice of law. The work I received during my summer session was diverse and interesting and included research projects, drafting court documents and attending proceedings such as tribunal hearings, examinations for discoveries and Power of Attorney matters. Everyone in the firm was very supportive and offered help when it was needed. Lerners takes their student development seriously and is a great place to make the transition from law school.”

Greg Willson, 2015 summer student, future 2016-2017 articling student

“Lerners LLP provides its articling students with a wide range of opportunities. During my articling term, I was afforded the opportunity to work one-on-one with senior partners on high quality files. I was also given the opportunity to run with some of my own Small Claims Court files. I truly value the experience that I gained during my articles with Lerners LLP.”

Alex Sharpe, 2014-2015 articling student

“The benefit of being a student at Lerners LLP is that the firm is genuinely interested in your personal and professional development. Both the summer student and the articling program begin with extensive training that prepares you to be a contributing member of the firm and, ultimately, a lawyer. You are also encouraged to observe proceedings at the Ontario Court of Appeal, attend professional development seminars, and participate in golf tournaments and other networking events. As a student, I was able to apply the skills learned at such events while getting exposed to real work in a diversity of practice areas.“

Ayren Brown, 2014 summer student, 2015-2016 articling student

“From day one, my articling experience at Lerners has been filled with opportunities for excellent training and meaningful work. In my first month, I have had training on a wide variety of legal topics including drafting court pleadings, client communications, and legal ethics, to name a few. These lessons have been directly applicable to the work that I’ve done including drafting pleadings, attending examinations for discovery, and speaking to matters in court. When I’ve faced challenges, I have found both senior and junior lawyers, staff, and my fellow students to be excellent sources of advice and direction. Education, support, and collegiality are truly part of the culture here at Lerners.”

Omar Mohamed, 2015-2016 articling student

To reach our students

If you are interested in summer or articling opportunities in our London office, we encourage you to contact students who have worked with us to ask them about their experience at Lerners. The names of our recent students, along with the law schools they attended, are listed below. If you need help in contacting any of our past students, please contact our Director of Associate and Student Development, Sylvia Davis, at 519.640.6309 or sdavis@lerners.ca.

Articling

2017-2018 Students (commencing July 17, 2017)

2016-2017 Students

  • Kaitlyn Armstrong (Western)
  • Kim Cura (Western)
  • Connor Gamble (Western)
  • Karen Simpson (Windsor)
  • Greg Willson (Western)

2018-2019 Students (commencing July 16, 2018)

  • Jennifer Amer (Queen’s)
  • Meaghan Carlson (Western)
  • Katie Creighton (UNB)
  • Michael Hodgins (Windsor)
  • David Isaac (Western)
  • Vlad Palutov (Queen’s)
Summer

2017 Students 

  • Jennifer Amer (Queen’s)
  • David Isaac (Western)

2016 Students 

  • Vanessa Frey (Windsor)
  • Elizabeth Funduk (Western)
  • Hilary Leitch (Windsor/ Detroit Mercy)
  • John Petrella (Western)

2015 Students

  • Connor Gamble (Western)
  • Karen Simpson (Windsor)
  • Jenelle VanParys (Western)
  • Greg Willson (Western)

How do I apply?

Articling

The London office has hired all of its 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 articling students.

The London office typically hires six articling students each year. Interviews are conducted in compliance with the recruitment procedures established by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Usually, those procedures provide that applications are due by early May, with interviews conducted in late May/early June. Interested students should watch this website for updates about 2019 – 2020 articling opportunities in the London office.

Articling applications should include the following:

  • covering letter
  • résumé
  • a copy of your undergraduate transcript and your law school transcript to date, as well as your graduate transcript, if applicable. (If the timing of release of marks at your law school is such that your transcript will not reflect your most recent grades, please feel free to provide whatever unofficial record about those grades that is available from your law school.)
  • a list of the law school courses in which you are enrolled, or in which you anticipate enrolling, in your third year.
  • the names and contact information for at least two references. Reference letters are not required, but are welcome.

You are welcome to submit your application by email, mail, courier or fax.

Applications and inquiries should be directed to:

Sylvia L. Davis
Director of Associate and Student Development

Lerners LLP
80 Dufferin Avenue
London, ON N6A 4G4

Phone: 519.640.6309
Fax: 519.932.3309
E-mail: sdavis@lerners.ca

Summer

The London office expects to hire four summer students for the summer of 2018. To be eligible, students must expect to have completed their second year of law school by very early May 2018, since our students usually begin summer employment with us in early May. Lerners will conduct interviews in accordance with a timetable agreed upon with several other London firms that typically hire summer students. That timetable provides:

  • applications are due by January 26, 2018
  • interviews will be conducted between February 12 and February 14, 2018
  • students who will be invited for interviews can expect to be contacted on February 2, 2018, beginning at 8:00 am, to arrange an interview time
  • requests for an interview before February 12, by students who will be out of Ontario during the February 12-14 interview period, will be considered, and students who wish to be considered for an early interview should make that request in their application
  • offers of employment will be extended on February 15, 2018.

Summer applications should include the following:

  • covering letter
  • résumé
  • a copy of your undergraduate transcript and your law school transcript to date, as well as your graduate transcript, if applicable. (If the timing of release of marks at your law school is such that your transcript will not reflect your most recent grades, please feel free to provide whatever unofficial record about those grades that is available from your law school.)
  • a list of the courses in which you are currently enrolled if your transcript does not already include this information, and as well, a list of the courses in which you anticipate enrolling in your third year of law school.
  • the names and contact information for at least two references. Reference letters are not required, but are welcome.

You are welcome to submit your application by email, mail, courier or fax.

Applications and inquiries should be directed to Sylvia Davis, whose contact information appears above.

Toronto

The Toronto office of Lerners has all the excitement of a big Bay Street firm, but it also offers the comfort of close working relationships and the friendly atmosphere of a smaller workplace. Here, students will broaden their skills and knowledge under the guidance of some of Ontario’s most experienced litigators. Please use the menu at the bottom of this page for quick access to information about specific topics.

What types of law are practised in Toronto?

Articling students in our Toronto office receive broad exposure to an exciting range of litigation—commercial disputes, insurance defence, professional liability matters, defence of medical negligence claims, personal injury claims, family law, securities litigation, employment law, shareholders’ disputes, investment dealer negligence claims, banking and insolvency law, class actions, civil sexual assault matters and, from time to time, issues involving native rights and constitutional law, to name a few.

Many of the cases handled by the Toronto office are cutting-edge, with high stakes and novel issues. They are not just cases that students will hear about at Lerners. They are the cases on which students can expect to be working themselves, under the guidance of senior lawyers.

What kind of work do students handle?

Our students perform research assignments, draft a wide range of litigation documents such as pleadings, facta, motions and mediation memos, prepare motion records, assist with trial preparation, handle small claims court actions, conduct examinations in aid of execution, assist on trials and appeals, and appear in court on contested and uncontested motions. They occasionally assist lawyers in the preparation of articles for publication and papers for presentation at continuing legal education seminars.

We also encourage our students to accompany lawyers on court proceedings as often as they can—examinations for discovery, inquests, mediations, motions, trials—so they can see all aspects of the litigation process.

How Is Work Assigned To Students?

We think articling students benefit from a work-assignment system that aims to give each student a similar volume of work, and as much variety in assignments as we can offer.

The key to our system is our full-time student administrator, Angela Todd. Angela is an experienced legal assistant and law clerk, whose sole function is to assist and guide our students.

Generally, assignments from lawyers are directed to Angela. In determining which student should do an assignment, she considers the nature and urgency of the assignment, the existing workload of each student, the kinds of experience that students have had to date, and the kinds of assignments they have not yet tackled. Angela makes sure that, by the end of their time with us, each student has worked with several different lawyers, on a variety of projects, in all of the major areas of law in which we practise.

This system does not, however, stop you from seeking out experiences that interest you, beyond the assignments directed through Angela. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Students are encouraged to approach lawyers to ask about opportunities to assist them. This could range from joining a lawyer on an examination for discovery and taking notes, to sitting in on a meeting with clients. We want to help you get the best chance to explore all avenues of the practice of law.

Guidance and Support

TRAINING

In addition to hands-on experience, our students benefit from a comprehensive orientation at the outset of their time with us, plus lectures and demonstrations by several members of the firm.

For example, workshop topics for our 2016-2017 articling students will include:

  • drafting and arguing motions
  • privilege and confidentiality
  • preparation of opinion letters
  • class actions
  • discovery of documents, including E-discovery
  • civil sexual assault claims
  • oral advocacy

Students usually have a chance to attend one continuing legal education program during their employment. The students can select a program of interest to them (within reasonable parameters as to location and cost). The most commonly attended programs are half-day or one-day programs put on by the Ontario Bar Association or the Law Society of Upper Canada.

LAWYER AND STAFF SUPPORT

Angela Todd, our student administrator, plays an important role in guiding our Toronto students. She helps ensure a balanced workload for each of them, provides precedents for documents that students are drafting, coaches them on the procedures for serving and filing documents, and generally offers invaluable administrative support. Our students look to Angela for guidance and support while they are “learning the ropes.” They also have the help of a full-time legal assistant who aids them with typing and other administrative tasks.

The Executive Director of Human Resources and Administration for the Toronto office, Michelle Medel, is also a resource for students. A very experienced law firm administrator, Michelle works extensively with the students and associates in the Toronto office, and is always available as a resource for the students. As well, Sylvia Davis, the firm’s Director of Associate and Student Development, is always available to help students with any concerns or questions. A former articling student and litigator with the firm, Sylvia has been involved in the student program with the firm for many years.

Students have significant support from our lawyers, too. Each articling student is matched with both a senior and junior mentor. The junior mentor is a junior associate lawyer. The senior mentor, who is a partner or senior associate, also serves as the student’s articling principal, fulfilling the principal’s responsibilities as defined by the Law Society.

Mentors meet regularly with their students. They offer general support and are available to discuss topics ranging from litigation basics and practice management issues to career development. Each articling student’s senior mentor also participates in his/her evaluations during articles.

As you can see, if you’re a student at Lerners, there are many people looking out for you!

LIBRARY SUPPORT

Lerners is committed to providing a professional library environment for its lawyers and students. Students make regular use of the firm’s extensive print and electronic resources. They benefit from the commitment of the firm’s Manager of Library and Research Services to assist them with initial orientation to the firm’s research and information services, and to assist them with research and information needs throughout their student experience.

Our automated library and knowledge management platform is a tool all students have come to rely upon to navigate through the muddy waters of locating reference and research materials. Our rapidly expanding subscriptions to electronic resources are efficiently accessed through an automated software system and the firm uses electronic checkout to track all items within the firm. Students and lawyers can renew or request books directly from their desktop, with over 200 key electronic titles currently available on the system.

Students receive a series of training seminars which focus on the development of the skills required to proficiently navigate a host of databases that will be used on a regular basis to conduct legal, medical and business computer assisted research.

Our Toronto office students benefit from close geographic proximity to the Great Library at Osgoode Hall and to the library of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where they can access additional resources.

With this range of library support, our students can tackle their research assignments with confidence.

How are students evaluated?

Students often receive feedback on their work directly from the assigning lawyer, shortly after an assignment has been completed. To make sure students have a clear idea of how they are doing, however, we also conduct formal evaluations. Articling students have two evaluations during their articles.

For the evaluations, we collect written comments from our lawyers on each student’s work. Our Executive Director of Human Resources and Administration, along with the student’s senior mentor, then meets with each student individually to review the results. This allows us to commend the student on areas of good performance and to discuss strategies for improvement if there are areas of weakness. We also discuss what learning experiences the student has not yet had. For example, if a student has not yet attended a mediation, we can help find an opportunity for the student to attend one.

Evaluations aren’t a one-way street. They offer a chance for us to let students know how they are doing, but are just as much the students’ chance to offer constructive criticism on the student program. During evaluations, we ask students what they have enjoyed about their student experience to date, and whether there are any aspects that need improvement. Their suggestions are often excellent, and have helped us refine and enhance our student program over the years.

What sort of student thrives at Lerners' Toronto office?

We are seeking students for our Toronto office who have solid law school grades, reflecting a talent for legal analysis and reasoning. However, we also are looking for other qualities that are reliable predictors of your potential to be an excellent lawyer and to fit within our working culture. Beyond their academic prowess, students who thrive in our Toronto office usually have these qualities:

  • demonstrated interest and aptitude for advocacy
  • strong work ethic
  • outgoing personality with an ability to work well with others outside and inside the firm
  • excellent communication skills, both written and oral
  • attentiveness to detail in their work
  • well-organized and good at managing their time so they can complete their work commitments but still have time to enjoy life outside of work

Students who prosper at Lerners will also understand that excellent legal work is only part of a lawyer’s responsibilities; excellent client service is equally vital. If your research skills are first-rate and your pleadings a work of art, but you do not return telephone calls promptly or speak to your clients in language they can understand, you will struggle to be a successful lawyer.

Balancing work and outside life

Students at Lerners work hard. So do our lawyers. That’s one of the reasons our clients continue to hire us to handle their work. While workload fluctuates, a student at Lerners can expect to work an average of 50 to 65 hours per week.

While you will be busy, however, you won’t be doing “busy work.” We make a point of having our students work on meaningful assignments that will challenge them and equip them well for their future careers.

Even if your work as a student is rewarding, you still need to enjoy life outside the office. There are several ways for students at Lerners to do that. Participation in volunteer activities is one. Recent community activities in which our students have been involved have included helping in the firm’s United Way campaign and spearheading a holiday food drive for a food bank.

Keeping fit is another. With the fitness allowance provided to articling students by the firm—and through the example set by many of our lawyers who make a point of hitting the treadmill or squash court regularly—we encourage students to build time for physical activity into their schedule.

We also organize social outings for our students from time to time, ranging from dinners to theatre outings. Students also participate in our office social events, such as our annual summer picnic and December holiday party.

Students are encouraged to take all of the vacation time to which they are entitled, so they can get away from work and recharge their batteries.

You’ll work hard during your legal career, as student or lawyer. We help you get an early start on learning how to maintain a challenging practice without losing sight of the rest of your life—your family, your friends and activities you enjoy.

Money matters

To save you wondering about the answers to “the money questions,” here is some general information about the compensation and benefits available to our Toronto students.

Articling Students

Salary

Our Toronto articling students are paid a salary comparable to that paid by large Toronto firms. We review salaries regularly to make sure that our students are fairly compensated. In addition to receiving their salary during articles, students will also be paid for 14 days while they are studying for and writing their licensing examinations.

Vacation

Our Toronto articling students are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation, which they can take when they choose.

Law Society fees

The firm pays the licensing process fees for all of our Toronto articling students. The firm also pays each student’s fees to join the Law Society as a student member, and also the Call to the Bar fees for students if they are hired back as associate lawyers.

Health care benefits

The firm’s benefit plan covers 80% of the cost of extended health care and dental benefits and life insurance coverage for articling students, their spouses and their children during the time that students are preparing for and writing their licensing examinations, as well as the time that students are articling.

Fitness allowance

The firm provides articling students with an allowance of $500 per year to be applied to the cost of membership in a fitness facility or the cost of participation in a recreation or wellness program.

Career Preparation

Working as a student at Lerners can be a great stepping stone to the rest of your career as a lawyer.

Many of our articling students return to the firm as associates, as the figures below shows:

  • 2016-2017: 4 students, 3 hired back as associates
  • 2015-2016: 4 articling students, 1 hired back
  • 2014-2015: 4 articling students, 2 hired back
  • 2013-2014: 5 articling students, 2 hired back
  • 2012-2013: 6 articling students, 3 hired back
  • 2011-2012: 5 articling students, 2 hired back

In cases where articling students do not return to the firm as associates—either because we are not able to offer positions to them or because they have decided to pursue careers in different cities or outside of private practice—the firm tries hard to help them find the kind of position they would enjoy. For example, we give constructive feedback on cover letters and resumés, provide reference letters, and contact our colleagues in other law firms to encourage consideration of our former articling students for any openings they may have.

Whether our students return as associate lawyers or leave the firm to pursue their careers elsewhere, we think the most valuable contribution we make to students is excellent training that will serve them well in their careers wherever they choose to go.

What our students say

“From the moment I started articling, Lerners provided me with a supportive and intellectually challenging environment. Before articling, my goal was to gain exposure to all areas of litigation and I can confidently say that my expectations were met and exceeded. Last but not least, I was impressed with the calibre and consummate professionalism of the people that I have been fortunate enough to work with.”

Eni Eski, 2012-2013 Toronto articling student

“At Lerners, students are an important part of any litigation team. During my articling year, I routinely saw my legal research shape arguments for motions, trials, and submissions before the Ontario Court of Appeal. Each time I completed a task, I felt that my work was appreciated and that my ideas were valued. All of my assigning lawyers – even the most senior partners – took the time to teach me, to collaborate on legal problems, and to bring me to court so I could see my work in action. Put simply, articling at Lerners means doing meaningful work every day.”

Nadia Marotta, 2012-2013 Toronto articling student

“My time here at Lerners as both a summer and articling student has been very fulfilling. What has made this experience particularly enjoyable is the great group of people I have worked with. From the beginning, the lawyers and staff have provided me with invaluable guidance in a welcoming and collegial setting. I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to article at such a supportive firm.”

Mahsa Dabirian, 2010 summer student and 2011-2012 articling student

“I am extremely grateful that I have gotten the opportunity to article at Lerners. The lawyers at the firm practice in a wide variety of areas, all of which are very interesting. Everyone works incredibly hard to make sure that students are exposed to different kinds of files.  As a student, I have access to a variety of resources that help me complete my assignments and properly manage my time. Throughout my articling term, I have been consistently exposed to new and and exciting experiences. Overall, I really enjoy the work that I get to do at Lerners!”

Dylan Cox, 2015-2016 articling student

“Lerners provides articling students a good variety of work and great opportunities to work on important cases, which alone is enough for me to be grateful to have the opportunity to article here. But in addition to providing interesting work for its students, Lerners also at its deepest core appreciates that a variety of styles can be effective when it comes to good advocacy. Consequently, during the course of my articles here I have been exposed to significantly different, yet effective, personalities and approaches to litigation. This exposure has been surprisingly beneficial for me and has substantially promoted my own growth to an extent that I don’t think would have occurred anywhere else.”

Sean Aherne Biesbroek,  2015-2016 articling student

To reach our students

If you are interested in articling opportunities at Lerners, we encourage you to talk to students who have worked here as articling students. Students who have worked with us recently are listed below. If you need information about contacting any of our past students, please contact our Director of Associate and Student Development, Sylvia Davis, at 416.601.2660 or sdavis@lerners.ca.

Articling

2017-2018 Students (commencing July 10, 2017)

2016-2017 Students

  • Eric Dumschat (Western)
  • James Kwon (Queen’s)
  • Ravi Sahota (Windsor)
  • Noorain Shethwala (Osgoode)

2018-2019 Students

  • Jessie Gomberg (Windsor)
  • Cassidy Johnston (NCA/Dundee)
  • Spencer Jones (Western)
  • Alec Yarascavitch (Toronto)
Summer

The Toronto office does not hire summer students.

How do I apply?

ARTICLING

The Toronto office has filled its 2017-2018 articling positions.

The Toronto office has also filled its four 2018-2019 articling positions, and does not plan to hire additional students for 2018-2019. The firm currently expects to hire four articling students for the 2019-2020 articling term, in accordance with the rules for 2019-2020 articling recruitment, when those rules have been established by the Law Society.

Articling applications should include the following:

  • covering letter
  • résumé
  • a copy of your undergraduate transcripts and your law school transcripts to date, as well as graduate transcripts if applicable (a copy of your transcript is acceptable for the application, but you should be prepared to provide an official transcript at the interview, if requested)
  • a list of the third year law school courses you plan to take
  • the names and contact information for at least two references. Reference letters are not required, but are welcome.

You are welcome to submit your application through viDesktop, or by email, mail, courier or fax.

SUMMER

The Toronto office does not hire summer students.

Applications and inquiries should be directed to:

Sylvia L. Davis
Director of Associate and Student Development

Lerners LLP
Suite 2400
130 Adelaide Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 3P5

Phone: 416.601.2660
Fax: 416.867.9192 or 519.932.3309
E-mail: sdavis@lerners.ca

    I am extremely grateful that I have gotten the opportunity to article at Lerners. The lawyers at the firm practice in a wide variety of areas, all of which are very interesting. Everyone works incredibly hard to make sure that students are exposed to different kinds of files. As a student, I have access to a variety of resources that help me complete my assignments and properly manage my time. Throughout my articling term, I have been consistently exposed to new and and exciting experiences. Overall, I really enjoy the work that I get to do at Lerners!

    Dylan Cox, 2015 – 2016 Toronto articling student

    The time I have spent at Lerners, both as a summer and articling student, has been enriching and meaningful. I have had opportunities for client contact, drafting court documents, managing carriage files, court appearances and various other experiences with respect to the daily practice of law. The lawyers at Lerners have always been welcoming, making themselves available to act as mentors, a great example of their commitment to the student experience. The firm culture is one of collegiality and professionalism. Relationships build the foundation of practice at Lerners.

    Stephanie Doucet, 2014 London summer student, 2015-2016 London articling student

    Lerners provides an excellent learning environment which allows their students to truly experience the practice of law. The work I received during my summer session was diverse and interesting and included research projects, drafting court documents and attending proceedings such as tribunal hearings, examinations for discoveries and Power of Attorney matters.

    Greg Willson, 2015 London summer student, 2016-2017 London articling student

Life at Lerners

  • (For articling students) Comprehensive medical and dental coverage provided after only 1 waiting day. 100% coverage Generic drugs, 80% coverage Brand Name drugs. $200 vision care during articles.

  • (For articling students) 1 X annual earnings to a maximum $100,000.

  • (For articling students) Ceridian provides employee assistance, confidential counselling services and access to its extensive Website 24/7.

  • (For all students) Students are entitled to one paid sick day per month of employment.

  • (For all students) Extensive initial training on the firm's IT systems, processes and procedures, and on tips and techniques for completing student assignments.

  • (For all students) Each student has the support of two lawyer mentors – one senior, one junior.

  • (For all students) We offer in-house seminars on a wide range of topics, designed specifically for our students, as well as opportunities to attend in-house CPD seminars offered to our lawyers, and occasional external seminars.

  • (For all students) A full-time student administrator – one in each of our offices – looks after work distribution to students, ensuring a balanced, diverse experience for all students.

  • (For all students) Students receive informal feedback on an ongoing basis, and also have two evaluation meetings.

  • (For articling students) The firm pays the Call to the Bar fee and the cost of court attire for students hired as associates with the firm upon the conclusion of articles.

  • (For articling students) We cover our students' fees for the Law Society licensing process application, articling program, and licensing materials and examinations.

  • (For all London office students)Students are entitled to free parking at work.

  • (For all students) Students participate in firm-wide social events (holiday party, summer picnic and more) as well as outings just for students, such as dinners and sports events.

  • (For all students) Every Friday is Casual Day. Funds are raised every other Friday for a local charity if you wish to participate.

  • (For articling students) Students are eligible for an annual allowance to assist with certain work-related expenses, such as fitness expenses.

  • (For articling students) Students are eligible for ten paid vacation days during articles.

Committed to an Accessible Ontario

In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the Integrated Accessibility Standards, Ontario Regulation 191/11, accommodations are available, upon request, to support potential applicants with disabilities throughout the recruitment, assessment and selection process. Should you require accommodation in order to fully participate in the process please contact us by emailing accessibility@lerners.ca, or by phone at 519-672-4131 regarding accessibility in our London Office, or 416-867-3076 regarding accessibility in our Toronto Office.