Thursday, August 24, 2006

Articling: Watching your Classmates Succeed

I didn't really think about it much during law school, but now that it is here, I really enjoy watching my friends and classmates going through their bar call ceremonies and becoming members of the Law Society. I haven't been able to attend all of the ceremonies, but I have been able to see photos and have heard the stories. Thinking back to their scared faces in those first year classes, and thinking of all of the panic going on in the law library, I wonder if I looked equally scared and panicked. All of my friends, save one or two, have succeeded in obtaining articles, completing their articles and bar exam/CPLED requirements, and getting offers from their firms. That's pretty good, I think. Way to go guys and gals!

The bar call ceremony is different everywhere. In Calgary and Edmonton, for example, you often do the ceremony en masse with a bunch of other new lawyers. In smaller centres, you usually go alone, or with one other person. That was the case for me. I went with another fellow who had been a solicitor in the U.K. for 11 years.

Our judge, a member of the Court of Queens Bench, met with us before hand, interviewed us, shared some good inside jokes and shared a bit of sage advice. The ceremony itself was really nice. Although it had its formal moments, it was also filled with joviality, and even laughter. It was really great to have friends and family in attendance. I have some classmates who had family come from pretty far away. For many parents, it is a very proud moment.

You will have to wear robes to your bar call ceremony in most jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions (such as Saskatchewan, I believe), you just go down somewhere and sign the Law Society register. There is no real ceremony. If you do end up having to wear robes, be prepared to pay between $900 and $1000. Some firms will cover this cost. You may want to negotiate this with your firm when you negotiate your articling contract. I didn't realize they would be so much money, and it hurt my bank account at a time when I was hoping to start getting ahead on student loans.

There are a bunch of administrative hoops that you will need to go through before you get called to the bar. In Alberta, the rule is that you cannot be called to the bar until 30 days have passed beyond the end of your articles. That is also something that nobody told me about before beginning my article, or during my article. What a rip off! Another month at articling salary sucks. I was able to push my call date up one week, but apparently that is as far as it can be pushed. So, be prepared for this little technicality. You will also have to fill out a bunch of paperwork, which will include your principal. Get this done before the end of your articles, so that you can submit it the day after your articles are complete and shorten any possible delays.

Be sure to read through the archives of this blog. There are many entries about law school, articling, the LSAT, and more. Shoot me any questions you might have, and be sure to check out my book whether you are just thinking about law school, are about to write the LSAT, are applying for law school, in law school already, or about to apply for articles.

No comments: