Becoming a Lawyer in Saskatchewan
Articling in Saskatchewan
Articling is an important part of the bar admission training process. It is the Law Society's goal to provide articling students with challenging and rewarding learning experiences during articles and in the bar admissions program. We are pleased to offer a program that will help articling students acquire and apply the skills they will need to practice law as an ethical, competent and professional member of the Saskatchewan Bar.
One of your first priorities as an articling student should be to familiarize yourself with the rules and guidelines that govern what is expected of you during your articles.
- Qualifications to Act as a Principal (Rule 152)
- Duration of Articles (Rule 153)
- Law Clerks (Rule 154)
- Transfer into Saskatchewan during Articles (Rule 155)
- Submit Proof of Entry into Articles (Rule 156)
- CPLED Articling Position Requirement
- Additional Resources for Students Seeking Articles
- What is Expected of You During Your Articles?
- What Can You Do as an Articling Student? (Rule 161)
- Articling Plan and Reports
- Do You Automatically Become a Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public?
- Can You Have a Business Card and Be on the Firm's Letterhead?
- How Should You Relate to Other Lawyers and to Clients?
- Secondment of Articles (Rule 157)
- Change of Principal or Firm (Rule 158)
Qualifications to Act as a Principal (Rule 152)
A Principal is generally the most influential person in the life of an articling student. A Principal will often play many roles during the articling year: mentor, role-model, manager, counsellor and friend. A Principal's level of involvement throughout a student's articles will often correlate directly with the student's success, both in the office and in the bar admission process.
Principals, students and Bar Admissions staff work toward a common goal - to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to competently serve the public upon admission to the practice of law in Saskatchewan.
The Law Society of Saskatchewan regulates with whom students can article (Rule 152(4) to 152(7)). The Rules state that you can article with:
- a lawyer in private practice in Saskatchewan,
- a lawyer at Saskatchewan Justice or the Federal Department of Justice, or
- a lawyer at certain corporations, boards or commissions in Saskatchewan
that the Law Society has approved.
The lawyer you article with must be in full time active practice for at least five years immediately preceding the application under Rule 150. The Law Society has the discretion to allow a lawyer with fewer years in practice to take an articling student (Rule 152(8)). Please note that Rule 152 requires principals to receive prior approval to take an articling student.
Duration of Articles (Rule 153)
You must serve under articles for twelve months (Rule 153). Your length of service runs from the date of signing your Articles of Clerkship, your request for confirmation of clerkship or the date of your admission as a student-at-law, whichever is the latter (see Proof of Entry into Articles below).
Law Clerks (Rule 154)
You can also serve as a law clerk to a Justice of the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan or the Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan; a Judge to the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan; or a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court or the Tax Court of Canada (Rule 154).
If you are serving as a law clerk with the Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan, the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan or the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan, you must also serve a total of twelve months, but you must:
- serve not less than two consecutive months with a full-time practicing lawyer, or
- serve not less than one month with Saskatchewan Justice or the Saskatchewan Legal Aid Commission and not less than one month with a full-time practicing lawyer.
If you serve as a law clerk to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court or the Tax Court of Canada:
- you will receive one month's credit toward the 12 month articling requirement as set out in Rule 153 for each month served as a law clerk in excess of 3 months, up to a maximum credit of 9 months.
- The remainder of the twelve month period in accordance with Rule 153 must be served under articles with a qualified principal in Saskatchewan (Rule 152).
Transfer into Saskatchewan during Articles (Rule 155)
A student-at-law from another Canadian Province or Territory wishing to transfer into Saskatchewan to complete his or her articles must apply to be admitted as a student-at-law pursuant to Rule 150.
Please refer to Application for Admission as a Student-at-Law for more information.
Proof of Entry into Articles (Rule 156)
Once you have secured an articling or clerking position, there are 3 steps necessary to officially commence your articles:
- You must be approved as a student-at-law. For more information please see Application for Admission as a Student-at-Law.
- You must begin working with your principal and:
- If you are articling under a lawyer: Complete the Articles of Clerkship Agreement (Form A-2); or
- If you are serving as a law clerk: Request written confirmation of your clerkship from your supervising Judge or Justice.
- No later than 30 days after completing step 2, above, you must deliver to the Law Society:
- Your Articles of Clerkship Agreement (Form A-2) or confirmation of services as a law clerk;
- Confirmation that you have successfully completed your J.D./LL.B. or hold a Certificate of Equivalency issued by the National Committee on Accreditation; and
- The Articling Fee of $100 plus $5 GST for a total fee of $105 (Rule 156) within 30 days of the date of signing or request for confirmation.
All of this material must be filed directly with The Law Society of Saskatchewan office in Regina.
Delay in completing any of these steps may create unnecessary problems for you. You may be working at your office but the time will not be recognized if you did not apply to The Law Society of Saskatchewan to become a student-at-law or you did not sign the Articles of Clerkship, or, in the case of students clerking with a court, you did not request confirmation of your clerkship from the supervising Justice.
Although you may apply to become a student-at-law, you cannot sign Articles of Clerkship or serve as a law clerk until the Law Society receives confirmation that your degree was granted. The Law Society Membership Officer will contact the University of Saskatchewan, College of Law at the beginning of May each year to obtain a confirmation list of eligible students. If your degree is from a College of Law other than the University of Saskatchewan, please obtain written confirmation from that university confirming the date that your law degree was granted, and provide it to the Law Society. A copy of your actual law degree is not needed at this point. If you intend to start working before this written confirmation is received by the Law Society, the time worked will not be recognized as part of your articles.
CPLED Articling Position Requirement
Please note that while most students will have obtained an articling position prior to commencing the CPLED Bar Admissions Program, the Law Society recognizes that some students will still be seeking a position when the CPLED Program begins. Since the CPLED Program only runs once a year, the Law Society will allow students to commence the Program without an articling position. However, students must obtain a position prior to Module 6 or they will be forced to withdraw from the Program.
Additional Resources for Students Seeking Articles
The Career Office at the University of Saskatchewan - College of Law provides information and resources to help support U of S students in their search for an articling position. For more information, please contact Terri Karpish, Student Services Officer at 966-1924 or email@example.com.
What Is Expected of You During Your Articles?
During this period in your development as a lawyer, you will have, by virtue of your student-at-law status, the privilege of being able to serve the public in the practice of law, subject to some limitations. Your principal's job will be not only to supervise you, but also to teach and guide you as you develop the knowledge and skills needed to practice law. To assist with this, the Guidelines for the Education and Guidance of Articling Students were passed by the Admissions and Education Committee.
The Guidelines provide guidance on various issues including; Terms of Employment, Orientation to the Firm, Ethics and Professionalism, Mentoring and Teaching, Workload and Expectations, and the CPLED Bar Admissions Program. The Guidelines recognize that the articling experience is a cornerstone in the development of competent young lawyers. While Principals have the primary obligation to supervise their students, every lawyer who works with a student shares in that obligation. The Law Society of Saskatchewan relies on both Principals and firms to ensure students become competent and ethical professionals. In order to ensure this goal is met, Principals and firms that wish to take on an articling student are asked to implement policies and measures to ensure the Guidelines are met.
The contract you enter into with your principal (Articles of Clerkship) defines the parameters of your relationship with your principal and sets out your duties as an articling student as follows:
- to keep secret the affairs of your principal, the firm, and the firm's clients;
- to follow your principal's instructions and to be reliable; and
- to be honest, to work hard, and to act professionally.
In return, your principal promises:
- to use his or her experience and expertise to help you learn how to practice law; and
- to help you to be admitted as a lawyer in Saskatchewan.
This contract assumes that you know what it means to "act professionally." To practice law in a professional and ethical manner, you must be familiar with The Legal Profession Act, 1990, The Law Society of Saskatchewan Rules and the Code of Professional Conduct. One of your first priorities as an articling student should be to familiarize yourself with these Rules and Guidelines.
You also promise in this contract to keep all the work you do for your principal and for clients confidential. This is one of the most important promises you make to your principal as confidentiality is essential to the lawyer - client relationship. Do not discuss your clients or their cases with other articling students or with anyone outside of your firm.
Because you have certain privileges as a student-at-law, you also have obligations. You are subject to the same discipline as lawyers and if you are found guilty of "conduct unbecoming a student" the consequences are extreme. The Law Society of Saskatchewan can terminate your articles, suspend your articles, reprimand you and order you to pay a fine or pay the costs of their investigation and any hearing.
What Can You Do as an Articling Student? (Rule 161)
There are some limits to what a student-at-law can do in the practice of law. These limitations are set out in Rule 161 of The Law Society of Saskatchewan Rules, the Queen's Bench Rules, The Legal Profession Act, 1990, and the Criminal Code of Canada.
Subject to section 31(a)(i) and (ii) of The Legal Profession Act, 1990, and the provisions set out in the Queen's Bench Rules and the Criminal Code, your principal's judgment will dictate, to a large degree, what work you do. Rule 161(1) of the Law Society Rules indicates that you are allowed to perform any legal service that your principal:
- is personally competent to do;
- supervises to the extent necessary, given the circumstances; and
- is satisfied that you are, because of your principal's supervision, competent to do.
Rule 161(2) indicates that, as a student-at-law, you cannot:
- accept a case for the principal or firm;
- set the fees on a file;
- give or accept a professional undertaking; or
- settle a contested matter.
Although, as a student-at-law, you may appear in both Provincial Court and The Court of Queen's Bench, there are restrictions on what you may do. Specifically,
- the Criminal Code states that a student-at-law may not conduct a preliminary hearing for someone charged with an indictable offence.
- Queen's Bench Rule 10A states that, although students-at-law may represent a party before a judge sitting in chambers on uncontested or uncomplicated contested matters. The student-at-law must either:
- be accompanied by the lawyer in charge of the file; or
- the lawyer in charge must file advance notice with the Court saying that the student-at-law has been properly briefed.
Students-at-law may not appear in The Court of Queen's Bench (other than Chambers as outlined above) or the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan.
If you have any concerns about whether you should be doing the type of work that has been assigned to you, discuss it with your principal. If you and your principal have doubts about whether the work is appropriate, you can ask The Law Society of Saskatchewan for advice on the question.
Articling Plans and Reports
Students and principals will be provided with an Articling plan designed to assist students and their principals with planning activities that will provide a rich and comprehensive articling experience.
In addition to the Articling plan, students and principals will be given an Articling Report to complete twice during the articling year. The report contains a checklist of what a student may be expected to do during articles.
Articling Plans and Reports will be distributed by the Bar Admissions Office during the CPLED Bar Admissions Program. Students and principals are encouraged to use these documents to assist in planning an effective work program that maximizes the educational aspect of articling.
Do You Automatically Become a Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public?
When you are admitted as a lawyer, and as long as you remain a practicing member of The Law Society of Saskatchewan, you automatically obtain the status of Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public at no additional cost. If you want to obtain that status while you are still a student-at-law, you must apply to the Department of Justice and pay the required fee. You should familiarize yourself with:
- the law and practice regarding oaths, affidavits, statutory declarations, and guarantees;
- the appropriate forms of jurats; and
- the need for consistency and care in your practice as a Commissioner and Notary Public.
Can You Have a Business Card and be on the Firm's Letterhead?
As long as you are clearly designated as a "Student-at-Law," you may have your name on a firm business card and firm letterhead.
How Should You Relate to Other Lawyers and to Clients?
All of your dealings with other lawyers, clients and members of the public should be civil, courteous and professional. The legal profession and The Law Society of Saskatchewan are vitally concerned with the erosion of civility amongst lawyers and your articling year provides you with an opportunity to establish the ethical and civil conduct that is required in our profession. As an articling student, you must always conduct yourself in a manner appropriate to our profession. In addition, you should always:
- identify yourself clearly as a student-at-law (don't leave the impression that you are a lawyer entitled to practice);
- respond promptly and appropriately to telephone calls and letters from other lawyers and from clients; and
- follow the guiding principles set out in the Code of Professional Conduct.
Secondment of Articles (Rule 157)
Under Rule 157(1) a principal may permit his or her articled student to work in the office of another member who has been approved to act as a principal, for a period or periods not exceeding 8 weeks of the student-at-law's articling period.
Change of Principal or Firm (Rule 158)
The articles of a student-at-law may be assigned to a new principal during their articling year under Rule 158 of the Law Society Rules. Once students have made the necessary arrangements with their new principal, students must:
- complete the Assignment of Articles Agreement (Form A-4)
- sign the Agreement, along with their previous principal and their new principal, and
- send it to The Law Society, along with the filing fee of $100 plus GST within 30 days of the date it was signed.