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 in the bar admissions program, in conjunction with articles. 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 Law Society Rules and guidelines that govern what is expected of you during your articles.
- Application to Act as a Principal (Rule 152)
- Duration of Articles (Rule 154)
- Supervision by the Courts (Rule 155)
- Transfer into Saskatchewan during Articles (Rule 156)
- Submit Proof of Entry into Articles (Rule 153)
- 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 160)
- 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)
Application 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 who can act as a Principal (Rule 152).
A lawyer seeking to act as a Principal must complete and submit to the Law Society the Application to Act as Principal (Form A-17). In order to be approved as a Principal, the lawyer must be currently practising full-time in Saskatchewan and have practised in Saskatchewan for at least the past 5 consecutive years. The lawyer must also meet the requirements of Rule 176(2). The Law Society has the discretion to approve a lawyer to act as a Principal who does not meet the qualifications stated in Rule 152, but who satisfies the Law Society that he or she is suitable to act as a principal (Rule 152(5)). Please note that Rule 152 requires principals to receive prior approval to take an articling student.
Duration of Articles (Rule 154)
You must serve under articles for twelve months (Rule 154). Your length of service runs from the date of signing your Articling Agreement or the date of your admission as a student-at-law, whichever is the latter (see Proof of Entry into Articles below).
Supervision by the Courts (Rule 155)
You can also serve article to a Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal or the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench; the Supreme Court of Canada or any Federal Court of Canada; or a Judge of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan (Rule 155).
If you are serving articles to a court, you must also serve a total of twelve months, but you must serve not less than two months to a member approved as a Principal pursuant to Rule 152.
Transfer into Saskatchewan during Articles (Rule 156)
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 151.
Please refer to Application for Admission as a Student-at-Law for more information.
Proof of Entry into Articles (Rule 153)
Once you have secured an articling 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.
- Your proposed principal must be approved to act as a principal (Form A-17). This requirement does not apply to students serving articles to a court.
- Prior to commencement of articles you must file the following with the Law Society:
- Your Articling Agreement (Form A-2);
- Confirmation that you have successfully completed your J.D./LL.B; hold a Certificate of Qualification issued by the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA Certificate), or have completed all courses and examinations required to obtain an NCA Certificate; and
- The Articling Fee of $175 plus $8.75 GST for a total fee of $183.75 (Rule 153).
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 and file the Articling Agreement. The Articling Agreement must be signed and filed by all students-at-law, including those serving articles to a court.
Although you may apply to become a student-at-law, you cannot commence articles 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 articling 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 and/or apply for approval to begin the Program at the commencement of any Module. However, any student who has not commenced articles upon completion of 5 modules of the Program will be required 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Articling Agreement you enter into with your principal (Form A-2) 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 Agreement 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 Agreement 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 160)
There are some limits to what a student-at-law can do in the practice of law. These limitations are set out in Rule 160 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 160(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 in the circumstances; and
- is satisfied that you are, because of your principal's supervision, competent to perform.
Rule 160(2) indicates that, as a student-at-law, you cannot give or accept a professional undertaking.
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 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 pursuant to Rule 152, or to a court pursuant to Rule 155(1), for a total of 2 months during the student-at-law's articling term.
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, provided that:
- the new principal is approved to act as a principal pursuant to Rule 152;
- the student, the previous principal and the new principal execute and file the Assignment of Articles Agreement (Form A-4); and
- the articling assignment fee of $175 plus $8.75 GST is paid to The Law Society.