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.
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.
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 five consecutive years. The lawyer must also meet the requirements of Subrule 729(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 704, but who satisfies the Law Society that he or she is suitable to act as a principal (Subrule 704(6)). Please note that Rule 704 requires principals to receive prior approval to take an articling student.
A lawyer seeking to act as a principal must complete the Law Society Principal Training Course prior to the start of their student’s articling term (Rule 704). For more information on the mandatory Principal Training Course, click here.
You must serve under articles for twelve months (Rule 706). 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).
The Law Society supports flexibility in the articling program. The following options are available to students:
A traditional articling placement is served with an approved principal for a 12-month term (Rule 706). This term may include one or more secondments for a total of two months (Rule 709).
Students may also serve articles to a Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal or the Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench; the Supreme Court of Canada or any Federal Court in Canada; or a judge of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan (Rule 707). Students serving articles to a court must also serve a total of 12 months with not less than two months of that 12-month term to an approved principal in another practice setting.
A joint articling placement is served with two approved principals who agree to share the services of a student during the 12-month articling term. A joint articling placement requires each principal to enter into a Joint Articling Agreement (Form A-2.1) with their student.
In addition to joint articles, the Law Society will consider reasonable proposals for composite articles. In composite articles, a student has multiple approved principals in a variety of practice settings that accumulate to fulfill the 12-month articling term. Each time a student changes practice settings, he or she also changes to a new principal.
A part-time articling placement is served with an approved principal on a part-time basis for a continuous period that is equivalent to the 12-month articling term. The following requirements apply to part-time articles:
You can also serve articles to a Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal or the Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench; the Supreme Court of Canada or any Federal Court of Canada; or a judge of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan (Rule 707).
If you are serving articles to a court, you must also serve a total of 12 months, but you must serve not less than two months to a member approved as a principal pursuant to Rule 704.
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 703.
Please refer to Applying for Admission as a Student-at-Law for more information.
Once you have secured an articling position, there are three steps necessary to officially commence your articles:
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 law college 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.
The Career Development 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.
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 PREP Bar admission course. 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:
In return, your principal promises:
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.
Students-at-law are generally considered capable of performing any legal services their principals deem them competent to perform. There are, however, several limits to the legal services Students-at-law can provide. These limitations are established in The Law Society of Saskatchewan Rules, the King’s Bench Rules, The Legal Profession Act, 1990, and the Criminal Code of Canada.
Rule 713 of The Law Society of Saskatchewan Rules provides:
Services Performed by Students-at-Law
713(1) Subject to the Act, The King’s Bench Rules of Court, the Criminal Code, and subrule (2), a Student-at-law may perform any legal service that the principal:
(a) is personally competent to perform;
(b) supervises, to the extent necessary in the circumstances; and
(c) is satisfied that the Student-at-law is, because of the principal’s supervision, competent to perform.
(2) A Student-at-law shall not give or accept a professional undertaking.
The Legal Profession Act, 1990, states that an articled student-at-law may act as counsel in any proceedings authorized by The King’s Bench Rules. Section 2-35 of these rules authorizes articling students to appear before a judge in chambers either: unsupervised if the matter is uncontested or uncomplicated or, alternatively, accompanied by the lawyer in charge of the file so long as the lawyer in charge has filed written notice.
2‐35(1) An articled student-at-law may represent a party before a judge sitting in chambers if:
(a) the student-at-law is accompanied by the lawyer in charge of the file; or
(b) subject to subrule (2), the matter on which the student-at-law appears is:
(i) uncontested; or
(ii) an uncomplicated contested matter.
(2) An articled student-at-law may not appear on a matter pursuant to subclause (1)(b)(ii) unless the lawyer in charge of the file has filed, no later than the day before the matter is to be heard, a written notice stating that the student-at-law will be appearing and certifying that the student-at-law has been properly briefed.
(3) Notwithstanding subrules (1) and (2), the chambers judge may require the personal attendance of the lawyer in charge of the file.
Pursuant to section 802.1 of the Criminal Code (and Province of Saskatchewan Order in Council 65/2019), a defendant may appear personally or by counsel or agent, which includes students-at-law, to act on behalf of a defendant who may be liable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term of more than six months.
A student-at-law’s ability to provide legal services is, as mentioned above, largely dictated by their principal’s assessment of the student’s abilities and competence. If you have any concerns about whether you should engage in the type of work assigned to you, discuss it with your principal. If you and your principal have concerns about whether the work is appropriate, please contact the Admissions and Education Department at the Law Society for further direction.
Students and principals will be provided with an articling plan and checklist 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. Students and principals are encouraged to use these documents to assist in planning an effective work program that maximizes the educational aspect of articling.
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:
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.
All of your dealings with other lawyers, clients and members of the public should be civil, courteous and professional 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:
Under Rule 709 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 (Form A-17) pursuant to Rule 704, or to a court pursuant to Rule 707, for a total of two months during the Student-at-law’s articling term.
The articles of a Student-at-law may be assigned to a new principal during his or her articling year under Rule 710 of the Law Society Rules, provided that:
From May to June 2019, The Law Society of Saskatchewan together with the Law Societies in Alberta and Manitoba conducted two surveys: one directed at articling students and new lawyers (articled in the last five years), and one directed at principals, recruiters and mentors. The surveys were designed to help the law societies better understand the level of satisfaction with the articling program and areas for improvement.
In Saskatchewan, the survey was completed by 105 articling students and new lawyers, and 64 principals, recruiters and mentors.
Overall, the survey provided rich data which deepened our understanding on a number of issues including workloads, compensation and retention rates, and areas where both students and mentors felt that further resources or assistance may be beneficial – such as mentorship and feedback. The results also contained troubling reports about the incidence of discrimination and/or harassment during both the recruitment phase and the articling experience. We are using this important information to direct decision making and resource allocation related to Law Society programs and initiatives.
To learn more about the survey findings, view the following material: