McInnes Cooper’s objective is to provide articled clerks and students-at-law with comprehensive, high quality training in the practice of law. That training comes from practical, hands on “learning by doing”, combined with educational programming, a rotation system that ensures exposure to a variety of practice areas, a mentorship program, and meaningful feedback and evaluations.
Clerks and Students-At-Law are involved in the nuts and bolts of each file, from meeting with clients, researching the law and preparing legal opinions, drafting documents, to attending discovery examinations and trials, or at the closing of financial and property transactions. In Halifax, during their articling year, clerks rotate through two main areas of the firm: Business Law, where they have exposure to corporate finance and securities, commercial law, tax, cross-border transactions and property and Litigation, which involves a number of different practice groups including construction, insurance, admiralty, and labour and employment. There is also an optional rotation period when clerks can choose which department they would like to return to for more in-depth exposure to that area of law. Articled clerks in our Charlottetown, Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John, and St. John’s offices have ongoing exposure throughout the year to all of the different areas of law in which the firm practices.
To ensure that articled clerks are able to discuss their progress and that we fulfill our teaching and associated responsibilities effectively, we have a number of resources for clerks to help them through the articling year: In Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, St. John’s and Charlottetown each clerk has a partner assigned to them as a principal. The principal provides guidance throughout the year and meets regularly with the clerk to review evaluations and discuss progress. In Halifax, the Supervising Lawyer for articled clerks, Michelle Awad, meets regularly with the clerks and oversees the office’s articling program. Each clerk, in all offices, also has an associate mentor to provide advice and support throughout the articling year. The clerk and his or her mentor are encouraged to meet regularly for lunch; informal relationships frequently develop as well and continue in practice. These relationships are, and have always been, a well known part of our firm’s culture.
McInnes Cooper is serious about helping its junior members achieve success quickly. We were the first law firm in Atlantic Canada to have dedicated Professional Resources staff. Melissa Evans, the firm’s Manager of Legal Human Resources, oversees the student and clerk programs and is available as a friendly day to day point of contact for everything related to the student and clerking experience. Professional Resources holds regular substantive lunch sessions attended by students, clerks, associates, and partners and taught by specialist lawyers in the firm. The professional development opportunities available to clerks and students continue in practice.
Collective Social Responsibility and Diversity
McInnes Cooper prides itself on its CSR and diversity programs. These programs are not mere “side projects”. Rather, collective responsibility and diversity and inclusion are part of the core fabric of all of the firm’s operations. Students have the opportunity to take part in CSR and diversity initiatives.
Salary and Benefits
At McInnes Cooper, clerks are paid the same rate regardless of which office they are working in. Clerks are paid for a 12-month period (including in our St. John’s office where articles may be started during the second year summer position), including time spent at the Bar Admission Course and time spent studying for and taking the Bar exams. McInnes Cooper pays the clerks’ fees for articling and the Bar Admission Course and its related materials. For those asked to join McInnes Cooper as an Associate, we cover Bar admission costs and liability insurance fees. Other benefits for articled clerks include: start-up bonus, paid vacation, parking or bus pass, membership in the Canadian Bar Association; health and dental coverage for clerks and their family; and life insurance.
If you have any questions about our articling program, please feel free to reach out to Melissa Evans, or speak with one of our current articled clerks. They are our best ambassadors!