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Articling at Farris gives students the opportunity to become familiar with all areas of our practice, as well as time to focus on areas of particular interest to them. Farris offers a unique opportunity to students who want to learn the practice of law in an exciting, challenging, and supportive environment with excellent prospects for future employment.
The opportunity to become thoroughly familiar with our people, facilities, and resources is fundamental to every student’s success. Therefore, Farris provides all summer and articling students with a thorough orientation program. The various components of the orientation will occur within the first two weeks of your arrival at the firm.
Your introduction to our systems and resources will include the training necessary to ensure your proficiency with our office procedures, library and research capabilities, and our technology. We will arrange for you to tour the Vancouver Courthouse (including the BC Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Registries and Chambers) and Small Claims Court.
Unlike some law firms, our articling program is not focused on a strict rotation system. Our emphasis, consistent with the degree of responsibility our students assume, is to promote each individual’s exposure to a broad range of practice areas within the firm.
Our modified, or “relaxed” rotation system is designed to provide our students with a broad range of experience. Each articling student spends three months in a litigation/labour rotation and three months in a solicitor rotation. For the balance of the articling period, each student is assigned to a “general” rotation. During this time, a student is not assigned to any particular area and may seek out work from any practice area.
We believe that students benefit from extended involvement in the matters that they work on as well as continuity of exposure. Our students, therefore, continue to be involved in files that are ongoing when they change rotations. We make every effort to ensure our students experience a balanced, challenging, and fulfilling year of articles, and can accommodate our students’ requests to focus on a specific area of law that may be of particular interest to them.
To complement the experience and training that students gain on files, we have designed a comprehensive seminar training program for our articling and summer students. The seminars are given by our lawyers and take place over lunches and breakfasts throughout the year. Written reference materials are also provided. This instruction provides students with practical skills and advice that will equip them to be successful at the practice of law.
Simply stated, our articling students do virtually everything a lawyer does. We assign significant responsibilities to our students from the outset, on the principle that each young lawyer’s growth and achievement are best able to develop through direct involvement in challenging, professional experiences. We encourage each student to conduct themselves as a lawyer to the greatest extent possible, recognizing the support and guidance they require in order to do so.
Students are not assigned to a Partner or group, but work with the firm as a whole, and are able to confer and relate with lawyers, staff, and clients. Discussions and conferences are frequent and informal among everyone at the firm, and every effort is made to ensure that the client’s interests are communicated to the student who may be discharging a specific assignment on the client’s behalf.
Students appear in court and chambers; carry significant responsibility on files; research and assist in preparing opinions; attend and conduct examinations; participate in negotiations, meetings, and transaction closings; and draft court documents and commercial agreements. Students enjoy ample opportunity to become involved in a variety of areas, and are encouraged to seek out work in areas of particular interest to them.
Our clients, practice areas, and work reflect the breadth and depth of the matters in which our students are involved. Historically, our students have achieved significant advances in their knowledge and practical experience as a result of their exposure to complex transactions and cases at an early stage. The benefits are twofold: we succeed in our goal of helping to develop the individuals we look to as our future associates and partners, and our students enter the profession with increased potential for success.
The Trial Experience Program is performed by junior lawyers and students and overseen by our Partners. Our program provides students and lawyers the opportunity to run their own files and develop excellent trial skills while contributing to the community. Trials are obtained through a number of avenues including but not limited to Pro Bono Law BC, Legal Aid (matters that failed to qualify for financial support), the Salvation Army Pro Bono Program and Small Claims Court trials on behalf of clients of the firm. Participation in the program is encouraged as Farris is committed to developing excellent trial counsel. All time spent on pro bono activities are taken into account for performance review purposes as lawyers are not subject to a billable target. Pro bono files are treated like every other file in the office in terms of supervision and resources committed to these files.
We do not have set billing targets for Partners and Associates; likewise, we do not assign billing targets to our students. We encourage our students to manage their workload, recognizing the importance of outside activities and life outside the office. Typically, each student’s billable hours will vary from month to month throughout their articles.
From time to time students may be asked to travel, primarily within BC and Canada, and occasionally overseas.
In order to facilitate team building amongst our students, we organize a number of events throughout the articling year for students to get a chance to know each other, other lawyers at the firm and to network. Examples of some of our typical events students are invited to include: