From an “employability” perspective, clerking is a positive step regardless of the legal career you intend to pursue. While it is true that any student with an interest in academic work should definitely consider applying for a clerkship, students who intend to practice can also benefit from the experience.
What is Clerking?
Clerking gives you an opportunity to see the “inside” of the judicial decision-making process, to hone your research and writing skills and to gain a “judge’s eye view” of good advocacy.
Clerkships: Federal Court of Appeal Presentation:
How do I get a Clerkship?
Most Law Clerks are recent law school graduates who performed at or near the top of their class.
Successful candidates for all clerkships are usually selected based on a distinguished academic record, academic recommendations, strong research and writing skills and interviews with judges.
Most Canadian courts accept applications for judicial clerkships from graduating law students or experienced lawyers who have already been called to the Bar in Canada or abroad. Most provincial superior and appellate courts hire at least one clerk for each judge. Typically students in their last two years of law school are eligible to apply for these positions, but increasingly, experienced practicing lawyers are also considered for these positions. The term typically lasts a year.
|Court||Approx. # of Clerks per year||Application Deadline|
|Supreme Court of Canada||27||January 18, 2021|
|Federal Court of Appeal||12||January 11, 2021|
|Federal Court of Canada||31||January 11, 2021|
|Tax Court of Canada||10||January 8, 2021|
|Court of Appeal for Ontario||12||January 18, 2021|
|Ontario Superior Court of Justice||21||January 20, 2021|
|Court of Appeal of British Columbia||11||January (TBA)|
|British Columbia Supreme Court||18||January (TBA)|
|Nova Scotia Court of Appeal||1-3||TBA|
* Students who apply in 3rd year would not be clerking until after their articles are completed.
** Third year students may apply but cannot have completed articles prior to commencing their clerkship.
For both the Supreme Court of Canada and the Quebec Court of Appeal, being able to work in both English and French is strongly preferred.
Generally fulfills the articling requirement for provincial law societies (check the Law Society in the province you plan to Clerk in just to make sure).
Many law clerks have gone on to become leaders of the profession.