Clerkship Program

Applications are invited for the position of law clerk to the Judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. There are nineteen positions available, including at least one bilingual clerk who can work fluently in French.

PLACE OF WORK:

Court of Appeal for Ontario, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N5

PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT:

Maximum of one year - commencing: Tuesday, August 4, 2020

SALARY AND BENEFITS:

The current salary for articling students is $66,833 per annum. The current salary for counsel is $82,040 per annum.

Law Clerks will be hired as unclassified fixed term articling students or crown counsel (level 1) for the Ontario Public Service, under the Association of Law Officers of the Crown (ALOC) collective agreement and are entitled to benefits as fixed term employees as per that agreement.

REQUIREMENTS OF EMPLOYMENT:

You must be in your final two years of law school, including the final two years of a joint program, to apply.

Only persons holding Canadian citizenship or having permanent resident status in Canada or a work permit for Canada may apply. You must indicate in your application the basis on which you are entitled to work in Canada.

Emphasis in hiring is placed on academic excellence, legal research and writing skills, motivation, and work experience. The ability to manage multiple projects and to produce high quality work under strict deadlines is required.

VISITS AND INTERVIEWS:

Judges and clerks of the Court of Appeal may visit the law schools to promote the law clerk program in the fall of 2018. Interviews will take place the weeks of February 18 & 25, 2019.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.


HOW TO APPLY:

Applicants are encouraged to submit application materials through the VI Law Portal website (https://recruitcdn.viglobalcloud.com/) under MAG - Court of Appeal (Law Clerk). As VI Law Portal purges their systems on December 1st each year, please do not submit any application materials until after December 15, 2018.

Candidates attending law schools in Ontario: We require all Ontario Law School applicants to ensure that their law school's career services office is made aware of their application to the Court of Appeal. Please be sure to comply with your law school's internal application process.

Candidates are asked to submit the following materials with their applications:

  1. A cover letter;
  2. A current curriculum vitae;
  3. Two (2) letters of reference (at least one from a law professor) which should be addressed to the attention of Justice Katherine van Rensburg c/o the Legal Support Coordinator. A Dean's letter of recommendation of candidates from your law school does not count as one of the letters of reference. Please note that if a referee has requested that a letter of reference remain confidential, it may be sent by mail to the address below or by email directly to the court at lawclerkprogram@ontario.ca.
  4. A legal writing sample (up to a maximum 25 pages) that best demonstrates your abilities as a legal writer and your research and analytical skills. Please refer to FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - WHAT KIND OF WRITING SAMPLE SHOULD I SUBMIT? for more detailed information. Please note that anyone applying for the bilingual position will be asked to submit two separate writing samples, one in English and one in French.
  5. Official transcripts for all post-secondary studies (originals not required, so these can be downloaded with application materials to VI Law Portal).
  6. Certified, official transcripts of law school marks must be sent by mail to the address below.

If applicants are unable to submit their application materials through VI Law Portal, alternative methods of submission are:

By email to:

lawclerkprogram@ontario.ca;

or

By mail to:

Legal Support Coordinator
Court of Appeal for Ontario, Osgoode Hall
130 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 2N5
(application materials sent by mail must be single-sided & have no staples)

APPLICATION DEADLINE: All application materials must be received by the court by Wednesday, January 23, 2019.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Clerkship Applications

What sort of clerks are you looking for?

The court is looking for well-rounded students with strong academic records, excellent research, writing and analytical skills, and the ability to work well with judges and other staff.

Can I apply if I am in third year?

Yes, you can apply if you are in your final two years of law school, including the final two years of a joint program.

What kind of writing sample should I submit?

You should submit a writing sample that best demonstrates your abilities as a legal writer and your research and analytical skills (maximum 20-25 pages). Your writing sample should contain substantive legal analysis. You are welcome to submit a paper that is in the process of being graded. You should not submit anything written jointly or anything in published form.

Is it an asset to speak French?

Yes, we hire at least one bilingual clerk who is able to work in French and English.

Is the application process different for in-province and out-of-province students?

Yes. We require all Ontario law school applicants to ensure that that their law school's career services office are made aware of their application to the Court of Appeal. Please be sure to comply with your law school's internal application process.

What type of reference letters should I submit?

Each candidate must submit two letters of reference, at least one from a law professor. Ontario law school candidates who appear on their law school dean's letter of recommendation should not count that letter as one of their letters of reference. All reference letters should be addressed to the attention of Justice Katherine van Rensburg c/o the Legal Support Coordinator.

Should I take particular courses if I want to clerk?

The court does not require that clerks take any particular courses. However, given the broad jurisdiction of this court, it is helpful to have taken a wide range of courses.

Clerkship Interviews

Who conducts the interviews?

Each interview is conducted by two judges. A staff lawyer and a law clerk also sit in on each interview.

When are the interviews conducted?

The interviews for the 2020-2021 clerkship year will be conducted the weeks of February 18 & 25, 2019.

Do you pay travel expenses for those travelling to Toronto for the interviews?

We pay up to $100 for travel expenses within Ontario and up to $200 for travel expenses outside of Ontario, upon submission of travel receipts. Unfortunately, we are unable to cover the cost for hotel accommodation, taxi fares or food while travelling to the Court.

Clerkship Offers

I am concerned about the timing of the offers since I have applied to other courts. When does the Court of Appeal make its offers?

We do not make our offers until after the Supreme Court of Canada has finished its hiring process.

Terms and Conditions of Employment

When do the clerkships start and end?

The clerkship period will commence the first Tuesday in August after the civic holiday and will last for a period of up to 12 months.

I will have articled prior to clerking. Does that make any difference?

If you have articled and been called to the bar prior to commencing your clerkship, you will be paid as Crown Counsel 1, not as an articling student. The salary differential and salary rates are governed by the collective agreement that applies to law clerks at the court.

Do you cover the cost of the bar admission course?

The court does not cover the cost of the bar admission course, but clerks hired as articling students receive a $4,975.00 educational stipend.

Law Society Requirements

Does clerking at the Court of Appeal satisfy Ontario's articling requirement?

Yes, a clerkship at the court satisfies the articling requirement.

Do I have to write the licensing exams prior to clerking?

Prior to their start date, all the articling students are requested to complete the Solicitor and Barrister examinations. Students can start their articling term any time after the Licensing Exams are completed.

Are there any special requirements if I have attended a law school outside of Canada?

If you attended a law school outside of Ontario, you may have to satisfy additional requirements before you can article in Ontario. You are advised to contact the Law Society directly for information.

The Clerking Experience

When do I find out who I will be working with?

Clerks are given their judge/clerk assignments after they arrive at the court.

How many judges will I work with over the course of the year?

The court has a rotation system. Clerks will be assigned to work for one or two judges for half the year, and then switch and work for another one or two judges.

What kind of training do clerks get?

Clerks undergo a multi-day orientation program upon their arrival at the court. Clerks also receive training throughout the year - for instance, there is a seminar on editing and the clerks are given an opportunity to argue a moot in front of judges to work on their advocacy skills.

What type of work do clerks do?

The primary tasks of law clerks are: (1) preparing pre-hearing bench memos; (2) conducting research; (3) editing judgments; and (4) assisting with papers and speeches. In addition to their work for their judges, the clerks each have a "special task", such as helping with recruitment, conducting tours, and organizing the clerks' speakers series.

Will the types of cases I work on depend on who I am assigned to?

The court typically hears more than 1,500 appeals per year in the areas of criminal, civil, family, administrative, and constitutional law. Judges are assigned to sit on cases randomly. That means that all judges sit on cases involving a wide range of legal issues, resulting in clerks having a broad exposure to different types of cases.

Does the job involve any traveling?

Each clerk has the opportunity to go to Kingston with a panel of judges to observe inmate appeals. For many clerks, this experience is one of the highlights of their clerking year.

How much contact will I have with judges?

Clerks have regular contact with the judges to whom they are assigned. They also have the opportunity to interact with other judges throughout the course of the year, informally and in the context of various events. The events include a welcome lunch, informal coffee sessions with the judges, a lunch for incoming clerks, and various other social events throughout the year.

What opportunities do clerks have to attend educational seminars?

Clerks have the opportunity to attend internal and external educational programs. The clerks have their own speakers series, which gives them an opportunity to meet with prominent members of the legal community. They are also invited to attend the judges' educational seminars. In addition, there is a budget for clerks to attend external educational seminars.

Will I have the opportunity to attend court?

Clerks are encouraged to observe Court of Appeal proceedings. They are also encouraged to watch trial proceedings at the nearby Superior Court and Ontario Court of Justice.

Post-Clerkship Opportunities

What is the MAG Hireback Pool?

All students who article for the Ministry of the Attorney General (which includes Court of Appeal law clerks) are eligible to apply for internal law jobs for a two-year period following completion of their articles with the recommendation of their articling principal.

What assistance are clerks given in searching for jobs?

Judges support clerks in the job search process. They may provide references for the clerks as well as put them in touch with potential employers.

What sorts of things do clerks do after leaving the court?

Former clerks go on to do work in a wide variety of areas after leaving the court. For instance, recent clerks have gone on to work in big firms, in small litigation boutiques, in Crown jobs, in criminal defence firms, in public interest settings, and on commissions of inquiry. A number of clerks have also gone on to graduate school.

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Note:

In accordance with the Ontario Public Service Employment Screening Checks Policy, the top candidate(s) may be required to provide a general or enhanced screening check. Please refer to the Additional Information / Address section above on this job advertisement to determine the screening check that is required for each position.

A general screening check includes a criminal record check and if applicable, fingerprint verification at your own expense. An enhanced screening check includes a criminal record check and if applicable, fingerprint verification at your own expense and permission for the Negotiations & Security Branch, Employee Relations Division to conduct any specific screening as indicated in the Additional Information / Address section above.

A record of a Criminal Code and/or other federal offence record(s) does not automatically mean you will be ineligible for the position. The screening check results will only be reviewed and evaluated by the Negotiations & Security Branch for the purpose of making a clearance decision. The details of an individual's screening check will be considered in specific relation to the duties and responsibilities of the position being filled. Screening check records will be maintained by the Negotiations & Security Branch and kept strictly confidential.

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