1. Whom will I be working with/for as an articled clerk or student?
During a summer or articling term with Stewart McKelvey you will begin to build the working relationships with other members of our firm that will provide the foundation for your practice as a lawyer. As such, our goal is to give our students and clerks an opportunity to work with as many lawyers and in as many practice areas as possible.
We do not restrict the flow of work to our summer students – projects may be assigned to you by a lawyer in any practice group at any time throughout the summer. This gives you an opportunity to see projects through from beginning to end and to work in a variety of areas of law during your summer work term.
During the articling term, we follow a similar approach. However, the law societies in each of the Atlantic provinces provide guidelines as to the required skills to be covered during the articling term. Each province is slightly different, but our articled clerks in each office experience the opportunity to work with a wide range of practitioners in a wide range of practice groups. We provide formal mentoring arrangements, but our articled clerks are not limited to working with their mentors only.
As an articled clerk, you will also have opportunities to work directly with our clients.
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2. What professional development opportunities do you offer?
Our summer students are provided with extensive training and development in relation to lawyering skills, substantive legal issues and in law firm management. During the summer term, we offer specific training with respect to the use of our technology and our research resources, as well as providing a series of detailed lunch-and-learn sessions on a wide variety of topics.
Our articled clerks, likewise, participate in specific training and discussion sessions on relevant topics to supplement the training provided by the law societies. In addition, our articled clerks are permitted to attend local professional development opportunities presented by the Canadian Bar Association or law society, when appropriate.
Our firm puts a high priority on ongoing professional development. All lawyers in our firm, from junior associates to the most senior partners, are encouraged to participate in professional development activities and conferences offered in their respective practice areas, including those offered by our in-house professional development staff. Our success is based on our ability to offer superior legal services and this is only possible through our dedication to maintaining the highest level of skills in our lawyers.
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3. What is your hire-back ratio?
At Stewart McKelvey we do not have a specified hire-back ratio. Our philosophy is to hire students to article whom we hope will some day become our partners. During the articling term, the articled clerks are evaluated regularly and if we believe that, based on an articled clerk’s work, he or she will be a successful Stewart McKelvey lawyer in the long term, we will make the investment in hiring that person as an associate.
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4. Who are your clients?
We are privileged to have a strong, loyal client base made up of a number of clients of various sizes and types. Our client base is primarily (but not exclusively) based in the Atlantic region. The core of our client base is owner-managed businesses, some of which are large public entities and some of which are small private companies. These businesses are entrepreneurial and growing, and we work alongside them to build and expand their businesses across the region, the country and the world.
We also act for institutional clients, such as banks and insurance companies, the public sector, and widely held public companies. We have longstanding relationships with many of our clients, which allow us to assist them not only on transactions from time to time but also to provide them with strategic advice through our knowledge of them, their businesses and their markets.
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5. What is your firm culture?
Firm culture is challenging to describe in a way that provides a meaningful answer. Our culture is shaped by our clients, our communities and our people. It is perhaps best to attempt to describe our culture through a statement of what we value most. Our value statement is set out below:
We are a client-driven organization which takes a long term view of our relationships with clients and others with whom we deal. Independence, individual initiative and a business-like approach are encouraged in a collegial team environment. We are committed to excellence in the practice of law and to earning our clients' trust and meeting their needs. We wish to conduct our practice in a manner which is economically efficient to our clients and highly rewarding, financially and otherwise, to our partners and to our associate lawyers.
Our Dealings With Each Other
We are supportive of our partners and associates in all of our offices. We recognize that our firm as a whole will grow and prosper if we support one another. We treat each other, our staff and others with whom we deal, with respect, courtesy and openness. Differences in the degree of financial contribution made by each of us is only intended to be reflected in the compensation which we receive. We value and reward initiative and hard work, recognizing that our firm must be able to accommodate individuals with varying aspirations and expectations. We strive to be team players. Each of us recognizes our individual duty to conduct and manage our practice in a manner which is in the best interests of the firm.
Our Professional Development
We are prepared to make significant investment in our firm and in the people who comprise it. We intend that all associate lawyers who join our firm will be afforded an equal opportunity to become a partner in our firm, while recognizing the need for profitability and economic contribution to the firm and the other attributes of ownership. Within the context of our economic objectives and our commitment to clients, we strive to accommodate those who wish to work on a non-traditional basis or to adopt a career path which does not lead to ownership in the firm.
Our Other Values As A Firm
We are committed to the highest ethical standards and recognize that our firm must take a leadership role in our profession. We acknowledge the importance of our families and the need to work in a manner which is sensitive to the needs of our families. While recognizing the time limitations and strengths, weaknesses and preferences of all of our lawyers, we strive to actively be involved in business, industry and community organizations and to maintain our visibility as lawyers and as members of our communities. Our personal and firm charitable activities are intended to contribute genuinely to our communities.
You will note the first sentence in our value statement describes us as “client-driven”. Our client-oriented philosophy shapes every aspect of our business and how we work. We strive to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations with every piece of work that we undertake. We hire students and articled clerks that understand client service and are ready to meet and exceed client expectations. We enjoy what we do and who we work with and for – and it shows in our results.
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6. Who do I contact for more information about the application process?
The applicable contact information can be found under the “Articling Contacts” tab in the Articling & Students section of our webpage. Also, your law school career placement office will be able to provide you with schedules and requirements related to on-campus interviews.
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