Law students in British Columbia have a new job-hunting resource. The Law Society of B.C., along with the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association, has launched a new web-based articling registry.
It allows firms to post available articling positions, which can be searched by students using a number of parameters. Job seekers also have the option of posting their resumé to the site, allowing potential employers to hunt for them instead.
In its 2007 small-firm task force report, the LSBC found that small firms (four lawyers or less) and sole practitioners often had problems recruiting articling students. The report recommended an online registry as one way to promote and increase awareness of available small firm articles.
It’s free for firms to post positions, and free for students to use as well.
While the main intention is to publicize available positions in smaller communities with smaller-sized firms, the site won’t be limited in any way. LSBC President John Hunter says any firm will be able to post a position.
“While our goal is to ensure that small firms use it, the registry’s focus is broader than just these firms. If every law firm and legal department in B.C., regardless of size, uses the registry, we will have maximized its success.”
Posting articling positions to the web certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, but the heightened search capabilities and resumé-posting option makes this service stand out.
Users will be able to search for positions by location or by practice area.
There are also plans to incorporate the new service with the existing shared articling program, which is used by small firms that don’t always have the resources to provide a full articling term. Instead, students can opt to do a portion of their term with one firm and finish up at another. The registry will make it easier to find and co-ordinate two firms offering this option.
The registry should heighten awareness of positions available outside of the heavily populated lower mainland and Victoria regions. According to the law society, the majority of students currently choose placements at large firms in these urban areas.
The society doesn’t have exact numbers of students in large versus small firms, but it can confirm that a large proportion of lawyers practise in the urban areas, which tend to be home to the larger-sized firms.
Hunter says, “Fifty-four per cent of lawyers practise in Vancouver County, 12 per cent in Westminster County, and 10 per cent in Victoria County. Articling placements are approximately the same proportion.”
Regardless of whether the site helps to promote the small-firm environment, having another articling position resource will be helpful to students trying to secure a job.
The community will begin to see more advertising of the new registry in the next few months. Hunter says that, even without any marketing activity, the LSBC had two firms sign up in the first week of the site being implemented. He adds that law society staff “expect the numbers to grow significantly once they become aware of its existence.”