Members of the Society who are in good standing and who have been in active practice for at least five of the last seven years may qualify to act as Principal for a student-at-law. The member must either have a principal office for business in New Brunswick; be employed as a barrister and solicitor by the Province of New Brunswick; or by a legal department of a municipality or corporation located in New Brunswick; or is a certified full time judge of the Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Canada or the Supreme Court of Canada.
How should we get started?
Spend some time with your student and orient your student to your office. In addition to your obligations under the Articling Agreement (Form 2) and the Educational Plan (Form 4), you should review the responsibilities of office personnel - lawyers, students, office manager, office accountant, bookkeeper, paralegals, secretaries, receptionist; discuss the lines of authority and supervision, explain the procedures for requesting work assignments, advice and feedback; explain the accounting, billing and timekeeping procedures; discuss any special policies or practices regarding correspondence, trust conditions, admission of service, etc. and finally, explain the procedures for opening, maintaining and closing files in your office.
Give your student as many opportunities as possible to attend interviews, meetings, hearings, and examinations for discovery, trials and appeals. Before taking the student along, provide the student with the background to the event. After the event, discuss it with the student, focusing on the issues of professional judgment, ethical issues, goals, tactics and strategies.
Guidance and Feedback
Give your student exposure to as many areas of practice as possible. Remember that he or she will be licensed as a general practitioner. When giving the student work assignments, provide initial explanation and direction, tell the student what is expected of him or her, and tell the student when the work is due.
The student should accompany the principal to court hearings, examinations for discovery, meetings with clients and negotiation sessions. The student cannot learn from his or her experiences without reasoned, informed, honest comment based on your personal observation. Also provide feedback on written work assignment.
If the student is receiving assignments from more than one lawyer, provide some guidance to assist the student in setting priorities. This will not only develop the student's ability to handle large volumes of work and face the pressures of practice, but will alleviate problems for the lawyers who assign work to students and count on it being done.
Establish times and methods of communicating with the student about his or her articling experience (type of work, amount of work, quality of supervision) and the student's progress and performance in the Bar Admission Course.
Give your student instruction and guidance in such matters as communication with clients, diarization systems, tickler systems, and file management. Time and effort spent in improving the competency of students will result in higher professional standards and a lower incidence of losses, claims, and complaints to the Law Society.
What are my responsibilities as a Principal?
- instruct or supervise the instruction of your articling student in professional conduct, legal ethics and professional responsibilities;
- instruct or supervise the instruction of the student in the Practice Areas and Skills Areas you have identified on the Educational Plan;
- to consult with all Associate Principals, if applicable, to confirm that they have instructed the student in accordance with the Educational Plan;
- to supervise the work of the student during the Articling Period and to complete all assessments and forms required by the Law Society of New Brunswick during the period of articles.
What other forms must be filed during the Articling period?
No later than six months after the student-at-law has started articles, you must complete with your student and file an Education Plan Assessment (Form 5). This is the perfect opportunity for you and your articling student to evaluate the student’s education in relation to the Educational Plan you completed at the beginning of the articling period. If you find that the student’s education is falling short in some areas, this is the time to make some adjustments.
What are the requirements at the end of the Articling Period?
At the end of the articling period the Law Society will ask you to certify that the student has completed at least forty-eight weeks (48) of articles under your supervision in Form 6 – Certification of Completion of Education Plan and Articling Agreement. You will also certify that the student has demonstrated a reasonable knowledge of the Practice Areas and reasonable skills in the Skills Areas as required under the Education Plan that you filed with the Society. In addition, you are asked to certify that the student is deserving of recommendation for admission to the Law Society of New Brunswick.
You must also file a Confidential Articles Evaluation (Form 8) before the student will qualify for admission.
The Limits of Students’ Practice
Rule 75 of the Rules pursuant to the Law Society Act, 1996 authorises appearances by students in a limited range of circumstances. A student-at-law may do any of the following under supervision of the student’s principal:
- apply for default judgment;
- obtain consent orders in chambers;
- assess costs;
- examine judgment debtors;
- serve documents;
- attend on the issuance of a summons under the Provincial Offences Procedure Act;
- apply for an order validating service;
- apply for a certificate of pending litigation; and
- attend on all procedural matters prior to trial in Provincial Court.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
Do not hesitate to contact the Director of Admissions if you have any questions at (506) 458-8540.