- About Clerkships
- Supreme Court of Canada
- Federal Courts
- Tax Courts
- Court of Appeal for Ontario
- Ontario Superior Court
- BC Courts
- Quebec Court of Appeal
- New Brunswick Court of Appeal
- Saskatchewan Court of Appeal
- Nova Scotia Courts
Securing a judicial clerkship position is an achievement that offers a number of intellectual challenges. Work as a clerk varies according to the court, and can include: researching points of law, preparing memoranda and assisting in the drafting of decisions. Given the nature of these positions, they are particularly interesting for students who intend to pursue a career in academia. As numerous firms are also pleased to count former court clerks among their lawyers, this experience can also be valuable for students wishing to work in firms.
Every fall, the CDO organizes both a general Clerkship Information Session and a Supreme Court Clerkship Information Session. More information concerning these sessions can be found on MyFuture. Students are also encouraged to consult the Clerkship Handbook 2014-2015 [pdf].
Students wishing to become members of a Canadian bar or law society are typically able to fulfil those organizations' articling requirement through clerkships.
Veuillez noter que les règles concernant les stages auprès de la magistrature varient selon la juridiction. Dans certains cas, par exemple, l'étudiant doit achever un stage raccourci avec un avocat après avoir terminé le stage auprès de la magistrature. Les étudiants sont donc encouragés de consulter les sites web des différentes associations de barreau avant de préparer leurs demandes. Plus d'information concernant les stages dans les différentes juridictions est disponible sur ce site, dans la section "Bar Requirements".
Students who have already summered should not be discouraged from applying for clerkships. Firms are generally flexible in the event that students obtain a clerkship position after summering with them. The firms can, for example, allow the students to complete their articling at the court and return to the firm as junior associates.
Clerkships for credit
The clerkships discussed in this section are not the same as the credited clerkships organized by the SAO. For information on those clerkships, please consult the SAO's website.
Supreme Court of Canada
Every year, the Chief Justice and eight Puisne Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada hire 27 law clerks. Each of these clerks is assigned to a specific judge. Clerks provide support to judges in a number of ways. More information concerning these positions is available on the Supreme Court's website.
Being a Supreme Court clerk is an extraordinary and prestigious experience. As a result, successful applicants must generally have a very strong academic record.
Applications for these positions must be handed in at the SAO in early January. Students are also encouraged to consult the SCC-CSC Information_Sheet_2014-2015.
N.B.: The Supreme Court clerkship program is not managed by the CDO. Specific questions about one's application should be directed to shauna [dot] vanpraagh [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Professor Van Praagh).
The Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal are national bilingual Courts. These courts' jurisdiction covers a variety of areas of law, such as: administrative law, crown liability, intellectual property, admiralty, immigration, income tax, human rights, aboriginal and environment law.
Each year, both courts generally hire a total of 45 clerks (12 clerks are hired for the Federal Court of Appeal and 33 for the Federal Court). Clerks work in Ottawa under the direction of a number of judges.
The Tax Court of Canada is the federal court responsible for tax-related disputes. There are 12 clerkships available at the court in Ottawa. Unlike other courts, students are not assigned to any particular judge. Following their clerkship, many law clerks have great success moving into the tax practice of a traditional law firm, the Department of Justice or the Department of Finance.
A note about submitting official transcripts in 2013: The Tax Court understands that not all students are able to have their law school transcripts sent to the TCC by the deadline date as many law schools have not finalized their marks until after the New Year. As long as the official copies of the transcript are forwarded to the TCC as soon as the marks are released and as long as the candidates mention this in their covering letters, candidates may rest assured that the delay will not jeopardize their application to the TCC Clerkship Program.
Court of Appeal for Ontario
Every year, the Court of Appeal for Ontario hires up to 17 clerks. Each law clerk is assigned two rotations. During those rotations, each clerk works with one or two judges at the court in Toronto. Close exposure to a variety of judges ensures a wide range of experiences and enables clerks to benefit from the knowledge and perspectives of several members of the Court.
This clerkship can be used to fulfill the entire articling requirement for the Law Society of Upper Canada.
McGill students apply directly to the Court (see documents). All application material must be received by the court by Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013.
Interviews will be held during the weeks of February 18th, and March 4th, 2013.Court of Appeal - Ontario - 2014-2015
Ontario Superior Court
The Superior Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice - Divisional Court will recruit respectively 25 and 3 law clerks for 2014-2015. These positions are reserved solely for fulfilling the articling requirements of the Law Society of Upper Canada. The deadline is January 23, 2013.
British Columbia Courts
Both the Court of Appeal for British Columbia and the Supreme Court of British Columbia hire 29 law clerks (12 clerks at the Court of Appeal in Vancouver and 17 clerks at various offices of the Supreme Court). Students are assigned to work on matters with specific judges. Working at either court allows students to develop a more in-depth understanding of the judicial process in British Columbia.
In order to meet the Law Society of British Columbia's articling requirement, students must complete a reduced articling period following their clerkship.
Quebec Court of Appeal
La Cour d'appel du Québec offre environ 26 stages (17 à Montréal et 9 à Québec). Chaque stagiaire est affecté à un juge avec qui il travaille pendant deux ans. Les stagiaires accomplissent plusieurs tâches, incluant la préparation des mémos juridiques.
Ce stage remplit l'exigence de stage du Barreau du Québec.
New Brunswick Court of Appeal
The New Brunswick Court of Appeal hires two clerks to work in Fredericton, under the direct supervision of the Chief Justice of New Brunswick. Those clerkships normally start on June 1st and last a year. Students should note that this clerkship meets the articling requirement for the Law Society of New Brunswick.
The deadline for the 2014-2015 process is January 31, 2013. More information is available on the Court of Appeal's website.
Saskatchewan Court of Appeal
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal will be selecting three law students to participate in its 12-month clerkship program. Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Clerks learn by working and associating with members of the Court and by attending appeal hearings. The Clerkship experience offers valuable insights into the methods and techniques of practitioners, the standards of professional behaviour expected of lawyers, and exposure to a full range of legal styles and abilities. The law clerk comes to know what to expect of others and what standards he or she will be required to meet when working as a legal professional.
Deadline: October 31, 2012. For more information, visit Clerkship Positions at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.
Nova Scotia Courts
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and the Novia Scotia Supreme Court will be hiring for their 2013 clerkship positions. The deadlines for the two positions are in March of 2013 for clerkship positions that will commence in the summer of 2013. The Court of Appeal typically hires 1-3 clerks, and the number of positions available at the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia may vary from year to year. The period of employment for both clerkship programs is one year. At the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, the clerkship will begin on August 1st. At the Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia, the start date is typically either in June or July.
The deadline to apply for 2013-2014 clerkship positions is March 28, 2013.
For more information about the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, visit Clerking at the Court of Appeal.
For more information about the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, visit NSSC Clerkship Program.