Articling program in Toronto

We pride ourselves on the quality of our articling program and the investment our lawyers make in our students. We have a director of Professional Development who is responsible for your orientation and ongoing training, and an active Student Committee composed of partners and associates to ensure that our students are benefiting from all of the resources and opportunities at the Firm.

Your year will start with a week-long orientation program designed to help you become familiar with your colleagues, the Firm and all of its resources. You will be provided with a sample research memo exercise and get individual one-on-one feedback on your memo prior to tackling the “real thing” so you can gain vital practice at the beginning of your articles. We have a strong Knowledge Management and Information Services team and a highly skilled Research Group who are all invested in your success. We also run a biweekly seminar series to expose you to all aspects our practice. In addition, we provide training in “soft skills” such as presentations and business etiquette.

Our program

Our articling program is composed of three rotations of approximately three months in length. The program is designed to give you the opportunity to work on files from various practice areas while being flexible enough to allow you to pursue your own specific interests as well. The rotation selections are as follows:

  • Litigation
  • Corporate/Securities
  • Financial Services/Insolvency/Real Estate
  • Tax
  • Employment and Pensions
  • Secondments (external rotations at clients or governmental organizations, e.g., Kraft-Heinz, Toronto Hydro, Cadillac Fairview, Ontario Securities Commission, the Royal Bank of Canada, BMO, Toronto Community Housing, etc.)

During your articles you will be exposed to a variety of interesting and challenging legal matters and you will be given increasing amounts of responsibility as you progress. You will be assigned an articling principal (a partner) and a term principal (an associate) for your articling term. In addition, you will be assigned a mentor (an associate) in each department. They’ll also ensure you meet everyone in the group and have an opportunity to work on matters you are interested in. Your principal and mentors will check in with you over lunch or coffees or informal meetings, and are a key resource to you as you embark on your career. In addition, each department has at least one lawyer who sits on the Student Committee. They will meet all of the students biweekly to ensure the work is being distributed equitably within the department. The head of the student program will also meet biweekly with all the students as a group for informal breakfasts so everyone can share ideas and information and keep abreast of news both at the Firm and within the student program.

You will work closely with the lawyers in each group on a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Preparing for and attending at client meetings, mediations, arbitrations, closings, witness interviews, etc.
  • Drafting contracts, legal documents, articles, presentations, precedents, etc.
  • Preparing closing documents, affidavits of documents, etc.
  • Due diligence (reviewing and summarizing legal and business documents)
  • Conducting research and drafting legal memoranda
  • Appearing or assisting at administrative tribunal hearings, examinations for discovery, motions, trials, etc.
  • Sitting in on conference calls with clients, lawyers for opposing parties, etc.
  • Attending internal meetings with lawyers to discuss strategy and file management
  • Assisting with pro bono files and charitable activities (visit our pro bono page for more information on our program)

Evaluations and feedback

You will have a formal evaluation meeting after each rotation and will be provided with feedback on your performance. In addition, the lawyers you are working with will provide informal feedback throughout the course of your articles.

Benefits and salary

Please see our firm listing in www.nalpcanada.com for additional information regarding our benefits and compensation, as well as further detailed information regarding our program.

What it’s like to article at Dentons Toronto

What our students say:

Thomas Wilson, Articling Student (2013 – 2014)

There are no limits to your personal and professional development at Dentons. From running my own trial, to drafting key documents in a high-profile proxy battle, I was exposed to incredibly diverse, challenging, and rewarding work throughout the tenure of my articles. 

The rotation system and mentorship program provide a well-rounded experience and helped me discover those practice areas I am most interested in. As an articling student, I was seconded to the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Working for North America’s second-largest housing provider at the intersection of law and poverty, I was exposed to sensitive files and observed the role of external counsel from a client’s perspective. My experience on secondment, combined with the firm’s ongoing investment in my business and personal branding development, have better prepared me for the realities of legal practice in today’s market.

The atmosphere at Dentons is without equal. The firm values internal cooperation, not internal competition. As an articling student, I could always be myself. Even on the most challenging days, I looked forward to collaborating with the articling students, staff, and lawyers – a trend I know will continue when I return to Dentons this fall as a litigator.