THE ARTICLING PROGRAM
Under the direction of the Chief Justice of Quebec, the Court of Appeal is comprised of 19 puisne judges as well as a number of supernumerary judges. The Court of Appeal sits in Quebec City and in Montreal and is usually composed of a bench of three judges and exceptionally of a larger one. The highest court in Quebec, the Court of Appeal is the court of final judgment in more than 99 % of matters submitted to it. It is the guardian of the integrity and development of civil law in Quebec. For this reason, the Quebec Court of Appeal differentiates itself from other Canadian Courts of Appeal.
The Research Service is comprised of 17 law clerks in Montreal, and 9 law clerks in Quebec City. The Court benefits from the services of a Coordinator who ensures a smooth selection process, sees to the training and integration of the new law clerks into the team and lends juridical support to the researchers.
The law clerks are, in most cases, selected one year in advance: a competition is held each year usually in the months of December and January. All candidates are assumed to be admissible to complete their articling requirements for the Bar at the time of hiring. The maximum duration of employment is two years, which permits the law clerks to acquire an important experience of the law from the outset of their career. The first six months of the clerkship satisfies the Quebec Bar's articling requirements.
Who are we looking for?
The Court is looking for candidates who possess a very good academic record as well as an aptitude for research and drafting; such candidates must also demonstrate maturity and autonomy in the exercise of their duties. Candidates must possess an excellent knowledge of spoken and written French and English.
A stimulating and instructive articling experience
Upon arrival, the law clerk is assigned to a judge with whom he or she works for the entirety of the contract and with whom he or she will develop a privileged relationship. A large part of the work is done before the hearing of a case, where the law clerk must conduct an indepth analysis of his or her assigned cases in order to formulate legal opinion and ensure assistance to the judge on the questions before the Court. The experience is all the more interesting in that it provides for an excellent understanding of the role and functions of a judge. The law clerk attends the hearing of the cases on which he or she has worked. In this manner, he or she may observe the hearing of the case with a critical eye. If the case is taken under deliberation, the law clerk may be asked to do additional research. In this way, the law clerk follows the progress of cases until final judgment is rendered. The clerkship thus provides a unique occasion to work behind the scenes of the judicial system and familiarize oneself with its operation.
Furthermore, a clerkship at the Court of Appeal provides for the opportunity to work in different fields of law: constitutional law, criminal law, administrative law, civil law, commercial law, etc. Thanks to this diversity of experience, the law clerks acquire a high degree of versatility, in-depth knowledge of the law, and invaluable practical experience on how to properly manage a file in litigation. A quick survey of former law clerks after their time at the Court of Appeal reveals that they work in a multitude of organizations, be it:
Law firms of all sizes;
Federal or provincial public sector;
Defense attorney or public prosecution (criminal law);
Parapublic sector organizations (State-owned corporations, etc.);
Academic or university setting;
Special agreements with Laval University and University of Montreal allow for law clerks employed at the Court of Appeal to obtain credits towards a Master's degree (directed research, legal research work carried out in the performance of their duties). For more information concerning these agreements, you are invited to contact a representative of the Research Service of the Court of Appeal.
Students desiring to undertake the challenge of a stimulating experience are invited to submit their applications to the Montreal and/or Quebec offices of the Court of Appeal.
Once a competition is announced, a notice is posted on the website of the Court of Appeal and of the Quebec Bar School as well as in the Career & Professional Development offices of the faculties of law.
The candidate's application must contain the following documents:
- Cover letter explaining interest in the position;
- Curriculum vitae;
- Official transcripts (photocopies of official transcripts are acceptable):
- CEGEP (for those students who have not yet obtained a university degree)
- Universities (transcripts of all University studies)
- Quebec Bar School (if the program has been completed)
- Two reference letters (one of which, if possible, is from a law professor);
- A legal essay that the candidate has written during his or her studies of law;
- Proof of permanent residency, as the case may be.