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Articling Student Program

The Ministry of Justice offers graduating law students a unique legal experience. Articling students rotate through three legal divisions: Public Law, Public Prosecutions and Civil Law. 

Students have the opportunity to spend a month in an area of particular interest to them. Possibilities include:

  • One of the three legal divisions;
  • Saskatchewan Legal Aid Commission;
  • Dispute Resolution Office; or
  • Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee.

Students also have the opportunity to do a rotation at the Court of Queen's Bench, Court of Appeal, or Provincial Court. In addition, the Ministry of Justice arranges for students to spend a one month term with a private law firm of their choice to ensure their articling experience is complete. The Ministry continues to pay the students' salaries while they gain exposure to private practice.

Students also get an opportunity to tour the Regina Correctional Centre and the Legislative Building. 

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1. About the Program

Students are articled to the Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General, Glen Gardner. Other senior lawyers in the Ministry act as mentors and supervise the daily activities of articling students. These mentors are available to answer questions, to ensure students receive a variety of work and to ensure the workload is reasonable.

The Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister administers the articling program. The Executive Assistant schedules student rotations and generally ensures that the articles are running smoothly.

The lawyers who have supervised the activities of the articling students, in consultation with other lawyers in the division, provide evaluations of the students' work to the Deputy Minister. Students receive a copy of their evaluations (one for each of the three legal divisions).

The Deputy Minister meets with the Executive Directors of the three legal divisions, after evaluations have been completed, to discuss student performance and job availability.

Although numbers can vary from year to year, the Ministry of Justice generally hires three articling students. Once articling has been completed, the Ministry has a good hire-back rate.  

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2. Legal Divisions

Public Prosecutions

The lawyers in this division, known as Crown Prosecutors, prosecute offences under the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the statutes of Saskatchewan, in all Saskatchewan courts and in the Supreme Court of Canada. Crown Prosecutors provide legal advice to the RCMP in its provincial policing role and to municipal forces in matters under investigation.

About 100 lawyers are employed with Public Prosecutions. They are located at the Prosecutions head office in Regina and at 10 regional offices in Regina, North Battleford, Moose Jaw, La Ronge, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Yorkton, Melfort and Meadow Lake.

Articling students work with experienced Crown Prosecutors conducting prosecutions in Court of Queen's Bench and in Provincial Court. Students can independently conduct summary conviction trials in Provincial Court and Traffic Safety Court. A student working in Public Prosecutions will gain:

  • practical knowledge and extensive court experience;
  • an understanding of the wide discretionary powers vested in agents of the Attorney General and the appropriate exercise of these powers in the public interest;
  • experience researching and writing legal opinions on matters such as evidence, criminal procedure and statutory interpretation; and
  • an understanding of the complexity of dealing with victims and other members of the public.

Civil Law

Civil Law provides general legal services to government ministries and agencies. Approximately 38 Crown Counsel lawyers work in this division in two general areas:

(i) Litigation: Counsel represent the government in civil litigation matters, appearing before all levels of court and before regulatory boards and tribunals. The types of cases range from personal injury claims to tax matters and administrative law.

(ii) General Counsel: General Counsel lawyers provide general legal services to approximately 20 ministries and agencies of the government. These lawyers provide advice in the areas of health, energy and mines, municipal law, environmental law, administrative law, family law, financial and commercial law, agriculture, education and transportation law, among others.

Lawyers in Civil Law:

  • prepare contracts;
  • assist in the development of legislation, regulations and Orders in Council;
  • counsel government officials with respect to legal requirements and procedures;
  • provide interpretations of provincial and federal statutes;
  • conduct legal research and work on policy projects;
  • assist government ministries and agencies with negotiations;
  • handle child protection and maintenance enforcement matters; and
  • provide general legal advice.

Public Law

Public Law offers students experience in five areas:

(i) Constitutional Law: Counsel provide legal advice to the government on constitutional matters involving division of powers and the Charter of Rights. They also advise on human rights and trade law. They handle litigation files that raise constitutional issues and represent the Attorney General in interventions before the Supreme Court of Canada. These lawyers may also provide advice or representation on Charter issues raised in prosecutions.

(ii) Legislative Services: Lawyers co-ordinate the development of, consultations on and implementation of, all acts and regulations for Saskatchewan Justice. This includes guiding the bills through the legislative process in the Legislative Assembly.

Legislative Services lawyers provide legal advice to Executive Council and the Government House Leader. They provide legal and policy advice to other ministries, agencies and Crown Corporations in the preparation of their Acts, regulations and Orders in Council.

Lawyers participate in public and legal education respecting the legislative process and new legislation and they provide policy advice on consumer issues and financial institutions regulation. They also represent the Ministry on national committees with respect to private international law, consumer measures and civil justice issues.

(iii) Legislative Drafting: Crown Counsel draft all government bills and regulations, working closely with counsel from Legislative Services, Civil Law and other branches of Saskatchewan Justice, and with officials from other government ministries.

(iv) Aboriginal Law:  Lawyers provide legal and policy advice to the government on issues pertaining to Aboriginal peoples including jurisdiction, Aboriginal and Treaty rights, and the duty to consult. The Branch represents the Attorney General at all levels of court in Saskatchewan and in the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition, the Branch represents the government in negotiations with Aboriginal groups with respect to self-government, Treaty land entitlement, gaming, and consultation protocols.

(v)  Office of Public Registry Administration:  Lawyers provide legal and policy advice to the government on the operation of the Land Registry, Land Survey Directory, Corporate Registry and Personal Property Registry.  They provide service directly to the public on complex public registry applications; review and authorize payment for claims under the land titles assurance provisions and compensation provisions for the public registries; and respond to inquiries relating to condominiums.

By working in Public Law, articling students will gain:

  • experience with constitutional issues and Aboriginal law;
  • experience with registry issues;
  • an understanding of how legislation is developed and the lawyer's role in its development; and
  • an appreciation of the wider policy implications of legal issues. 
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3. Benefits

The Government of Saskatchewan offers comprehensive benefits and a competitive salary.

Bar course admission fees

Whether or not the students continue their employment with the Ministry of Justice following articles, the Ministry pays their bar course admission fees.

Salary

  • $4,050/month effective April 1, 2015
  • Attendance at the Saskatchewan CPLED program (Bar Admission Course) is at full pay
  • Travel expense allowance available for CPLED sessions in Saskatoon

Entitlements

  • vacation pay (in lieu of vacation leave) earned at the rate 1.25 days per month
  • 1.25 sick leave days per month (includes leave for family and bereavement purposes)
  • one scheduled day off per month

Benefits

  • Public Employees Extended Health Care Plan
  • Public Employees Pension Plan
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Dental Plan
  • Disability Income Plan
  • Flexible Benefit

Fees and Expenses Paid by Saskatchewan Justice

  • Law Society student registration fee
  • All CPLED fees (Bar Admission Course) and CPLED reference materials
  • Regina Bar Association Introduction of Students Dinner

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4. How to Apply

While the Ministry emphasizes a strong academic record, that is certainly not all that is considered.

It is important that candidates possess strong analytical abilities as well as excellent writing, research and communication skills. Producing quality work under tight timelines and working well with others are equally important. Students should have a drive to innovate and improve the justice system, and a willingness to learn the skills necessary to do so. The student's range of interests and experience are also considered.

The Ministry of Justice is committed to achieving a representative workplace.

Applications must be received in early May in accordance with the deadline in the Saskatchewan Articling Interview Guidelines.

Interviews are conducted in accordance with the Saskatchewan Articling Interview Guidelines.

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5. Apply

Be prepared to submit:

  • your resume;
  • a copy of your law school transcript of marks;
  • three references (including their contact information);
  • an excerpt from a paper (four pages) to demonstrate your writing skills; and 
  • your one to two paragraph idea on a justice system innovation or improvement.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Saskatchewan time. Interviews will be booked by Friday, May 19, 2017 and conducted on Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26.

Please send by the deadline to:

Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister of Justice & Deputy Attorney General
1000-1874 Scarth Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 4B3
articlingprogram@gov.sk.ca
Fax: (306) 787-3874 

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6. Further Information

The Ministry of Justice and the articling program are based in Regina, Saskatchewan. Therefore, if you are selected you will be articling in Regina.

Applicants are encouraged to talk to other students who have completed the articling program. To contact students who are presently articling with the Ministry, or to obtain further information on the articling program, call (306) 787-5660.

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