Composite articles are articles that are made up of a variety of practice settings that accumulate to fulfill the 12 month articling requirement in Alberta. They can be an amalgamation of multiple short or long term articling positions.
In a composite article, the student-at-law has multiple principals. Each time a student-at-law changes practice settings they also change to a new principal. For example, a student-at-law could have five practice settings, in five different practice areas, with a new principal in each setting. This would allow a student the opportunity to work in boutique or specialized settings, receiving high quality exposure to experts in particular fields, with a different principal in each setting, when a traditional article is not feasible. This also allows for a combination of rural and urban articling settings, providing exposure to different practice demands in settings throughout the province.
Composite Article Advantages
Composite articles allow firms and corporations who otherwise would not be able to participate in or fund a traditional 12 month article for a student-at-law the ability to mentor and train future lawyers for a short period of time in conjunction with other practice settings.
Composite articles allow for a wider range of starting dates than traditional articles, which can be beneficial to students coming from law schools outside of Canada, principals who need to accommodate their own practice schedules, or Canadian students who need flexibility in their commencement dates.
Potential Benefits of Composite Articles – Students
- Exposure to a broader network – expanded list of contacts and potential job opportunities
- Opportunity to work within a variety of settings, cultures and practice styles
- Ability to learn directly from a principal/supervisor on the particular areas of law they focus on
- Increased opportunity for student to determine what area of law and/or practice setting may be a good “fit”
Potential Benefits of Composite Articles – Law Firms and Employers
- One to 11 month financial commitment, rather than a full year obligation to pay a student’s wages
- Greater opportunity for smaller, rural or firms focused on a particular area of law to become involved
- Manageable way of meeting the professional obligation to help students seeking articles
- Chance to work with a wide variety of students
- Reduced sense of commitment or obligation to keep the student on after the completion of their articling year