We understand that it is not easy to get the lay of the law firm landscape in downtown and Metro Vancouver. Firms come in all sizes, from micro to massive. They may have one office or many – across BC, the West, Canada, or the globe. They may focus on one area of law, or many. And while they may seem similar before you cross their doorstep, each firm has its own personality and approach.

To help get the conversation started, here are eight things to know about Clark Wilson.

  1. We are big. Our single office in downtown Vancouver houses 92 lawyers, 150 staff, and is one of the largest in the city—as big as or bigger than many Vancouver offices of the national and international firms.
  2. We have a long and storied history. Clark Wilson began in 1911 when General John Clark opened his firm Clark & Clark. In 1952, General John Clark and Alexander Wilson merged their neighbouring firms to create Clark Wilson. Three years later, they hired the firm’s first female articling student, Norma Bell Christie, a fellow WWII vet and academic star of the UBC Law Class of 1955, who practiced here for many years. To learn more about our firm’s distinct history and roots dating back to World War I and World War II, visit our About Us page.
  3. We stand tall in the heart of the city. Our office is located in the centre of downtown Vancouver’s business district in the HSBC building, situated on the traditional and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh).
  4. We work to make a difference. Our clients are entrepreneurs, multinationals, family-owned enterprises, publicly traded companies, First Nations, and public institutions. Tangible evidence of our work is all around us – Vancouver’s skyline, transit line and airport, and many of the companies and brands we encounter every day. We are proud to be involved with core sectors of the business community, from tech to infrastructure, universities to consumer goods and services, real estate to natural resources, our lawyers are regularly called upon by top local, national and international companies and highly sought-after by media for their expertise.
  5. We have fun together. We team up at charity and pro-bono events, host holiday and summer parties, and provide our students with plenty of team building opportunities with lawyers and staff. Our most frequent touchpoint is our weekly Friday Social for the whole firm. During COVID, we have been finding new ways to connect online through events like virtual celebrations, talent shows, and yes – even laugh yoga.
  6. We believe in equality, diversity and inclusion. We have created a culture where everyone can bring their whole selves to work—regardless of their background, generation, or identity—and thrive. Our lawyers and staff are from diverse communities and a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and life experiences. 25% identify as BIPOC, with more than half of those being Partners. About 5% identify at work as LGBTQ2+, and we have alumni from all Canadian law schools except for Lakehead, as well as schools in the US, the UK, and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. Twenty-one of our 54 Partners are women. One-third of those 21 Partners have taken parental leave in the last three years. One was appointed during parental leave. Our CW Connect program offers in-house learning on topics as diverse as implicit biases, LGBTQ2+ inclusiveness, Indigenous perspectives on legal practice, and recognizing and managing mental health issues.
  7. We are passionate about our Pro Bono Program. At Clark Wilson, we believe in giving back to our community. We have always supported our lawyers’ pro bono work, and encourage more people to get involved. We are currently on the rosters for Access Pro Bono and the BC Court of Appeal.
  8. We have strong values. Four of them, to be exact: caring, quality, teamwork and trust. These values inform the way we recruit, make decisions and work with our clients. They have been the subject of much discussion and celebration as we have faced the challenges created by COVID-19. Now more than ever, Clark Wilson stands strong in upholding them.


Student Program Contacts

How Clark Wilson Will Recruit Students for 2021

2021 Student Hiring Intentions

Summer students   We expect to hire six summer students for 2021, with the goal of each of those students returning for their regular articles.

Articling students   We are not participating in the Vancouver Bar Association 2021-22 Articling Student Recruitment Cycle. We have filled our 2021-22 regular articling positions with returning students.

Who we are looking for

When getting to know student applicants, we focus on five criteria:

  1. Strong academic performance
  2. Work ethic – has worked hard, overcome adversity, persevered, shown grit
  3. Teamwork skills – has worked well with others, shown ability to act in the greater interest
  4. Self-awareness – understands what they bring to the table, has shown ability to learn from mistakes and act on feedback
  5. Professionalism – mature, with an aptitude for serving clients in private practice

Who to call and how to apply

Clark Wilson is participating in the Vancouver Bar Association 2021 Summer Student Recruitment Cycle. We will accept applications for 2021 summer articles through viDesktop.

You don’t need a referral to network with people at Clark Wilson. Email our Student Coordinator Dianne Bishop at dbishop@cwilson.com, and she will arrange a phone meeting with a lawyer from our Student Recruiting Committee or one of our students in the house.

Our recruiting approach for summer 2021

Our Student Recruiting Committee has been thinking a lot about the law school recruiting process over the last year.  We want students to know about some important changes in our approach for the 2021 recruit – changes designed to avoid some of the inevitable exhaustion and COVID confusion, and allow for more meaningful connections and clearer decision-making.

Change started last year   For the 2020 recruit, we worked hard to up our game.  We redesigned our in-house tours, engaged with even more school networking and OCI events across Canada, and established five criteria to help us find the students we are looking for. We committed to staying professional, caring and transparent throughout the process, especially during Interview Week when the stakes and pace were at their highest.

We are going further in 2021   We remain committed to follow the VBA Summer Recruitment Guidelines and the Best Practices for Vancouver Summer and Articling Recruitment Activities that are designed to level the playing field for participants. Pre-COVID, we decided to take additional steps that we hope will allow us to continue showing up as professional, caring and transparent. Here are the steps, modified for our new normal.

  1. We will not host receptions, dinners or extra virtual events for summer candidates adjacent to OCIs. We know that whether it’s an invite-only dinner or Zoom gathering, or an event open to all, students can find it hard to meaningfully connect with Firm reps, especially alongside fellow students, and  even more so after intense and often all-day event like OCIs.  For students wanting to get to know us better, we will instead make time to meet through the fall and early winter, by phone.
  2. During Interview Week, we will schedule and conduct interviews of up to 45 minutes between 8.00 am and 5.00 pm, with a noon break. During the first three days of Interview Week, we will conduct interviews during the day that last no more than 45 minutes.  Our intention-to-call emails will include our 1st interview timeslots (all on Monday).
  3. During Interview Week, we will not interview local candidates over lunches and dinners. This year we decided to let go of the practice of dining out with candidates. We will stand by this even if candidates are in Vancouver and the physical distancing restrictions continue to be eased.  Here’s why:
    • Meals can be confusing. Students tell us that the meaning and timing of meal invites can be baffling.  Is this an interview, quasi-interview, get-to-know-you-chat or celebration?! What’s the significance of Monday dinner versus Tuesday lunch? Is a pre-booked meal different from a same-day invite?
    • Meals can be awkward. Fancy meals out can often make students feel unsure of how to act or what to say.
    • During Interview Week, candidate meals are exhausting. We know that squeezing in a “relaxed” lunch amid interviews is tough, and a long dinner after interviews is tougher.

    How will a candidate know if they are making a great impression at Clark Wilson?  We’ll tell them.  And we will show them by offering as many opportunities as they need to interview and chat with lawyers, students and staff so they can get a real sense of who we are, how we work together, and how we develop students.

    At the end of each interview day, the Clark Wilson Student Recruiting Committee will gather to debrief the day and strategize for the next. Then we will head home some restorative R&R. We hope that you can, too.

  4. We will skip our Interview Week reception for 2020. Traditionally, our Monday night reception is when we put our best fancy downtown foot forward for candidates who want to experience this part of our culture. It is not an “extra interview” or a test of networking ability, sparkle or endurance. We don’t take notes. It’s just a chance to come and get another read of us.
  5. We will celebrate Interview Week after the offer and acceptance process. By Thursday night, our Student Recruiting Committee will be delighted to invite Clark Wilson’s 2021 summer recruits out on the town for a celebratory feast.  COVID will likely have us working on a new plan to celebrate, but celebrate we will!
  6. We are excited to get to know summer 2021 candidates. COVID caught us in the middle of Career Fair season, but hasn’t stopped us from preparing for firm hops and open houses and gearing up for lots of conversations with interested students – about law school, Clark Wilson, legal practice in general and during COVID, and life.
  7. Plan to attend a virtual Open House for 2Ls this fall. We will host one hour Open Houses via Zoom for 2L students on:
    • October 23rd, 2020 at 12.00 pm PT
    • October 28th, 2020 at 4.00 pm PT
    • November 20th, 2020 at 12.00 pm PT
    • November 25th, 2020 at 4.00 pm PT

     

    To register, email Dianne Bishop at dbishop@cwilson.com with your preferred date

Get in touch with Dianne or Andrea any time with questions about our recruiting process or our student program, or to find a way to connect with one of our lawyers or students.

What we offer

Our summer student package is competitive with downtown Vancouver law firms. We offer:

  • $5,417 per month (based on the articling salary of $65,000 per annum)
  • health benefits, including medical and dental plans and an extended medical plan
  • payment of Law Society of BC fees related to temporary summer articles
  • third year tuition up to $5,000 and a book allowance for students who accept an offer to return for articles

The CW Student Program – the structure we have set up for summer students and articling students – is built around Clark Wilson’s four core values: Caring, Quality, Teamwork, and Trust. We take great care to ensure that every student is welcomed with open arms and given real opportunities to develop their practice skills. We provide quality work for students with a strong work ethic. We expect students to work as a team – to have one another’s backs – and to value the trust they earn with colleagues and clients.

To get the conversation started, here are ten things to know about the CW Student Program.

  1. Work quality Our students tell us that they receive more hands-on, direct and experiential learning opportunities than many of their peers at other firms. Clark Wilson is proud of this reputation for giving students great work. Summer students get the same work as articling students. You will be invited to sit in on meetings, attend mediations and/or court appearances, and work on deals. So far, nothing about COVID-19 has changed that.
  2. Student culture CW is not a competitive student environment.  We encourage students to work as a team.  We celebrate student cohorts that collaborate, have one another’s backs, share work and lighten loads.
  3. Student rotations   Summer students and articling students divide their time with us in two rotations – one in the Litigation Department, and one in the Business, or Solicitors’ Department. This offers a chance to shine in both areas and helps make sure you get a broad experience.
  4. Student support We provide layers of support and oversight for each student, including:
    • a principal – the partner who formally supervises you for Law Society purposes
    • an associate mentor – a more junior lawyer who is your “person” for guidance and confidential chats
    • our Student Partner, Brendan Morley – Brendan oversees the Student Program by checking in regularly with the students, and assisting with workflow and other issues as they arise
    • our Professional Development Director, Andrea Rayment – you will meet Andrea during the recruiting process. A former litigator and now certified executive coach, she oversees our Onboarding School program when you arrive and checks in regularly about your learning progress
    • our Professional Development and Student Coordinator, Dianne Bishop – Dianne takes care of all your arrangements with the Law Society of BC, arranges for your corporate photos, helps you get set up on arrival, and takes care of your administrative needs as a CW student.
  5. Transition supports We are committed to setting students up for success. Summer students complete 3-4 days of training on arrival, covering everything from research memos to client etiquette, IT systems and CW policies.  Articling students attend refresher training when they return, and students who accept an offer to continue as an associate complete the Associate Transition Program. Students are invited to almost all in-house CLE sessions covering black letter law and practice management topics, and to the annual Lawyers’ Retreat in Whistler.
  6. Work assignments Some work assignments come directly from lawyers in your department. Other work comes through knocking on doors; getting to know people and the work they assign.  Students manage this flow of work among themselves so that new opportunities and more routine tasks are fairly distributed.
  7. Feedback  Progress requires great learning, and great learning requires acting on good feedback. We encourage students to seek out feedback on their work as they go. We also provide a formal review at the end of each rotation.
  8. Clerkships We support them. We count several former clerks in our ranks.
  9. Opportunity Our hire back rate has traditionally been strong.  We hire the number of students that we expect to be able to welcome as associates after articling. We expect to maintain this approach through COVID-19 and its after-effects.
  10. We invite you to learn more by contacting Dianne Bishop (Professional Development Coordinator, dbishop@cwilson.com, 604 643 3174) or one or more students currently in-house at Clark Wilson.

Lauren Zeleschuk
2020 Co-op Student
University of Victoria

Recent Student Hires