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 nine things to know about Clark Wilson.

  1. We are big. Our single office in downtown Vancouver houses 113 lawyers, 180 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. Take a short video tour with 2020 summer student Mani Saggu.
  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. 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.
  6. We are working hard to create a place where everyone can bring their whole selves to work regardless of their family background, generation, or identity—and thrive. Our DEI initiatives include in-house learning on topics as diverse as implicit biases, LGBTQ2+ inclusiveness, Indigenous perspectives on legal practice, and recognizing and managing mental health issues. Our lawyers are from small towns and big cities, with a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and life experiences. We have alumni from all Canadian law schools except for Lakehead and Toronto Metropolitan University, as well as schools in the US, the UK, and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. About 25% identify as BIPOC, and more than half of those are Partners. About 5% identify at work as LGBTQ2+. Almost 40% of our Partners are women, one-third of whom have taken parental leave in the last three years. One was appointed during parental leave.
  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. Five of them, to be exact: caring, excellence, service, teamwork, and trust and integrity. 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. Watch this short video in which 2020 summer student (and now associate) Kim Brown talks about Clark Wilson’s approach to COVID-19.
  9. We are a Great Place to Work™. Clark Wilson is recognized by Great Place to Work™ as one of the best workplaces:
  • In BC
  • In Canada
  • In Professional Services
  • For Hybrid Work
  • For Mental Wellness
  • For Professional Development
  • For Women

Student Program Contacts

How we will recruit for 2023

2023 Student Hiring Intentions

Summer students   We expect to hire eight summer students for 2023, with the goal of each of those students returning for their regular articles.

Articling students   We are not participating in the Vancouver Bar Association Articling Student Recruitment Cycle. If we recruit for additional 2023-24 students, we will post that on the website and communicate through the Canadian CSO law network.

Who we are looking for

When getting to know applicants, we don’t focus on where they go to law school or how well they network. Instead, 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

Watch short videos of Imroz, Jessica and Jimmy talking about their recruiting experience for 2020 summer articles.

Who to call and how to apply

Clark Wilson is preparing for the Vancouver Bar Association 2023 Summer Student Recruitment Cycle. We will accept applications for 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 virtual or in-person meeting with a lawyer or student.

Our recruiting approach

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

Change Started in 2020   For the 2020 recruit, we worked hard to up our game.  We redesigned our virtual and 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 are committed to staying professional, caring and transparent throughout the process, especially during Interview Week when the stakes and pace are at their highest.

We are going further in 2023   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. Here are some additional steps to help promote a professional, caring and transparent recruit:

  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 social event, or an event open to all, students can find it hard to meaningfully connect with Firm reps, especially alongside fellow candidates, and even more so after intense and often all-day events like OCIs.  For students wanting to get to know us better, we will instead make time to meet through the summer, one-on-one, and virtual and in-person tours.
  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. We decided to let go of the practice of dining out with candidates. 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 you know if they are making a great impression at Clark Wilson?  We’ll tell you.  And we will show you by offering as many opportunities as you need to interview and chat with lawyers, students and staff to 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 gathers to debrief the day and strategize for the next. Then we head home for some restorative R&R. We hope that you can, too.

  4. Pandemic permitting, we will host our Interview Week reception this year. 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.
  5. We celebrate Interview Week after the offer and acceptance process. On Thursday night, our Student Recruiting Committee invites Clark Wilson’s newest summer recruits out on the town for a celebratory feast.
  6. We make time for networking and open houses. This summer, we are gearing up for lots of conversations with interested students – about law school, Clark Wilson, legal practice in general and life. If you haven’t toured Clark Wilson with your school, you can attend an open house in-person in a small group, or by Zoom on:
    • Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 4:30 pm PT, in person
    • Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 12:30 pm PT, in person
    • Wednesday, July 6, 2022 at 4:00 pm PT, via Zoom
    • Tuesday, July 12, 2022 at 4:30 pm PT, in person
    • Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 12:30 pm PT, in person
    • Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 4:30 pm PT, in person

    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:

  • $6,250 per month (based on the articling salary of $75,000 per annum)
  • health benefits, including medical and dental plans and an extended medical plan
  • third year tuition up to $5,000 and a textbook allowance for students who accept an offer to return for articles
  • payment of Law Society of BC fees related to temporary summer articles
  • Canadian Bar Association membership

The CW Student Program – the structure we have set up for summer students and articling students – is built around Clark Wilson’s five core values: Caring, Excellence, Quality, Teamwork, and Trust and Integrity. 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. Watch summer students Imroz Ali, Jessica Dorfmann and Jimmy Zhang talk about the type of work they were involved in as students.
  2. Student culture We encourage students to work as a team.  We celebrate student cohorts that collaborate, have one another’s backs, share work and lighten loads. In this short video, Kim Do talks about how she settled in.
  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. 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.
  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.

Recent Student Hires