Becoming A Lawyer > Articles of Clerkship
Articles of clerkship ( articles ) are approved practical legal training .
Articles of clerkship must be formally registered with the Board. Articled clerks complete a 12 month term of articles during which the articled clerk completes the Leo Cussens Articles Training Program http://www.leocussen.vic.edu.au/cb_pages/traineeship_articles_wa.php and training in two optional practice areas. The Leo Cussens Institute offers a Property Law Practice course and an Administrative Law Practice course to satisfy the optional practice area requirements. Alternatively, the principal can undertake to train the articled clerk in one or two of the required optional practice areas. The optional practice areas are listed in the application for registration of articles.
In the past the Law Society of Western Australia conducted an annual recruitment process for final year law students who wished to undertake articles in the following year. However, law graduates and firms have increasingly embraced PLT courses as an alternative to articles and the Law Society has now discontinued their recruitment program.
As there is no formal recruitment process, law graduates seeking articles must find their own positions. You may already have an employer who is prepared to offer you articles. Alternatively, the student society at your university may be able to give you some advice on how to approach finding a position as an articled clerk.
The Board currently receives about 50 applications for registration of articles per year.
THE LEO CUSSENS INSTITUTE WILL ONLY BE OFFERING ONE ARTICLES TRAINING PROGRAM IN PERTH IN 2016. DATES ARE PUBLISHED ON THEIR WEBSITE: http://www.leocussen.vic.edu.au/cb_pages/traineeship_wa_timetable.php
Applicants must lodge:
1. An application for registration of articles
The application may be lodged as soon as evidence of completion of approved or corresponding academic qualifications is available and there is a proposed date of commencement of employment. The registration date will be the date the registration is formally approved by the Board, or the date of commencement of employment, whichever is later.
An applicant may commence employment before articles are registered. However, the applicant may not use the title “Articled Clerk” until the registration has been approved by the Board. Any employment undertaken prior to the registration date will not count towards the 12 month term.
2. Deed of articles
The Deed sets out the obligations of the articled clerk and the principal.
3. Application for approval of principal
It is generally expected that the principal is practising on their own account, i.e. as a sole practitioner or equity partner in a law practice, or as a legal practitioner director of an incorporated legal practice. Other practitioners may apply for approval. If they have not previously been approved to be a principal to an articled clerk at their current place of employment they must attach further information to their application. In considering applications the Board will have regard to whether the practitioner is, or has been, the subject of any disciplinary proceedings.
If the Board needs to consider the suitability of a practitioner to be approved as a principal (because they do not practise on their own account or because they are of have been subject to disciplinary proceedings) there may be a delay in registering the articles. The application may need to be considered at a monthly meeting, or further information may be requested or a formal hearing might be required. The articles will not be registered, and the 12 month term of articles will not commence, until the date the practitioner is approved to be principal. Of course, if the Board does not approve the practitioner the articles will not be registered and it will be necessary to either find another offer of articles or complete an approved PLT course.
A practitioner may seek prior approval by lodging Form A3 before the application for registration is lodged.
4. Payment of the fee of $200
During the term of articles, an articled clerk must complete the Leo Cussen PLT training for WA articled clerks. Further information may be obtained from the Leo Cussen website : http://www.leocussen.vic.edu.au/cb_pages/traineeship_articles_wa.php .
OTHER GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT ARTICLES
- A law graduate who is employed by a firm whilst completing the WA College of Law PLT course or a corresponding PLT course is not an articled clerk. A person can only use the title “articled clerk” if they are formally registered with the Board as an articled clerk.
- The right of an articled clerk to appear in court is within the jurisdiction of the relevant courts, not the Board. Please refer to the legislation governing the relevant court.
- The term of articles is twelve months, i.e. if the articles commence on 10 January of one year, they conclude on 9 January of the following year.
- Articled clerks cannot be admitted until the full term is completed. Admission ceremonies are scheduled by the Supreme Court. Relevant dates and information on the process of applying for admission is available under “Admission” in the FAQ’s on the Supreme Court website www.supremecourt.wa.gov.au . The Board has a 4 day abridgement policy, i.e. if your term of articles will conclude in the 4 calendar days following an admission ceremony date you may apply for admission at that ceremony. If your articles conclude 4 or more days after an admission ceremony, you cannot be admitted until the following ceremony.
- There is a legislative provision that allows a person to apply for a reduction in the term of articles from 12 months to 6 months. Reductions are only given if the applicant has served 12 months as an associate to a Judge after completion of their academic qualification. If you intend to seek a reduction please email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
- The articles are a direct relationship with the principal and the articled
clerk. The articled clerk will have an employment contract with the firm but is not articled to the firm.
- The Board has no involvement with employment contract issues, such as
rates of pay. It is however expected that employment conditions meet the requirements of the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 .
- Articled clerks are entitled to take the usual annual leave entitlement of 20 days and sick leave of 10 days during the term of articles. Articled clerks are required to contact the Board immediately if leave is expected to exceed this entitlement.
- An articled clerk may be required to take annual leave to attend the Leo Cussen PLT course, or the time may be taken as normal working hours. This is an employment contract matter to be negotiated between the articled clerk and the employer. Similarly an articled clerk may be responsible for the cost of attending the Leo Cussen PLT course, or the employer may be prepared to pay the fee.
- Prior approval is required if an articled clerk wants to take extended leave during the term of articles. Such requests are considered on their merits but are usually approved provided the extended leave does not exceed 12 months. Please contact the Board if this situation arises email@example.com .
In the event the principal requires extended leave, or the principal ceases practising at the firm, it may be necessary to assign the articles to another practitioner, as employment in the absence of the principal may not count towards the term of articles. Please contact the Board immediately if this situation is likely to occur firstname.lastname@example.org