Where you begin your legal career is an important decision. There are many choices to be made including: area of practice, private or public, full service or boutique, big or small, downtown or uptown, and so on. This information will introduce you to our firm and the practice of management-side labour, employment and administrative law. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to call.
We believe there are two principal reasons to specialize in employment and labour law: advocacy and business . Employment and labour law combine these exciting areas of practice in ways no others can or do.
If you are fascinated and excited with the prospect of being an advocate – as many law students are – labour, employment and administrative law offer opportunities to get “on your feet” and argue cases earlier and more consistently than almost any other practice area including traditional civil litigation. Employment and labour lawyers are often in hearings several days a month, cross-examining witnesses, leading evidence and making legal argument. There are also fewer procedural requirements in labour law allowing cases to unfold much more quickly than in civil litigation. All of our lawyers are advocates with experience preparing for and arguing cases before a wide range of courts and administrative tribunals, including:
We work hard to ensure all lawyers regardless of their year of Call regularly receive hearings of their own, a feature seldom found in other law firms.
Business is an essential component of our employment and labour law practice. Whether and how to structure a merger, sale or acquisition; employment contracts; tax implications; pensions; benefits; the terms of a collective agreement; the cost – direct and indirect – of specific workplace policies and practices (such as employment equity, workplace safety, duty to accommodate, etc); immigration; and human rights, to name a few – each of these issues has a profound effect on and requires a sophisticated understanding of how our clients do business. So you see, there is much more to labour and employment law than you might originally have thought!
For many, the choice to practice management-side or union-side is personal based on individual, closely held views. For others, there are practical advantages to a management-side practice. Employers have greater opportunity than employees to proactively design the workplace environment. While there are always exceptions to the rule, generally management makes these important workplace decisions whereas employees tend to react. As management-advisers we are often asked to participate in making these workplace decisions. The second advantage is that management lawyers are more likely to be asked by clients to represent them at hearings and in collective bargaining negotiations. Generally it is rare for union-side lawyers to take on negotiation responsibilities because often the union itself will send its own representative.
Each of us at Sherrard Kuzz LLP is dedicated to and enjoys the process of providing to law students and young lawyers opportunities to learn and develop. Many of our lawyers regularly teach or guest lecture at law schools and we are proud to have established at a number of Canada’s law schools the Sherrard Kuzz LLP Prize in labour, employment and administrative law.
Our students are a vital part of our continuing growth and success. Accordingly, we routinely hire law students in the first, second and articling years and have made this an integral component of our firm culture. Whether at law school or as a member of our professional team, our goal is to help our students develop the disciplined analytical, technical and practical skills they need to be successful lawyers. We consider this our responsibility.
The articling and summer student program at Sherrard Kuzz LLP is intense but fulfilling. Students participate in a dynamic firm in which outstanding work, client service and a rewarding collegial environment are paramount. Although researching and writing is fundamental to the learning process, our students do not spend all of their time in the library. Instead, they get out with our lawyers regularly to learn how to assist clients with real issues.
Our students are introduced to all aspects of the practice of law and participate in every step of the process, including client meetings, hearings, strategy meetings, negotiations, lectures, continuing legal education seminars, networking dinners and regular firm management meetings. We also offer our students the opportunity to write articles for our newsletter, Management Counsel, and to help prepare and attend the numerous seminars and workshops we present to clients.
In our experience, this approach accelerates the learning process, builds professional skills, industry experience and confidence, and helps students to develop their own blend of legal skills and professional style.
We place a premium on the training and guidance of all members of our team. To help identify strengths and improve skills, students receive on-going informal reviews and professional development. We also conduct regular in-house seminars to ensure our entire team is up to speed on important and topical issues related to our broad practice of law.
Week one is orientation, designed to introduce our new colleagues to our firm’s principal areas of practice, our resources and support services and some of the practical skills required to be a successful student and lawyer. This includes tips on the transition from law school to practice, time management, writing for clarity, and the basics of employment and labour law. The program also includes computer training, library and Internet training, and instruction in practice management techniques.
Each year, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”) offers to select articling students the opportunity to be seconded for a period of six to eight weeks during the articling term. At Sherrard Kuzz LLP we think this opportunity is invaluable. For a student aspiring to practice employment and labour law, a secondment with the OLRB is akin to a clerkship at the Court of Appeal.
Our team is also fortunate to serve and work with a range of outstanding clients many of which provide challenging and unique secondment opportunities to our students, allowing them to experience ‘the client perspective’.
Our partnership with the OLRB and clients in offering secondment opportunities to our students is just another way in which we demonstrate our unparalleled dedication on our students and their learning process.
We have an ‘open-door’ policy that is augmented by regular firm meetings to discuss matters of current interest.
Our team is committed to providing the highest level of professional support to our students – articling and summer.
We are committed to staying ahead of the pack regarding new and evolving developments in the law. We regularly conduct workshops and seminars on a wide variety of topics, for employers, management and supervisory personnel. We also publish regular briefing notes and a newsletter entitled “Management Counsel” to inform clients and members of the community about important and topical issues which may affect their workplaces. Our students are encouraged to write and where appropriate participate in presenting seminars.
Student compensation is competitive with that at other leading employment and labour law firms in Toronto. In addition to salary, articling compensation includes Bar Admission Course tuition, an extended health care plan, a dental plan and life insurance.
The experience of our summer students is no different than that of our articling students although limited to the short summer season.
In recognition of the mobility of our practice ,each student is provided with a laptop and access to the full range of electronic research databases and document assembly tools. In addition, each articling student is provided a firm Blackberry fully networked to our system . Computer training is part of student orientation.
Given the size of our firm and focused nature of our practice, we work together every day. However, we also like to get together outside business hours, so we organize several firm-wide events throughout the year almost always including our entire staff and significant others.
Each year we host groups of students interested to learn about employment and labour law. If your law school has an employment and labour club (or equivalent), and you’d like to organize a visit with our firm, please contact our Managing Director, Rhonda Cohen, at email@example.com or 416.603.6243.
We look forward to meeting you!
We hope this information has helped you to decide whether Sherrard Kuzz LLP is the firm with which you might like to begin your legal career. If so, your application should include the following:
Applications may be delivered in paper or electronic format, or through ViDesktop, but not by fax.
They should be addressed to:
Sherrard Kuzz LLP
Employment and Labour Lawyers
250 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 2L7
Each year we host groups of students interested to learn about employment and labour law. If your law school has an employment and labour club (or equivalent), and you’d like to organize a visit with our firm, please contact our Managing Director, Rhonda Cohen, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.603.6243. We look forward to meeting you!
* Returning from previous summer(s)