To find out more about the law clerk experience and the application and selection process, scroll down or click on these links.

glube&macdonald

Former Chief Justice Constance Glube and Chief Justice Michael MacDonald
unveil a plaque acknowledging past Law Clerks of the Court of Appeal.
THE LAW CLERK EXPERIENCE >>   WHAT PREVIOUS CLERKS SAY >>
PLACE OF WORK >>   PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT >>
DUTIES >>   QUALIFICATIONS >>
NUMBER OF POSITIONS AVAILABLE >>   SALARY AND BENEFITS >>
ARTICLING >>   HOW TO APPLY >>
DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING APPLICATIONS >>
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS >>

Applications and requests for further information should be directed to:

Sarah McClare, Judicial Assistant
Nova Scotia Court of Appeal
The Law Courts
1815 Upper Water Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1S7

EMAIL SARAH McCLARE >>
Phone: 902-424-4900


The Law Clerk Experience: An Overview

The law clerks provide legal assistance to the Court of Appeal. Under the supervision of the judges, the clerks work individually on appeals and other matters. They also work collaboratively on special and larger-scale projects.

Their responsibilities at the Court involve the clerks in many areas of the law. Since they actively participate in the assignment of their cases, there are opportunities for them to focus on areas of interest and to explore previously unfamiliar areas of law. The clerks are asked to prepare research memoranda, often on challenging, emerging and unsettled points of law.

Clerks generally attend the hearings of the cases to which they have been assigned. As well, when assigned to assist the Chambers judge, they often attend Court of Appeal Chambers. These attendances allow the clerks to observe many different counsel arguing matters on which the clerks have reviewed the written submissions and may have conducted detailed research.

In working for and interacting with all the judges and by being exposed to so many issues and counsel, the clerks gain valuable insight into appellate decision making, effective written and oral advocacy, and the judicial process.

 

What previous clerks say about the Law Clerk Experience

“My experience as a Clerk at the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal was the best legal experience I will ever receive. Working on a daily basis with the judges was not only rewarding, but it continues to serve me well in my litigation practice. The opportunity to work with all judges that sit on the Court, and to get perspective on how they consider and analyze the law is truly invaluable. I would highly recommend this opportunity.”

Reunion of former Law Clerks of the
Nova Scotia Court of Appeal (2009)

“Clerking at the Court of Appeal was an incredible experience. I was able to get an intimate knowledge of the courts and how the appeal litigation process works that few people have an opportunity to see. I observed the province’s top litigators in action and worked for some of the best legal minds in the country. It also set me up very well to move forward with my legal career.”

“My clerkship at the Court helped me fully under the ‘behind the scenes’ workings of the Court – process and procedure, what the bench needs in order to properly and effectively decide a case and how it goes about doing its analysis, what constitutes good advocacy skills and how important good advocacy is, and insight into the challenges courts are currently facing, such as difficulties dealing with untrained, self-represented individuals appearing in court, and a lack of accessible legal resources.”

“I still think working for the Court of Appeal was the best job I ever had. It gave me the opportunity to become familiar with many different areas of the law, and helped me to figure out where and how I would most like to practice. Most of all, I enjoyed discussing cases with the justices who were always generous with their time and appreciative of the clerks’ efforts. It was exciting to be able to contribute (albeit in small ways) to shaping the law. When it finally came time to leave, I sought and received excellent advice regarding my future career from many of the justices. I would highly recommend a clerkship to anyone who loves the law, and is looking for a fun, supportive and intellectually stimulating place to work.”

McInness
Caroline McInnes was a Clerk of the Court of Appeal from 2008 to 2010. She now works as the Registrar of the Court of Appeal and Prothonotary of the Supreme Court.

 

Place of Work

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal is located in the Law Courts at 1815 Upper Water Street in Halifax. The Law Courts building is in the downtown core, overlooking Halifax harbour. Inside the building, the clerks are situated near the Judges' Library and the office of the librarian.

For more information on the Halifax Regional Municipality click here to go to the
HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY WEBSITE >>

 

Period of Employment

The period of employment is for one year. Start dates are generally in July and August, although there may be some flexibility in exceptional circumstances.

 

Duties

The primary duty of the law clerks is to provide legal assistance to the Court of Appeal on a variety of legal subjects. Other duties include:

~
as requested by the judges, conduct detailed research and prepare memoranda of law;
~
review appeal materials in preparation for the hearing and afterward, if requested, summarize evidence and prepare memoranda of law;
~
observe the handling of cases in the Court of Appeal and develop an understanding of the process;
~
assist the Chambers judge, review files before/after Chambers sessions, and provide research that the Chambers judge may require;
~
participate in office meetings and discussions with the justices, both individually and in groups, as determined by the justices;
~
be involved in the organization and coordination of special study projects on certain points of law; and
~
assist in the preparation of materials for judges’ seminars and related issues.
 
The clerks may also be asked to provide administrative assistance to the Court, including:

~ managing the database of court decisions, on a relief basis;
~ supervising work of part-time student clerks;
~ co-ordinating class visits to the Court;
~ moderating mock trials for high school students; and
~ supporting the Manager of Publications in the release of court decisions.

 

Qualifications

All applicants must have graduated from a recognized law school. Preference will be given to candidates who are admitted as a member of the Bar of a Province or Territory of Canada; however, all interested graduates are encouraged to apply. The ability to read and work in French is not essential but considered an asset.

 

Number of Positions Available

The number of law clerk positions may vary from year to year. Typically, one to three positions will be filled each year.

 

Salaries and Benefits

The salary and benefits for Court of Appeal law clerks in 2017-18 has not yet been confirmed. Below is the salary information for the previous year:

In 2016-2017, a candidate who is admitted as a member of the Bar of one of the Provinces or Territories of Canada made $61,163.70 per annum.

In 2016-2017, a law graduate not yet admitted as a member of the Bar of one of the Provinces or Territories of Canada made $36,000 per annum.

Except as provided by agreement or by the Labour Standards Code of Nova Scotia or other applicable legislation, law clerks are not entitled to any benefits and do not come within the Civil Service Act or other legislation relating to persons in the public service.

Holidays - 15 days per annum

 

Articling

If a candidate for a law clerk position is not already admitted as a member of the Bar of a Province or Territory of Canada, the clerkship may count for a portion of the candidate's articling requirements, depending on the Province or Territory in which he or she wishes to be called.

For more information on articling requirements, the candidate should contact the law society of the Province or Territory in which he or she intends to be called.

 

How to Apply

Candidates must mail or hand-deliver as hard copies (on paper) each of the following:

  • a curriculum vitae
  • an official sealed transcript of marks in law school
  • original, signed letters of reference from three (3) people

 

Deadline for Applications:

Those interested in applying for the position of law clerk with the Court of Appeal should submit their applications no later than March 17, 2017 to the following address:

Please note: The Court of Appeal is accepting applications for 2017/18 only.
Do not apply for 2018/19 at this time. Your application will not be considered or retained.

Sarah McClare, Judicial Assistant
Nova Scotia Court of Appeal
The Law Courts
1815 Upper Water Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1S7

EMAIL SARAH McCLARE >>
Phone: 902-424-4900

Receipt of all applications will be acknowledged. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Interviews are typically held in April and may be conducted by telephone if distance inhibits travel or in other exceptional circumstances. Successful candidates are advised shortly after the interview process is complete.

For a printable version of the information on this page CLICK HERE >>

For more information on the Court of Appeal Clerkship program, go to FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS >>