FAQ | Articling and Summer Students

Frequently asked questions

Are you interested in joining RSS as a summer and articling student? Is there anything you’re curious about before you apply?

Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to reach out to Geneviève Goulet, partner in our Business Law Group and Chair of our Recruitment Committee. 

How many lawyers work at RSS?

Our firm has about 80 lawyers, including research lawyers.

What services does RSS offer?

Founded over 100 years ago, Robinson Sheppard Shapiro is an independent mid-sized law firm offering legal services and strategic advice to a local, national, and international clientele comprised mainly of businesspeople, SMEs, insurers, public and private corporations and institutions, and individuals.

We offer services in:

What will I be working on?

Here’s a look at the tasks you might be entrusted with:

As summer students:

  • Assisting our lawyers in the management of their files
  • Drafting minutes, legal opinions and proceedings
  • Performing legal research and assisting in the preparation of trials and transactions
  • Preparing the documents for and closing of commercial transactions
  • Preparing and participating in examinations and the hearing of motions and trials
  • Providing support during negotiations

 

As articling students:

  • Appearing before courts and tribunals
  • Appearing in court for various motions required for the proper execution of legal proceedings
  • Preparing and conducting examinations and discovery (insurance law)
  • Managing your own files under the supervision of a lawyer (insurance law)
  • Attending client meetings

Is job rotation mandatory?

We’ve developed an immersive learning process where job rotation is encouraged, but not mandatory.

How many students do you hire?

At the end of the recruitment process, RSS offers articling positions to three or four candidates.

What’s the profile of the ideal candidate at RSS?

We appreciate varied experiences and attach significant importance to soft skills. As a matter of fact, our work culture promotes the development of independence, flexibility, and critical thinking.

How does the selection process work?

The selection process consists of two interviews. The first is a short meeting of about 20 minutes. The Recruitment Committee then selects the candidates who will be invited to a second meeting.

This second meeting will allow candidates to interact with some of the firm’s lawyers in an informal setting.

What compensation does RSS offer its summer and articling students?

Our firm offers competitive salaries and benefits equivalent to what similar sized firms offer.

Is the firm committed to its community?

In 2009, we set up the Robinson Sheppard Shapiro Foundation, whose main mission is to support local organizations helping those in need. Throughout the year, members of our firm organize and take part in various fundraising events aimed at helping people in difficult situations.

Although we’ve supported a diverse group of causes in recent years, we have a preference for those with an educational component, be it legal, financial or other. Recently, RSS announced a three-year commitment to support the Fondation des camps Odyssée to foster youth development.

What does the firm do to create a welcoming work environment?

We believe in offering a work environment where everybody can find their place. We value a culture of open doors, where all members of the firm, regardless of their title or tenure, are welcomed without judgment and with respect, confidentiality, and kindness when they need assistance for their physical or mental health.

Initiatives in this direction take various forms:

  • Physical accessibility: We’re open to various accommodations that will allow a candidate to take part in the recruitment process. We’ll do everything necessary to allow individuals with disabilities to work comfortably. Access ramps, automatic doors, elevators and escalators facilitate access to our building and offices. We continue to improve our workspaces, and additional updates are coming in the near future.
  • Technological accessibility: We understand the importance of the availability of technological tools. We’re open and flexible towards the improvement of our current infrastructure.

How important is the well-being of your members?

The health and well-being of our members are at the core of our priorities. We make no compromises and continue to set up initiatives in this direction:

  • Awareness: we work to eliminate barriers by inviting our members to combat stereotypes and unconscious bias. Our Health and Psychological Well-Being at Work program has allowed numerous members to attend a conference on unconscious bias.
  • A mental health program
  • Virtual healthcare with a stress management component (Lumino Santé)
  • Access to a mindfulness meditation app (Headspace)
  • Setting up a common workplace to facilitate sharing ideas and concerns
  • Ergonomic workstations
  • A flexible remote working policy
  • Various training sessions for our professionals, employees, and managers

What are your diversity initiatives?

Maintaining a diverse workplace has always been a priority for the firm.

RSS was originally created in response to law firms’ reluctance to hire Jewish lawyers at the time. Throughout its history, our firm has prioritized hiring the most motivated and competent candidates, regardless of their gender, ethnic background, religion, or any other criteria based on social-cultural affiliation, orientation, opinions or allegiances.

This open-mindedness paid off. Nowadays, few medium-sized law firms comparable to RSS can proudly claim that 40% of their decision-makers are women and that their social diversity is such that their members speak over 15 languages.

What is RSS au féminin?

RSS au féminin is an inclusive initiative to facilitate support, and to help share knowledge and experience among the firm’s female professionals. The initial goal of this group was to make the whole firm aware of the preoccupations and realities that women face in the legal profession.

Do you award prizes and scholarships?

We’re proud to provide financial support and encouragement to students from several universities, helping them pursue their legal career with our prizes and scholarships. Here’s an overview of our commitments. We invite you to reach out to your university if you think that you qualify for one of these programs:

  • The Université de Montréal’s Robinson Sheppard Shapiro scholarship. This $5,000 scholarship is awarded during the fall term to a student or group of students at the Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD level. The recipient must have distinguished themselves in a moot court competition or in high-level academic endeavors.
  • The Université de Montréal’s Excellence Prize in Insurance Law. This $1,000 award is given to the student with the best results in the Bachelor’s degree insurance law class (DRT 3201). The prize is awarded to the student at Convocation, which usually takes place in June.
  • McGill University’s Robinson Sheppard Shapiro’s Excellence Prize. This $1,000 prize is awarded by the law school’s scholarship committee to a student towards the BCL or J.D. degree for excellence in insurance law.
  • Pierre-Basile-Migneault Moot Court Competition. The Concours de plaidoirie Pierre-Basile-Migneault is an advocacy competition between the six Canadian civil law faculties. The competition is based on a mock judgment rendered by a trial court in a civil law setting. The RSS Cup as well as a $500 scholarship are awarded to the competitor having presented the best oral argument.

What is RSS’s hiring rate for articling students over the past five years?

For the past five years, RSS has hired all of its articling students. Have a look at the profiles of our students.

What is the percentage of lawyers with five years or less of bar experience at RSS?

At RSS, 30% of our lawyers have been called to the bar for five years or less.

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