Law Co-op program
About the Law Co-op program
Combine the knowledge you’ve gained in the classroom with practical experiences in the workplace, by participating in Canada’s only comprehensive common law co-operative education program. Law Co-op students alternate study terms with exciting full-time paid legal work in Canada and overseas.
If you are not sure whether you would rather work with a private firm, government, public interest organization or administrative tribunal, Law Co-op gives you the opportunity to work with a variety of legal employers to help you determine your career path.
As a Law Co-op student, you will obtain a wide range of practical experience and explore different career options as you work alongside legal professionals. You will graduate with a great résumé, a strong repertoire of practical legal skills and knowledge, and a valuable network of contacts.
Admission to Law Co-op
Admission to the Law Co-op program is granted through a lottery that takes place during your first term of first-year law. Thirty-five students are admitted through this lottery each year, and five additional spaces are allocated for students who have experienced social or economic hardship prior to entering law school or entering the legal profession.
If you are not initially admitted through the lottery, your name will be placed on a waiting list and you may be admitted to the Law Co-op Program if spaces become available. Please note that admission to the Faculty of Law does not guarantee admission to the Law Co-op program.
Keep in touch with the Law Co-op Office after you have launched your career! You could be a guest speaker during an information session or in a Co-op class, or act as a mentor or point of contact within the legal community for current law students. It’s a great opportunity to share your UVic Law Co-op knowledge and experience, just as others did with you during your law studies.
Hiring a Law Co-op student
To hire a co-op student, submit a completed job description to the Law Co-op office. Placements must be 13 weeks in length, be supervised by a legal professional, and provide an appropriate learning opportunity for a law student. The Law Co-op office will post the position on UVic’s MyCoop job posting database and work with you to facilitate the hiring process.
Employers are involved in evaluating their co-op students. They participate in the mid-point workplace visit and complete an Employer Evaluation of Student form at the end of the work term. Copies of this form can be obtained through the Law Co-op Office.
Benefits to employers
Law Co-op students are diligent and ambitious employees with well-developed legal research and writing skills. They are knowledgeable about recent developments in the law and bring a fresh perspective to the workplace. Hiring co-op students is an effective way to address immediate and short-term staffing needs in the workplace.
UVic Co-op: http://coop.uvic.ca/
The Law Society of British Columbia: http://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/
B.C. Public Service: http://employment.gov.bc.ca/
Canadian Law List: http://www.canadianlawlist.com/
The Lawyers Weekly: http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/
UVic Law Careers Office (LCO): http://cdo.law.uvic.ca/
Once you have been accepted into the Law Co-op Program, you will work closely with the staff at the Law Co-op Office to prepare and plan for your work-terms. They will co-ordinate the placement process from interview to job offer, and will communicate with employers on your behalf until a job offer has been extended and accepted.
The Law Co-op program has a very successful track record and it is rare for a student not to be placed in a work term. However, there is no guarantee of placement.
The more flexible a student is in terms of the type of job and its location, the easier it will be to secure a co-op work term. Participating in a co-op program is like taking another course and involves similar responsibilities. The workload includes preparing a résumé and cover letter, researching employers, preparing for interviews and attending student preparation sessions. Students who make the effort to succeed in the co-op program usually find it a rewarding and beneficial experience.
Law Co-op schedule
You will have the option of participating in your first work term after completing your first year of legal studies and after you’ve taken a mandatory Co-op Class to help you prepare for your work placement. The Co-op Class takes place during your first year and topics covered include the preparation of cover letters and résumés, researching employers, interview skills, professional responsibility, civil procedure, learning objectives and job skills. Completing a work term during the summer after your first year is optional, and some students wait until the spring term of their second year to participate in their first work term.
The final two years of your law degree program consist of four academic terms and three work terms. Works terms last a minimum of 13 weeks and alternate with academic terms. Two consecutive work terms or academic terms are only possible with the permission of the Law Co-op coordinator. Check the Law Co-op site or visit the Law Co-op Office in person for more information on scheduling.
As a Co-op student, you will be expected to complete a work term with government, a private law firm, and a public interest organization or administrative tribunal. Some students complete more than three work terms. However, these are considered optional and students scheduled to complete a mandatory work term have priority when applying for posted co-op positions.
It will take four to eight additional months to obtain a law degree if you take the co-op route, but you will jump-start your career with a wealth of real-world experience.
The Law Co-op Program allows you to work in different areas of the legal profession before embarking on your career. We encourage you to apply for positions that best suit your interests and abilities, but your Law Co-op experience offers an ideal opportunity to demonstrate your work flexibility and try several positions with various types of legal employers and in different geographic locations. The Law Co-op Coordinator is available to help determine which positions would be appropriate for you.
If you are scheduled to begin a work term, you may apply for jobs that are posted on the UVic MyCoop website. When applying for jobs, students must follow the application instructions listed on each job description. The Law Co-op office will forward student applications to employers, who then choose the applicants they wish to interview.
Job interviews will take place throughout the academic term before your work term and may take place on campus, at the employer’s office or by telephone. Employers will advise the Law Co-op Office once they have selected the successful candidate and the Law Co-op office will extend the job offer. Students typically have 24 hours to decide whether they will accept a job offer. All communication with employers is done by the staff of the Law Co-op Office until a job offer has been extended and accepted.
You can also attempt to set up your own co-op placements after consulting with Law Co-op Office staff. The placement cannot be with an existing co-op employer and it must be approved by the Law Co-op Coordinator.
Work term evaluation
Students are evaluated on their written work and their work performance during a work term. The Law Co-op Coordinator will visit the workplace at the mid-point of your term to meet with you and your supervisor. The purpose of the workplace visit is to ensure that the work term is benefitting both the student and the employer, and to deal with any issues of concern. The Law Co-op Coordinator is also available to speak to students at any point during the work term. When the workplace is outside of Victoria, these consultations may be conducted by phone or by email.
The employer and the Law Co-op Coordinator will evaluate the student at the end of the work term. Students must submit a work-term report, which is a sample of a written piece of work that was completed while on the work term. They must also complete a Student Evaluation of Work Term form and participate in individual and group debriefing sessions. Copies of the Student Evaluation of Work Term form can be obtained through the Law Co-op Office.