Our students

At Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP, we recruit students who, in addition to having performed well academically, have demonstrated leadership qualities and community involvement. We look for individuals who are dynamic, highly motivated, and who have developed exceptional interpersonal and communications skills.

Our students, although diverse in background and experience, tend to be cohesive as a group, and often assist each other in completing their respective tasks.

What makes our program different

Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP is an innovative and progressive firm that prides itself on being open and informal. This means that although we work on a wide range of high-profile matters for a diverse client base, we maintain the qualities and family atmosphere of a smaller firm.

Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP offers students challenging and rewarding articles, with a focus on career and professional development.

Extensive time and planning goes into ensuring that the focus of the program is on the professional development of the student. Although our students are expected to contribute to the firm through their work on files, we strive to ensure that each student has broad exposure to all facets of law practice through a comprehensive program.

We have a unique program to ensure that our students learn as many "practical" skills as possible during the articling year. At the commencement of their articles, each student is given a list of practical experiences available at the firm and then assigned to one or more lawyers from each practice group. These lawyers are responsible for ensuring that students obtain the necessary and related experience.

We also take great effort to involve students in substantive, meaningful work. As a student of Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP, you are considered a capable professional and will be given significant responsibility on files. We encourage our students to take an active role and to find pragmatic solutions to our clients' needs. We believe that a hands-on approach is essential to learning and understanding the practice of law, and will assist our students in making informed decisions about the direction of their legal careers.

Student offices

Students share interior office space where each student has their own work station. The offices have been newly furnished and provide for ample working space, with a computer for each student.

Support services

Students at Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP are provided with a variety of support services:

Director of Research
One of the unique support services provided to articling students at Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP is the assistance of our Director of Research.

The Director of Research co-ordinates the student program and provides research support to our students and lawyers by assisting with challenging research tasks.

All requests for work are channeled through our Director of Research. This individual monitors and assigns the students' workload to ensure that work is evenly distributed, and that the students receive the type of practical and professional experience they desire from their articles.

Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP maintains its own library, which contains extensive materials particular to our areas of practice. The Courthouse Library is only five minutes away for any reference materials that may be unavailable in our on-site library.

Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP works in a Windows environment. All computers are linked to a network to enhance the sharing of information. The computers are equipped with Prolaw, Microsoft Word, Outlook, Internet access, as well as many other user-friendly software applications that facilitate office work.

The firm also maintains private precedent and research memo databases, which are accessible through ProLaw.

Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP has its own information technology division, which provides each student with computer training and support.

Copy centre
There are copying facilities situated within the firm to help with all document preparation needs.

Work experience

To help students determine their preferred area(s) of practice, the firm strives to provide our students with a basic overview of each primary area of practice.

We rotate our articling students in litigation, labour, and combined family/corporate/real estate, with an additional general rotation in which every effort is made to accommodate student interests. Summer students will be exposed to each area of law practiced at Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP.

These rotations are not rigid, however, and our Director of Research ensures that each student has the opportunity to work in practice areas where they have a particular interest.

Training and continuing legal education

Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP is committed to its student training program.

Each year the firm develops a seminar series designed to introduce the students to the general practice of law, as well as to the firm's particular areas of expertise. Lawyers from different practice areas speak to the students in an informal environment, offering advice and information about their practices and law in general.

Professional development

As part of our commitment to providing the best student-centered articling experience possible, we provide our articling students with seventy-five hours of professional development time. During this time, students may attend and participate in a variety of law-related experiences of particular interest to them, such as a trial or arbitration, or conferences/seminars on legal issues.

Practice group meetings

Students are invited to attend the practice group meetings in the various practice areas. These meetings are intended to be educational – recent developments in the law will be discussed, difficult legal questions canvassed, and ethical issues raised for discussion.

Mentor/mentee program

Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP has also developed a mentor-mentee program, where partners volunteer to be teamed up with an articling student. In addition to organized mentor-mentee social outings, mentor and mentees meet informally on a regular basis to discuss student progress and any concerns, either work-related or personal, that the students may have during their year.

Advocacy program

Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP has created a student advocacy program, which includes a full mock civil trial, with participation and feedback from lawyers within the firm. The advocacy program is intended only as a tool to assist the students. It is not intended, and never has been used, as a screening tool for hire back.