Minimum Wage for Articling Students – why is this even a debate?

The Law Society of Ontario is currently debating whether law firms need to pay Articling Students minimum wage.

I have always been of the belief that if you are going to bill out someone at an hourly rate, you had better be paying them.

Our firm is not a large firm and we have always paid our students, be it Articling or LPP Work Placement. These positions bring revenue into the firm and not paying those people is just wrong.

If as a law firm you cannot “afford” to pay an Articling Student, but believe you have enough work for one, then let me suggest the issue is your model of carrying on business and not paying a Student.

Yes, students do require supervision, however, if you take the time to give clear instructions, then the supervision time will not take away from your bottom line. Further, the longer the student gets into their Articles, the more complex matters they can help with that again, free your time to work and bill on matters.

This shouldn’t require debate – it should be a Rule. If a lawyer is billing the time of a person they need to pay that person.

Inga B. Andriessen J.D.