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 where your law degree will lead you, law co-op gives you the opportunity to work with a variety of legal employers to help you determine your career path.
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 is granted through a lottery that takes place during your first term of first-year law. Fifty students are admitted through this lottery each year with five additional spaces allocated to 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. 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.
Students enrolled in double degree programs
Students enrolled in the JD + MBA double degree program or the JD + MPA double degree program prior to starting first year law school will not be eligible to enrol in the Law Co-op Program. Students that are admitted to the Law Co-op Program during first year law and subsequently enrol in the JD + MBA double degree program or the JD + MPA double degree program shall withdraw from the Law Coop Program. Students enrolled in the JD + MBA double degree program or the JD + MPA double degree program will be required to complete any mandatory work-terms as specified by the Faculty of Business or the School of Public Administration.
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 co-op class, or act as a mentor within the legal community for current law students. It's a great opportunity to share your UVic Law Co-op knowledge and experience.
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 12 weeks in length, be supervised by a legal professional, and provide an appropriate learning opportunity for a law student. We will post the position on UVic's Learning in Motion 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 online competency assessment at the middle and end of the work term.
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.
Once accepted into the law co-op program, we will work closely with you, to prepare and plan for your work-terms. We 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.
We have 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 you are 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.
You 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 at least two work terms (effective January 1, 2016.) Works terms last a minimum of 12 weeks and alternate with academic terms. Consecutive work terms or academic terms are only possible with permission. Check the law co-op website or visit our office (FRA room 140) in person for more information on scheduling.
You will be encouraged 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 you have an ideal opportunity to demonstrate your work flexibility and try several positions with various types of legal employers and in different geographic locations. We are 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 Learning in Motion website. When applying for jobs, you must follow the application instructions listed on each job description. We will forward your 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 our office once they have selected the successful candidate and we will extend the job offer. You will typically have 24 hours to decide whether you 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 us. The placement cannot be with an existing co-op employer and it must be approved by the law co-op coordinator.
You are evaluated on your written work and your work performance during a work term using an online competency based assessment framework. 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. We are also available to speak to you at any point during the work term. When the workplace is outside of Victoria, these consultations may be conducted by phone, email or skype.
The employer and the law co-op coordinator will evaluate you at the end of the work term. You must submit a work-term report, which is a sample of a written piece of work that was completed while on the work term. You must also participate in individual and group debriefing sessions.
For more information about law co-op competency-based assessments, please refer to the Law Co-op section of UVic's Co-operative Education Program and Career Sevices website.
View our Law Co-op frequently asked questions handout.