The number of articling jobs on Bay Street falls

By: June 16, 2016

The number of articling jobs on Bay Street crashes, as the percentage of students hired back soars

Hireback Watch

In any chatter about the student job market on Bay Street, the same pessimistic message floats to the surface: it’s harder than ever to land a job, and it’s not going to get easier any time soon.

And as it turns out, now that we’ve added the 2016 job numbers to our annual Bay Street Hireback Ranking, that message is dead on. Over the past year, the number of articling jobs at those firms fell to 255 from 277 — the latest in a long line of annual dips. Back in 2010, there were 322 articling students at the largest 16 law offices on Bay Street, meaning that in less than a decade the number of articling spots in Toronto’s corporate epicentre has fallen by 77, a 22-percent drop. It’s hard to see such a crash through rose-tinted glasses.

But it’s not impossible. This spring, Bay Street’s largest firms hired back 82 percent of their articling students as associates, the highest number on record since Precedent began collecting the data nearly a decade ago. So the chances of articling on Bay Street have never been slimmer, but for those who land a position the probability of getting hired back has never been higher.

You can sift through the full set of firm-by-firm numbers, but here are three of the most striking facts from this year’s data:

  • Out of the 16 largest law offices on Bay Street, an astounding 7 of them hired back more than 90 percent of their articling students.
  • After coming in at the bottom of the list a year ago, with a hireback rate of 47 percent, Cassels Brock has shot up to eighth place, posting a strong 88 percent.
  • While many firms have thinned out their ranks of articling students over the years, Blakes is a clear outlier, having hired 32 students last year. (BLG is the closest, with 21 articling students.)
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