The Fox Scholarship

Applications are welcomed for, and recent scholars reflect upon, this chance to experience the Canadian legal system

Each year, the Harold G. Fox Education Fund sponsors two scholars to undertake a ten-month placement in a law firm in Toronto. 

Middle Temple runs the scholarships but they are open to members of any Inn. The scholarships start in September each year and provide a bursary of C$38,000 plus travel costs.

Candidates must be:

  • a member of any Inn, of up to five years’ Call, or about to be Called to the Bar (and at the time of leaving for Toronto, having successfully completed the BPTC);
  • of good academic standing and supported by one academic reference; and
  • supported by references from a Pupil Supervisor or Head of Chambers if already a pupil or tenant.

George White and James White were the recipients of the Harold G Fox scholarships for 2014-15 and have recently returned from their placements in Toronto. Here they tell Counsel about their Canadian experience.

George White: Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP

The Court of Appeal for Ontario is housed in Osgoode Hall, an imposing and historic building in the heart of downtown Toronto. I opened the heavy wooden door to Courtroom One and attempted to find my way through the crowd of lawyers who were preparing to make their submissions. The appeal was an important one, concerning the extent to which counsel could assist in the preparation of expert evidence. The case was of obvious significance for the legal profession and had attracted six intervening parties. The lawyers instructed in the appeal included some of the most respected advocates in Canada. This was my first visit to an Ontario courtroom but was representative of the work to which I was exposed while placed at Lenczner Slaght.

From my first day at Lenczner Slaght the firm treated me much the same as its own articling students, allowing me to gain invaluable experience in drafting affidavits, pleadings and facta (skeleton arguments) in addition to carrying out legal research. The firm’s broad practice meant that I was able to research issues in areas as diverse as construction law, intellectual property, sexual assault and sovereign immunity. Outside of work, the lawyers and students at the firm went out of their way to acquaint me with hockey (not ‘ice’ hockey) and poutine.

The highlights of my time in Toronto are too numerous to list, but I was especially grateful for the opportunity to visit the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa and to spend two weeks shadowing Justice Cronk of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

The Fox Scholarship was a fantastic opportunity to learn from some of the most respected lawyers in Canada, to gain practical experience in another jurisdiction and to make new friends. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Contributor George White is a pupil at 4 Pump Court

James White: WeirFoulds LLP

We flew into Basseterre, St Kitts ahead of a hearing in Nevis the following morning. In glorious sunshine, we travelled to a hotel situated on the beach overlooking the Atlantic. With the sun high in the sky, we checked in, surrounded by cocktail sipping honeymooners, jubilant wedding goers and other holidaymakers. Within five minutes, I had made myself comfortable behind the desk in my hotel room and had begun researching authorities and producing research memos. Additionally, as the most junior person on the file, I prepared the hearing bundles and haggled with hotel management over printing costs. The following morning was an early start. As one of three people dressed in a full suit at the ferry port, I boarded the first boat to Nevis. Seawater began lightly spraying through the open windows but, due to unfortunate positioning, it was not long before a wave crashed into the boat and filled my shoes with salt water. I later squelched up to the courthouse in Nevis and, after drying out, I thoroughly enjoyed a day in which complex points of law were thrashed out before a highly interventionist judge.

This is but one of many other fantastic opportunities presented to me as a Fox Scholar working at WeirFoulds in downtown Toronto. Uniquely, a great deal of my work involved exploring the application of English law in Caribbean jurisdictions, as well as researching particular issues arising in offshore jurisdictions. Additionally, I made contributions in research memos for a large professional negligence class action against a law firm, which traversed franchise law, conflicts of interest and scope of retainer. I was also appreciative of the opportunity to make research and drafting contributions to some fascinating competition law cases.

Beyond WeirFoulds, I was also truly grateful for the chance to visit the Supreme Court of Canada and to spend two weeks at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. At the latter, I prepared numerous bench memos and attended two days of inmate appeals in Kingston, Ontario.

I would highly recommend the Fox Scholarship to anyone eligible to apply. I learnt a great deal from practitioners at the top of their respective fields, and feel it was a perfect precursor to pupillage.

Contributor James White is a pupil at Hailsham Chambers

Applications

Applications for this year’s scholarships need to be submitted by 4pm on 4 January 2016. Details can be found on the Middle Temple website (www.middletemple.org.uk).

If you have any questions, please email Sally Yorke: s.yorke@middletemple.org.uk.

The photograph shows the view of Lake Ontario from one of the apartments owned by the Fox Fund.