Composite articles are articles that are made up of a variety of practice settings that accumulate to fulfill the 12 month articling requirement in Alberta. They are an amalgamation of multiple short or long term articling positions.
In a traditional article, a student will complete the 12 month articling requirement in one setting that fulfills the education plan requirements.
In a secondment, a student-at-law retains the same principal for the entire 12 month articling period, though they spend a period of time in another practice setting. An example is an article with a large firm with a partner as principal where the student-at-law spends two months working in a corporate in-house setting as a secondment from the large firm. The large firm remains the primary articling setting with the partner as principal for the entire 12 months.
In a composite article, the student-at-law has multiple principals. Each time a student-at-law changes practice settings, the articles are assigned to a new principal. Similar to the secondment example above, the student-at-law could spend ten months in a firm setting with one principal but then assign articles to a corporate in-house setting for two months with a second principal. Additionally, a student-at-law could have five practice settings, to get exposure to five practice areas, with a new principal in each setting. This would allow a student the opportunity to work in boutique or specialized settings, receiving high quality exposure to experts in particular fields, with a different principal in each setting, where a traditional article or secondment is not feasible. This also allows for a combination of rural and urban articling settings, providing exposure to different practice demands in settings throughout the province.
Composite article come in a variety of formats, restricted only by the imagination of the student-at-law, tempered by the requirements for principals and education plans.