Articled clerk

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A group of articling students in 1891 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Articled clerk is a title used in Commonwealth countries for one who is studying to be an accountant or a lawyer. In doing so, they are put under the supervision of someone already in the profession, now usually for two years, but previously three to five years was common. This can be compared as being an intern for a company. Trainees are obligated to sign a contract agreeing to the terms of being an articled clerk. The articled clerk signs a contract, known as "articles of clerkship", committing to a fixed period of employment. Wharton's Law Lexicon defines an articled clerk as "a pupil of a solicitor, who undertakes, by articles of clerkship, continuing covenants, mutually binding, to instruct him in the principles and practice of the profession".[1] The contract is with a specific partner in the firm and not with the firm as a whole.

Now, some professions in some countries prefer to use the term "students" or "trainees" (e.g. a trainee solicitor) and the articles of clerkship "training contracts" through process of Experiential Education.[2]

Apprentice architects can also be articled. Henry Percy Adams articled to Britwen Binyon (1846–1909), architect.[3]


Canadian lawyers must pass a period of experiential training after graduating from law school, either through 10 months of articles or by completing an alternative program developed by the province of the bar they seek to be called.[4] Depending on the province, students may also be required to pass a bar exam in the form of Professional Legal Training and Certification during their year of articles.


In India, after clearing their initial exams students of chartered accountancy are required to registered themselves with a partner of a firm registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. They must serve their articles for a period of 18 months, followed by industrial training for 2.5–3 years.

Sri Lanka[edit]

In Sri Lanka, student members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka are required to serve as a clerk serving under articles with a member of the Institute in practice or with a member of the Institute who is a salaried employee in the service of a firm of accountants for a minimum three-year practical training period. They are known as articled clerks during this period.[5]



  1. ^ Burrill 1859, p. 134.
  2. ^ "Experiential Education". Berkeley Law. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  3. ^ "ADAMS, (Harry) Percy". Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  4. ^ "Experiential Training | Law Society of Ontario". Law Society of Ontario. Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  5. ^ Act of Incorporation And Regulations Of The Institute Of Chartered Accountants Of Sri Lanka


  • Burrill, Alexander Mansfield (1859), A Law Dictionary and Glossary, vol. 1, J. S. Voorhis

Further reading[edit]

  • Lorig, Arthur N. "Training Accountants in Great Britain." The Accounting Review 35, no. 3 (1960): 455-63.
  • Schindler, James S. "A Comparative Study of Certain Accounting Institutions and Practice in England and the United States." Accounting Review 34, no. 4 (October 1959): 634.