Jump to content
sansasnark

Deciding not to article?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Hi all,

I am a recent graduate who has not yet secured an articling position. However, I’m also someone who doesn’t know if they want to article in the first place. I have been actively seeking articles since the recruitment process last summer, and though I’ve gotten interviews, I haven’t progressed beyond that. (My grades are about a B average, with 2 C+s and 2 As.) The reason I have been applying, despite my uncertainty, is because it seems like a waste to have gone to law school without articling afterwards.

I nearly left law school after first year, coming to the realization that perhaps this wasn’t the field for me. Someone persuaded me to stick it out, so I did. I got a 2L law-related position, which I enjoyed well enough. But during 2L and 3L, I came to the conclusion that I could not see myself being a lawyer for the long term, and that my career would probably go elsewhere eventually.

Hindsight has shown me that I went to law school for the wrong reason. It’s (obviously) too late to fix that now, but I’m still struggling with the decision to step out of law altogether. It feels wasteful to spend the money and time in law school without articling, regardless of my feelings about law in general. But I’m not especially interested in doing so at the same time. And perhaps it would be disingenuous to take a position when I know I don’t plan to stick around.

So, like I said, I feel stuck -- sunk costs and all that. Do I keep applying to positions as they come up? Do I let it go?

I know this is largely a personal decision, but any advice or anecdotes would still be appreciated. Thanks :)

Edited by sansasnark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would apply to jobs that sound interesting and rewarding to you.  If some/all/none of those are articling positions - great.

I didn't find law school and the practice of law very similar at all, but it depends on what you end up doing within (or outside) law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, I'm not currently working as a lawyer but I wouldn't have landed my current job without being admitted to practice. For me, articling went by very quickly and I found it surprisingly enjoyable. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, secondchance said:

For what it's worth, I'm not currently working as a lawyer but I wouldn't have landed my current job without being admitted to practice. For me, articling went by very quickly and I found it surprisingly enjoyable. 

Can I ask whether you were required to merely be admitted to practice or whether you were required to have a specific amount of experience practicing law?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, msk2012 said:

Can I ask whether you were required to merely be admitted to practice or whether you were required to have a specific amount of experience practicing law?

It wasn't a specific requirement but my experience was viewed very favourably. It definitely gives you more credibility and it's a vital chance to develop a bit of a professional network. Your network is really important once you leave practice, I have found, because I started to feel stale and out of touch pretty fast. It's always great to reconnect with friends who are still practicing and get a sense of where things are at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, secondchance said:

For what it's worth, I'm not currently working as a lawyer but I wouldn't have landed my current job without being admitted to practice. For me, articling went by very quickly and I found it surprisingly enjoyable. 

Could I ask if you left practice immediately after articling?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Buckmaster said:

Could I ask if you left practice immediately after articling?

No, I practiced for a couple of years

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a practical matter, if your attitude is that you don't want to be a lawyer and you're not especially interested in practicing law, that's likely to come across in job interviews and will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  That would make continuing to pursue articling positions a futile exercise. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I just made an account to chime in on this particular thread.

I can totally relate to the OP. Except I now know I don't want to article in the first place. For non-practicing positions I don't see any advantage to it whatsoever; short of aiming for a long-term goal of being a partner, academic, or justice.

It is absolutely not a waste to go to law school and not article afterwards. I got a job offer in government 1 day before I graduated. It's not articling but it pays between $70-90k a year, depending on how much you ask for at the interview. Most of the government jobs I looked at which which are hiring all the time have similar pay ranges. Most are entry level, and none require articling since they're not lawyer positions. My work experience (summer or otherwise) in the last 5 years is exactly 0. I traveled or took classes during summers and during undergrad, and had no part-time job. I only got this government job specifically because of the law degree, and yes they were impressed at the interview when I talked about law school stuff. I could have asked for 80k from that start, and they would have agreed given the range, but I didn't. No need to be greedy with no recent work experience. Meanwhile some of my classmates are going to be making under 40k or around 40k articling (and forget about good benefts or other perks), and not a whole lot more in the year afterwards.

Please get out of the law bubble and get some fresh air. The JD is an asset and a privilege, not a trap. There is a whole world out there open to you. The non-law world is your oyster.

J.

 

 

Edited by jd2018canwest
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, jd2018canwest said:

I just made an account to chime in on this particular thread.

I can totally relate to the OP. Except I now know I don't want to article in the first place. For non-practicing positions I don't see any advantage to it whatsoever; short of aiming for a long-term goal of being a partner, academic, or justice.

It is absolutely not a waste to go to law school and not article afterwards. I got a job offer in government 1 day before I graduated. It's not articling but it pays between $70-90k a year, depending on how much you ask for at the interview. Most of the government jobs I looked at which which are hiring all the time have similar pay ranges. Most are entry level, and none require articling since they're not lawyer positions. My work experience (summer or otherwise) in the last 5 years is exactly 0. I traveled or took classes during summers and during undergrad, and had no part-time job. I only got this government job specifically because of the law degree, and yes they were impressed at the interview when I talked about law school stuff. I could have asked for 80k from that start, and they would have agreed given the range, but I didn't. No need to be greedy with no recent work experience. Meanwhile some of my classmates are going to be making under 40k or around 40k articling (and forget about good benefts or other perks), and not a whole lot more in the year afterwards.

Please get out of the law bubble and get some fresh air. The JD is an asset and a privilege, not a trap. There is a whole world out there open to you. The non-law world is your oyster.

J.

 

 

You should elaborate on the nature of the position and the quality of work to truly inform OP of the alternatives

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Trew said:

You should elaborate on the nature of the position and the quality of work to truly inform OP of the alternatives

OP can browse the GC Jobs website to see what’s out there. It all depends on individual interests and timing.

https://psjobs-emploisfp.psc-cfp.gc.ca/psrs-srfp/applicant/page2440?fromMenu=true

 

And there are also provincial government specific job websites such as BC, Ontario, etc, where postings are updated daily.


https://bcpublicservice.hua.hrsmart.com/hr/ats/JobSearch/viewAll

https://www.gojobs.gov.on.ca/Search.aspx


The only caution is that you’d need to apply broadly, and also apply many months in advance since government hiring can take a long time.

My point was that it’s not articling or nothing. I would argue that non-law positions provide far more career options both in the short-term and the long-term.

Edited by jd2018canwest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, jd2018canwest said:

OP can browse the GC Jobs website to see what’s out there. It all depends on individual interests and timing.

https://psjobs-emploisfp.psc-cfp.gc.ca/psrs-srfp/applicant/page2440?fromMenu=true

 

And there are also provincial government specific job websites such as BC, Ontario, etc, where postings are updated daily.


https://bcpublicservice.hua.hrsmart.com/hr/ats/JobSearch/viewAll

https://www.gojobs.gov.on.ca/Search.aspx


The only caution is that you’d need to apply broadly, and also apply many months in advance since government hiring can take a long time.

My point was that it’s not articling or nothing. I would argue that non-law positions provide far more career options both in the short-term and the long-term.

Yeah. Not anymore.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, jd2018canwest said:

My point was that it’s not articling or nothing. I would argue that non-law positions provide far more career options both in the short-term and the long-term.

Yeah there are a lot of options outside of law, which makes sense as law is a profession that requires specialized knowledge. 

Edited by Trew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd secure an articling position and get called, if I were you.

Unless you have something else lined up for the next year or so, I see it as a very black and white situation: one option only closes doors (not getting called), and one option will only open doors (getting called).

It's one more year of (ideally) paid work to learn a skill, and once you get called, they can't really take it away from you as long as you do the bare minimum in terms of compliance.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, jd2018canwest said:

My point was that it’s not articling or nothing. I would argue that non-law positions provide far more career options both in the short-term and the long-term.

Well, just to clarify, there aren't MORE career options if you don't article.  Any job you get if you don't article, you could also get if you do article, but the reverse isn't true.  But there are lots of non-law jobs where a law degree might be valuable.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Trew said:

Yeah there are a lot of options outside of law, which makes sense as law is a profession that requires specialized knowledge. 

I feel like people say this a lot, but unless you have a specialized/relevant background prior to going to law school, it’s not really true. I know lots of lawyers who would happily do something else for comparable money if they could, but there is not much market outside of law for a lawyer with a BA in English or history and prior work experience in retail, let alone a brand new call with the same, let alone someone who didn’t get called. It’s hard to even switch areas of law. People talk about government policy jobs, but which new calls without pre-law experience actually get those?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, providence said:

I feel like people say this a lot, but unless you have a specialized/relevant background prior to going to law school, it’s not really true. I know lots of lawyers who would happily do something else for comparable money if they could, but there is not much market outside of law for a lawyer with a BA in English or history and prior work experience in retail, let alone a brand new call with the same, let alone someone who didn’t get called. It’s hard to even switch areas of law. People talk about government policy jobs, but which new calls without pre-law experience actually get those?

I expect many people with a JD and no prior relevant experience to be able to qualify for the government jobs that were linked to. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Trew said:

I expect many people with a JD and no prior relevant experience to be able to qualify for the government jobs that were linked to. 

Well just to pick one at random, the B.C. government job in the Ministry of Transport requires 5 years’ supervisory experience, 2 years’ experience preparing cabinet submissions and briefing notes etc. Unless you did that before law school, you wouldn’t meet the stated qualifications. Sure, you could still apply and hope for the best I guess. 

Edited by providence

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, providence said:

Well just to pick one at random, the B.C. government job in the Ministry of Transport requires 5 years’ supervisory experience, 2 years’ experience preparing cabinet submissions and briefing notes etc. Unless you did that before law school, you wouldn’t meet the stated qualifications. Sure, you could still apply and hope for the best I guess. 

What does supervisory experience even mean, overseeing other employees? That doesn't seem so arduous. I'm sure someone who graduated law school could learn how to prepare cabinet submissions and brief notes etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×