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2L Summer (2019) Recruit PFOs/ITCs

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I never advocated for fewer controls. I fail to see how dragging it out hurts anyone. If firms are so self conscious about not doing well, and have to rely on antics to get good students, they should really look at the quality of their work and how they market themselves. Allowing students to have some amount of time to sit on offers and field others benefits students yes, but if firms are confident in their abilities it also benefits them by not having to play games over three days to get their candidates.

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7 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I never advocated for fewer controls. I fail to see how dragging it out hurts anyone. If firms are so self conscious about not doing well, and have to rely on antics to get good students, they should really look at the quality of their work and how they market themselves. Allowing students to have some amount of time to sit on offers and field others benefits students yes, but if firms are confident in their abilities it also benefits them by not having to play games over three days to get their candidates.

I’m not sure what antics or games you’re referring to. Being invited to cocktail receptions or taken out to dinner are not antics. Save for the few instances of being bullied to answer the “first choice” question, which I accept is bullshit and shouldn’t be tolerated, I would imagine most firms run through the process relatively competently.

I feel like the majority of problems that occur with OCIs tend to be created by the students themselves out of anxiety and fear and whatever else due to the uncertainty and the assumption that this is the be-all end-all of their legal careers. And these problems won’t be removed by a lengthier process; in fact, they’ll be exacerbated, in my opinion. 

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11 minutes ago, Ryn said:

I’m not sure what antics or games you’re referring to. Being invited to cocktail receptions or taken out to dinner are not antics. Save for the few instances of being bullied to answer the “first choice” question, which I accept is bullshit and shouldn’t be tolerated, I would imagine most firms run through the process relatively competently.

I feel like the majority of problems that occur with OCIs tend to be created by the students themselves out of anxiety and fear and whatever else due to the uncertainty and the assumption that this is the be-all end-all of their legal careers. And these problems won’t be removed by a lengthier process; in fact, they’ll be exacerbated, in my opinion. 

Few instances of being forced / heavily prompted to say first choice? I don’t think the practice is as rare as you think it is (maybe it’s changed since your recruit) – I can name at least half a dozen firms that engage in the practice, and that’s just from the limited social group with which I discuss the recruit. It’s pretty prevalent.

I actually don’t think it’s that big a problem – I think it’s possible to avoid the pressure without really prejudicing yourself – but I understand why some candidates don’t like it. And I do think it’s rougher on the more marginal candidates, who may feel they need to say it to secure an offer (whereas a strong candidate likely feels more secure in their chances, and may get an offer regardless). 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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7 minutes ago, Ryn said:

I’m not sure what antics or games you’re referring to. Being invited to cocktail receptions or taken out to dinner are not antics. Save for the few instances of being bullied to answer the “first choice” question, which I accept is bullshit and shouldn’t be tolerated, I would imagine most firms run through the process relatively competently.

I feel like the majority of problems that occur with OCIs tend to be created by the students themselves out of anxiety and fear and whatever else due to the uncertainty and the assumption that this is the be-all end-all of their legal careers. And these problems won’t be removed by a lengthier process; in fact, they’ll be exacerbated, in my opinion. 

Making students say yes based on phone calls at a set time and all that makes it stressful for students, both during that time, and the process leading up to it.

My apologies, cocktails and dinners I don't consider antics at all. It's very important in my mind. I was referring to first choice antics, Tuesday's being all "ball is in your court now, what do you think" and things like that. It's unseemly and amateurish to me. If you like a student, make an offer, and be confident enough in your firm that you don't need to keep shortening your list of offerees before you actually make offers.

 

Myself and others who did NY and Toronto have all agreed NY was much more professional and less unseemly. Obviously it's not a population sample, but it's worth noting nonetheless.

 

Anyway I'll drop it. I'm open to continuing it over PM. Good luck everyone at 5pm today.

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2 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Few instances of being forced / heavily promoted to say first choice? I don’t think the practice is as rare as you think it is (maybe it’s changed since your recruit) – I can name at least half a dozen firms that engage in the practice, and that’s just from the limited social group with which I discuss the recruit. It’s pretty prevalent.

I mean maybe it’s more widespread than I have heard, but regardless I think it can be navigated tactfully like you said. I frankly don’t see the big deal but I’ve long ago come to the conclusion that these kinds of interactions don’t bother me as much as they apparently do other people. So maybe I’m not the best to express an opinion on this, in this regard. 

But the balance of my comments are I think generally relevant. 

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2 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

If you like a student, make an offer, and be confident enough in your firm that you don't need to keep shortening your list of offerees before you actually make offers

I think what this fails to consider is that once a firm makes an offer, it’s locked in. If the student holds it, which they are entitled to do, then subsequently declines, it can be a huge problem for the firm, as that’s one slot they either can’t fill or have to give to someone way, way down their list. 

You may scoff at that and say big deal, but it’s a huge consideration for many of the mid-size firms (and even the larger ones to an extent). And every year there’s a story of a student holding an offer and declining, and the firm having to scramble for an alternative. 

So I get why some firms try to figure out if a student will accept the offer before they dare make one. 

I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying I get it. 

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2 minutes ago, Ryn said:

I think what this fails to consider is that once a firm makes an offer, it’s locked in. If the student holds it, which they are entitled to do, then subsequently declines, it can be a huge problem for the firm, as that’s one slot they either can’t fill or have to give to someone way, way down their list. 

You may scoff at that and say big deal, but it’s a huge consideration for many of the mid-size firms (and even the larger ones to an extent). And every year there’s a story of a student holding an offer and declining, and the firm having to scramble for an alternative. 

So I get why some firms try to figure out if a student will accept the offer before they dare make one. 

I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying I get it. 

I get it too. But it reeks of desperation and amateurish behaviour. That's all I was saying (apart from it obviously not being right and explicitly being prohibited). 

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26 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Making students say yes based on phone calls at a set time and all that makes it stressful for students, both during that time, and the process leading up to it.

Students aren't forced to say yes at a set time. They have a mandated 24 hours to sit on an offer if they so choose. Other firms will extend beyond the required 24 hours as they see fit as well.

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39 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I never advocated for fewer controls. I fail to see how dragging it out hurts anyone. If firms are so self conscious about not doing well, and have to rely on antics to get good students, they should really look at the quality of their work and how they market themselves. Allowing students to have some amount of time to sit on offers and field others benefits students yes, but if firms are confident in their abilities it also benefits them by not having to play games over three days to get their candidates.

Replying more generally re controls and artificiality, not your specific point.

This was many years ago, but I recall complimenting one interviewer on how nice their office was. They candidly admitted it was a fake office used for interviews. That is, it wasn't a meeting room or interview room per se - that makes total sense, not bringing people into your actual office where they might see (or hear, if your office is pristine) something confidential - it was a room specifically designed to look like a lawyer's office, but nicer... :huh: While I liked that lawyer, I didn't like what struck me as deceitful behaviour by the firm. Or was I being oversensitive? Oh well, years too late to change my mind! :lol:

There used to be even more rigid controls - until the early 2000s (?) there was a match program in Toronto (and maybe Ottawa?) similar to medical residencies, there was a set week for interviews, so that there were 5 days available, rules on not allowed to ask if someone was going to rank your firm #1 but if they said they were going to they were expected to, and if a firm said they would rank a student within the numbers that guaranteed a place they were obliged to do so, offers to summer students could legitimately be made prior to the match but otherwise fairly controlled, etc.

But my understanding is firms didn't like it. Also don't know if problems were endemic or due to trying to game the system. For instance, 5 days of interviews, but that meant use Monday and Tuesday only because anyone really interested would save space for your firm early in the week, who wants to lose billable hours using all 5 days instead of just 2, etc. If when you called a candidate they didn't have a spot to interview with you on Monday or Tuesday, well, they must not really want to go to your firm...

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54 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I never advocated for fewer controls. I fail to see how dragging it out hurts anyone. If firms are so self conscious about not doing well, and have to rely on antics to get good students, they should really look at the quality of their work and how they market themselves. Allowing students to have some amount of time to sit on offers and field others benefits students yes, but if firms are confident in their abilities it also benefits them by not having to play games over three days to get their candidates.

I can only imagine the gazillion anxious posts there would be from students if recruitment took up a whole semester.... going back and forth for weeks about what offer to accept, guessing games as to who is sitting on what offers, wondering if there’s still a chance you can get a call, not knowing if you should move on to something else.... 

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Is NY still much more grades- and accomplishments-based than anywhere in Canada? Because if you are focused on merit more than fit, that type of a process makes more sense as it is easier to know where you stand objectively. Where fit and personality are more important, it’s going to feel more game-like and arbitrary regardless of the process. And I would imagine that NY has a larger pool of top students to draw from - Canada may not have enough of them to fill the firm’s needs simply by looking for A students.

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17 minutes ago, providence said:

Is NY still much more grades- and accomplishments-based than anywhere in Canada? Because if you are focused on merit more than fit, that type of a process makes more sense as it is easier to know where you stand objectively. Where fit and personality are more important, it’s going to feel more game-like and arbitrary regardless of the process. And I would imagine that NY has a larger pool of top students to draw from - Canada may not have enough of them to fill the firm’s needs simply by looking for A students.

My understanding is NY and other offices across the country hire a similar range of students as Toronto firms.. from similarly ranked American schools. It's just a bigger market. The very best firms obviously attract students from around the world too. 

NY certainly tests for fit and interest too. I was very much grilled by those types of questions. Hell, even more so than most Toronto firms I interviewed with.

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I'm having some difficulty with this process and I'm looking for any advice that may help my decision. 

I have two firms at this point that I met today (for the third time respectively), one is more mid-sized and the other is a larger more traditional Bay street firm. The mid-size firm has made clear indications to me that they will be calling me at 5 (and I've reciprocated that interest) whereas the other firm (that I'm also interested in) has not made a clear  indication to me that they will be giving me an offer. Do you think that's indicative of the larger firm's interest in me? Is it wrong to have clearly shown interest to the firm that told me they would be calling when I'm still feeling pretty conflicted? 

Honestly just looking for any advice!

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4 hours ago, healthlaw said:

Also, I wouldn't write off a program for being inflexible-  I think most firms have you try litigation even if you are primarily focused in "business law" (at least during your articling year). But the opportunity to get exposure to different practice areas is an important consideration 

100% this. Even in the summer, you'll be surprised at the leniency you may be afforded to try out different areas, so long as you are keen enough to get these types of experiences. 

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The Toronto recruit felt like it was guided by a secret rulebook. A lot seemed to turn on crypto-signals, like my enthusiasm level during my 70th partner pitch about collegial-collaborative-entrepreneurial-horizontal-noteatwhatyoukill culture, or how many times I asked to hear additional collegial-collaborative-entrepreneurial-horizontal-noteatwhatyoukill culture pitches, or how well I could handle being approached for multiple collegial-collaborative-entrepreneurial-horizontal-noteatwhatyoukill culture pitches at the same time.

The NY recruit, by contrast, felt transparent and relaxed. The firms told me frankly what they were about, and seemed more interested in my experience and academics than in whether I could blurt out "first choice" at the right time.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, lleis said:

The Toronto recruit felt like it was guided by a secret rulebook. A lot seemed to turn on crypto-signals, like my enthusiasm level during my 70th partner pitch about collegial-collaborative-entrepreneurial-horizontal-noteatwhatyoukill culture, or how many times I asked to hear additional collegial-collaborative-entrepreneurial-horizontal-noteatwhatyoukill culture pitches, or how well I could handle being approached for multiple collegial-collaborative-entrepreneurial-horizontal-noteatwhatyoukill culture pitches at the same time.

The NY recruit, by contrast, felt transparent and relaxed. The firms told me frankly what they were about, and seemed more interested in my experience and academics than in whether I could blurt out "first choice" at the right time.

 

 

Agreed. I mean not all firms are the same, or even partner to partner. But on the whole of it NY felt way more honest and less of a "secret boys club" type mentality.

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so the process is done now, I want to share some of what I have learned for future students going through this. This is obviously my personal experience, read with caution as I may not be representative. I also interviewed with bigger sized firms on the street. I’m not sure if these are true for smaller firms.

1. When you get asked for a second day interview it does not mean you are safe. Half of my second day were spent trying to sell myself and the other half were obviously more about firms trying to sell themselves to me. You have to read the signals which means asking firms after the interview whether you should come back for the third day, if they can’t tell you right away, you are not their top candidate.

2. I believe firms cross off spots rather quickly, the earlier you can convey your interest the better but please do it when you are ready. I found the end of the second day worked for me as I have interviewed with everyone twice. I have picked up signals from firms that are interested in me and just needed to decide where I would like to be.

3. If you can’t decide by end of second day, and do not want to lie to the firms that they are your top choice. Tell them where they rank in your system is helpful. Firms work with % of people who may accept, so telling them that they are your top two helps them work the uncertainty in the decision. It’s a gesture of good faith and I believe it comes across positive on the person.

4. Dinner is a wild card, I don’t know how do people out perform others in these situations. I do know that once you nailed the interviews you are probably fine just being yourself at dinners.

5. Your host is a good way to get information. Ask them about your interviewers, your chances, how your interviews went. They know your chances if you are a top candidate, they know very little if you are not and the firm is still deciding. The amount of information you can get out of them is indicative.

6. Come prepared. It doesn’t matter if you have an amazing story or not, what matters is you come prepared with thoughtful answers and a good attitude. Start preparing in the summer if you have to, it comes through in interviews.

7. It doesn’t matter what time you interview with firms on Monday, as long as they are on Monday   you have a good shot.

 

Edited by Oddduck
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7 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Agreed. I mean not all firms are the same, or even partner to partner.

Fine, but you could've fooled me during the recruit. If I hear the words "collegial" or "I came here for the people" one more time this week, my head will explode

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Just out of curiosity, when you have to regrettably decline a firm's job offer, why do they ask if they could know which firm you ended up choosing? How could such info shape the firm's recruitment strategy, or is it just about curiosity?

Edited by Ghalm

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