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pzabbythesecond

How to research firms AND their reputations?

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Hey all,

 

It seems the OCI process isn't going well for me. I'm not out yet but making contingency plans because it's better than panicking and feeling miserable about my self worth.

 

I'm researching firms which practice areas of law I'm interested in. I'm not having trouble finding firms since I know how to search broadly enough that the firms do work related to/semi related to these areas. 

 

My biggest concern is their reputations. I don't care about prestige or anything like that - but I am concerned about the quality of work they do and the resulting training I would receive. I'm also wanting to be at a firm that has a certain, I don't know, passion for the law and isn't just running a business for the sake of running a business. I've heard horror stories both in person and on here, and that's not someplace I want to spend even a summer at - let alone my articling.

 

How do I find this information out, without being immersed in this area of the bar myself/having connections in the profession?

 

Thanks as always,

 

Pzab

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Posted (edited)

Set up some coffees with juniors at firms in your areas of interest, and ask them for a shortlist of the top-dog shops in that area. 

Assuming litigation, read some reported cases they have argued. 

And so on...

Edited by QuincyWagstaff
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I had some friends that were 1st/2nd year associates and they seemed to know the reputations of all the big firms in the city just from their friends who articled there/working with them on files. 

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Pzabby, just take the information you receive with a grain of salt (which is not really helping since you dont have much else to rely on). But I've heard terrible things about the work culture/roles/tasks of students, etc of some firms that turned out to be far from the truth. But at the same time, also be weary of the people who have clearly drank the proverbial Kool-Aid 

But i agree with the general consensus of everyone else - talking to people ill be your best bet because the websites/firm tours, etc wont tell you anything.

Lastly (because I like you): don't read too much into the OCI process yet. It's still early days. And as you've noted, that's just one of many ways to get an amazing summer opportunity if it doesnt pan out. But it's still early so try not to read too much into any perceived signalling or lack thereof 

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All but one of the firms I interviewed with have either sent me a rejection or sent out ITCs to other candidates and not me. So early days, but the end days seem to have come early.

 

Trying to keep my chin up for now. It really sucks being an outsider in this profession (not that that's why I didn't get interviews - but that it's that much harder to find stuff outside of any formal process).

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

All but one of the firms I interviewed with have either sent me a rejection or sent out ITCs to other candidates and not me. So early days, but the end days seem to have come early.

 

Trying to keep my chin up for now. It really sucks being an outsider in this profession (not that that's why I didn't get interviews - but that it's that much harder to find stuff outside of any formal process).

I know how you're feeling. Maybe re-read some of the recent threads from people "fortunate" enough to land an OCI articling job, and now they hate their life at a large and soulless firm. 

Yes, it takes a bit of leg work to find the opportunities outside of a formal recruiting process (in the sense that they don't literally come to you, but they often do put up ads), but the work you find can be much, much, much better for a lot of people. 

Take the time to meet juniors for coffee, figure out your interests, and try to keep calm.  

Edited by QuincyWagstaff
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1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

All but one of the firms I interviewed with have either sent me a rejection or sent out ITCs to other candidates and not me. So early days, but the end days seem to have come early.

 

Trying to keep my chin up for now. It really sucks being an outsider in this profession (not that that's why I didn't get interviews - but that it's that much harder to find stuff outside of any formal process).

I sometimes wonder whether being successful through the OCI process wasn't really a curse.  I think I could've avoided some amount of headache for myself if I was forced to find something outside of that process. 

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Posted (edited)

The OCI process is, as a process, bullshit. I know this sounds like both (i) sour grapes and (ii) validation for whatever it is you are feeling right now, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. You're obviously smart and engaged and I have no reason to think you have poor grades (and some reason to think you have very good grades). I hope you get good news.

Resentment can't help, obviously, and not getting a position through OCI's isn't the end of the world (also obviously). But whatever the outcome, it's important to remember -- and really, this applies to everyone -- that success or lack thereof at OCIs is not even a reflection of your ability, much less a measure of your worth. 

Edited by onepost
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Adrian said:

I sometimes wonder whether being successful through the OCI process wasn't really a curse.  I think I could've avoided some amount of headache for myself if I was forced to find something outside of that process. 

Or alternatively, you could be like me: succeed in OCIs as much as possible while still winding up without a job at the end of it all. In short, putting in the maximum amount of effort without result. At the time, I felt terrible and a failure. Undoubtedly, it was the best thing that could have happened to me, considering the opportunities that opened up to me afterwards and where I am now (which is very happy and working somewhere I love). I would never be here, were I not put in the position of actually having to investigate the kinds of legal jobs that would genuinely interest me, and give me valuable experience, and then pursue those vigorously.

Relax. I know it is difficult to do this during what can be a trying process. But really, relax. Do your best, taking the above advice into account; go for the job you want. But remember all along that if it doesn't work out with that job, then it wasn't meant to be which in many cases is a fantastic result! Because it rules out jobs that were probably never going to fulfill you anyway.

Edited by FineCanadianFXs
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27 minutes ago, FineCanadianFXs said:

Or alternatively, you could be like me: succeed in OCIs as much as possible while still winding up without a job at the end of it all. In short, putting in the maximum amount of effort without result. At the time, I felt terrible and a failure. Undoubtedly, it was the best thing that could have happened to me, considering the opportunities that opened up to me afterwards and where I am now (which is very happy and working somewhere I love). I would never be here, were I not put in the position of actually having to investigate the kinds of legal jobs that would genuinely interest me, and give me valuable experience, and then pursue those vigorously.

Relax. I know it is difficult to do this during what can be a trying process. But really, relax. Do your best, taking the above advice into account; go for the job you want. But remember all along that if it doesn't work out with that job, then it wasn't meant to be which in many cases is a fantastic result! Because it rules out jobs that were probably never going to fulfill you anyway.

Great post, and I think an experience many have had but that doesn't get related on these boards enough.

Congrats. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Thanks everyone. It definitely helps to hear. 

You’re at McGill. Of course, having no clue what you’re interested in or where you applied, isn’t the Ottawa recruit coming up? I could be wrong I just know it’s after Toronto... again might not be helpful. But there are other options, even if they aren’t what you had in mind 

Edited by healthlaw
I mentioned McGill because I can see French being an asset for Ottawa firms

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I'm at McGill so I have all the recruits open to me. I decided not to do Vancouver because I just didn't see myself living there without friends or family. I've considered Montreal and it's still somewhat on my radar but.. I have my issues against that. It would also pigeonhole me into a civil law practice, and make it difficult to move back to Toronto. I haven't considered Ottawa. I'm having difficulty convincing my self I want to be there - I imagine it'll be near impossible to convince an employer that I do.

22 minutes ago, healthlaw said:

You’re at McGill. Of course, having no clue what you’re interested in or where you applied, isn’t the Ottawa recruit coming up? I could be wrong I just know it’s after Toronto... again might not be helpful. But there are other options, even if they aren’t what you had in mind 

Plan right now is to keep researching the Toronto scene and see if there's anything in it for me. If there isn't, I may just get called in Quebec and move to France because.. hey why not (if I can find something I want to do of course).

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