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Jokerabroad

What’s next if you don’t get any interview calls for articling?

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The question is given in the subject itself. 

Those who haven’t received any calls for articling interviews. What’s the way forward for them. 

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Get lots of clinical experience in the upcoming year. You probably can't do anything about your grades, but you need to get as much practical clinical experience as possible to boost your resume. 

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Posted (edited)

Forget stuff like the law journal, or research assistance work with profs, they're absolutely useless to employers at this point. They want litigation clinical experience, etc. 

Edited by angel133

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5 hours ago, Jokerabroad said:

The question is given in the subject itself. 

Those who haven’t received any calls for articling interviews. What’s the way forward for them. 

NETWORK!

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Lots of articling jobs get posted later in the year for smaller firms that don’t participate in the formal recruit. Keep an eye out for those, this isn’t the only way to get an articling job!

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Answer this question and the feedback you receive will be far better. What kind of law do you actually want to practice? And if you don't know, that's also an answer. But you should think about it carefully, and do your best to be honest. Because truly, law isn't a profession where you just look for someone to employ you to do something and then wait to be told what it is. You really should know. 

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4 hours ago, angel133 said:

Forget stuff like the law journal, or research assistance work with profs, they're absolutely useless to employers at this point. They want litigation clinical experience, etc. 

what do you recommend to someone who doesn't know what area of law they want to practice in. Like a general clinic is still fine? 

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4 hours ago, angel133 said:

Forget stuff like the law journal, or research assistance work with profs, they're absolutely useless to employers at this point. They want litigation clinical experience, etc. 

also why do employers value clinics more than RA and law journal experience etc

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1 hour ago, Foreverwaiting123 said:

what do you recommend to someone who doesn't know what area of law they want to practice in. Like a general clinic is still fine? 

Get broad exposure and figure it out, asap. Also, I always encourage this related question - if you don't know what area(s) of law interest you, can you identify what kind(s) of clients you want to work for? That narrows it down a lot also. 

Honestly, without being offensive about it, there is so much willful stupidity in the way law students ask this question (and they do ask it, constantly) that it amazes me. Law isn't one profession in any true sense. A casual glance at the marketplace can tell you that. And yet, despite knowing that different legal practices are radically distinct from one another, and would look to hire students/associates to do very different things, people still ask "what can I do to be more attractive to ALL employers" as if it isn't obvious that's a nonsense question.

The thing you'd do to be attractive as a potential employee to me isn't only different from what you'd do for a Bay Street firm - it's actually opposite. If someone applied to work for me (and this has happened) and they have all kinds of corporate stuff on their CV, I KNOW they don't want to do what I do. Why would I hire them? Meanwhile, you really do want to avoid any reference to "social justice" when applying to a Big Law firm. Seriously. It isn't that they don't care at all about social justice. Just that they don't want future associates who care about it too much. 

Figure out what you want to do. Until you have that answer, your efforts to appeal to all employers in all ways are going to be haphazard at best, and possibly counter- productive. 

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1 hour ago, Foreverwaiting123 said:

also why do employers value clinics more than RA and law journal experience etc

They don't. Some employers would value clinical experience more. I'm actually one of them. But as a broad, general statement, it isn't true. Almost no broad statement can be true across all possible employers. See above. 

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20 minutes ago, Diplock said:

Meanwhile, you really do want to avoid any reference to "social justice" when applying to a Big Law firm. Seriously. It isn't that they don't care at all about social justice. Just that they don't want future associates who care about it too much. 

I'm glad people reading this forum can benefit from the many years of experience in Big Law hiring you have under your belt.

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11 minutes ago, Rashabon said:

I'm glad people reading this forum can benefit from the many years of experience in Big Law hiring you have under your belt.

I'm very transparent about where my perspective is coming from. Frankly, I don't even know what it is you do, other than this.

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1 hour ago, Diplock said:

Get broad exposure and figure it out, asap. Also, I always encourage this related question - if you don't know what area(s) of law interest you, can you identify what kind(s) of clients you want to work for? That narrows it down a lot also. 

Honestly, without being offensive about it, there is so much willful stupidity in the way law students ask this question (and they do ask it, constantly) that it amazes me. Law isn't one profession in any true sense. A casual glance at the marketplace can tell you that. And yet, despite knowing that different legal practices are radically distinct from one another, and would look to hire students/associates to do very different things, people still ask "what can I do to be more attractive to ALL employers" as if it isn't obvious that's a nonsense question.

The thing you'd do to be attractive as a potential employee to me isn't only different from what you'd do for a Bay Street firm - it's actually opposite. If someone applied to work for me (and this has happened) and they have all kinds of corporate stuff on their CV, I KNOW they don't want to do what I do. Why would I hire them? Meanwhile, you really do want to avoid any reference to "social justice" when applying to a Big Law firm. Seriously. It isn't that they don't care at all about social justice. Just that they don't want future associates who care about it too much. 

Figure out what you want to do. Until you have that answer, your efforts to appeal to all employers in all ways are going to be haphazard at best, and possibly counter- productive. 

The thing is, I do have experience (clinical work) but it's in the most random areas of law because those were the clinics my school was offering at the time. So it's kind of broad...but not in areas that most places are hiring in. (It's more of a niche area). I still gained practical legal experience, but I guess employers will choose someone with experience in the area the area they actually practice in. 

I'm trying to get into another clinic next semester that's a bit more...marketable. Siiighhhhhh.

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1 minute ago, Foreverwaiting123 said:

The thing is, I do have experience (clinical work) but it's in the most random areas of law because those were the clinics my school was offering at the time. So it's kind of broad...but not in areas that most places are hiring in. (It's more of a niche area). I still gained practical legal experience, but I guess employers will choose someone with experience in the area the area they actually practice in. 

I'm trying to get into another clinic next semester that's a bit more...marketable. Siiighhhhhh.

I get what you're saying, but you're still trying to work this backwards. It doesn't matter if the experience you have to this point is kind of niche. No one imagines that just because you helped random walk-ins with a couple of landlord tenant issues (or whatever) at a clinic that this defines your future legal practice. I'm saying, in your own mind try to take what you've done and extrapolate, at least in general terms, what you want to do. It isn't that employers want or insist or hiring candidates with direct experience in their areas of practice. The experience isn't the point. It's the genuine desire that's the point.

Seriously. Figure out what you want to do. Stop trying to find an employer who'll hire you to do something - no matter what it happens to be. Figure out what you want to do and apply to employers who do that.

I've said this before, and at the risk of continuing a pointless argument I'll say it again. My sense, at least, of "big law" employers is that many of them are fine with applicants who have strong grades but are somewhat aimless in their ambitions. Maybe it's for the same reason that small town employers will look for indications you have roots in the community, but Toronto, New York, etc... they just don't care. Big cities assume you'll stay there. Big law assumes that with enough money, talented candidates will learn to like it - or enough of them will, at least, that the ones who leave are replaceable. That's their model. And I can't help but think the focus on big law, OCIs etc. leads students into believing this is true of the entire marketplace, which is where these strange delusions come from.

My point is, IF this is true of Big Law, it isn't true of anyone else. Other employers, by and large, want to see indications that you want to do what they do. Applying with your grades and CV and saying "I'm a good student, teach me and I'll do whatever" isn't a good route to those jobs. This thread started out with the question "what do you do if no one called you" which is at least close to the question "what do you do if you washed out of big law and haven't though about doing anything else?" My answer is, seriously, THINK about it asap. Because the rest of the marketplace wants more than just your grades and your willingness to work 60 hour weeks for a lot of money.

I'm repeating myself at this point. But it's the best advice I've got. You can change your mind later. You don't need to know what you'll do for the rest of your career in law. But get the best answer you can think of, right now, and pursue that thing. You'll be a bad candidate for other jobs that you don't want anyway, true. But you'll become a good candidate for the few jobs that you do want. And really, you only need one job, right?

In all events, good luck.

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54 minutes ago, Foreverwaiting123 said:

The thing is, I do have experience (clinical work) but it's in the most random areas of law because those were the clinics my school was offering at the time. So it's kind of broad...but not in areas that most places are hiring in. (It's more of a niche area). I still gained practical legal experience, but I guess employers will choose someone with experience in the area the area they actually practice in. 

I'm trying to get into another clinic next semester that's a bit more...marketable. Siiighhhhhh.

It's not really about the particular area of law, but your transferable skills, demonstrated interest in that area/related areas, and the clientele you want to service. A criminal law firm would have different requirements and expectations in who they hire as opposed to a large corporate firm. This is why it is crucial for you to figure out what you want to do. Because there are a lot of students right now looking for jobs, and someone out there is going to have that experience and demonstrated interest that you do not have. You can cast a wide net and apply broadly, hoping to sell yourself as a hard worker that is willing to do anything, but most small and mid-sized firms don't want to just hire anyone that will want to do anything; they want to hire people who actually want to do the work they do, and maybe even stay with them long-term. 

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Posted (edited)

I think the best you can do right now is do your best to keep your grades up or improve them, while trying to get experience in the area of law you want to practice in during 3L. For example, I too washed out of OCIs and the articling recruitment, and I wanted to get into municipal and land development law, so some of the things I did in my last year was do part-time clinic work advocating for rooming house reform, worked a part-time job in a corporation that did some municipal work, and volunteered at a food bank. I also took two municipal law courses, the second being a directed research project, and did my best to get A's in those courses. This helped me get my articling position and my first year associate position.

As mentioned by other posters, a lot of firms and government departments will continue to advertise rolling positions throughout 3L. If you have a bias against working in smaller practice groups, now is your time to get over it, because size is not everything. You should apply to those positions, while researching different firms you can contact for informational interviews, and frankly ask them to hire you. Apart from this, I think demonstrating a practice area interest is very important because once you do that, firms might be less worried that you are a flight-risk, and that you are just willing to do what it takes to get the job you want. 

I had the most success just emailing full-service firms (20-40 lawyers) located in medium-sized cities, often because they do not always take regular articling students, and if they do, only one or two. I'm pretty sure I made the exact same type of post you did when I struck out, so what you are going through is normal. If you want PM me and we can talk more; this forum really helped me get my two jobs. Good luck!

Edited by adVenture
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19 minutes ago, adVenture said:

I had the most success just emailing full-service firms (20-40 lawyers) located in medium-sized cities, often because they do not always take regular articling students, and if they do, only one or two. 

When you were emailing firms like these, did you first start off requesting informational interviews, or were you getting straight to the point and asking whether they intended on hiring an articling student? 

 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, hiremeplease said:

When you were emailing firms like these, did you first start off requesting informational interviews, or were you getting straight to the point and asking whether they intended on hiring an articling student? 

 

I wrote it like a short cover letter, i.e., I said I was interested in what you do, here are my grades, here is my experience, and if you are hiring please let me know, I will send you a full application. I wasn't comfortable enough to network over informal coffee meetings and etc., so I never did what other posters might recommend, which is just doing interviews over coffee or something similar. For what it's worth, my formal writing is much better than my verbal communication, so just do what works for you. And yeah, I made it really clear I wanted a job, like everyone else, and did not beat around the bush. :P

 

Edited by adVenture
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Foreverwaiting123 said:

also why do employers value clinics more than RA and law journal experience etc

In my experience, and from anecdotal evidence, I believe "smaller" employers/firms value students' clinical experience more than their experience with a law journal or research assistance work with a prof because they don't really have the resources to train students for what law is really about (outside of academic legal thought). Larger employers see experience with a law journal or RA work with a prof as a sign of intelligence and value that over experience they can more easily and readily train in their students. My advice to you to focus more on relevant clinical experience is tailored to your situation (you've now struck out of the formal articling recruit and only have any chance with a "smaller" firm). 

Edited by angel133

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