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General 2L Recruit Question Thread

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3 hours ago, poohlaya said:

Ok, I have registered here just to tell this to all the people who were unsuccessful today: this is an awful process and it feels horrible now, but just trust me, even though it is so hard to process this right now, but you have lost NOTHING. This is not the time to think hard about the future, question yourself, say goodbye to a career that you haven't yet started. This is not a reflection of your abilities, intellect, or anything else. My firm has just gone through an OCI process and it was completely random. We had to pick a small number of people from a group of very qualified candidates everyone of whom was liked and highly qualified. But decisions had to be made because we could not hire all of them. So people were cut just because they did not look interested enough or they had interests that didn't precisely align with what our firm is doing. One of the top candidates was cut at the last moment because slightly more people at the table liked the other candidate. I am sure that person is devastated now. That person told us we were the first choice.

All to say, I myself was unsuccessful in OCIs. I thought my career was over. I knew there was work outside the Bay Street, but everything else seemed sub-par. I thought anyone who did not end up on Bay Street would be a second rate lawyer.  I was so wrong. I now know I've dodged the bullet. I now work for a great boutique that pays the same as Bay Street firms, offers me amazing and meaningful work, and 3rd-4th year associates from Bay Street, who cannot bear the grind anymore, are waiting for firms like ours to have an opening so that they can move here. We have a lot of refugees from Bay Street, and they are telling horrible stories of verbal and sexual abuse, endless hours, meaningless work where you are one of many and are just a small cog. Everyone who has practiced for a few years knows this. 

Just trust me, all of you will find articles and good jobs. I don't know anyone from my class, out of the 75% who did not get an OCI job, who did not find an articling position. Many of them pity those who did get the OCI jobs and now have no lives and hate their life choices.

And there are so many great firms who don't do OCIs. There are so many specialized firms who are much more respected for what they do than the "7 sisters". And if you end up in one of them, no one will EVER think less of you as a lawyer because you did not summer on Bay Street. The only thing you will be judged on is the quality of your work. Just trust me on this. Seriously.

As someone who took a position at a firm like the one you described over a large full service firm that I initially thought I wanted, I cannot echo these sentiments enough. There’s more to life than a big name that makes the AM200 or whatever.

For some people though, it’s a really good fit. But it’s not necessarily for each one of the 100-200 law students that graduate from every law school in Ontario each year. I know some people who ended up at large, full service firms who I see staying there for a very long time.

Edited by wtamow

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I'll also chime in on this one, the only time I do on this board anymore. I did not get a job through the OCI process. I was devastated. Thought my career was over. I know what it feels like for those who didn't make the cut this time around. It sucked and I fell into a very dark time in my life. 

Looking back on it today, I realized that it really was just a blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things. I emerged from that setback stronger than I could have imagined and ended up finding a career path I am much happier with than if I had gotten that job. Now that's not to say I couldn't have gotten where I am now if I had gotten an OCI job. Now I actually turn away headhunters calling me about Bay St. positions I would have slobbered over when I was a 2L. 

It is easy for me to sit here and tell you things will get better. I heard that cliche so many times when I was a 2L that I wanted to barf every time I heard it. But let me tell you, you may not see it now, but the statistics are in favour of you landing on your feet. Many people on Bay St. are unhappy with their job. For some it's the perfect fit. If you really want to get there, there are ways for you to get there. It may not happen for articling or when you're freshly called. It may not happen at all. But there are definitely people who've got in to Bay St after not articling there, and there are far more of them than other fellow 2Ls will have you think.

Pour yourself a drink (or two), be sad if you need to for a couple of days, do something cathartic (like get a tramp stamp or something), and keep fighting. Don't defeat yourself by thinking you're a failure in this artifical and arbitrary process. Now is the time for you to really give some deeper thought to what you really want to do, no longer encumbered by just a narrow sliver of legal practice on Bay St. 

Feel free to PM me if you need a listening ear. 

Edited by Radfahrer
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So glad to have people posting here that are the kind of success stories that I've been alluding to for years second-hand. 

I'm just thinking through the roster of my friends that did not get a job after in-firms, and it can be significantly more glamorous and amazing than practice on Bay Street, which is great, but arguably not special.  We've got a bank deputy VP; senior counsel for a Minister; in-house counsel at a giant cannabis company; hip-hop agent; in-house at a fashion label; elected official; head investigator of a specialized law enforcement agency; bargaining agent for federal employees; handfuls that ended up on Bay Street anyway; handfuls more that set up their own weird or unique practices -- animal rights, digital privacy, child protection, eDiscovery -- working for themselves and designing everything from the office space to the letterhead.

It's such a massive profession, and Bay Street is such a small sliver of it.  And even then, the door's never closed.  And hey, after a few years of seeing what else is out there, you might well come to the same conclusion as most Bay Street associates do: that you're just not that interested in it anymore.

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1 hour ago, Deadpool said:

Literally the day after I did not get an offer from one of my top choices, I emailed the senior partner asking to stay connected. I had a good sense that she really liked me and pushed for my hire. Go for it. 

Can you give a rough outline of what you said in the email?

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Just going to throw this out there: looks like I didn't get my top two picks this cycle.  Somewhere out there I'm afraid there are two students that didn't get the call, beating themselves up for blowing the interviews, when I thought they were the very best candidates we had.

Goes back to that whole thing from 20 pages ago and how this is a matter of personal preference -- if I was running the place it would have been a different roster getting calls today.  There's nothing objective about your success or lack thereof at this stage.

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29 minutes ago, kakoke said:

Can you give a rough outline of what you said in the email?

I did not mention anything about the recruitment process at all. I cracked a joke in relation to something that we had talked about during the interview process, and asked to keep in touch/get a coffee again sometime. I was fairly casual and cool about it. Just go in with the mindset of cultivating a positive relationship - potentially even a mentor-mentee relationship. This person really liked my tone and said they'd keep an ear out for other opportunities and encouraged me to come to some OBA events that they were a part of. 

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I just want to chime in and say this is about more than just Bay St. I applied to worker/union-side labour and employment firms. My life is labour and employment. There couldn't be anything I'm more suited for. I didn't get an offer. For those of us who applied to exactly what we want to do and exactly what we're meant to do, this is an even more devastating blow. It's one thing to say "oh hey, you didn't get biglaw! K fine now on to what you really want to do." That WAS what I really wanted to do. I'm unsure of how to come back from this when there really aren't other options in that field at this point. Switch to management side? I feel a little like Anakin Skywalker at this point even thinking about it.

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12 minutes ago, macmill said:

I just want to chime in and say this is about more than just Bay St. I applied to worker/union-side labour and employment firms. My life is labour and employment. There couldn't be anything I'm more suited for. I didn't get an offer. For those of us who applied to exactly what we want to do and exactly what we're meant to do, this is an even more devastating blow. It's one thing to say "oh hey, you didn't get biglaw! K fine now on to what you really want to do." That WAS what I really wanted to do. I'm unsure of how to come back from this when there really aren't other options in that field at this point. Switch to management side? I feel a little like Anakin Skywalker at this point even thinking about it.

Didn’t Anakin end up bringing down the entire empire? 

I defer to people who work in the relevant areas, but if it’s a useful short term cheer up - knew folks focused on labor side that got no OCI gig and are now happy lawyers in various areas of practice, including labor side. Dreams not dead. 

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5 minutes ago, macmill said:

I just want to chime in and say this is about more than just Bay St. I applied to worker/union-side labour and employment firms. My life is labour and employment. There couldn't be anything I'm more suited for. I didn't get an offer. For those of us who applied to exactly what we want to do and exactly what we're meant to do, this is an even more devastating blow. It's one thing to say "oh hey, you didn't get biglaw! K fine now on to what you really want to do." That WAS what I really wanted to do. I'm unsure of how to come back from this when there really aren't other options in that field at this point. Switch to management side? I feel a little like Anakin Skywalker at this point even thinking about it.

I am going through the summer articlin recruit information from previous years and I see - Caley Wray, Cavalluzzo, Dewart Gleason, Goldblatt, Koskie Minsky, MAG - Ministry of Labour, Ontario Nurses’ Association, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic, Unifor, United Steelworkers, Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, Toronto District School Board, etc. 

There are a lot more worker/union-side labour and employment jobs yet to come. There are also plenty of management-side labour and employment jobs yet to come. 

OCIs are focused primarily on the Biglaw recruit. This does not mean that these are the only opportunities available to students! Many of the smaller shops and government do not have the time or resources to hire students years in advance. Things will come as people identify their needs and government especially secures their budget and hopes that Doug Ford doesn't slash their department in half. 

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42 minutes ago, macmill said:

I just want to chime in and say this is about more than just Bay St. I applied to worker/union-side labour and employment firms. My life is labour and employment. There couldn't be anything I'm more suited for. I didn't get an offer. For those of us who applied to exactly what we want to do and exactly what we're meant to do, this is an even more devastating blow. It's one thing to say "oh hey, you didn't get biglaw! K fine now on to what you really want to do." That WAS what I really wanted to do. I'm unsure of how to come back from this when there really aren't other options in that field at this point. Switch to management side? I feel a little like Anakin Skywalker at this point even thinking about it.

A very good friend of mine was in exactly your shoes after our recruit back in the day.  He bounced around between some good smaller boutiques for about three years before landing at one of the brand-name union-side shops that turned him down at OCIs, and then almost immediately got hired on in-house at a household-name union. 

He's still there --- it's an extremely sweet gig, lots of responsibility for collective bargaining and grievance arbitration and mind-boggling benefits.  Recently turned down an offer to turn management-side at one of the big four Bay Street firms.

Unless my info is extremely bad, there are lots of great union-side shops that haven't recruited yet.  Just get yourself in the ecosystem and see what happens.

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43 minutes ago, macmill said:

I just want to chime in and say this is about more than just Bay St. I applied to worker/union-side labour and employment firms. My life is labour and employment. There couldn't be anything I'm more suited for. I didn't get an offer. For those of us who applied to exactly what we want to do and exactly what we're meant to do, this is an even more devastating blow. It's one thing to say "oh hey, you didn't get biglaw! K fine now on to what you really want to do." That WAS what I really wanted to do. I'm unsure of how to come back from this when there really aren't other options in that field at this point. Switch to management side? I feel a little like Anakin Skywalker at this point even thinking about it.

The entire premise of this comment is faulty because it assumes that labour and employment law is a field that people “really want to do” while big law is not. Don’t denigrate other people’s emotions in an attempt to make yours feel more legitimate. 

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This was the shittiest experience of my life I want to curl up into a ball and cry will start preparing more applications tomorrow I guess l o l 

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27 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

The entire premise of this comment is faulty because it assumes that labour and employment law is a field that people “really want to do” while big law is not. Don’t denigrate other people’s emotions in an attempt to make yours feel more legitimate. 

I don’t think that’s what they are saying at all. They are not denigrating people who seek big law jobs. They’re saying a lot of advice in this thread is geared towards those people who may have been seeking big law positions and are being told that other options exist. I don’t think OP actually has the sentiment that their feelings are more valid than a person who really wanted big law. They’re just saying that a lot of the advice in this thread isn’t helpful because it’s geared towards only people who were interested in the first place.

I agree with OP, it’s not helpful advice to say “just look into another field there’s more out there” or “you can find what you’re looking for off of bay” to someone interested in a niche area of law like union-side labour. These positions are hard to come by. They’re rare. They do seem to prefer homegrown lawyers. Someone interested in big law has numerous amounts of opportunities left to end up at a larger firm (maybe not a seven sister but definitely a larger firm). Someone in OP’s shoes has much fewer opportunities to just lateral in. It’s just based on pure numbers. (However, I disagree that they will have an issue finding union-side work considering they are an impressive candidate.)

 

Edited by wtamow
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55 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

The entire premise of this comment is faulty because it assumes that labour and employment law is a field that people “really want to do” while big law is not. Don’t denigrate other people’s emotions in an attempt to make yours feel more legitimate. 

That wasn't the point at all. There are multiple comments above telling people who didn't get a job through OCIs to instead pursue what they love. That wasn't my viewpoint, it was theirs. My point was that the OCI firms WERE what I love, and that not everyone felt pressured to apply only to firms they thought they were supposed to. I certainly wasn't denigrating anyone's feelings, and in fact, anyone who did apply to biglaw because they wanted to probably felt the same way about the comments I was referring to.

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Is it too late to switch career paths and go drive a bus or something?  At least bus drivers don't have to put up with this nonsense application process.  I'd say I'd drive an Uber, but I spent all my money on tuition and can't afford a car. 

Honestly, I'm not mad.  Just disappointed because of all the positive signals I got.  

Oh well, back to writing cover letters and probably more pointless trips to Toronto that end up accomplishing nothing more than costing me money and making me fall farther behind in my courses.  Hooray.  

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1 hour ago, Deadpool said:

I am going through the summer articlin recruit information from previous years and I see - Caley Wray, Cavalluzzo, Dewart Gleason, Goldblatt, Koskie Minsky, MAG - Ministry of Labour, Ontario Nurses’ Association, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic, Unifor, United Steelworkers, Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, Toronto District School Board, etc. 

There are a lot more worker/union-side labour and employment jobs yet to come. There are also plenty of management-side labour and employment jobs yet to come. 

OCIs are focused primarily on the Biglaw recruit. This does not mean that these are the only opportunities available to students! Many of the smaller shops and government do not have the time or resources to hire students years in advance. Things will come as people identify their needs and government especially secures their budget and hopes that Doug Ford doesn't slash their department in half. 

I just wish there were more post-OCI L&E employers. Waiting for articling and going through this for the third time seems dreadful. This was probably one of the most painful experiences of my life, and my ego is currently laying in pieces on the floor. For that to happen again... 😕 One of my good friends has already gone down this path and is still seeking an articling position. Watching that... I can't imagine being in that position in a year.

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Next week, I plan on completely avoiding everyone I possibly can. I am just not ready to be happy for people who got jobs with how shitty I feel right now.

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I split the discussion about the crappiness of the OCI process here:

 

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In case this is useful for anyone at all, 

I have gone through 2 in-firm weeks at 2 different markets. Got zero offers for the first time, and was absolutely devastated. Was teary in class. Took time to mope and avoid everyone at school. Questioned my competence and if I should just give up. Afterwards I asked interviewers for feedback, and prepped harder for my 2nd go. Got an offer from my top choice! 

If anything, this stuff helps build our resilience and grit. We’ll need a lot of it throughout our careers. 

Edited by Pascale
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