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WellThisSucks

3L who has not been offered a single interview throughout law school

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With only three months of law school remaining, I am unsure of what steps to take.

  • During the 1L summer I offered to volunteer with numerous law firms but was unsuccessful
  • I did some travelling over 1L summer and worked at my friend's transportation start-up over 2L summer
  • Since the start of 2L, I have applied to virtually every opening I have seen in multiple provinces in many areas of law
  • I believe I have decent work experience, I worked as an assistant finance manager at a car dealership for many years prior to law school 
  • My GPA in law school is just below 3. My undergrad in business was 3.6, with Dean's List for some semesters 
  • I have volunteered with PBSC, Student Legal Help, and the free legal guidance clinic in my city
  • I have had my resume and cover letter examined by a few people, including career advisors at two different law schools 
  • I have gone to numerous networking events since 2L, including many CBA lunchtime meetings
  • I have had coffee with people from 15+ different entities in my city
  • I am a visible minority and speak 2 languages in addition to English 

Many students in my predicament are worried about securing an articling position. I share this concern, but cannot seem to figure out why a single place won't interview me. 

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you. 

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It isn’t advice so much as the reassurance that prospective employers have no way of knowing they are your first interview. You will carry that in your head but it will not be held against you externally. Don’t forget that as you keep going. 
And do keep going. It’s disheartening and awful (and a bad time of year to feel that way) but even when you shovel shit from a sitting position you do actually make progress, even if it’s largely one of elimination. 

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Almost in the same boat years ago when I was in law school, I applied to every job posted until the end of third year, nothing. 

My own experience is your career office won't be really helpful, you have to actively looking for articles. 

I personally believe "coffee" out with practitioner is not very good way to find articles, at least not very efficient. 

I tried "coffee" too (> 10) and none result to any lead for articles. 

My suggestion is to send cold emails to all firms that you are interested with your resume. It sounds very low-tech, but you will be amazed at the efficiency, I sent probably ~ 70-100 emails, got ~ 10 reply within a week, schedule 4 interviews in next week and secured my articles less than 1 month after I started to mass-emailing.  

If you are a dude, personal injury, civil litigation and small business boutique or criminal defense are not difficult to get in. If you are a female, try family law, wills and estate. 

You also mentioned you speak two others languages, if you are in GTA or Metro Van, you should definitely target those firms that have high representation with visible minorities (lawyers or clients).  I will be surprised if you cannot find your article in 6 months from now. 

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I'm not sure it's an effective method to apply to every opening in many areas of law; that just tells me that your application package may be generic and not tailored to that particular employer. Outside of the large firm recruit, many employers are looking for a demonstrated interest in the work that they do. They will look at your GPA, but also other factors such as course selection, clinicals, work experience, etc. At this stage in the game, most employers are not impressed by law students that will do anything and everything.They don't simply want anyone with a pulse to work there; ideally they want someone who wants to do the work they do and may even see a long-term future with them. Remember, to you it's just an articling job that is meant to remove another barrier to your call to the bar; to the employer you are an investment that they have to train and pay. 

I recommend narrowing your list down to 2 areas of law, creating carefully tailored application materials for these areas, then network and connect with firms and lawyers that practice in these areas. As another person mentioned, there are opportunities in personal services and civil litigation as they are done in smaller firm settings, and you do not need to be a male or female to work in any area of law. This is not the early 1900s anymore. 

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2 hours ago, criseaster55 said:

Almost in the same boat years ago when I was in law school, I applied to every job posted until the end of third year, nothing. 

My own experience is your career office won't be really helpful, you have to actively looking for articles. 

I personally believe "coffee" out with practitioner is not very good way to find articles, at least not very efficient. 

I tried "coffee" too (> 10) and none result to any lead for articles. 

My suggestion is to send cold emails to all firms that you are interested with your resume. It sounds very low-tech, but you will be amazed at the efficiency, I sent probably ~ 70-100 emails, got ~ 10 reply within a week, schedule 4 interviews in next week and secured my articles less than 1 month after I started to mass-emailing.  

If you are a dude, personal injury, civil litigation and small business boutique or criminal defense are not difficult to get in. If you are a female, try family law, wills and estate. 

You also mentioned you speak two others languages, if you are in GTA or Metro Van, you should definitely target those firms that have high representation with visible minorities (lawyers or clients).  I will be surprised if you cannot find your article in 6 months from now. 

As I understand it, the OP can’t secure a single interview. 
 

A passing glance at your history seems to indicate you did in fact get a number of interviews. 
 

As to what you may have done to eliminate yourself from consideration for positions after interviewing...hmmm....I think I have some idea....

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3 hours ago, criseaster55 said:

If you are a dude, personal injury, civil litigation and small business boutique or criminal defense are not difficult to get in. If you are a female, try family law, wills and estate. 

This is just objectively wrong and bad advice. Speaking as some one with roughly fifteen years experience, some of the most formidable defence counsel are women. While some of the men can trust that their grey hairs and expanding bellies and bonhomie impress their clients, the women by and large can only reach that plateau via hard work (along with their deserving and hardworking male colleagues; including identifiable minorities). The defence bar have their dinosaurs but it’s a rare lawyer with any brains who doesn’t accept female applicants are equally capable.

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On 1/29/2020 at 7:19 PM, criseaster55 said:

If you are a dude, personal injury, civil litigation and small business boutique or criminal defense are not difficult to get in. If you are a female, try family law, wills and estate. 

And to think that there are lawyers that oppose the Statement of Principles requirement. 

Edited by OWH
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3 hours ago, OWH said:

And to think that there are lawyers that oppose the Statement of Principles requirement. 

I doubt that poster writing down principles on a piece of paper that they could very well never again look at or think about would do much to change their attitude.

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I found my initial first year associate position off around 20 cold emails. It took me about 2-weeks to get hired. I recently lateraled to a midsized firm in Toronto (ranked) after emailing a recruiter. It took me about 1-week to get hired. Before, I wasted a lot more time (3-months) doing coffee dates and applying to posted positions with little success. I am a 2019 call, with average grades and experience.

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On 2/1/2020 at 3:58 PM, adVenture said:

I found my initial first year associate position off around 20 cold emails. It took me about 2-weeks to get hired. I recently lateraled to a midsized firm in Toronto (ranked) after emailing a recruiter. It took me about 1-week to get hired. Before, I wasted a lot more time (3-months) doing coffee dates and applying to posted positions with little success. I am a 2019 call, with average grades and experience.

That's an awesome success rate! do have any advice for crafting the cold emails since it landed you two jobs? Thanks! 

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16 hours ago, Lawyertobe123 said:

That's an awesome success rate! do have any advice for crafting the cold emails since it landed you two jobs? Thanks! 

Echoing this. @adVenture give us the low down. 

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This was quite a while ago.  But don't make my mistake!   I sent out like....8 or 9 articling applications.  I only had 1 area of law in mind and was pretty qualified so was confident. 

One day I saw a buddy of mine coming out of the law library with about a 50 applications under his arm.  He said he sent out the same amount the day before and would send out the same the next day.  I thought he was nuts.

I had 4 interviews and 1 offer which I took.  I..... had......1.....offer.  It Would have served me right if I didn't get any.  Looking back at my articling application experience, I would call my self naïve rather than arrogant or stupid.

Bottom line, I got lucky.  Even now, years on, when I think back, it's a little unnerving.  Don't make my mistake!  Apply widely.

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On 2/3/2020 at 6:58 PM, Lawyertobe123 said:

That's an awesome success rate! do have any advice for crafting the cold emails since it landed you two jobs? Thanks! 

 

21 hours ago, whoknows said:

Echoing this. @adVenture give us the low down. 

I just wrote a brief cover letter discussing my (demonstrated) interest in the position and how I knew about the firm; my relevant grades; my experience in the area (from articling); and asked for an interview. I know quite a few people who did the same thing and it worked out. PM me if you want to talk more

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@WellThisSucks I can't speak as to current or recent hiring trends, but I noticed in passing, I hope you don't omit or bury the fact that you're trilingual. Even if the languages aren't directly of interest to employers (i.e. based on some of their clientele), isn't being fluent in multiple languages impressive anyway? Maybe someone with more recent experience can comment on that point.

Unless, of course, you've decided that revealing that information would tell a potential employer sight unseen that you're a visible minority in a way that your name (whatever it is) wouldn't?

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I would follow the advice and at this point send out tons and tons of cold applications and calls. I would first target small firms who practice in communities that speak your other two languages, OR, if you notice a firm highlights that they have lawyers who speak a certain language, such as having a multi-lingual website, call them up and tell them you would love to article and potentially work with them, and use your other languages as an asset to build off that/open up a new market. 

Also, as to why you haven't gotten any interviews so far...this is why I think you haven't gotten anything based on what you wrote.

Quote
  • During the 1L summer I offered to volunteer with numerous law firms but was unsuccessful

I am not surprised at all that there was no interest. For a small firm/sole, I would imagine having a student 'volunteer' for them is more work than it's worth, even though they're not paying you. 

Quote
  • Since the start of 2L, I have applied to virtually every opening I have seen in multiple provinces in many areas of law

Getting a 2L job is very difficult outside of the OCI recruit. Plus I don't see why an out-of-province firm would hire a 2L in your province, when they can hire one from their own?

Quote
  • I believe I have decent work experience, I worked as an assistant finance manager at a car dealership for many years prior to law school 

Trust me, this doesn't really matter that much. If you had an A average and worked at McDonalds prior to law school you'd have a better chance. Just the way the ball bounces.

Quote
  • My GPA in law school is just below 3. My undergrad in business was 3.6, with Dean's List for some semesters 

Your law school GPA is certainly a factor, but it's not the death knoll. No one really cares about your undergrad grades; especially since most people in law school have amazing undergrad grades, that's how they got into law school.

Quote
  • I have volunteered with PBSC, Student Legal Help, and the free legal guidance clinic in my city
  • I have had my resume and cover letter examined by a few people, including career advisors at two different law schools 
  • I have gone to numerous networking events since 2L, including many CBA lunchtime meetings
  • I have had coffee with people from 15+ different entities in my city

This is helpful but in the end not enough, as none of these places and people were actually hiring. Volunteering would be good resume bullet point, and a good speaking point, but after you secure an interview. I found career services to be useless in law school. 

Quote
  • I am a visible minority and speak 2 languages in addition to English 

I think you need to leverage this more! 

Edited by tanx
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Are you approaching firms with practice areas that suit your skills and background? For example, if you mainly assisted clients in small claims court during your law volunteer gigs, I think it makes more sense to approach civil litigation firms, as opposed to corporate law firms.

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The elephant in the room, which no one is addressing, is OP's sub 3.0 law school GPA. I assume that amounts to a C+ average. I hate to be blunt but you can't be surprised that you're not getting interviews when you're not even hitting the average level of performance. 

Edited by harveyspecter993

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