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Regrets

Graduate with no articling and no hope

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10 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

If by “corporate/commercial” you’re really trying to say “big law”, then you need to accept that that ship has sailed in so far as your articling experience is concerned, and likely for the foreseeable future. You may lateral into a big law firm as an associate at some point in the future, but if they’ve passed over you in the 1L, 2L, and articling recruits, you won’t be working at one this year.

With that out of the way, it sounds like your approach is too broad, and employers are picking up on that. You’re saying here that you’ll accept practically any job, practically anywhere. If firms are looking at you as an investment, they’re rightfully going to assume you’re a flight risk with that attitude. 

Narrow your focus, both in terms of practice area and geography. Put all your energy into applying to firms practicing in the area(s) you want to practice and in the cities you want to live in. Tailor your cover letters, resume, and interview responses to reflect your interest in that specific area in that specific city. Hopefully that will garner better responses. 

I agree with this and was going to write something similar but didn't want to be tough. Thanks for posting.

I think OP needs to reconsider where their interests really lie. I have spoken with many Bay St lawyers who practice in the corporate/commercial world and they have laughed about how ridiculous it is when students state that they are "interested in corporate/commercial/business/etc". I agree with them. I'm sure this area of law is "interesting" to certain students, but not as much as a big firm environment is (and the pay cheque and opportunities that go along with it). I've had partners tell me that even they aren't really "interested" in this type of law, and that they think realistically no one is, especially at the student level. Unless you're obviously very excited by this area (or incredibly good at faking it), I think most people can sense that you are not the best investment. 

OP needs to be introspective. Interviewers will see that they are not really interested in whatever area of law OP is saying they are interested in for the sake of the interview, and view OP as a flight risk like you said. Perhaps OP is just not a great actor and cannot fake interest very well. I've applied to legal jobs that I was incredibly well suited for based on my career history and been turned away because they could see at the interview stage that I wasn't actually interested in their practice at all. 

There is a difference between desperation and excitement. Desperation is when you want a job, any job, no matter how shitty it is and how much it will bore you to death. Excitement is when you want a specific job because you think you will genuinely love the [firm/practice area/lawyers] and stay there for a long time. Desperation turns people off.

There is a lot more to be said here but I'll leave it here.

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I think there may be something to be said for the LPP offering a path to decent attractive work placements at well-positioned firms and in-house legal departments.

It took me longer than I would have liked to find an articling position when I graduated so I enrolled in the LPP just to have a back up plan. Through the LPP, I interviewed at a few fancy-ish places but ultimately withdrew from the program when I secured articles. Therefore, I suspect the fancier LPP placement providers have a preference for graduates from Canadian schools and a placement with them might represent a second chance at working at one of those places. It wouldn't be as good as articling there but, depending on what you want your career to look like, an LPP placement in one of those environments might be better for you than articling at a small firm.

I don't think you stand to lose much by enrolling in the LPP and seeing whether you get a placement in a place you'd want to work. If you aren't satisfied with it, withdraw before the no refund date.

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It took me a long time to find an articling job in spite of doing well in law school, partly because I had a very narrow focus (tax) and partly because I was struggling with mental health issues. Eventually I found a position at a fantastic civil litigation boutique, spending about 30-40% of my time on tax.

Careers are long and the market is fickle. Just do your best to keep developing yourself and keep trying. 

 

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I just checked my old email and I got my offer for articling in the middle of July in 2018 for a public sector position. It ended up being a great position. So I don't see June as being that late in the game to be still looking for an articling position given that a lot of people start positions July/August at the best of times, and as far as I know due to COVID-19 that time table has been pushed back for quite a few people. I now work at a boutique in Toronto making a Bay Street salary so it ended up working out for me. 

I would keep looking for positions and also try to see your time right now as an opportunity to take a break because articling hours are not the best. It also gets easier because getting your foot in the door is the hardest part, and I got  my two subsequent positions (at very good firms) within days of interviewing for them. When I thought I wasn't going to get an articling position I also reapplied for the next year and got interview offers at places which previously rejected me, so that is also another consideration for you. 

Here are some of things I did when looking for an articling position which helped me:

-make a systematic list of mid-sized firms in each city which you checked don't usually hire during a formal articling recruit, don't have a lot of junior lawyers, and so on;

-spend an hour researching each the practice area of each those firms, things like what were their most recent cases, what is their main focus, what is the firm culture, and what your interviewers are like;

-write a customized email to each (like a cover letter) where you say you are looking for a position and want a interview, and then ask them if they want a full application package with references; and

-make goal of rinsing and repeating this process 5 times a day.

My firm is still hiring during the pandemic, so I assume others are too. While I read everything that you were doing to find a position, these are just some of the things that I did, and which ended up working for articling and beyond. 

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Several people have already offered some version of the best advice I have to offer, and it's the reason I suggested you specify you original area(s) of interest early on. At this point in time, it looks very unlikely that you are going to have a career in "Big Law" any time in the foreseeable future. That isn't to say you need to close that door forever, but it's clearly not happening right now, and if they don't want you as an articling student then no offence, but they won't want you as a newly called lawyer after articling somewhere else. And I'm saying all this not to be mean but to more clearly connect the dots on what follows.

I'm speaking now as a lawyer who works in an area of law which is clearly not "Big Law" and I could potentially have posted one of those jobs you have applied to. Note - I'm not really hiring right now, so no one get excited. But I've had articling students in the past. So I speak from experience when I say this. It is dead obvious to me when someone applies for a job to article in my practice not because they have any interest in doing what I do but because they've struck out of every other job they actually wanted. And believe me when I say this - I have no interest at all in hiring that person. I'd really rather hire no one. And that isn't a problem I face anyway, because in the same pile of applications there are guaranteed to be any number of students who have taken classes relevant to my practice area, volunteered at clinics, joined appropriate organizations, etc. And if their grades aren't as good as the guy who was aiming for Big Law but didn't quite make it, there's no question which one of them I'm interviewing and possibly hiring. It isn't about being fair or unfair to the more accomplished student. I want to hire someone who actually wants to do what I do. For many good reasons.

So, let me dispel some fallacies. There isn't a hierarchy in the marketplace - certainly not between areas of practice. In every area of practice there are more and less prestigious firms, yes. But just because you can't do what you wanted to do doesn't mean that the things you are applying for instead are inherently less competitive. And most importantly, the people who could be hiring in those other areas of practice aren't interested in the dregs that washed out of Big Law OCIs. I'm sorry, I know that's a mean way to put it. But you need to know how much of a waste of time it is (yours and mine) to apply for jobs you don't really want in the first place but are just desperate enough to settle for, now. Because no one in a position to hire you sees the job they are hiring for in those terms. Let me be even more blunt about it. I'm training a student based on the theory they want what I have one day. I really don't have time for someone who sees what I have as some kind of consolation prize for failures.

Anyway, the practical advice is this. Somewhere, during your time in law school (perhaps even before law school) I have to believe you had some interest in life other than sitting in an office in a glass tower, which costs an ungodly amount per square foot, billing out your time at hundreds of dollars an hour for institutional clients who want to figure out how to make more money, keep the money they have, or get the money someone else has. I mean, seriously. I'm trying to avoid the fallacy of pissing on another practice area the way I don't like mine getting pissed on. But I find it hard to believe that anyone's dreams truly revolve around minimizing tax liability for corporations. And even if I can embrace the theory that some people find that genuinely interesting, it would make me so sad I probably couldn't sleep tonight if i had to imagine a person whose dreams exclusively revolve around minimizing tax liability for corporations. So whatever your other interests are, or were, now is the time you really want to rediscover them, dust them off, and apply for relevant jobs with however much genuine excitement you can muster. Because getting rejected by Big Law may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. And I mean that.

Once you have done the above, you then apply for only those jobs that actually interest you. I know that means passing up on a lot of other things. But seriously, you are wasting your time (and my time) and your psychological energy when you apply for jobs you stand no chance at anyway. Make a full effort to apply for only the jobs you really want, rather than weak efforts at a lot of jobs. It may seem scary at first, but it's exactly what you need to do.

Good luck.

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Posted (edited)

It’s actually quite complex and satisfying trying to devise ways to minimize tax liability for corporations. I’m nowhere near smart enough to do it, but if I were, I’d happily spend my time solving the puzzles required to come up with some of those deal structures.

Edited by easttowest
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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Diplock said:

Several people have already offered some version of the best advice I have to offer, and it's the reason I suggested you specify you original area(s) of interest early on. At this point in time, it looks very unlikely that you are going to have a career in "Big Law" any time in the foreseeable future. That isn't to say you need to close that door forever, but it's clearly not happening right now, and if they don't want you as an articling student then no offence, but they won't want you as a newly called lawyer after articling somewhere else. And I'm saying all this not to be mean but to more clearly connect the dots on what follows.

I'm speaking now as a lawyer who works in an area of law which is clearly not "Big Law" and I could potentially have posted one of those jobs you have applied to. Note - I'm not really hiring right now, so no one get excited. But I've had articling students in the past. So I speak from experience when I say this. It is dead obvious to me when someone applies for a job to article in my practice not because they have any interest in doing what I do but because they've struck out of every other job they actually wanted. And believe me when I say this - I have no interest at all in hiring that person. I'd really rather hire no one. And that isn't a problem I face anyway, because in the same pile of applications there are guaranteed to be any number of students who have taken classes relevant to my practice area, volunteered at clinics, joined appropriate organizations, etc. And if their grades aren't as good as the guy who was aiming for Big Law but didn't quite make it, there's no question which one of them I'm interviewing and possibly hiring. It isn't about being fair or unfair to the more accomplished student. I want to hire someone who actually wants to do what I do. For many good reasons.

So, let me dispel some fallacies. There isn't a hierarchy in the marketplace - certainly not between areas of practice. In every area of practice there are more and less prestigious firms, yes. But just because you can't do what you wanted to do doesn't mean that the things you are applying for instead are inherently less competitive. And most importantly, the people who could be hiring in those other areas of practice aren't interested in the dregs that washed out of Big Law OCIs. I'm sorry, I know that's a mean way to put it. But you need to know how much of a waste of time it is (yours and mine) to apply for jobs you don't really want in the first place but are just desperate enough to settle for, now. Because no one in a position to hire you sees the job they are hiring for in those terms. Let me be even more blunt about it. I'm training a student based on the theory they want what I have one day. I really don't have time for someone who sees what I have as some kind of consolation prize for failures.

Anyway, the practical advice is this. Somewhere, during your time in law school (perhaps even before law school) I have to believe you had some interest in life other than sitting in an office in a glass tower, which costs an ungodly amount per square foot, billing out your time at hundreds of dollars an hour for institutional clients who want to figure out how to make more money, keep the money they have, or get the money someone else has. I mean, seriously. I'm trying to avoid the fallacy of pissing on another practice area the way I don't like mine getting pissed on. But I find it hard to believe that anyone's dreams truly revolve around minimizing tax liability for corporations. And even if I can embrace the theory that some people find that genuinely interesting, it would make me so sad I probably couldn't sleep tonight if i had to imagine a person whose dreams exclusively revolve around minimizing tax liability for corporations. So whatever your other interests are, or were, now is the time you really want to rediscover them, dust them off, and apply for relevant jobs with however much genuine excitement you can muster. Because getting rejected by Big Law may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. And I mean that.

Once you have done the above, you then apply for only those jobs that actually interest you. I know that means passing up on a lot of other things. But seriously, you are wasting your time (and my time) and your psychological energy when you apply for jobs you stand no chance at anyway. Make a full effort to apply for only the jobs you really want, rather than weak efforts at a lot of jobs. It may seem scary at first, but it's exactly what you need to do.

Good luck.

100% this. At some point you have to think: did you only want to pursue "corporate/commercial" because of the potential prestige of landing at a big firm? Is it because you think there's a hierarchy in the marketplace between practice areas (which a lot of students and a few practicing lawyers sadly do)? I can't think of a sadder existence than passing on a career in [underrated practice area] just because a buttload of judgemental people have some thoughts about it. I find it is often hard for students to detach interest from prestige. 

People love to talk about "big law" getting a bad reputation - but what about all of the other practice areas that frequently get shit on by students and associates who have never even worked in those areas? Sadly, it seems like students and younger lawyers do see the marketplace as a hierarchy, and it probably comes from a lack of experience and familiarity with those areas. For some, it seems unfathomable that anyone would actually want to go into [insert non-corporate/commercial area] here. Even on this forum, I've seen recent posts saying that you have to either strike-out from big law or be an ideologue if you want to go into another practice area. What about just wanting to make money doing something you actually find enjoyable?

I'm not trying to say that OP isn't genuinely interested in corporate/commercial law. But for every person who is genuinely interested in corporate/commercial law, there are probably a handful of people who just feel pressured into it for a variety of reasons. 

 

Edited by wtamow

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1 hour ago, wtamow said:

100% this. At some point you have to think: did you only want to pursue "corporate/commercial" because of the potential prestige of landing at a big firm? Is it because you think there's a hierarchy in the marketplace between practice areas (which a lot of students and a few practicing lawyers sadly do)? I can't think of a sadder existence than passing on a career in [underrated practice area] just because a buttload of judgemental people have some thoughts about it. I find it is often hard for students to detach interest from prestige. 

People love to talk about "big law" getting a bad reputation - but what about all of the other practice areas that frequently get shit on by students and associates who have never even worked in those areas? Sadly, it seems like students and younger lawyers do see the marketplace as a hierarchy, and it probably comes from a lack of experience and familiarity with those areas. For some, it seems unfathomable that anyone would actually want to go into [insert non-corporate/commercial area] here. Even on this forum, I've seen recent posts saying that you have to either strike-out from big law or be an ideologue if you want to go into another practice area. What about just wanting to make money doing something you actually find enjoyable?

I'm not trying to say that OP isn't genuinely interested in corporate/commercial law. But for every person who is genuinely interested in corporate/commercial law, there are probably a handful of people who just feel pressured into it for a variety of reasons. 

 

What are some of these practice areas getting shat on? I've only ever heard students shit on PI, and even then there was an acknowledgment that PI lawyers can make a lot of money.

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1 minute ago, harveyspecter993 said:

What are some of these practice areas getting shat on? I've only ever heard students shit on PI, and even then there was an acknowledgment that PI lawyers can make a lot of money.

I was thinking precisely of PI when I wrote my comment, but I've heard equally poor commentary (primarily amongst students) regarding areas like residential real estate, family law, crim defence, etc. 

But on the topic of PI, I think you're downplaying how much people shit on the practice are as a whole. It is colloquially called "shit law" online, and "ambulance chasing" offline. 

For the sake of anonymity, I won't be divulging some of the awful and weird comments I've heard about a breadth of non-corporate/commercial practice areas from students - but the sentiment is there.

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On 6/14/2020 at 6:28 PM, wtamow said:

But on the topic of PI, I think you're downplaying how much people shit on the practice are as a whole. It is colloquially called "shit law" online, and "ambulance chasing" offline. 

I’m not sure if there’s a practice area I haven’t seen trashed on this forum haha. Perhaps lawyers and law-students Just have really strong but loosely (perhaps) held opinions haha

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19 minutes ago, JohnStuartHobbes said:

I’m not sure if there’s a practice area I haven’t seen trashed on this forum haha. Perhaps lawyers and law-students Just have really strong but loosely (perhaps) held opinions haha

Everyone seems fine with bird law 

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2 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Everyone seems fine with bird law 

Just make sure to get an expert who can speak to birds...

Back on topic, several posters have suggested the LPP. I don't understand the resistance to this suggestion. It's not ideal, but isn't being called better than going for years, or even the rest of your life, without being called?

Now, it's one thing if someone in their best judgment thinks that because of the pandemic they don't have articles now but will be able to get them in the near future. Whether or not that's a reasonable belief is something I'm skeptical about, but it's not my life. But for someone who's already spent the time and money to get through law school, does it really make sense to abandon law because one can't get one's ideal situation, i.e. articles?

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1 hour ago, JohnStuartHobbes said:

I’m not sure if there’s a practice area I haven’t seen trashed on this forum haha. Perhaps lawyers and law-students Just have really strong but loosely (perhaps) held opinions haha

My strong opinion is that you missed the point completely. 

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2 hours ago, wtamow said:

My strong opinion is that you missed the point completely. 

Well I hope that too is loosely held...

I remember something about a pot?

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So I think I didn’t communicate effectively in my previous post, because corporate/commercial certainly wasn’t a secret code for “big law”. Yes, I have a background in finance, and yes I flamed out at OCIs. After that spectacular failure however, I spent a summer doing part time volunteer work for a solo practising business law (among other things). I was working on small biz files. Doing incorporations, partnership agreements, commercial lit, heck I even did some work on estate planning. It wasn’t glamorous work, but I enjoyed it. I know it’s not always possible to sustain a practise from just this type of work alone and I’m definitely open to doing other things on the side. However, I think "business law'" definitely isn't practised solely on Bay Street. The lawyer I worked for was great, he just doesn’t take articling students, and despite some introductions I wasn’t able to get an articling position from that role. I have kept in touch with him but the practise has been affected by COVID and other than keeping an eye open there isn’t much he can do. Supervising an articling student is a big responsibility and it seems a lot of the lawyers I meet are hesitant to do it (I don’t blame them).  

A couple of people have suggested PI work. I understand that people are coming from a good place, but I don’t have the background/experience/interest in PI law. Torts was my least favourite class in law school and I’ve never even taken Personal Injury. I don’t want to come off as being ungrateful and trust me when I say that I have interviewed for basically every type of legal work out there. The response I’ve gotten is a lot worse in legal areas where I don’t have demonstrated experience. My total numbers as of this morning are 163 applications (private practise + government + non-law) – 18 interviews – 0 jobs. 

I want to thank everyone for taking the time and giving me great advice! It means a lot to me that people would take the time out of their busy schedule to help a random person on the internet. I guess deep down I knew that there is no easy answer to my problems. I just needed a place to vent my frustrations. With regards to that purpose, I think this thread has run its course. As for my situation, I have continued applying wherever I see a relevant posting. I also signed up for the LPP. I'm not sure if I'll end up pursuing it but there's no harm in signing up. I hope to keep applying for positions after writing my bar exam next month. No good news, yet.
 

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On 6/30/2020 at 12:03 AM, Regrets said:

So I think I didn’t communicate effectively in my previous post, because corporate/commercial certainly wasn’t a secret code for “big law”. Yes, I have a background in finance, and yes I flamed out at OCIs. After that spectacular failure however, I spent a summer doing part time volunteer work for a solo practising business law (among other things). I was working on small biz files. Doing incorporations, partnership agreements, commercial lit, heck I even did some work on estate planning. It wasn’t glamorous work, but I enjoyed it. I know it’s not always possible to sustain a practise from just this type of work alone and I’m definitely open to doing other things on the side. However, I think "business law'" definitely isn't practised solely on Bay Street. The lawyer I worked for was great, he just doesn’t take articling students, and despite some introductions I wasn’t able to get an articling position from that role. I have kept in touch with him but the practise has been affected by COVID and other than keeping an eye open there isn’t much he can do. Supervising an articling student is a big responsibility and it seems a lot of the lawyers I meet are hesitant to do it (I don’t blame them).  

A couple of people have suggested PI work. I understand that people are coming from a good place, but I don’t have the background/experience/interest in PI law. Torts was my least favourite class in law school and I’ve never even taken Personal Injury. I don’t want to come off as being ungrateful and trust me when I say that I have interviewed for basically every type of legal work out there. The response I’ve gotten is a lot worse in legal areas where I don’t have demonstrated experience. My total numbers as of this morning are 163 applications (private practise + government + non-law) – 18 interviews – 0 jobs. 

I want to thank everyone for taking the time and giving me great advice! It means a lot to me that people would take the time out of their busy schedule to help a random person on the internet. I guess deep down I knew that there is no easy answer to my problems. I just needed a place to vent my frustrations. With regards to that purpose, I think this thread has run its course. As for my situation, I have continued applying wherever I see a relevant posting. I also signed up for the LPP. I'm not sure if I'll end up pursuing it but there's no harm in signing up. I hope to keep applying for positions after writing my bar exam next month. No good news, yet.
 

Keep us posted on your search.  I also know a few classmates that did the LPP and some ended up in great positions with the gov't and in-house.  We're all rooting for you!

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On 6/30/2020 at 12:03 AM, Regrets said:

So I think I didn’t communicate effectively in my previous post, because corporate/commercial certainly wasn’t a secret code for “big law”. Yes, I have a background in finance, and yes I flamed out at OCIs. After that spectacular failure however, I spent a summer doing part time volunteer work for a solo practising business law (among other things). I was working on small biz files. Doing incorporations, partnership agreements, commercial lit, heck I even did some work on estate planning. It wasn’t glamorous work, but I enjoyed it. I know it’s not always possible to sustain a practise from just this type of work alone and I’m definitely open to doing other things on the side. However, I think "business law'" definitely isn't practised solely on Bay Street. The lawyer I worked for was great, he just doesn’t take articling students, and despite some introductions I wasn’t able to get an articling position from that role. I have kept in touch with him but the practise has been affected by COVID and other than keeping an eye open there isn’t much he can do. Supervising an articling student is a big responsibility and it seems a lot of the lawyers I meet are hesitant to do it (I don’t blame them).  

A couple of people have suggested PI work. I understand that people are coming from a good place, but I don’t have the background/experience/interest in PI law. Torts was my least favourite class in law school and I’ve never even taken Personal Injury. I don’t want to come off as being ungrateful and trust me when I say that I have interviewed for basically every type of legal work out there. The response I’ve gotten is a lot worse in legal areas where I don’t have demonstrated experience. My total numbers as of this morning are 163 applications (private practise + government + non-law) – 18 interviews – 0 jobs. 

I want to thank everyone for taking the time and giving me great advice! It means a lot to me that people would take the time out of their busy schedule to help a random person on the internet. I guess deep down I knew that there is no easy answer to my problems. I just needed a place to vent my frustrations. With regards to that purpose, I think this thread has run its course. As for my situation, I have continued applying wherever I see a relevant posting. I also signed up for the LPP. I'm not sure if I'll end up pursuing it but there's no harm in signing up. I hope to keep applying for positions after writing my bar exam next month. No good news, yet.
 

Don't lose hope yet. There are a number of corporate positions for BigLaw and in-house positions in the LPP. Even if you don't get your ideal articling position, you may be able to snag one of those placements. You should be applying for placements soon, since I believe the first round of interviews are coming up in August. Keep us updated. 

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On 6/30/2020 at 12:03 AM, Regrets said:

I also signed up for the LPP. I'm not sure if I'll end up pursuing it but there's no harm in signing up. I hope to keep applying for positions after writing my bar exam next month. No good news, yet.

A friend of mine was in much the same position as you are. He completed the LPP and now has an excellent in house job. I know just one story but from my understanding far from unusual. I hope you find a suitable articling position but if not the LPP is a great option. Best of luck. 

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On 6/14/2020 at 12:07 PM, adVenture said:

I just checked my old email and I got my offer for articling in the middle of July in 2018 for a public sector position. It ended up being a great position. So I don't see June as being that late in the game to be still looking for an articling position given that a lot of people start positions July/August at the best of times, and as far as I know due to COVID-19 that time table has been pushed back for quite a few people. I now work at a boutique in Toronto making a Bay Street salary so it ended up working out for me. 

I would keep looking for positions and also try to see your time right now as an opportunity to take a break because articling hours are not the best. It also gets easier because getting your foot in the door is the hardest part, and I got  my two subsequent positions (at very good firms) within days of interviewing for them. When I thought I wasn't going to get an articling position I also reapplied for the next year and got interview offers at places which previously rejected me, so that is also another consideration for you. 

Here are some of things I did when looking for an articling position which helped me:

-make a systematic list of mid-sized firms in each city which you checked don't usually hire during a formal articling recruit, don't have a lot of junior lawyers, and so on;

-spend an hour researching each the practice area of each those firms, things like what were their most recent cases, what is their main focus, what is the firm culture, and what your interviewers are like;

-write a customized email to each (like a cover letter) where you say you are looking for a position and want a interview, and then ask them if they want a full application package with references; and

-make goal of rinsing and repeating this process 5 times a day.

My firm is still hiring during the pandemic, so I assume others are too. While I read everything that you were doing to find a position, these are just some of the things that I did, and which ended up working for articling and beyond. 

Just wanted to echo what adVenture said. I followed his advice last year and I ended up with multiple offers within a couple months, YMMV.

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On 6/14/2020 at 11:07 AM, adVenture said:

I just checked my old email and I got my offer for articling in the middle of July in 2018 for a public sector position. It ended up being a great position. So I don't see June as being that late in the game to be still looking for an articling position given that a lot of people start positions July/August at the best of times, and as far as I know due to COVID-19 that time table has been pushed back for quite a few people. I now work at a boutique in Toronto making a Bay Street salary so it ended up working out for me. 

I would keep looking for positions and also try to see your time right now as an opportunity to take a break because articling hours are not the best. It also gets easier because getting your foot in the door is the hardest part, and I got  my two subsequent positions (at very good firms) within days of interviewing for them. When I thought I wasn't going to get an articling position I also reapplied for the next year and got interview offers at places which previously rejected me, so that is also another consideration for you. 

Here are some of things I did when looking for an articling position which helped me:

-make a systematic list of mid-sized firms in each city which you checked don't usually hire during a formal articling recruit, don't have a lot of junior lawyers, and so on;

-spend an hour researching each the practice area of each those firms, things like what were their most recent cases, what is their main focus, what is the firm culture, and what your interviewers are like;

-write a customized email to each (like a cover letter) where you say you are looking for a position and want a interview, and then ask them if they want a full application package with references; and

-make goal of rinsing and repeating this process 5 times a day.

My firm is still hiring during the pandemic, so I assume others are too. While I read everything that you were doing to find a position, these are just some of the things that I did, and which ended up working for articling and beyond. 

I did pretty much exactly this and secured an articling position at a mid-size full service firm this June.

More info on my process:

 

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