Jump to content
JanLevinsonGould

OCIs and a current accepted offer

Recommended Posts

This summer I worked as a 1L student at a local firm. It was okay, but there were things about the firm culture that I didn't like. It is a firm of about 12 lawyers, but there is no sense of community that you would normally have with a smaller firm. The clerks are SO rude, and frankly I am pretty sure a couple are racist. The pay is also lower than comparable firms. 

This firm offered me a 2L position for next summer back in August. I accepted, party because of pressure from HR and the managing partner, and partly because I was happy to at least have something. The thing is, I still think that I want to do OCIs. I would like the experience of applying and interviewing. But I know that if I get an offer I will likely accept it, especially if the pay is better. Is it shady of me to accept the firm's offer and  (potentially) later reject it? what would you do in my position?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would go through with OCIs and take an offer if you get one. If you get a job offer from OCIs you'd still be able to give your previous firm a few months' notice, it's not like you're leaving them high and dry.

Did you sign anything committing to your 1L firm for next summer? Are they contributing to your tuition/textbook costs in any way? If the answer is no, then there's not reallllly any obligation to stay.

The other consideration is how well known/well liked the firm is, and whether burning that bridge would come back to bite you somehow.

Edited by canuckfanatic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, canuckfanatic said:

Did you sign anything committing to your 1L firm for next summer? Are they contributing to your tuition/textbook costs in any way? If the answer is no, then there's not reallllly any obligation to stay.

I did sign the offer of employment. They are not contributing to my studies in any way. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Even ignoring potential legal ramifications, that will tank your reputation.

What legal ramifications are you referring to ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, JanLevinsonGould said:

I did sign the offer of employment.

 

5 minutes ago, JanLevinsonGould said:

What legal ramifications are you referring to ?

You'll want to read that offer letter carefully, and may need to have a lawyer look at it. Nobody on this forum can provide legal advice.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, canuckfanatic said:

 

You'll want to read that offer letter carefully, and may need to have a lawyer look at it. Nobody on this forum can provide legal advice.

 

Canuck is correct... nobody can provide legal advice here although some of us is aware of the possible legal ramifications. 

Edited by Luckycharm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, JanLevinsonGould said:

Thank you, I certainly am not looking for legal advice (impossible to give without access to the letter I signed anyway). Just clarification on @pzabbythesecond's statement.

I'm not giving you legal advice. You're in law school so this should be setting your own alarm bells off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are specific summer students recruitment procedures that firms and students must follow.

pzabby is correct..alarm bells  ring ring ring

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't necessarily agree with there being a problem, summer students recruitment procedures are usually region specific and there are a bunch of exclusions. As a matter of due diligence you should make sure you comply with them.

In general I don't have a problem with turning down a summer job for another one even after it is accepted, law firms will fire lawyers after they are rehired after articling if the situation changes -- as I am sure many lawyers saw recently. I don't think they should be given anything other than sufficient notice to hire another law student. There are plenty available. 

Reconsidering an offer that you were hesitant about won't tank your reputation. It is a normal thing people do. @Diplock did something in this vein and I would be interested in his view.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look, in terms of potential legal issues here, an employment contract is an employment contract. If you aren't sure about the potential consequences of accepting an offer of employment, signing a contract, and then reneging on that acceptance (a legal term you may have encountered at some point would be "breaching" that contract) you at least know where to start looking. Raising the possibility of consequences doesn't mean you would have a real and serious problem here. But no one here is going to give you legal advice, and the Catch-22 we're all in is that even saying you don't have a serious problem is also legal advice. Look into it. But regardless of the real seriousness of this issue, if nothing else, you should bloody well get used to the idea that entering into a legal agreement and then backing out of it will potentially have some consequences. Being surprised that the law, you know, does things, isn't a good look for you at this stage in your career.

Then there's governance by the Law Society. You should look into that too. They regulate recruiting for good reasons.

Now, let's leave aside the law for the remainder of what I'm about to say. And you can very often leave aside the law. Because the law only matters if anyone bothers to engage the law. As in, actually pursues remedies, consequences, etc. before an adjudicative authority. Very often that doesn't happen. Though you should never be blind to that possibility. Let's concentrate now on the practical.

I backed my way out of 2L summer position I had committed to. Mal is right about remembering that. At the time, it was...done awkwardly, but without consequences. That said, I did it for complex pre-existing reasons and not to accept a similar but better position somewhere else. The employer probably wasn't happy with me but also wasn't especially pissed. Didn't ruin any relationships or anything over it. I think your position and your proposed course of action is worse. And potentially could result in worse consequences, whether in a formal sense or in terms of reputational.

Let me just put it this way. Sometimes relationships end (I mean personal relationships) because they just end. That's unfortunate, but normal. That's not what's happening in your case. Sometimes relationships end because you meet someone else. That's harder to explain, but most of us understand the idea that you can meet the person you're supposed to be with and it makes you realize you aren't meant to stay where you are. That's still not what's happening in your case. Right now, you're the person who's in a relationship and thinking you'll stay if you can't find anything better, but you're on a dating app setting up dates on the side actively looking for that something better. And there's no good way to say this. In both personal and professional terms, that's just scummy.

If you participate in OCIs at all, your current employer may well hear of it. You could screw your current job even without finding a better job. So if you need a reason not to "cheat" the fear of getting caught is at least one good reason people don't do that. But beyond that, it's also just wrong. There's some gray area, but this isn't gray. And if your reputation suffers as a result, even leaving aside formal consequences, well, it should.

In all events, good luck.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Mal said:

I don't necessarily agree with there being a problem, summer students recruitment procedures are usually region specific and there are a bunch of exclusions. As a matter of due diligence you should make sure you comply with them.

Thanks @Mal that's very helpful. If it makes a difference, I didn't not get this job through a formal recruit, but through a referral. I emailed HR my resume and a cover letter and they called me in for an interview. 

I will look into the recruitments procedures and possible ramifications. I guess I shouldn't have signed the offer... but I felt I was in a tough spot. I didn't want to not sign it, go through OCIs and end up with no employment.

 It just feels weird thinking I "owe" them something. I understand how inconvenient it is to have to hire someone in my place, but at the same time there are soooo many students who will still be looking for employment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firstly, thanks for your response and your first-hand account. I appreciate it. I will only address the following point from your response and not the blatantly patronizing bits as I do not want this to digress. 

I'm going to go ahead and make an assumption that you're not a BIPOC based on this statement:

18 minutes ago, Diplock said:

That said, I did it for complex pre-existing reasons and not to accept a similar but better position somewhere else

The reason why that is relevant is that my apprehension regarding coming back has a lot to do with my personal lived experience. Working in the environment that I described briefly (perhaps too briefly, especially for a largely white audience) makes this position substantially worse than another. For a BIPOC person, every workplace comes with its negative experiences. I've been working for a long time, and I have never worked somewhere I didn't experience microaggressions. Thus, for me, finding employment becomes a balancing act of costs (workplace racism) and benefits (pay). Now, there is no way for me to know whether a new offer would come with its own pair of racist clerks. But for several hundred more a week,  the cost-benefit ratio would likely be at more of a balance. 
I don't want to be labelled as "scummy" personally, or professionally, so I hope I have sufficiently clarified my position to you as more than someone with a wandering eye looking to "cheat". 

That being said, thanks again for your advice and I will explore further the repercussions, just as I am sure you did.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I continue to think that it won't tank your reputation -- that is an exaggeration -- summer students are plentiful, there is something wrong with you holding onto the acceptance when you have serious apprehensions and are going to look for another job. 

Ultimately, if you feel that way you should withdraw your acceptance now and ask for the chance to think it over the school year. That gives them the opportunity to know that you are apprehensive about aspects of the job and possibly look for another person. They could say no, in which case it also gives them the opportunity to say take it/leave it. 

You can talk about being a BIPOC all you want, but there is a clear reasonable alternative (talking to the partner now) that minimizes the harm you do to the employer. Even if summer students are plentiful, hiring is a pain.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JanLevinsonGould said:

Firstly, thanks for your response and your first-hand account. I appreciate it. I will only address the following point from your response and not the blatantly patronizing bits as I do not want this to digress. 

I'm going to go ahead and make an assumption that you're not a BIPOC based on this statement:

The reason why that is relevant is that my apprehension regarding coming back has a lot to do with my personal lived experience. Working in the environment that I described briefly (perhaps too briefly, especially for a largely white audience) makes this position substantially worse than another. For a BIPOC person, every workplace comes with its negative experiences. I've been working for a long time, and I have never worked somewhere I didn't experience microaggressions. Thus, for me, finding employment becomes a balancing act of costs (workplace racism) and benefits (pay). Now, there is no way for me to know whether a new offer would come with its own pair of racist clerks. But for several hundred more a week,  the cost-benefit ratio would likely be at more of a balance. 
I don't want to be labelled as "scummy" personally, or professionally, so I hope I have sufficiently clarified my position to you as more than someone with a wandering eye looking to "cheat". 

That being said, thanks again for your advice and I will explore further the repercussions, just as I am sure you did.

In your original post, you made passing reference to a suspicion that you're "pretty sure" some of the clerks are racist, based on your perception of their rudeness. The thrust of your post was that you think you can find better opportunities elsewhere, want to keep this job just in case, and would like the experience of interviewing and participating in OCIs. Don't play up the race card when your strategy is called scummy.

For what it's worth, I agree with Mal that it won't necessarily tank your reputation. It's quite normal for people to look for better opportunities while keeping their current jobs. You aren't a cheat just because you're courting another firm. Having said that, your situation is a little different because you have accepted and signed an agreement to return as a 2L student. Your current employer expects you to come back, and your current strategy would leave them without a student when they thought they had one locked in. 

Let me use a different analogy from Diplock's. This is not a situation where you are living in an apartment, don't really know if you want to renew the lease, and are looking for better apartments before you give your notice. This is more like a situation where you have signed a lease agreement with a landlord, they expect you to move in, but you are still looking for other places with the intention of reneging on the first lease the moment you have something better. Setting aside any legal implications of doing that (not giving legal advice), it is a scummy thing to do on a personal level.

Edited by thegoodlaw
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JanLevinsonGould said:

Firstly, thanks for your response and your first-hand account. I appreciate it. I will only address the following point from your response and not the blatantly patronizing bits as I do not want this to digress. 

I'm going to go ahead and make an assumption that you're not a BIPOC based on this statement:

The reason why that is relevant is that my apprehension regarding coming back has a lot to do with my personal lived experience. Working in the environment that I described briefly (perhaps too briefly, especially for a largely white audience) makes this position substantially worse than another. For a BIPOC person, every workplace comes with its negative experiences. I've been working for a long time, and I have never worked somewhere I didn't experience microaggressions. Thus, for me, finding employment becomes a balancing act of costs (workplace racism) and benefits (pay). Now, there is no way for me to know whether a new offer would come with its own pair of racist clerks. But for several hundred more a week,  the cost-benefit ratio would likely be at more of a balance. 
I don't want to be labelled as "scummy" personally, or professionally, so I hope I have sufficiently clarified my position to you as more than someone with a wandering eye looking to "cheat". 

That being said, thanks again for your advice and I will explore further the repercussions, just as I am sure you did.

If you have been treated in a discriminatory way then I'm sorry, but it's a bit rich to point to this as some shield to try to insulate yourself from any criticism about how you may handle a situation (and to accuse others of being "blatantly patronizing" while asking for advice and then insulting people who provide it to you), when apparently this supposedly deeply upsetting and degrading treatment you received wasn't enough to stop you from accepting a hireback offer. You're trying to have things both ways here, and frankly you're demonstrating a level of entitlement that makes me question the seriousness of these "microaggressions."

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

 frankly you're demonstrating a level of entitlement that makes me question the seriousness of these "microaggressions."

I think this is where the race discussion ends for me. I don't need you to validate the seriousness of my experiences. I apologize if Diplock was insulted by my response. It is unfortunate that you, CleanHands, are not capable of being empathetic to my perspective.

Edited by JanLevinsonGould
  • Haha 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the issue here is you are inappropriately trying to have the upsides without taking any of the associated risks (i.e., trying to have your cake and eat it too). Correct me if I'm wrong, but from my understanding of your post, you have accepted your offer and your plan is to go through OCIs while holding this accepted offer, such that if you are not successful in the 2L recruit, you still have this position to fall back on. 

This sounds unethical to me. This is not about "owing" the firm anything, it's not even really about harm to the employer, because I think this applies whether you were at a $500 million revenue law firm vs. a small sole practitioner. It's about the principle of skirting norms and rules of recruiting for your own gain. If you are in Ontario, you might want to review Rule B(9) and Rule C(11) of the LSO Summer Student Recruitment Procedures (https://lso.ca/becoming-licensed/lawyer-licensing-process/articling-candidates/finding-a-placement/2021-toronto-summer-student-recruitment-procedures).

The alternative is what Mal is saying - you should withdraw your acceptance now and take the risk to go through OCIs, fully acknowledging that you might not come out with anything (and that your current firm might not take you back). While it's still a bit shady to have accepted an offer and then renege, it's a more sympathetic position to be in.

Just a note on being BIPOC  I hear you and I understand where you are coming from. I have experienced racism, subtle and overt, both in and out of the workplace. It sucks and it's tiring. I also don't agree with the other posters who are questioning and attacking your experiences back off. Sometimes, people take jobs and opportunities that are upsetting and degrading because of their lack of privilege, lack of resources, and whatever other reasons. And even if it's not enough to have you outright reject the offer, it doesn't make it any less real.

That being said, I have also been in a spot where I had an offer and either take the safe route of accepting what I had, versus taking a risk of going through more recruiting with nothing in hand hoping for something better. I weighed the costs/benefits then, made a decision, and then made good with that decision. As have many others. You had the opportunity to weigh your options then — and you made a choice.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Recent Posts

    • In the long run - in the let’s say 50 years of working life ahead of you - 18 months to go after what you really want is worth it.  Law is not a consolation prize. It is not an easy avenue to impress your parents and peers. The real task in front of you now is to take control and responsibility for your own life.   This is a key part of transitioning from young adult to adult. Hold off on expensive undertakings until you are alone in your own head and certain that your choices are your own. 
    • I recently turned 25 and I am nearing the end of my undergrad degree (last semester). My grades are decent enough to get into law school and I am feeling the parental pressure to make a decision on my future. To tell the truth I am more interested in the medical field (neurology specifically) but I would require at least an additional 1-1.5 years of schooling to solidify my scientific understanding and prepare for the mcat. And med admissions in Canada is really tough most people apply for 3 years before they get accepted so there is no guarantee even after all the hard work. In comparison I am already in a position where I could apply for the next law school cycle. I would apply broadly (at least 10 schools) and solely based on my stats, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I would likely get into at least 1 program. The thing is I don't know if law is for me. I don't think I could shadow a lawyer given the current situation. I've browsed this forum for a few weeks and I see some users express regrets about going to law school, mulling career changes, etc. I have researched the field a bit. I know it's a lot of work, long 50-60+ hour weeks, the pay is not nearly what a lot of people think it is, it usually takes at least 5 years before you are making 100k+, and some students struggle to find articling positions. People say "don't knock it till you try it" and although I have never really had a passion for the law, a part of me would like to come into this with an open mind and see if I enjoy it. If not, I have told myself I can always make a career change or go to grad/med school sometime in my 30s but I'm sure that is easier said than done. I'm rambling a bit at this point but I'm pretty confused about what the next step should be and would be grateful for any insight. Thanks.   
    • I'll just say, as a 3L, school by Zoom and/or pre-recordings is pretty sweet. I did the socializing thing in the first two years of law school and I'm fortunate enough to have a core group of friends. The current arrangement means I'm saving a LOT of time not commuting, I get more done, and I can hold down two part time jobs.
    • Already did. But you do realize that it's important to inquire about future job opportunities before even going down the path of law school, right? I don't want to enter law school and get some useless law degree (for all I know) that won't make me any good money. Which is why I ask important questions about potential future employment before even going down this long path. It's only rational to inquire. Thanks for the clarifications on the job requirements though. I seem to get it now. How so? I understand that there's technically no bar exam, but there is the PTLC barrister and solicitor exams after articling. So you're still not technically a lawyer after passing these exams, which are the final hurdle? What more do you need to do to be a member of the law society?  
    • definitely the best part of law school. Or if you're older, 3 years of reliving your youth. I hate covid so so much.

×
×
  • Create New...