Thursday, February 08, 2007

3Ls Looking for Articling Positions

I want to respond to a comment that was made in the previous post in this fresh post because this is an issue that deserves attention. I believe there is a common misperception that all third year students have articling positions lined up. This is simply not the case. In fact, there is a good portion of my class who are still searching. My own theory is that it is the result of 4 factors:
1. firms demand a strong "fit";
2. there are a limited number of positions for a greater number of applicants;
3. some students realize they actually don't want to be a lawyer and they skip the entire Bar Ads/articling process; and,
4. the Bay Street-centric sessions on career building put the onus on students who are interested in other law jobs.
I would like to expand on the second point. As the economy fluctuates, so does the market for new lawyers. I wouldn't say that we're in a recession, but the economy is not red hot. During my summer interviews, I met students (yes, more than one) who graduated in '06 and they were going through the articling interview process for the second time. One student is spending her year prior to articling working on a Master's degree.

I don't believe that firms discriminate against students who fast-track through law school. I imagine that, during the interview, they would be asked, "and what did you do during your free semester?" A good answer could give them a leg up.


At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a 3L who found an articling position during the "August Rush," but knows many others who haven't, I would add one other "factor" to your list. I think that many great candidates applied very selectively during the August process, which of course resulted in fewer interviews, and then no offers. While I don't think that people should just apply for the sake of applying, I think there is something to be said for applying widely within your areas of interest to increase your odds.

At 3:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Bay Street-centric sessions on career building put the onus on students who are interested in other law jobs"

I completely agree that this is an issue. While the articling database does have several postings for smaller sized firms outside of Toronto, Career Services spends a lot more time talking about big firms in big cities. Granted, the majority of students may want these jobs, but that does not mean the rest of us should be left to fend for ourselves. I was not interested in living in Toronto or working at a big firm, and I felt that I was not supported in the same way as the students who wanted to land on Bay Street.

Luckily, I was able to find a 'perfect fit' for my articling needs, but I had to do it on my own. Students who do not want to work in big cities/firms should be aware that their search for articles is going to be more difficult; it can be a lonely, frustrating journey. That being said, this summer I'll be zipping around the lake on my kayak at about the same time my Toronto friends are bracing themselves for (another) long evening of memo-writing :)

At 6:19 PM, Blogger a blawger said...

Congrats to the last commenter for finding a "perfect fit"!

It's also interesting to see how students can change through law school. One classmate of mine was a strong environmentalist when she came to law school. She was highly critical of the Bay Street-centric push by the school. She openly proclaimed that she would never work there. However, two years later, she will be articling with one of the biggest firms. Her views have shifted 180 degrees.

To an extent, it's about money. Law students incur massive amount of debt and Bay Street jobs offer the fastest way to pay it off. Further, rich lawyers contribute more to the schools. It's in the financial interest of the school to have as many graduates on Bay Street as possible.

Personally, I feel very fortunate that I will be working with smaller firm that recognizes the importance of family and independence. The position satisfies my professional goals, social justice needs and desired lifestyle. It's also a perfect fit.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Lawgurl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Lawgurl said...

To a blawger -- I have also had 3L friends undergo the same experience as your environmentalist colleague. I often wonder how much of this is a genuine change in views, and how much is fuelled by the Bay Street-centric sessions. We are programmed during our three years that, if you don't go to Bay Street, you are not successful. I think this causes a lot of cognitive dissonance for people who enter law school to pursue a different path. Without a supportive group of colleagues and mentors, I am sure it is very easy to get sucked into the Bay Street mentality, believe it’s what you “really” want, and then wake up 20 years later and wonder what the hell happened.

At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I graduated class of 2008. I realized that a couldn't work outside of social justice sometime in my 3rd year. I was a B student. I am now working the job of my dreams making the same money as my articling friends on bay street. The job is social justice and pays good money. All of this became possible because once i realized that i wouldn't be able to find what i want given my profile, i started to look at alternative paths to get to my goal. I applied for a job that wasn't listed as artilcing knowing that the work could count for articling. After only a month of hard work, my employer asked if i had considered that my position might count for artilcing. Long and short, it's going to count as articling and while my classmates are competing against eachother (again) for the few jobs that will arise after artilcing, i'll still have half a year left on my contract. If people are willing to get over the perception that working on Bay street is the only way to become successful, then it'll be easier to create the life that you want.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger a blawger said...

Thank you for posting the last comment. I couldn't agree more!! Unfortunately, law schools constantly push students towards Bay Street jobs. And most students go to law school for the Bay Street type jobs.

For those who are not interested in that route, there are MANY other good options but they are harder to find.

Congrats to the person who posted the last comment! Jobs that contribute to social justice are scant. Ultimately, you and society wins.

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