Friday, 11 October 2013

Not Hired? - OCIs - Toronto 2nd Year Recruit

As I write this, I know that many law students are going through On-Campus Interviews (OCIs) as an important stage in the Toronto second-year recruit process overseen by the Law Society of Upper Canada (the “Toronto Recruit”). For the average person, this process is considered stressful. For hyper-competitive, over-achieving, type-A law students, this process and the fallout in its wake can unhinge even the most resilient of us. Although we are only separated by two years, I am hoping to provide some helpful advice to those who did not apply or were not hired.

If you did not get one of those jobs, there are more jobs available to you.

I won´t sugar-coat it; the time for mass hiring of law students by Toronto law firms is over.  So, yes, one process is down but there are still other processes to follow.  If you did not get one of those jobs, there are more jobs available to you.  So let’s make a plan.

TASK 1 - Confirm Deadlines
Confirm the deadlines for the other recruiting processes. It would be a shame to miss out on a great job because you missed the deadline to send in your application.

TASK 2 - Focus on School
If you applied, you may have invested a substantial amount of time into the Toronto Recruit. You should make sure that you are caught up with your classes.

TASK 3 - Recover
 If you have been bounced from the Toronto Recruit, you need to recover. Relax. Do something that makes you happy. Get yourself into a good place before you put your best foot forward.

TASK 4 - Apply
Yes, apply. But where? It is a common misconception that there are only two recruits worth applying to: the Toronto Recruit and the Toronto articling recruit. This could not be further from the truth. In between these recruits, you can continue to apply to smaller Toronto firms for second year jobs, in addition to applying in London, Ottawa, and other firms in smaller cities. Next, you can apply for articling positions through formal articling recruits in Windsor, Kitchener and Waterloo, London, and Ottawa before the articling recruit in Toronto. This gives you several opportunities to apply widely.

If you are applying to a firm in a smaller city, make sure to highlight any connections you have to the region. Clearly indicate the nature of your connection; perhaps your family lives there (or did), you lived there while in school, and/or you worked in the area, etc. If it looks like you want to run to Toronto as soon as your articling term is over, a firm will not want to invest in you. Smaller centres have a lot to offer young lawyers and should not be ignored.

Research or Volunteer
If you are dead-set on Toronto, but are ultimately unable to find a second year position with a firm in the Toronto Recruit, you still have options available to you. You may be able to find employment as a researcher for a professor or as a case worker at a legal clinic. If all else fails, offer to volunteer at a law firm or legal clinic. The experience and references that you gain will make you more competitive in the upcoming articling recruit. While there are lots of jobs in the formal Toronto articling recruit, I know many law students who found positions long after it was over. Ask your career services department at school for help keeping on top of positions as they become available.

Overall, the majority of you who are looking will find jobs between now and the start of the articling term. While living with uncertainty can be stressful, there are many opportunities in front of you. I wish you the best of luck as you explore them.
Eric K.