With the summer-student application process underway, I thought this would be a great opportunity to provide those applying with some tips to help you land a coveted student position.
The application process is a stressful time. Not only are you easing into life as a 2L, and gearing up for moots and/or midterms, but you are also about to experience interviews in a way you likely never have before. Read on for insight on how to prepare.
Tip #1. Find Fresh Eyes.
I attended Windsor Law, where the support given to students prior to and during the application process is AMAZING. I was lucky enough to have our Director of Career Services edit my resume and cover letter. The input and suggestions given to me helped me both market myself in the best possible way, and tailor my application to specific law firms.
If you do not have a Career Service Advisor who is available to read your application, reach out to a friend or a family member—even just to catch those spelling and grammar mistakes!
You sent your application in, and now you have an interview… congratulations! Now what?
Tip #2. Research. Research. Research.
Put those research skills to the test—learn all that you can about the firms you are interviewing with, and the lawyers who are interviewing you. If you have included a line such as “this firm is of particular interest to me as I am interested in a career in class actions” in your cover letter, familiarize yourself with recent class action cases the firm has been involved with. Look into the charity events the firm participates in, and the community involvement opportunities that will be available to you through the law firm. Whatever you are interested in, find a way to tie your interests in to the firm’s interests.
Tip #3. On time is late.
Be early. Try to get to all of your interviews with time to spare (if your schedule allows it). When you get there, check in with the receptionist, sit down, review your notes, wipe the sweat off your hands, etc.
Tip #4. Ask great questions.
When I was 15 and preparing for my first ever interview (for a fast food restaurant, if you are curious), my older sister told me not to leave the interview without first asking questions. Before an interview ends, interviewers usually leave enough time for you to ask questions. It is important that you do. Doing so conveys your interest in working for the law firm (or the fast food establishment). I recommend having questions prepared that are tailored to the particular law firm you are interviewing with. That way, even if you are nervous, tired, and not able to think straight after answering questions for what might feel like forever, you will have something tucked up your sleeve to ask the interviewers. Make sure you don’t ask questions the answer to which can be found on the firm’s website.
Tip #5. Have the courage to take a risk.
After the applications, interviews, cocktail receptions, and dinners, you have to decide which firm you want to work for. If you are lucky, you will be offered your dream job in your dream city, and your choice will be simple. However, your “top choice” might change throughout the interview process. That is okay—not everything unfolds the way you think it will. Be open to following your gut feeling. I did, and two years later, I am still so thankful that I did!
Good luck to everyone throughout this process, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the Student Program at Harrison Pensa LLP.
Jory Garibaldi is an Articling Student at Harrison Pensa.