Finding a summer or articling position can be one of the most stressful parts of law school. When applying for positions in London while attending the University of British Columbia, I learned firsthand that this stress is only heightened when looking for a position in another province.
Hopefully, by sharing some lessons I learned, this blog post will ease some nerves for readers going through a similar experience.
The interview process is a significant time commitment. Between the interviews, receptions, and travel time, you can miss about a week’s worth of class time. While this interruption may lessen with the move to online classes, it will still likely be necessary to talk to classmates and professors well in advance about getting any notes from classes that you miss.
It is also important to consider the costs associated with traveling out of province to attend interviews, especially given that you may not know whether you even have an interview until a few weeks before that meeting. Between a last-minute flight, accommodation, and dining, expenses can add up quickly. Make sure to consider these costs when planning financially for your school year. Talk to other students interviewing in the same city as you about sharing an Airbnb or hotel.
Opportunity to Stand Out
Law firms receive hundreds of applications for summer and articling positions. Attending an out-of-province law school presents an opportunity to stand out from the sea of resumes from applicants attending local schools. It can be helpful to emphasize the unique experiential programs or classes that you have taken advantage of at your school that differentiate you from local applicants and how these experiences can make you an asset to the firm to which you are applying.
Develop a Connection
Law firms are looking to hire for the long term. Hiring a summer or articling student is a significant investment for a firm. They aren’t looking for that investment to leave for a different market at the end of the summer or the end of articling. Therefore, it is crucial to develop a connection with the law firm, as well as the cities in which you are interviewing, to show that you are interested in staying with the firm moving forward. Look to take advantage of networking events that have moved online and that may not have previously been accessible to out-of-province students.
For some tips on making the most out of virtual meetings, see my fellow articling student Jason DiFruscia’s recent blog post. It can also help to reach out directly to lawyers and students at the firms that interest you to build relationships and get a sense for what it’s like to practice at that firm and in that city.