It’s that time of year again. No, not the time for friends and family and taking a moment to reflect on the important things in life. The one where 2Ls get in line to ride an emotional rollercoaster for the opportunity, the possibility, the hope that they will be allowed to exchange their labour for money.
When you’re in the throes of it, ready to step over your own grandmother for the chance of a call-back, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s actually at stake: a four month summer contract job that may (or, crucially, may not) lead to a ten month articling position, which may (or may not) lead to an offer of regular employment, which may (or may not) lead to a meaningful and fulfilling career. So while getting a job through this process may feel momentarily monumental, it’s really just one hoop in a long series that began with writing the LSAT, continued with getting into law school, and shall now be called your “career.”
And yet here we are. Every year students complain that they want to see more emphasis on non-OCI, non-Bay St. careers. The curriculum, the Career Development Office, and yes, we your humble servants, are all at fault. Contrary to what you might think from looking at this issue alone, there are plenty of other—and in certain senses, better—ways of finding student law jobs. There’s the summer articling recruit, lots of opportunities at the Attorney General of Ontario (of which only a few participate in OCIs), and the wide world beyond.
Still, it seems that the On-Campus Interview process in general, and Bay Street in particular, is still the dominant source of summer law jobs. In a way, the hype is justified. A 2L summer position is still among the best ways to secure an articling position – positions which are in short supply lately; not many want to take their chances with the slapdash Law Practice Program experiment.
And so once again we took a deep look into how it all went down.
This was a survey-heavy year for students. In addition to UV’s annual exercise, both the Career Development Office and the Law Society ran their own surveys. Students were under the microscope this year more than ever, but we’re not convinced that this has resulted in better, more reliable information. Compared to the comprehensive studies that go on in legal recruiting in the United States, these unsynchronized efforts seem disjointed and scattered.
We hope that in the coming years the legal profession can get its… err… act together, and combine efforts to provide students with as much information as possible. If nothing else, information should be made available before recruitment takes place, so that students can actually use it to prepare.
As in previous years we received varying feedback on the timing of our survey. Some students thought that sending out our 2014 Fall Recruitment survey within an hour of the 5 p.m. offer window was harsh. And we get that. But after years of experience we’ve found that we get the most thorough, most visceral, and most candid responses when the experience is fresh. At the end of the day, our goal is to give you the best possible information.
This year’s 2Ls did not disappoint. Our editorial team read through stacks upon stacks of responses. The high praise for Emily Orchard and the Career Development team demonstrated that there is one administrative office out there that’s earning its keep. Your comments on the process itself suggest that change is greatly needed, especially on easy-to-fix things like call day, which resoundingly got a bad rap.
Of course we couldn’t fit everything you told us into these pages. We’ll be posting the answers to all the qualitative (i.e. “feelings”) questions online. We received comments from a number of students to the effect that this helped them prepare for their interviews this year. That made us feel warm and fuzzy inside, so we’re doing it again.
The more-or-less stagnant job numbers in the face of absurdly-high-and-getting-higher tuition is just one of the many challenges facing incoming dean Edward Iacobucci.
UV sat down with incoming “Dean Yak,” to get his preliminary thoughts on the active issues at the law school: tuition, diversity, the changing role of the legal profession in Canadian society, and getting some fucking power outlets in the exam rooms. While Iacobucci was less candid in his answers than our survey respondents, he maintained his commitment to an intellectual and academic approach to legal education, called financial aid “a priority,” and suggested “Yak’s Snacks” for the moniker of our monthly breakfast feast.
However you came out of this process, triumphant or battlescarred, or if it’s still ahead of you or a distant memory, we hope you find some data here that helps you get to where you’re going.