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Articling Rant lol


RuneScimmy

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RuneScimmy
  • Law Student
Posted (edited)

Tbh just looking at this wall of text and idk why I even wrote it, therapeutic I guess lol, read it if you want

I have had a HELL of a time looking for a summer job at a firm/articles in Edmonton or Calgary. Some facts about me:

  1. I've lived in Alberta my entire life so no chance I'm a flight risk
  2. 3.3 GPA in law school
  3. Business degree from undergrad
  4. Clinic experience, volunteer experience, professional work experience before law school, customer service experience, moot experience, a few interesting hobbies
  5. Have taken a heavy course load of corporate/commercial classes
  6. Currently have an in-house summer job at a big company doing corporate/commercial work

I have networked extensively by going to tons of law school/legal community events throughout law school. I have gone for ~25 coffees with lawyers over the past couple years to network. I have done 1L, 2L, and articling recruit in Edmonton and Calgary where I received many OCIs, 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th interviews but ultimately no success. I may have said something stupid in an interview or two, but generally I consider myself to be socially competent, and I'm not ugly enough to scare anyone away either. Every time I ask for feedback after being rejected in an interview process, I've been ghosted by all but one person. I've been ghosted by firms without even receiving formal rejections even after meeting with them 4 times in the interview process. One firm, in 1L recruit, basically broke the rules and told me they were going to call/hire me on Friday, but then they didn't. When I send emails to firms to ask if they're hiring, the answer might be no, but it is more likely that I just get ghosted. I have sent an email to a firm to indicate to them that they are my first choice in a recruit, and they never respond and just ghost me throughout the rest of the process. It feels so so scummy and dehumanizing. Like unbelievably scummy and does not make me feel good to be part of the profession.

My goal, since I started law school, has been to do corporate commercial work at a large firm or at least a mid-sized firm. I feel as though I've done everything in my power to make that happen, and never thought I'd still be without a job at this point. I have spent such a ridiculous, ludicrous amount of time on finding an articling position, while others who don't really have anything up on me, and sometimes seemingly/objectively worse resumes and transcripts than me have enjoyed high paying summer jobs, tuition bonuses, the security of knowing they have an articling position locked up since 1L, and the benefit of being able to study and focus on school while I've continuously had to network, revise my application materials, and attend interviews in the middle of the school year and in the summer. I have never felt so much sadness, anger, and anxiety before in my life. I spent part of today not able to stop crying in my office at my summer job because of how sick I am of this process and having to play their interview games. I am going to be about $210k in debt when done law school since 1) I had a bit of debt already from undergrad and 2) I guess I chose the wrong fucking time to go to law school because tuition, books, rent, and food have all gone through the roof over the last couple years, while the prime rate on my LOC also flew sky high and now charges me several hundred $ a month just to have the balance on there. I'm going to be finishing law school with either no articling job or a crappy paying articling job lined up, 210k in debt, and houses will probably increase another $200k by the time I can even think about buying one. I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes, clinic, volunteer, and work experience so far, but all things considered, I do strongly regret law school and wish I just stuck with my previous job. However, I am where I am and it wouldn't make sense to go back at this point.

I know there is still a year left before I article, tons of positions will be available, and I am more likely than not to get something. However, the amount of time I've spent with no result is so, so frustrating. I cannot believe how I've been treated in the process. Also, I feel like based on my resume and grades that I should have had much better luck. My goal was never to get something, it was to get the job I wanted and I have failed. I have very high expectations for myself, came from a business background, and only really wanted to do corp/commercial work at a big or medium firm. I have also been banking on that knowing how much debt I'll be in. I know I will get something, but my goal was never to get something, it was to get a sought after job, and I've failed, despite the fact that I feel like I don't deserve it and that I have done everything I can to get one.

Okay thanks for listening to my rant. Anyway, wondering if anyone has any thoughts on these:

Why and how tf is this how getting an articling job works? This is fucking horrible. When you factor in networking, drafting resumes and cover letters, revising them, getting friends and the career office to revise them, interview prep, commuting/travelling for interviews, and the interviews themselves, I have spent hundreds of hours on this with no result. I've thought about complaining to the LS but I'm sure they're well aware of how shitty this system is already, and/or that there's nothing that can be done. The law firms are the ones with salaries to pay and jobs to give out so seems like we just have to play their games, but I am so infuriated and cannot believe how much time I've put in with no result. How is there not a better way like doing a match system that doctors do? Or making everyone hire at the same time so that some of us don't have to go through 3 formal recruits and 20 fucking dinners just to have to keep looking?

What steps do I take right now so that I can achieve my goal of doing corporate/commercial work at a mid-sized or large law firm in Alberta? Other than trying to boost my grades in 3L, I don't think there is really much I can do in law school to boost my resume. Do I just need to stick it out at a small firm and apply to lateral up at every chance I get? How long could that take? How likely is it at this point that I will never be able to work at a large law firm? As I have been doing, I am willing to do anything to make this happen.

Are some of the difficulties I've been experiencing related to Alberta's crazy population boom? I feel as though there may be more candidates moving here from BC and Ontario for a lower cost of living, including new grads, which could be making the articling search here much harder. I have heard that in years past it has not been nearly this hard to get an articling job (in Alberta, I know Toronto has been nuts for a while), yet me and many of my classmates are in the same boat. But who knows, I also know at least a few people with 3.0 or 2.9s and worse ECs too who landed coveted jobs.

Does nobody see the scumminess of all this as a huge problem? It blows me away that a firm can invite me for four interviews and then not even have the common decency to let me know they decided to go with someone else. I can't believe that someone would say they're going to hire me on Wednesday and then just not do it on Friday. And I can't believe how nobody ever wants to respond to my emails. The legal profession obviously doesn't have the best reputation; I can't remember the exact study but I remember someone showing me one once that indicated lawyers as a profession have one of if not the worst reputation among the general public. There's no way that, if I were in their shoes, I would be doing the same. I know you are busy as a big law partner and get a lot of emails, so maybe I wouldn't respond to all of them, but if I interview someone four times, you best fucking believe I'm going to send them a courtesy email to let them know to stop hoping.

Edited by RuneScimmy
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loonie
  • Articling Student

First and foremost, love the username lol. Best game when I was younger.

With regards to the actual topic, I feel you - the job hunting process legitimately sucks. The job market seems to be the worst its been in years so I'm sure that's not helping. 

I had a pretty similar experience as you. I summered at a small, local firm in 1L specializing in real estate and estate planning after striking out in the 1L recruit. Then, despite having solid grades (Top 25%) and being active in clubs/extra-curriculars, I was unsuccessful in the 2L recruit despite having 15+ OCI's and making it to final rounds with 3 separate firms. I also reached out to many of the interviewers afterwards for feedback and shared a similar experience of either being ghosted or, on one occasion, essentially being told I come off too bro-ey for the firm and wouldn't be the best fit. No idea how they got that perception of me because I feel like I don't come off that way at all, but I'm assuming it's because I talked about sports a lot for one part of the interview? No idea. Still confused to this day. Anyways, I luckily ended up landing a mid-size firm outside of the formal recruit for my 2L summer. 

Articling recruit went the same for the most part. Was unsuccessful with the few firms I applied to. But then, through a random discussion with a Student Director at the end of last summer that I interviewed with during the 2L recruit, I landed an articling job with a Bay Street firm. I got lucky -- it was a right place, right time kind of thing. In fact, one of the main reasons I think I got the job was because we initially bonded over golf and sports, which is what I think I perhaps focused too much on that other interview with a different firm. Just another example of what may be a negative at one firm can be a positive at another. 

I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that there is some or, perhaps, a lot, of luck involved in the job-hunting process. Stay positive, work on your interviewing skills, and continue networking and I'm sure that you will land eventually. Your credentials are solid - your moment will come soon. 

Also, off-topic, but I definitely said too much this post with regards to potentially exposing my anonymity lol.

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pastmidnight
  • Law Student

First off, I am sorry you are feeling this way OP, and I am sorry that the advice I can give you is very limited (as I am not based in AB). Does your school have an in-house counsellor? If they do, I think you should talk to them.  

Second of all: merit really doesn’t matter in the structured recruit as much as we like to think it does, which while frustrating I think you need to accept for your own well-being. It doesn’t say anything about you or your worth/abilities/etc that you were passed over for weaker students. Objectively stronger candidates get passed over all the time for candidates who are objectively weaker on every level, for reasons that are unfair. I didn’t get OCIs from firms that went on to hire classmates who I know are objectively speaking significantly weaker candidates than me in terms of grades, extracurriculars, employment experience, etc. You can’t let it eat away at you. If it helps, keep in mind that there is a good chance they won’t be able to cut it when push comes to shove and they actually need to perform and do good legal work as an articling student or associate. I also don’t think you want to be at those firms that made you feel dehumanized and disrespected. Anecdotally, a lot of the people from my school who scored 1L positions in Calgary found their work environments exceedingly hostile, so honestly you may have dodged a bullet.

Out of the lawyers you networked with, is there someone you think you could turn to for advice/mentorship? If not, do you know someone in the year above who just graduated or someone who graduated last year who might be able to give you some advice/put in a good word for you/etc?

I know this probably is not what you want to hear, but I would encourage you to participate in the Vancouver articling recruit if any of the employers who are hiring at all interest you (I think the deadline for the Toronto recruit has already closed, but if it hasn’t, I would definitely throw your hat into the ring there too). I would also encourage you to remain connected to any of the firms in Edmonton and Calgary you did have positive experiences with (especially if you met someone there during the recruit who you liked).

Good luck OP. It's going to be okay -- I know that's the worst thing to hear when you're struggling, but it's true.

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RuneScimmy
  • Law Student
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, pastmidnight said:

First off, I am sorry you are feeling this way OP, and I am sorry that the advice I can give you is very limited (as I am not based in AB). Does your school have an in-house counsellor? If they do, I think you should talk to them.  

I might! I'm also sure I'll feel a lot better in a week or so. Articling recruit just happened, so the wounds are very fresh. It's actually still going on right now, but the two firms I interviewed with were both on Monday and both rejected me that day, right after my interviews. After 2L recruit I was bummed for a week and then got over it (more or less). This one stings a bit more since I had 12 interviews in 2L and only 2 this time, and it's also getting closer to grad. And the firms I interviewed at this time weren't great either. So yeah idk it's fresh but I'll be fine and readjust my expectations again in a week or two. My partner is coming to visit soon and the Oilers are in the cup final so there is good stuff going on in life too, just have to focus on that haha.

3 hours ago, pastmidnight said:

Out of the lawyers you networked with, is there someone you think you could turn to for advice/mentorship? If not, do you know someone in the year above who just graduated or someone who graduated last year who might be able to give you some advice/put in a good word for you/etc?

I do have a couple good mentors at this point who have been great. Definitely going to keep networking, and hopefully it gets me somewhere eventually.

Edited by RuneScimmy
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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer

There is no particularly nice way of saying this, and I don't really want to kick you while you are down, but I think it needs to be said – your post reeks of unjustified entitlement. 

You are an adult, and the fact that you are a law student does not make you special. Nobody owes you a job. Nobody owes you feedback on why you did not get a position. Nobody is obligated to (or going to) set up a match system so you can be handed a job from a private employer that doesn't want to hire you. With limited exceptions, nobody even owes you a particularly "fair" or pleasant recruitment process.

Acting like you are entitled to those things is not helpful. That attitude is inevitably going to bleed into your interactions with potential employers, who will absolutely not hire someone they view as entitled. 

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noname12
  • Law Student
Posted (edited)

My advice is to start approaching your job search, and your overall opportunity, from the place of great privilege where you find yourself. This gratitude will be evident and will make others want to hire you.

Edited by flertalgerdal1
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acatinthesun
  • Lawyer
Posted (edited)

The match system would be way worse than our current situation. If you flunk out of the recruit now for whatever reason, there's plenty of opportunity to find a good position with a mixture of a good attitude, perseverance and luck. If you flunk out of a match system, better luck next year (at a significant disadvantage).

 I understand this is a very frustrating process and it is hard! I found my articling halfway through 3L and i was stressed af. You have plenty of time and there are plenty of excellent jobs outside of the recruit. I would encourage you to explore all the options thoroughly, many people have rewarding and successful careers outside big law. Focus on your own strengths and the breadth of opportunities available to you.

Talking (and even thinking) poorly about your classmates and firms will never reflect well in your job search. While your classmates may have lower grades, grades are not the end all and be all - especially in an extremely relational profession. 

Edited by acatinthesun
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wine for lunch
  • Law Student
4 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

nobody even owes you a particularly "fair" or pleasant recruitment process.

 

Idk I disagree with particularly this point. My friends in other industries like engineering all have ok experiences while hiring, such as being contacted RE their application promptly, being told if they were rejected in a reasonable timeframe, etc. 

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer
10 minutes ago, wine for lunch said:

Idk I disagree with particularly this point. My friends in other industries like engineering all have ok experiences while hiring, such as being contacted RE their application promptly, being told if they were rejected in a reasonable timeframe, etc. 

Let's pretend, for the purposes of this post, that employers in an industry famous for making people do significant amounts of unpaid work as part of the recruitment process (engineering) actually make recruitment incredibly pleasant. That's great. People should treat each other courteously, including by running a pleasant recruitment process.

But you're not entitled to have a potential employer run a recruitment process in a manner you find pleasant. If you don't like how the employer is running its recruitment process, your remedy is to withdraw your application. It's not to demand they change their recruitment process so that it's more to your liking. 

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RuneScimmy
  • Law Student
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

There is no particularly nice way of saying this, and I don't really want to kick you while you are down, but I think it needs to be said – your post reeks of unjustified entitlement. 

You are an adult, and the fact that you are a law student does not make you special. Nobody owes you a job. Nobody owes you feedback on why you did not get a position. Nobody is obligated to (or going to) set up a match system so you can be handed a job from a private employer that doesn't want to hire you. With limited exceptions, nobody even owes you a particularly "fair" or pleasant recruitment process.

Acting like you are entitled to those things is not helpful. That attitude is inevitably going to bleed into your interactions with potential employers, who will absolutely not hire someone they view as entitled. 

I think "reeks" is a stretch. I've read it back and maybe there is a hint of it and I should be careful about thinking/typing like that. But I don't think its much. And entitlement is certainly not rife in my mind/coming off to employers, if anything its anxiety/nervousness.

My problem isn't that people are not giving feedback, although it certainly adds to the frustration since the common advice we are told all the time is to always ask for feedback and nobody gives it. My main point/problem is not that I don't have a job. I am certainly to blame for a large portion of this. My grades could be higher, I could have networked even more, etc. Luck seems to also be a great deal to blame. But the problem and majority of the frustration is the fact that there are some systemic issues here that are wasting our time, making it take longer, making it more frustrating, making it feel like the profession is scummy. Nobody has to give us a job, but law school is already exceptionally stressful, and then we have this articling student system the LS creates, which various other jurisdictions don't have, acting as a bottleneck to being a lawyer. And clearly the LS has a big say in how it all works because they set up these formal recruits that take so, so long, and are during school, and where we might need to meet with an employer six times, and where they lie about the fact that you'll get a job, and where they waste so much of your time and then ghost you.

14 minutes ago, wine for lunch said:

Idk I disagree with particularly this point. My friends in other industries like engineering all have ok experiences while hiring, such as being contacted RE their application promptly, being told if they were rejected in a reasonable timeframe, etc. 

And this. My thoughts exactly. I don't think engineers or computer scientists go for 1 interview, 2 lunches, a dinner, and I definitely don't think they get ghosted after.

Edited by RuneScimmy
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SNAILS
  • Articling Student

The two things that stand out to me from your post are:

  • 3.3 GPA in law school

  • $210k in debt 

My first piece of advice is to try to analyse the job market in your region realistically and determine where you might fit in. I'm not sure how a 3.3 GPA translates into terms I am familiar with in Ontario (B average?). You are certainly not in the top 25% of your class, nor in the bottom 25% of your class, grades wise. Formal recruits, as far as I can tell, do not accurately represent the job market for articling students as a whole. Firms participating in formal recruits are:

  • larger
  • more prestigious
  • and based out of larger urban centres

... than law firms looking to hire as a whole. Some of these firms in the formal recruit or through networking did you the courtesy of having coffee with you and giving you a fair chance to get hired. It looks like you almost got hired several times (based on making it passed the first interview), but you untimely struck out. I sympathize with you. 

Giving you some feedback on why you did not get hired would have been nice, but you know full well how busy these people are. I doubt they felt that there was anything wrong with you, just that they untimely hired someone with better grades, or who interviewed slightly better, or whose the girlfriend of a senior partner's nephew.

The "above average" firms "locked in" the "above average" law students, and this did not include you in their opinion. You still have 3L to look for a job. In my opinion (perhaps just speculation), the big firms would be more likely to hire "average" law students closer to actually graduating, whereas they may feel the need to lock in the top 25% of law students before they make a deal with another firm.

The debt trap

This has really nothing to do with what you asked, but...

I have always felt that the allure of big law firms causes law students to feel that they deserve a job that pays at least $100 000 per year by the time you are a first year associate, and $200 000 by the time you are a third year associate. This causes people to panic if they do not get the very best jobs with the very best firms. Everyone in law school simply cannot have the very best jobs. Law schools are full of bright, talented people, and we can't all be the best.

There are plenty of firms in Alberta that would love to hire a good articling student for $60 000/yr, hire you as an associate, and give you a 10% pay bump per year. These firms will not have known names, they may not be in Edmonton/Calgary, and they did not take part in the formal recruit. 

I suspect you had coffee with representatives of the top firms, and not the "normal" firms. (I suspect this because you'd have a job otherwise).

Of course, this may not be great news if you are trying to pay off that debt, buy a house, and become a partner at a big firm some day.

None of the above should be taken as me saying that you should stop trying to work for the big known forms, nor should it be taken to mean that you won't get a job during 3L with a big, known firm.

My Advice

Look at the job market in Alberta from the employer's perspective. Which firms are unable to recruit the top 25% of your class because they aren't famous enough, or able to pay enough, or serve a city other than Calgary/Edmonton? Pick a bunch that practice the type of law you like, in a location you'd like to live, and maybe have a bit of prestige / ability to pay a decent salary.

You can call this you "backup plan" if you like, because I really do wish you all the best in finding your dream job.

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GGrievous
  • Articling Student
Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, RuneScimmy said:

Nobody has to give us a job, but law school is already exceptionally stressful, and then we have this articling student system the LS creates, which various other jurisdictions don't have, acting as a bottleneck to being a lawyer.

I mean you said it yourself, you're not trying to get a job you're trying to get a high-paying "sought-after" job, and you're trying to do so with a pretty average looking application, that's why it's hard. You'll find something eventually but it might not be exactly what you hoped for, but I would stop blaming the system for that but rather just supply and demand, which I thought they taught you business types! 

Edited by GGrievous
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TomCarnivalCruise
  • Law Student
17 minutes ago, SNAILS said:

I'm not sure how a 3.3 GPA translates into terms I am familiar with in Ontario (B average?).

 At my Ontario school, a 3.3 is a B+ average, albeit the lowest possible B+ you could have. 

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RuneScimmy
  • Law Student
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SNAILS said:

I'm not sure how a 3.3 GPA translates into terms I am familiar with in Ontario (B average?). You are certainly not in the top 25% of your class, nor in the bottom 25% of your class, grades wise.

My understanding is that a 3.3 places me around the cusp, but not quite in, the top 25%. Could be wrong.

1 hour ago, TomCarnivalCruise said:

 At my Ontario school, a 3.3 is a B+ average, albeit the lowest possible B+ you could have. 

Depends how you look at it. To me it seems a bit more accurate to call a 3.2 a B+ average than it does to call it a B. It's certainly much closer to B+ than B.

1 hour ago, GGrievous said:

I mean you said it yourself, you're not trying to get a job you're trying to get a high-paying "sought-after" job, and you're trying to do so with a pretty average looking application, that's why it's hard. You'll find something eventually but it might not be exactly what you hoped for, but I would stop blaming the system for that but rather just supply and demand, which I thought they taught you business types! 

I don't think my application is pretty average. I think I'm close to the top 25% of my class in grades and I have several years of business work experience at a great company with my bachelor of commerce. I'm not trying to get the highest paid or the most sought after job either; it isn't Bennett Jones/Blakes or bust. I just want sought after job, as in any medium to large business law firm in the province. A large firm would be great, sure, but I would have been thrilled with any medium sized firm, and most people with applications that look like mine do get these jobs in Alberta. I am not blaming the system for not finding a job/not getting the job I want, that is a separate frustration. I wasn't able to get the grades I wanted, I messed up some interviews, that's a big part in this, something to come to terms with and do better with in the future hopefully. However, my main point is that the system is terrible for wasting time, being anxiety inducing, and having many decision makers in it who lie, mislead, or disrespect you.

Edited by RuneScimmy
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loonie
  • Articling Student
1 hour ago, RuneScimmy said:

My understanding is that a 3.3 places me around the cusp, but not quite in, the top 25%. Could be wrong.

I believe the threshold for top 25% is usually ~3.5 in 1L and top 10% is usually 3.6+ in 1L. In upper-years, the top 10% cut-off is usually a bit higher - around a 3.7. At least this is what it is for my school in Ontario. 

1 hour ago, RuneScimmy said:

Depends how you look at it. To me it seems a bit more accurate to call a 3.2 a B+ average than it does to call it a B. It's certainly much closer to B+ than B.

Yeah, I would agree with this. I would consider anything between a 3.2-3.49 to be a B+ average and then anything over 3.5+ to be an A-range average on a corresponding spectrum as well. 

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Whisk3yjack
  • Lawyer

I don't see how the law society could make the formal recruits any easier. You have your hand held the whole way through, there is tons of information about where to apply and how to do it, and the firms all follow the same set schedule. Almost everyone else who is finishing a university program has to do their own research to find a job. You have to spend hours and hours scrolling through your university job board, linkedin, or indeed, to figure out who is hiring, when the deadlines are, and what you have to put in your application. In the formal recruit everything is laid out for you so that you know who is hiring and what the deadlines are. The OCI process (which I did not a job through for the record) is infinitely easier than almost any other job search graduates have to go through. 

4 minutes ago, loonie said:

Yeah, I would agree with this. I would consider anything between a 3.2-3.49 to be a B+ average and then anything over 3.5+ to be an A-range average on a corresponding spectrum as well. 

I was under the impression that a B is 3.0-3.29 and a B+ is a 3.3-3.69

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loonie
  • Articling Student
10 minutes ago, Whisk3yjack said:

 I was under the impression that a B is 3.0-3.29 and a B+ is a 3.3-3.69

cGPA is a weighted metric so traditionally universities have used the midpoint between GPA cutoffs to denote the corresponding letter breakdown. For example, that's why a 3.5 is what is needed to graduate with distinction/honours at most universities for undergrad (at least in Ontario). It makes sense because, for a 3.2+ cGPA, it would mean that a student's transcript has more B+'s and A range grades than B or lower grades and similar for an average that is above 3.5+ in regards to having more A range grades than B grades. 

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canuckfanatic
  • Lawyer

Chiming in to relate with @Mal

I struck out of OCIs and the articling recruit. Both classmates and profs kept saying to me in 3L, "I don't know how you haven't been hired yet".

Then I got hired for one of those "sought after" jobs in January of 3L, and that job evaporated when the pandemic started 3 months later.

I found a new articling position and eventually lateralled my way to one of those "sought after" jobs. Turned out that working my ass off wasn't worth the stress or the ocean view from my office.

Anyway, the door to these "sought after" jobs are never locked. Just keep moving forward.

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LMP
  • Articling Student
1 hour ago, Whisk3yjack said:

I don't see how the law society could make the formal recruits any easier. You have your hand held the whole way through, there is tons of information about where to apply and how to do it, and the firms all follow the same set schedule. Almost everyone else who is finishing a university program has to do their own research to find a job. You have to spend hours and hours scrolling through your university job board, linkedin, or indeed, to figure out who is hiring, when the deadlines are, and what you have to put in your application. In the formal recruit everything is laid out for you so that you know who is hiring and what the deadlines are. The OCI process (which I did not a job through for the record) is infinitely easier than almost any other job search graduates have to go through. 

I was under the impression that a B is 3.0-3.29 and a B+ is a 3.3-3.69

I think this is a potent point. I'll admit to being somewhat lucky in that I haven't had to think about a job since landing one in the recruit. But even if I hadn't I still would have been grateful for how it is set-up. 

I've worked a lot of different jobs in my life and nearly each of them was found amid a desperate flurry of applications. The recruit was a huge relief in that the process was streamlined and to an extent simplified. I didn't need to use 900 different recruiting tools and sites and I didn't need wait endlessly for an answer (thanks call day). 

But that isn't to say I don't understand OPs frustration. Frankly I think law firms suck at hiring. I know I have no real right to say that and these massive institutions might be a bit better equipped than me to judge candidates, but it is a view I hold all the same.

Maybe it is because I see things from the student side, but having been on both sides of the table (to an extent) I'm perpetually suprised by how bad some firms are at judging candidates. Not just in terms of ability or intelligence but even the interest that candidate has in the practice area or how they'll treat others. 

 

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FlyingFish
  • Articling Student
11 hours ago, Mal said:

Alberta schools have a harsher curve than Ontario schools so a 3.3 (B+) is quite a bit better than a 3.3 from most Ontario schools. 

I agree with a lot of what you are saying, @RuneScimmy, it has never made sense to me to spend 2-3 interviews with a candidate and not having the decency to email them to let them know you went with another candidate. 

I also had a lot of difficulty with finding an articling position and was frustrated that even though I had done "everything right" things weren't going my way. Sometimes that is life, it is not particularly fair. Ultimately, I ended with a fantastic articling position that taught me a lot. Life is a marathon, and this is just a speedbump.

UofA curves to 2.7-3.0 range, with most 1L class curves being in the 2.7-2.8 range (B-) so a B+ is probably top %25.

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hairpins
  • Articling Student
13 hours ago, FlyingFish said:

UofA curves to 2.7-3.0 range, with most 1L class curves being in the 2.7-2.8 range (B-) so a B+ is probably top %25.

Small note, but they curve to <3.0 in 1L and <3.3 in 2&3L but profs control the curve quite a bit so its hard to know. I would guess a 3.3 is more like top 40% but frankly its almost impossible to know with any certainty. 

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Yogurt Baron
On 6/7/2024 at 10:29 AM, RuneScimmy said:

But the problem and majority of the frustration is the fact that there are some systemic issues here that are wasting our time, making it take longer, making it more frustrating, making it feel like the profession is scummy. ... I don't think engineers or computer scientists go for 1 interview, 2 lunches, a dinner, and I definitely don't think they get ghosted after.

I've liked a couple of posts that have been hard on you, so I wanted to pop in and thank you for taking criticism reasonably well. You seem like a decent person, albeit one who's a bit frustrated right now, and I understand your frustrations.

I think you're completely right that employers nowadays are increasingly inconsiderate of applicants, and that that's a bad thing. Ontario is moving toward making it illegal for employers to "ghost" job applicants, though I don't know if that will apply across the board.

Where you're losing me a little bit is here: by dint of having a formal recruit, law students looking for biglaw jobs have it far easier than students in many, many fields, including professional fields---hell, including many areas of law. Students in my field (I practice a profession that's not law) absolutely are not going for one interview, two lunches, a dinner, and then getting ghosted. They're going for four interviews, completing huge unpaid projects, and then getting ghosted. The difference between your experience and theirs is that someone is buying you a bunch of food in yours. See what I'm saying?

If somebody whose experience with getting a job straight out of school is at the 95th percentile of "how privileged someone can be", and they resent not being at the 99th, I can see why someone's calling you "entitled", though I don't per se get entitlement from your tone - I get more a lack of perspective. If I had a job applicant in front of me whose field made it unusually easy to get a job; who was facing some of the same barriers that people in other fields face; and who took those barriers as evidence that their field was unusually "scummy" (you keep coming back to that), I'd be concerned about their awareness of context. If the norm is to work until 9 p.m. and I hire you to work at my firm (hypothetical, I do not have a firm) and you only have to work until 7 p.m at my firm, are you going to be out there thinking, "This guy is really scummy - I should be getting off work at 5!"?

It's no crime to have it easy and think you should have it a little bit easier. But, yeah, if you're broadcasting that feeling, however subtly, it's probably holding you back.

Best of luck!

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Diplock
  • Lawyer
Posted (edited)

I read when this was posted and it always seemed a bit off to me, but I didn't have a firm diagnosis and I still don't. Is the recruitment process inherently obnoxious, stressful, and difficult in a lot of ways? Sure it is. Perhaps the greatest disservice from many career offices is the implicit promise that it won't be that. But every job search sucks. As anyone who's ever looked for a job knows quite well. And that's still what this is. Now try to explain that you feel it should be easier to find, with some reliability, a job that will pay you well over $100k very shortly after graduation and...well, maybe there are some problems with expectations here. But everyone has talked about that already, so there's not much left to say there.

The only original contribution I'm going to make is this, on the subject of "ghosting." It's one thing for employers you've interviewed with to not even tell you the outcome of that process - leaving you to infer from total silence you haven't got the job. That's bad practice and always will be. But there's the line where you say "every time I ask for feedback after being rejected in an interview process, I've been ghosted by all but one person." This makes it clear we're talking about situations where you have been explicitly rejected and you have not been ghosted as it is commonly understood. You have your finality. What you don't have is an explanation that satisfies you enough to accept the outcome and so you are, essentially, badgering the would-be employer for reasons why you weren't good enough.

Here's a truth that is, perhaps, hard for some people to understand and accept. There's almost never an obvious reason, and almost never anything you can reasonably fix. If you walked into an interview with your pants on backwards, or got drunk at a lunch meeting, or if you're interviewing for a corporate job and highlighting your experience in helping organize radical protests against corporate greed, then perhaps someone will point out your error. Otherwise, the only available answers are variations on "some other candidate was better." And writing those answers out for failed candidate after failed candidate gets pretty damn old pretty damn fast. Which is why you get boilerplate. Boilerplate is almost all there ever is.

I know you feel like you are owed more after investing so much effort in applying for a job. But quite honestly, you aren't. And if you walk around feeling like the victim of an abusive process, just because people you wanted to work for aren't willing to waste more of their time writing out nonsense (and it will be nonsense) to satisfy your need for an explanation, you'll be sabotaging your own attitude and perceiving slights constantly where there are none.

Good luck.

Edited by Diplock
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CleanHands
  • Lawyer
3 hours ago, Diplock said:

you're interviewing for a corporate job and highlighting your experience in helping organize radical protests against corporate greed

Seemingly half of BigLaw hires check this box without it preventing them from getting an offer.

And it makes sense that BigLaw firms wouldn't hold that against candidates, and may even see the shameless willingness to embrace obvious hypocrisy as an asset, given the amount of social washing said firms engage in while they help Russian oligarchs circumvent sanctions and such.

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