Well you did it! You finished your first year of law... Now what? This is the question that many of us 2Ls are wondering about following the announcement on May 11th from the University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law about the upcoming online semester. Will this mean a delay in the recruitment process or perhaps virtual interviews? Will as many student law jobs still be available?
The summer recruitment process is a massive process in which second year law students can apply in hopes of getting a summer law student job opportunity in various firms in:
Students from everywhere across Canada generally start preparing for this process in the summer where they research the firms in these cities and prepare themselves for what's to come. Applicants submit the proper documentation in hopes of getting preliminary interviews with firms known as OCI. OCI stands for On-Campus Interview, but has become a generalization of the whole recruitment process. Following the OCIs, students may get a second or third interview, usually at the firms office where the firms establishes if you're the appropriate candidate. Now that we've clarified what the recruitment process is, how has COVID-19 affected this?
Normally, the Toronto recruitment process happens in the fall of 2L. But, the Law Society of Ontario has officially stated that Toronto firms wishing to participate in the recruitment process 2021 must respect the new deadlines for the acceptance of applications. Students will fall in two categories, Group A and Group B, depending on what law school you're attending. I go to the University of Ottawa, so I fall in Group B and my deadline for application is January 25th, 2021. Students going to McGill or Western would fall in Group A and their deadline for application would be January 18th, 2021.
As for the OCIs, these will be done remotely. This is to ensure that all law students have a chance to participate regardless of their location in Canada. How can we prepare for these online interviews?
These new deadlines and procedures are described on the Law Society of Ontario website.
As for Ottawa, the Law Society has been silent on what changes are to come for our recruitment process. Unlike Toronto, the Ottawa recruitment process generally happens in the winter semester of 2L. Since it's already in the winter, it's highly possible that they don't change the timing of the process. I do think that they will integrate remote interviews just like Toronto. This is really to ensure an equitable process for everyone and I don't think they would treat the Ottawa process any different.
Much like the Toronto recruitment, the Vancouver recruitment which normally happens in the fall of 2L is being pushed to winter semester. The application deadline is on January 20th, 2021 and the OCIs for Ontario law students is February 12th, 2021. The Vancouver Bar Association has anticipated dates for all the steps of the recruitment cycle.
The Law Society of Alberta hasn't released their information yet on the summer recruitment process for 2021. Seeing as they also usually have a recruitment process in the fall, like Vancouver and Toronto, it's highly possible that they will change their dates too. Which means that law students will have not 1, not 2 but 4 different recruitment processes ongoing at the same time.
Will this be problematic that all recruitment processes are happening at once? Will students be overwhelmed? These are really good questions, that I myself am asking as a student entering her 2L. If you are participating in multiple OCIs, it may be difficult to be prepared for everything at once. Personally, I've been a bit worried to see the outcome of the recruitment process of 2021, but we have to remember this is all new to everyone. The best we can do right now is work on our application folders, review tips and tricks on interview skills and really talk to students that have gone through the process too.
For any questions about the recruitment process 2021 or law school in general feel free to contact me.