|2001 - 2002||Law students publication, Law - University of Alberta, Canada|
Career Services - New Stuff : on articling positions & summer jobs 2001-2002
Patricia E. Spencer, LL.B.
As most of you know, my role is to assist law students in their search for summer jobs and articling positions or other employment. My mandate is limited to students at the University of Alberta; however, on occasion I do offer services to students from other universities, as long as that university will offer reciprocal services for students from this university. This is the result of a Memorandum of Intent that was signed in Banff in June of 2001 at the Canadian Legal Career Development Network Conference. That conference was organized by yours truly, it was a chance for all the career services professionals from the various law schools across the country to meet, exchange ideas and commence some new initiatives.
Out of that conference, and after the signing of the Memorandum of Intent to provide reciprocal services, it is now possible for someone who wants to article in Halifax to be linked up with the Career Services Officer at Dalhousie and to possibly be placed with their posting service. Each university has its own rules with respect to reciprocity services which usually will limit the time that you can access the services to about six months. Also, you cannot attend their career day. Students from other universities who ask me (through their Career Services Officer) for services are placed on my personal e-mail list, thus they receive the postings from me as they arrive.
Another initiative that came out of the conference in Banff was a complete revision of the QuickLaw National Articling Database Survey. By the way, most of the adopted changes make the new survey look like OUR handbook of information on the firms. Everyone agreed that ours was the most concise and easy to read handbook. The Articling Committee will send the survey to second years together with the invitation for the Career Day (don't forget: it's Friday, February 1st, 2002 - for 2nd years only). It is completed by the firms and returned to ten different university Career Services Officers and the QuickLaw Database for updating. I keep hard copies of these surveys in binders if you wish to refer to them. However, I notice that nobody is referring to them because of course you are all using QuickLaw's National Articling Database to search for information on the firms you are interested in.
The search for articles begins this year for the 2nd years. A highlight of that search will be Career Day, hosted by your Articling Committee on Friday, February 1st. You will be expected to pay a minor cost (however, that cost does not even cover the cost of printing the handbook which you get FREE) and you will also have a sit-down lunch at the Crowne Plaza, at which you will get a chance to meet lawyers from different firms. After lunch you are expected to circulate among the firms' tables, to obtain their brochures and giveaways, and to talk to them about THEM. This is not the time for you to hand out resumes. It is the time for you to ask the firm representatives questions about their firms and when they will be hiring, etc.
The noon-hour seminars have been a resounding success this year, even the 5:00 seminar, at which Mr. Justice Douglas Campbell from the Federal Court of Canada spoke, was well attended. I have had a lot of positive feedback about those seminars.
Something else new this year, workshops for mock interviews. There you will get the chance to rehearse your interview responses with a peer who will ask you a set of questions that are typical of what law firms ask. There is nothing magical to this process; however, it is a good chance for you to practice your oratory skills and thinking on your feet. So far we have had three of these workshops and attendance has increased 100% with each workshop. We intend to hold more in the new year and to open them up to the first years too.
Some of you have yet to find your way to the resource room in my outer office, Room 474. There you will find a variety of career-related books and materials as well as binders containing all of the job postings for the last two years. Remember to consult the secure website, only accessible to U of A law students, which contains all the job postings that are posted under glass. I would suggest that you visit the secure website regularly to stay informed, don't just rely on my e-mails.
There are several firms coming to the University to conduct on-campus interviews. The Faculty makes space available to any firm who wishes to interview here, free of charge. This year, I am trying to book all on-campus interviews at the Decore Centre, located on the 1st floor, it is comfortable and quiet - with windows!!
Your Articling Committee works very hard on a weekly basis and this next little while is very busy for them. They will be preparing the mail-out to over 200 firms, collating the information that they collect, and registering firms for Career Day, February 1st; they will even go so far as to arrange seating for the luncheon on February 1st. Please support them in their endeavours with your attendance and your constructive feedback. This is a very hard working group of people, they are: Jennifer Lepp, Laura Estep, Allison Webber, Christa White, Lindsay Keele, Juliamai Giffen and Allison Catherwood. Be nice to these people - their care and feeding is very important to the functioning of the Career Services Office.
Please read about the Public Interest Law Project, the brand new Career Services endeavour. I am very excited about this project, I hope that it will serve the needs of those of you interested in this type of practice.
Patricia E. Spencer, LL.B.