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January 2003 - Career Services Office - Update

by:  Pat Neil (Career Services Officer)

As many of you are starting to focus on obtaining summer employment, I feel it is the right time to reflect on the results of the Summer Employment Survey, filled out in the fall. Only 38 students replied to the survey so keep in mind that there may be a large margin of error.

Summer Employment Survey 2002 Summary (Compiled by Lara Ewen)

1st years completing survey: 13
2nd years completing survey: 25		TOTAL: 38

Average applications sent: 9

Position with a private firm: 12
Position in a legal setting/corporation/government/SLS:  18
Position in a non-legal setting:  7

Did not look for summer employment: 1
Did not apply for a summer legal position: 6
Did apply, but did not obtain a summer legal position: 6

Found work in Calgary: 9
Edmonton: 23
Ottawa: 1
Vancouver: 1
Not stated: 4 

What was great about my summer job?

  • Dynamic environment; varied tasks; ability to work independently.
  • Met interesting people who gave me a new perspective of the law. I also had an opportunity to enhance my research skills.
  • Great and interesting opportunities for research, viewing courtroom procedures, and for seeing the real, day-to-day aspects of practicing law.
  • The people and the work I got to do - I was treated as an articling student by and large, which will alleviate a lot of anxiety going into the "real" articling year.
  • No late hours or weekend work. A lot of events planned by the firm for summer students. No stress during Articling week.
  • I was exposed to litigation from my first day. I had files in criminal, family, and civil (both small claim and other areas).
  • The team I worked with was excellent. There was guidance and support throughout the summer. I was also provided with many opportunities that expanded my skills and knowledge about civil justice.
  • Enough research to keep my brain working; reasonable deadlines; supportive colleagues
  • I was given as much responsibility as I wanted and the lawyers were EXCELLENT mentors.
  • Good level of involvement with quasi-judicial appeal board; significant experience with legal discussion writing; good experience with learning and applying municipal law and regulations; continued on as contract through school year.
  • No weekends, long lunches, casual dress, good wage.

What was NOT so great about my summer job?

  • Low pay.
  • I was the only summer student.
  • Limited feedback and interaction from supervisors and the feedback provided was contradictory and uncoordinated.
  • It was a bit difficult staying on campus all summer as I didn't feel like I got a good break from school.
  • Data entering tasks were somewhat tedious.
  • Too much responsibility at times.
  • Office politics.
  • Boring work, unfriendly co-workers.

Words of advice to future students (about summer jobs):

  • Enjoy it. If you don't like it, do something else.
  • Don't focus on getting a law-related job - focus on getting a job you will like.
  • There is an extreme amount of competition for positions.
  • Apply everywhere. Find a job you will enjoy, and that you know IN YOUR GUT that you will enjoy. Do not merely apply to a job with a company or firm and accept with them just because it is prescribed as a "good" summer job.
  • If you want to article in Vancouver or Toronto, try to summer there!!! Apply for summer jobs in Calgary if you want to article there. Calgary is becoming more and more like Toronto in that firms are hiring more of their articling students from summer students each year.
  • Start applying early.
  • Not getting a law job is NOT detrimental to getting an article.
  • Use your connections, if you have them.
  • Don't get discouraged. A lot of good jobs come up in April and May and throughout the summer.
  • Network!!!
  • Consider a "non-traditional" law job - it's an opportunity to learn about other corporate environments.
  • Make the most of a summer law job - it is your chance to do a lot of soul searching about the topic of law and firm you envision yourself in. Be ready to work hard, but get to know the people at your firm. Make that your #1 priority!
  • This job assisted me because now I know the law area I want to practice in. The experience I received I would have PAID for.
  • Get a job that isn't for the whole summer so you can have some time off. I did and I certainly felt much more relaxed by the end of the summer.
  • Apply to SLS. It's a great job.
  • Good experience is working with people who are interested in seeing you learn about the law and progress in this knowledge throughout the summer. Do your best to find such an environment.
  • This may be the last chance to be a "student" over the summer. Relax, re-energize and don't worry so much about the future.
  • Turn it into an exceptional experience: ask questions about the company, about lawyers' own backgrounds, tell them what you would like to do, and sink your teeth into all projects. Make it an opportunity to learn about the practice/profession of law.
  • If you are over 30, do NOT put your high school education/past employment more than 5-7 years on the resume.
  • Dress and act professionally.
  • Be willing to go that "extra mile" - i.e. stay late.
  • Cheerfully accept the grunt work and always be useful.
  • Summer position in a legal or related field is great but there are relatively few available. If you don't get one, don't sweat it - it's not a reflection on you as a law student or your future legal career. If you wind up with a low stress/no stress non-legal job, enjoy it! It'll likely be your last easy summer for a long while!

Places of Employment

  • Edmonton Children's Services
  • Legal Education Society of Alberta
  • Juriliber Ltd. (legal publishing company)
  • Alberta Government - Vital Statistics
  • U of A, Faculty of Law - Research Assistant
  • Vancouver School Board
  • Alberta Law Review
  • Parliamentary Internship - Ottawa
  • Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP
  • Soby Boyden Lenz
  • MacLeod Dixon
  • Carscallen Lockwood LLP
  • Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
  • Maurice Law
  • Gowling, Lafleur Henderson
  • Calgary Legal Guidance
  • Berman Professional Corp.
  • McGregor Stillman LLP
  • Alberta Justice
  • Birdsell Grant Gardner Morck
  • Peter S. Wong Law Office
  • Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (U of A)
  • Alberta Justice Department of Legal Research
  • Intuit Canada
  • U of A, Faculty of Law - Electronic Casebook Project
  • ATB Financial Legal Department
  • SLS (Edmonton)
  • Legal Aid Family Law Office
  • Municipal Government Board - Alberta Municipal Affairs


  • The Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario has recommended the discontinuation of the Match Program. The decision should be out in February.
  • Career Day is planned for February 7, 2003 at the Crowne Plaza. It provides an excellent opportunity for second year students to learn about the different law firms. Remember that this is not the time to pass out your resume. The Articling Committee has committed a lot of time and effort into organizing this event, as well as the Handbook. There are several additions to the Handbook this year, including more firms. Their work is greatly appreciated.
  • Alberta Bar Admission Course Information Seminar is planned for February 11, 2003 at noon in Room 231. Our guest speaker is Joan Copp from LESA. At that time, she will be bringing the application forms. It is imperative that those who intend to article in Alberta attend. It is also suggested that those in other years attend, as she will be discussing the changes to the 2004/2005 Alberta Bar Admission Course.
  • The Public Interest Law Career Fair is scheduled for March 11, 2003 at the Law Centre. Public Interest Law can be defined as anything but private, for-profit practice. It is a good opportunity to learn about other possible careers with your law degree.
  • Other seminars coming up are: Alternative Careers for Law Graduates Seminar (March 4, 2003); Women in the Profession Seminar (March 20, 2003). There are two Interview Workshops scheduled for the spring( February 27, 2003 and March 13, 2003)
  • For those still seeking an article for 2003/2004, keep an eye on your e-mail for new postings. As well, be proactive. Not all firms advertise. Some will only want to hire those that specifically seek them out, as it shows an interest in them and what they do.

Enjoy the events and good luck in your search!

Pat Neil, Career Services Officer
Faculty of Law
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
January 2003

Aboriginal Law Series, Feb.24-28 at noon, Complimentary Lunch,  sponsored by Aboriginal Law Students Association, CLICK FOR DETAILS
  • Read  Dean Percy's Introduction Letter for Law Show 2003
  • See  Law Show Photo Album
  • Read  Law Students Association Update
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Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the writers or content producers and not necessarily those of the publishers.  Opinions and articles are not official opinions of the Faculty of Law nor the University of Alberta unless otherwise stated.

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