Career Day Reflections
I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first Career Day experience. I went because I was told it was important, ended up as the only 1L at the table with firms that exclusively hired 2Ls, and pretended to know what “securities” law was.
The few things that I remember worrying about were whether to wear a pocket square, and being cognizant that there was much more at stake for the 2Ls and, as such, trying not to get in their way. In fact, I distinctly remember bringing a 2L who was awkwardly standing there while I was speaking to a lawyer, from a large international firm, into the conversation only to have her shut me out for the next ten minutes. Cutthroat!
Although I don’t appreciate how she handled the situation, as a 2L this year, I definitely understand that the stakes and expectations of Career Day are drastically different for someone who is participating in the recruitment process at the time of the event. Being told that leaving a good impression is important, because that may help you next semester versus the person that you are speaking with could be reviewing your application package the very next day highlights the said distinction.
Expectations aside, I think the biggest advantage to being a 2L at the event is that you have a better sense of what you’re looking for. The various firm names actually mean something to you; you know which firms excel in which areas, and you have a rough idea of the various firm cultures that you can expect.
Surprisingly, I think that the most important thing to be gained at Career Day is not necessarily leaving a good impression, but getting a feel for what the various firms have to offer. In the corporate law arena, especially, there is no denying that the websites blend; all of the firms seem quite similar if not the same, colour schemes and font choices be damned.
Career Day then provides an opportunity to put a face to the firms, get exposure to not only what types of people the respective firms hire, but what kinds of people they want to send to a recruitment event as their representatives. Having just completed the OCI process, I found it remarkable how consistent my impression of the firms from Career Day remained, even after interviews and dinners with a number of them. Although there is no denying that the firms have almost all of the leverage in the process, it is important to remember that it’s about finding a fit for us as well, and not just indiscriminately trying to find any job.
All in all, the event is a great opportunity for students, and surprisingly not a staple at all Canadian law schools. The Articling Committee comprised of Bronwhyn Simmons, Sam Stokes, George Wong, and Danni Chu should be commended for their hard work in putting this event together. Thanks guys!