Deciding where to article or summer is no easy task. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself as you start the search for a position that is the best possible fit for you and the firm.
Where do you want to practice?
Make a list of cities in which you’d prefer to work. Perhaps you’d like to stay close to home. Or maybe you’d rather try something new. You might even want to consider firms with offices in other interesting geographical locations, giving you the best of both worlds. Whatever your preference, start researching law firms in those locations that offer articling or summer student positions.
What type of culture appeals to you?
Every organization has a culture. Take some time to look into the law firms that interest you. What values are important to the organization? Is the firm involved in the community? Don’t be afraid to ask questions—finding the right fit is crucial to ensure long term success and satisfaction for the firm and yourself.
Are you interested in a particular area of the law?
If there is a specific area of the law that interests you, do your homework. Find out which law firms in your preferred cities practice in that area. This will give you the chance to learn more about the area of law during your summer term or articling year.
On the other hand, if, like many students, you are not sure what type of law you want to practice, look for firms with student programs structured to make sure you have the chance to work in a variety of practice areas.
What kind of experience are you looking for?
Put some thought into the kind of work environment that best suits you. Do you do your best work as part of a collaborative team? Are you looking for a lot of direct involvement on legal matters, working closely alongside more senior lawyers? Spend some time talking to current articling and summer students at the firms you are most interested in, and find out more about their experience.
When are applications due?
This may be the most obvious application tip you receive, but ensure your application package arrives on or before any applicable deadlines.
What should you include?
Most firms will expect your application to include a cover letter, resumé, most recent law school transcripts and undergraduate or other post-secondary transcripts. A list of courses you’re planning to take in future semesters is also helpful.