Think outside the box
- Subtitle: Editor's Desk
So the big question, or problem even, is what to do if you’re not one of those who’s managed to get an articling position through the traditional on-campus-interview process. There are two sides to the coin here: the first is that law students need to get creative and second, that small law firms and even sole practitioners need to get on board. Canadian Lawyer 4Students has put together an articling how-to that gives some great tips for both sides to get rolling.
During a recent chat with a law school career counsellor, it was heartening to hear that not only is the school promoting its students to create their own internships, but many students are doing it with gusto. Internships are a bit easier to put together than articling terms, which require more formal structures, but there’s still a lot of flexibility that can come into play. Part of it is for law students to get out there and make contact with lawyers in areas — of the law or geographic location — in which you want to practise. Taking chances can really pay off. And making the approach to lawyers in smaller communities or law firms may be the awakening they need to take on an aspiring lawyer.
For decades, it has been the bigger law firms that have trained the majority of Canadian lawyers, but that model is no longer sustainable. It is expensive for the large law firms that cannot be expected to be the sole training ground for the profession. Law students today are involved in a wide variety of pursuits and are often highly accomplished. There’s no reason not to put that same drive and creativity into getting an articling position, that (almost) final hurdle to get into the esteemed legal fraternity. You won’t know if you don’t try.
One of Canada’s most experienced and respected legal journalists, Gail J. Cohen is the editorial director of Canadian Lawyer and Law Times, responsible for the editorial direction of all the publications in the group, which also includes Candian Lawyer InHouse, Canadian Lawyer 4Students, and the daily Legal Feeds blog. Gail has been covering the legal profession in Canada as a reporter and editor since 1997, putting her in a prime position to access and engage thought leaders in the regulatory, legal, and business realms. Canadian Lawyer and its editorial team have been the recipients of many journalism awards and their publications are highly respected throughout the legal profession in Canada and abroad.