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Application and Interview Process

We comply with all Law Society of Upper Canada ("LSUC") guidelines respecting the recruitment of students in Toronto.

First Year and Second Year Applications and Interviews

All of the suggestions regarding applications and interviews apply equally to both first and second year summer recruitment processes.  The only difference is that, for the Second Year Summer Recruitment process, we will attend On-Campus Interviews, while the First Year process moves directly from the application stage to the In-Firm interview stage.  For both first and second year recruitment processes, final interviews are held at the firm during three days of In-Firm Interviews, the dates of which are set by the LSUC and can be found in the applicable Guidelines.

Applications

Your application package should include a cover letter, resume, photocopies of official transcripts from your undergraduate degree, law school and any other post-secondary education, as well as a list of the upper year courses you intend to take (if applicable). 

Your cover letter should not be any longer than one page and should tell us, among other things, why you want to work with us at Aird & Berlis LLP.  Personalizing the letter to the firm is one of the most important things you can do.  If you have met members of the firm, whether lawyers or students, let us know!  It is always nice to see a familiar name in a letter.

If you have a particular area of interest, tell us – it helps us to match you up with your interviewers.  If you don’t yet have a particular area of interest, that’s just fine – the purpose of our summer and articling programs is to give our students a comprehensive experience in our many different practice areas.

Your resume should ideally be no longer than two pages and the font should be no smaller than 11 point (Times New Roman) or 10 point (Arial).  When someone is reading hundreds of applications, you want to make it as easy as possible for her or him!

One of the most important parts of putting your application together is attention to detail.  Make sure you are spelling the firm’s name and the name of the person to whom your letter is addressed correctly.  If you mention the firm name in the body of your letter (and you should), make sure that it is the same firm name all the way through.  Lawyers are trained to pick up spelling, typographical and grammatical errors.  Have someone else proofread your materials, including each individual cover letter, before you sign and send them.

Reference letters are welcomed, but not required.  If you do include reference letters, they should be from people who have worked closely with you, whether in an academic or employment setting.  Reference letters can be from former or current employers, volunteer work supervisors, professors, teachers, coaches or anyone else who knows you in something other than a social setting.  Unless there are unusual circumstances, please don’t include more than two or three reference letters.  Reference letters do not have to be personalized to the firm.  A photocopy of a “To Whom It May Concern” letter is just fine.  They should have been written within a year of your application date, however.

Please do not include writing samples unless they are requested.

Hard copy, fax and e-mail applications are acceptable, but applications through viDesktop's new online portal are preferred.  Please speak to someone in your school's Career Services Office for details.  PDF copies of official transcripts are required. 

We endeavour to acknowledge receipt of all applications by email within a week of their arrival.

Selection Process

Once we have received all of the applications, we divide them up by school and distribute them among the members of our Student Recruitment Committee, who make the interview selections.  This way, the students we interview are as diverse and unique as we are, and really reflect the many different personalities at Aird & Berlis LLP.

Interview Process

In the Second Year Recruitment Process, we participate in On-Campus Interviews (“OCIs”) at all Ontario law schools. 

In the First Year Recruitment Process, generally there are no OCIs and we move straight from the Application stage to the Call Day and In-Firm Interviews stages.

During the OCI in the Second Year Process, you will meet with Ari Blicker and one of our practicing lawyers, who may be on our Student Recruitment Committee.  Each OCI lasts between 17 and 18 minutes (depending on the school) with 2 or 3 minutes between each.  We recommend that you schedule as many OCIs as you feel you can manage.   You want to be as enthusiastic and energetic at the 4:40 p.m. interview as you were at the 9:00 a.m. interview, so know yourself and pick your number accordingly.

OCI and In-Firm Interview Tips

Be prepared!  Have some notes about each firm that you can consult just before the interview to refresh your memory.  Talk to students who have summered at the firm or are articling there now – they’ll be one of the best sources of information.

Be enthusiastic!  About the firm, about law school, about your extracurricular or volunteer activities, about the opportunity to spend the summer at a law firm.

Make sure you’re comfortable with what you are wearing – try it on a few days before the interview – sit, stand, cross your legs.  Does it need cleaning?  Pressing?  It will be much easier to be relaxed in the interview if you’re not worried about your clothes.  And definitely don’t wear new shoes that you haven’t broken in!

Don’t worry about the timing of your OCI – it makes no difference to us whether you meet us at the beginning, middle or end of the day, everyone receives the same consideration.  However, students who can appear relaxed for the first interview of the day, or energetic at the very end of the day may receive bonus marks!

Be ready to talk about anything and everything on your resume and cover letter.  You will be surprised by how different interviewers will pick out different things from your application.

When asked if you have any questions for your interviewers, have some questions!  These can be specific to the firm (“Can you tell me more about your firm’s class action practice?”) or general questions you ask each firm (“How are students evaluated?”, “Can you tell me more about your student mentor program?”).

Get business cards from everyone you meet – it will be difficult to remember at the end of a long day.

Take a minute or two after each interview to write some brief notes about the interview and the people you met.  Even just a few words will help to jog your memory about your experience and impressions from the meeting.

Follow up with a thank-you email in the days following your OCI. Keep in mind that not all firms will be able to respond to all communication during this busy time, however, so don’t read anything in to the fact that you may not hear back – this doesn’t meant that the firm is not interested in you!

Call Day and In-Firm Interviews

After we have completed all of the OCIs (or finished our resume review process for First Year and Articling Recruitment), we will decide which students we will be asking to coming into the firm for in-firm interviews.  We generally have a rough idea of how many students we want to bring in, but the exact number and representation from each school is flexible and will vary from year to year.

Once we have made our decisions, we do our best to contact all students who we wish to bring in to the firm to tell them that we will be calling them on Call Day (date set by the LSUC).  Our interview lists are fluid, however, and may change right up to Call Day, so don’t be surprised if you receive a call from us, even if we haven’t alerted you in advance.  Don’t panic if you haven’t heard from us – you may still be on our list!  Calls are made starting at 8:00 a.m. Toronto time, with our apologies to students in Western Canada!

We conduct first interviews on the first day of Interview Week.  Students should plan to be in Toronto at least until the end of the day on day three of interview week, in case they are invited for follow-up interviews at the firms they have visited. 

We suggest that you schedule your interviews at least two hours apart.  This will give you some “breathing space” between the interviews to go downstairs, make some notes about the interview you just finished, review your notes for the next firm you are meeting, find the right building and elevator and arrive 5-10 minutes early for your next interview.  If you are running late for an interview, please call ahead and let the firm know.

At Aird & Berlis, your In-Firm interview will last about an hour.  You will come to our reception area on the 18th floor at 181 Bay Street and our receptionist will direct you into our main boardroom, where some of our current students will be waiting.  Your first interviewer will come and meet you in the main boardroom and you will go to his or her office where you will meet for approximately 20 minutes.  Then your first interviewer will take you to the office of another lawyer at the firm, and the three of you will chat for another 20 minutes or so.  Your student “host” will pick you up from the interviewers office and will take you on a firm tour and answer any questions you have about being a student at Aird & Berlis before bringing you to meet with a member of our Student Recruitment Committee for 10 or 15 minutes.  At the end of your interview, you are welcome to return to the main boardroom to speak with our students further.

Lunches, Dinners and Cocktail Parties

At Aird & Berlis, we do not hold cocktail or dinner parties during the In-Firm Interview Week.  We have invited students for lunch on the Tuesday or Wednesday in the past, but these lunches are not pre-arranged prior to Interview Week.  As with all other Toronto law firms, a lunch or dinner invitation, or lack thereof, is not indicative of whether or not an job offer will be made.  Law firms are filled with students and lawyers who did not have a meal with their firm during Interview Week!

In-Firm Interview Tips

All of the suggestions for OCI interviews apply here, as well.

If you have Call Waiting on your phone, disable it for Call Day – you don’t want to be interrupted by constant beeping when you are trying to set up your interviews.

You should definitely come with some questions specific to the firm.  It is OK to ask if you can refer to your notes during the interview to refresh your memory, but don’t actually take notes during the interview – save that for afterwards.

Speak with current students – ask them thing like what kinds of work they are getting, what the mentor program is like and why they chose the firm.

If you are interested in a firm – tell them!  Ask to come back and meet more people.  Be sincere in your expressions of interest, however – nobody likes to be led on, neither firms nor students.

Send thank you emails or voicemail messages, but again, don’t be worried if you don’t receive a response – it’s a hectic three days.

Make sure the firm has Interview Week contact information for you – you don’t want to miss a second interview because the only number the firm had was back at school and you’re not checking that voicemail account.

If you are expecting to hear back from a firm and you don’t receive a call or email, contact them!

Check your voicemail and/or email often.

Above all, be yourself!  It’s very tempting to tell a firm what you think they want to hear, but you may wind up spending a very long summer or articling session at that firm, trying to be something you are not.