For some of you out there, you’ve started to hear about people going on “coffee chats” in anticipation of the recruiting season. As it is a great way to get to know the firms, you might be wondering how to get the most of out of these meetings. To give you some tips on this, we’ve asked some of our own summer students to share their experience with you!
Ave Bross, Queen’s
“My number one tip is to network and meet as many people as possible. Go on as many coffee chats with as many different lawyers as you can. Going for coffee with a lawyer is the best way to learn about the summer student experience and gain insight into the culture of the firm. If you cannot make a coffee chat then try to set up a phone conversation. The connections that are established through a coffee chat are invaluable when going through the recruiting process.”
Tristan Davis, Osgoode
“I spent the majority of last summer abroad in Thailand, so I did not have the opportunity to participate in traditional coffee chats. However, I knew they were an important aspect of the recruiting process, so I had to improvise. First, I decided to reach out to those people I knew at firms that I was interested in, I focused primarily on upper-years at my school who had spent summers at the firm before, or were spending summers at the firm at that time. If there were no individuals that I knew, I would reach out to people who I shared something in common with (sports, undergrad program, hobbies, hometown etc.). Finding something in common with someone is a great way to start the conversation, if all else fails, find someone who has done something interesting that you want to learn more about.
I think it is important to remember that all these students can get busy at times, so if they do not reply immediately, give it some time. Also, make sure if you are reaching out, that it does not sound generic, you increase your chances of someone replying with a tailored email. On that note, try not to reach out to too many people, it is more important to have quality conversations rather than trying to meet every person at a firm.
During these chats, I think it is important to have topics of discussion prepared before the meeting. It will help keep the conversation going and allow you to get all the information you need during the chat. If you are meeting with someone that you do not know very well (or at all), try to relax and be yourself. We have all been in your shoes before so we know exactly how you are feeling.”
Emma Zaltz, U of T
“My best tip to law students is to take advantage of past and current summer students! They will be happy to speak to you and share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Find out why they chose Cassels, what they’ve come to love about the firm, and what they’re looking forward to in the future. Hopefully, you’ll start to see if Cassels is the kind of law firm you will thrive at. Don’t be afraid to ask candid questions that you’re genuinely curious about! We’re not lawyers (yet) so you’re still speaking student to student. There’s nothing we haven’t already heard, and an honest dialogue is what makes it exciting for us.”
As you can tell, there is no set format on how to reach out or follow up, or a set list on what to talk about. Just be considerate, be curious, and be yourself! Lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out to our summer class at Cassels – we’re all happy to help!