Tips on Firm Tours

Each summer, many firms host open houses for students to get a sense of the firm’s work and to meet some of the lawyers/students. To give you a sense of what they’re like, some of our summer students shared some helpful tips!

Kojo Hayward, Osgoode

“Firm tours can be both exciting and nerve wrecking. On the one hand, you are presented with an opportunity to learn more about the firm and to meet people there while hopefully leaving an impression. Therein, on the second hand, lies the nerve wreck. In trying to leave an impression on someone, we can talk too much, blurt out awkward comments, or amplify our own anxiety. When we don’t talk “enough”, we can even feel defeated. All of this can be mitigated. First, prepare some different talking points for students, associates, partners, and the student program team. The nature of your questions may vary depending on who you’re talking to, so come prepared for all of the above. Second, if you have nothing to say, say nothing and listen attentively until you do. Awkwardness arises when you force questions and conversation. Third, change your frame of mind from just looking to impress to looking to learn and be convinced why this is where you want to be. The firm tour is as much (if not more) about the firm trying to share its culture and approaches with you as it is an opportunity for you to impress and meet people.”

Paras Patel, U of T

“Your best bet for firm tours is to balance enthusiasm and professionalism. I’ve seen people at firms tours who were trying their hardest to get face time with the lawyers and impress them, and while they stood out, it might not have been for the best reasons. That being said, you shouldn’t shy away from an opportunity to make a connection with someone from the firm (however brief the interaction may be). Prepare some meaningful questions, be engaged, and depending on the conversation, reach out by email later that day. The firm tour isn’t necessarily the venue to sell yourself, but it can lead to coffee chats where the person can really get to know you”

Tristan Davis, Osgoode

“I did not have the opportunity to attend many firm tours, but I did make it out to a few of them. I think firm tours are a great way to familiarize yourself with different law firms. Most firm tours allow you to mingle with students, associates and partners at the firm. It is a great experience that may provide you with something to write about in your cover letters. My advice would be to attend as many as you reasonably can. During the tour always remain professional, try not to congregate only with your friends, talk to the lawyers and summer students!

One piece of advice that I think is crucial during these firm tours is that it is more important to have meaningful conversations with those you meet from the firm, rather than trying to speak to everyone. They are talking to dozens of students during that time, so the likelihood of them remembering you is slim if you do not make a connection. If you speak to someone that you connect with, get their card and email them later thanking them for their time. It also may be prudent to reach out to that person to speak to them one-on-one over coffee. Once again, during these tours, try to relax and be yourself.”

We hope to meet some of you this summer at our open house!

Can we chat over coffee?

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!

 

Pride and Remembrance Run 2017

Last weekend, our Cassels Brock team participated in the Pride and Remembrance Run, an annual five-kilometre fundraising run/walk in support of LGBTQ+ charities in the GTA. These charities include Fife House, Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, and Casey House.

We gathered at the 519 Church Street Community Centre at 9:15 am, and began the run/walk at 10:00 am.

The weather was perfect, the atmosphere was lively, and our team went for a delicious brunch on a patio afterwards. Overall, it was a great event. Happy Pride 2017!

Launching Humans of Cassels

Happy Friday everyone! This year, we’re excited to launch the Humans of Cassels series to introduce you to numerous people at the firm. We thank Mike Weizel, articling student and returning associate in the fall, for taking the time to speak with us for our first interview of this feature. We hope you enjoy hearing about his Cassels experience!

Stay tuned for more,

Your 2017 Bloggers

Mike Weizel, Articling Student and returning First Year Associate

Queen’s University

“My time as a summer and articling student at Cassels was positive for a variety of reasons. From the outset as a summer student, the lawyers and staff throughout the firm made me feel welcome and provided me with the support that I needed to get my bearings in the first few weeks. After spending a year at the firm in total, that level of support has not faded as I’ve seen how the firm is committed to helping its students grow and learn throughout the process. If there was one thing that I would want to pass on to incoming and potential students, it would be to keep trying. Keep trying new areas of law and forget any preconceived notions that you may have about a particular area of practice. With an open mind and a focus on learning as much as possible you will give yourself the best opportunity to find the practice area that you are truly passionate about – and when you do – it won’t feel like coming to work at all.”

Humans of Cassels