Category Archives: OCI

Early Summer OCI Tips

Now, I know what you’re thinking already. Its mid-July, you’re sitting by the pool sipping some sangria or K-Juice (ask Kwaku for a recipe) and you are saying: why would I ever start worrying about OCI’s right now?!

The scary truth is that Toronto OCI applications are due in around 6 weeks, and it is never too early to start prepping. In fact, I would highly advise not leaving these applications until the last minute. The good news is that there is some very easy and helpful prep work you can start doing right now. Here are a few tips for getting started on the application process:

1) Contact people you know at the firms you are applying to. Reaching out to students and lawyers at these firms is a great way of demonstrating your interest to the firm and learning more about the firm culture.  And most importantly, you will have a name to reference in your cover letter. Every little trick you can use to help distinguish yourself from the pack is highly recommended. Also, if you don’t know anyone personally at the firm you are applying to, don’t be afraid to contact an alumni from your law school who works there. We have all been in your shoes and we are all happy to help.

2) ORDER YOUR TRANSCRIPTS. NOW. I won’t name names (NOAH LESZCZ) but some students forget to order their official transcripts from both their undergrad universities and their law school. You don’t want to be compiling your applications and suddenly realize that the transcript you thought you had from undergrad was in fact incomplete, and missing your entire fourth year. Needless to say, it’s not a fun feeling. (I ended up realizing my mistake with a week to go and rush ordered the transcript from McGill for a hefty price. No harm, no foul.) On this same note, contact the people (if any) who are writing your reference letters to give them as much time as possible.

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Chan and Chad’s Tip: “Don’t wear the exact same suit, shirt, and tie combo as your good friends. One of you is inevitably going to look better.”

3) Clean up your resume. Start editing and re-writing your resume to make it as professional looking as possible. I highly recommend contacting a friend in upper year at law school and asking for a copy of their resume. Law firms want to see a specific format from your resume and double checking with an upper year buddy is a good way to make sure you are on track.

4) Go on firm tours. Firm tours are a great way to meet lawyers at the firms and give yourself a leg up before OCI’s. Most importantly, you will start to figure what people mean when they say “firm culture”. Finding a firm that you like, is just as important as finding a firm that likes you.

5) Find an “upper year OCI buddy”. Yes, I made up that term. And yes, I had an upper year OCI buddy. The next few months are going to be a whirlwind of applications, cover letters, interviews, dinners, and phone calls. Having someone that you can call at any time to bounce questions off of is crucial. There is a tremendous amount of strategy that goes into the whole OCI process and having a wise sage (AKA upper year OCI buddy) in your back-pocket will prove to be extremely helpful.

Stay tuned for more blog posts with tips for OCI’s in the upcoming weeks!

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Carla @Cassels: Why Cassels?

 

I realized today I only have two and a half weeks of work left, and that thought has made me a bit nostalgic. I remember a year ago when I was frantically researching firm websites to try to discern which firm had what rotation, and how the student programs actually worked in fear that I would choose the wrong firm to work at. Given that I am feeling a bit nostalgic and totally loving Cassels, I am going to give you an inside view of why I am at Cassels.

Up to In-Firms- I had no idea. I sort of hap-hazardly applied to a handful of firms that did tax law and crossed my fingers *NOT A RECOMMENDED APPROACH*.

On In-Firm day Cassels happened to be one of my last interviews of the day. I was pretty discouraged when I stepped in the door as I had met articling students at other firms that couldn’t tell me why they liked their jobs, was shown art collections in fancy boardrooms that left me wondering what the magnificent pieces had to do with my job prospects at all, and finally was ultimately just tired.

When I stepped into Cassels I was alone in a boardroom with about six articling students and… we actually talked. Not about the application process, interviews or about how fantastic the firm is, but they talked to me in a way that made me comfortable and gave me a glimpse at how awesome the people at Cassels were.

When I got into my interview, the first thing the interviewer did was pull up a picture of Tom Brady and of Justin Bieber and ask me who had the better haircuit (as a Patriots fan, the answer was obvious). I felt at ease with not only the articling students, but also the “scary (but not so scary at all)” partners who were interviewing me.

Then as Oprah would say the biggest AHA! *lightbulb* moment came to me. The interviewer told me to look out to Bay Street, and said in every office building, at every full service firm, everyone does the same work so don’t make a decision based on the type of work that you want to do, but find the firm that you feel like you fit in with the people because that is what is going to make the job.

So what kind of people do you want to have lunch with? Confide in about your biggest office successes and screw-ups? Grab a Starbucks with on a break? Go out for a drink with after work?

For me, Cassels was DEFINITELY the right choice.

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Mondays with Mo

The “WHO KNEW?” Edition

WHO KNEW the partners and associates are friendly and not scary to approach at all?

WHO KNEW that the PATH system in downtown Toronto has absolutely everything you could possibly need to survive for weeks without ever seeing daylight?

WHO KNEW that each floor of Cassels has its own Starbucks machine (and it’s free!)?

WHO KNEW girls can actually wear flat shoes to work and leave a pair of heels under their desk – no one will ever know!

WHO KNEW that as a student you can pick the areas of law you would like to try during the summer and then get a good taste of different fields?

WHO KNEW that the people you interviewed with in the summer would remember you seven months later (maybe they remember me because of my accent?)?

WHO KNEW how important the Legal Research and Writing course was at school? I am ever so grateful I know how to use Halsbury Canada!

WHO KNEW when you select “tall” on the coffee machine you need to place a large mug underneath?

WHO KNEW you get a beautifully boxed cupcake on the first day of work?

WHO KNEW partners leave their doors open and genuinely want you to enter anytime?

WHO KNEW not all students working on Bay Street have an undergraduate business degree?

WHO KNEW not all students working on Bay Street are from Ontario schools?

WHO KNEW Cassels Brock has its own “google” tool for searching Cassels Brock documents?

WHO KNEW Cassels Brock hires first year students?

WHO KNEW you cannot tell the difference between a first year and second year student (contrary to your deep rooted belief that you got way smarter after second year)?

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