Arthur Ashe is credited with saying that one important key to success is self-confidence, and that another important key to self-confidence is preparation. Whether he actually said this or not, he is right. Preparation is where you begin to realize your ambition to accept a summer position with a law firm that will give you what you need to grow, and prepare you for articling and beyond. And we hope that your careful preparation for the interviews ahead will lead you straight to us.
We have these five tips to help get you here.
Be Self Aware
In seeking out a summer position with a law firm, it is important to know who you are and what you want. Recognize your short and longer term interests and goals, what you need to learn to maximize your interests and skills. Think carefully about the kind of firm that will be a match. Consider geography, size, practice, culture and reputation.
Know the Target
Not knowing the target well is like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute; you can’t make up anything useful half way down. Knowing everything you can learn about where you want to be arms you for the interview that will get you there. Know what the practice mix is, who the leaders and up and comers are, what the culture and diversity is, what the firm is proud of and why you will be proud to be there. Talk to students who have worked at the firm and who are there currently. And remember that preparation must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. So when the moment comes, show it.
Ride In on a Worthy Resume
There are numerous sources of opinion and instruction available on resume writing, and of course people who will help you do it or in the extreme case do it for you. You don’t need most of it, and you don’t need a pro. If you know yourself, and you know the target, if you take your time to put together an informative, well-organized and easy to read resume, with a sense of honesty and pride of accomplishment in the person it portrays, you will be most of the way there. The rest of the way there is to carefully proof read by reading out loud forward, then backwards and then hand the last read over to a final set of eyes. Your resume will make the first impression, not because it is auto- formatted and polished, but because it is clear, coherent, committed and says something about you.
The Second Impression is You
Be presentable. Try to be comfortable. Try to be natural. The right attitude is that you are at the firm because you are interested in being there. So, be interesting. Remember who you are, what you have done, what you know and, to repeat, why you are there. While the firm is interviewing you, don’t be afraid, respectfully, to interview the firm, with both questions and leading statements that keep you both in the picture: a statement like “I am excited to have the opportunity to work here this summer because of what I have heard about the things that students get to do here” will be followed by a question, and off you go.
To be interesting, you must be interested in yourself, and you must appreciate what it is about you that will be of interest to others. Be ready to both engage and to be engaging. Think about how you will carry your end of the discussion, as you will most assuredly be required to do, in fact, should want to do. You will be ready for any interview when you have imagined it. Ready to highlight who you are. Ready to discuss your interests in current affairs, business, or government. Ready to recall your most thrilling adventure or favourite book or movie. With the firm’s practice in mind, ready to discuss leading cases over the past 5 years that you know well and have a are sincere interest in. And finally, ready to problem solve issues that may be put to you by responding directly and thoughtfully. Much of your upcoming interview will prompt opinion questions, for which there is no right answer. What there is, is how you answer.
See you soon.
This blog post was written by K. Scott McLean, General Counsel and Director of Practice Management. He can be reached at (613) 369-0375 or at email@example.com.