Preparation, Preparation, Preparation - When You’re Done, Prepare Again...
You’ve picked out your favourite interview gear. You’ve practiced your firm handshake. You’ve practiced saying: Hello, my name is [insert], it’s great to meet you. What’s next? Learning about the firm!
The importance of learning about the firm and how it differs from other firms you will be meeting during OCIs, and the ways in which the firm’s interest match up with your own preferences will be key. Undoubtedly, one of the first questions you will be asked will be: what made you interested in our firm? Or more informally, so why us? Knowing how to navigate this question will set you apart from the other candidates.
How do you learn about the firm? Check out the firm’s website to learn about the areas that the firm primarily practices in. From there look at the recent cases the firm has been involved in. Make sure to look at the recent publications section of the firm’s website to gain a glimpse of the substantive areas the firm practices in and to gain insight into future developments of the law from the vantage point of the firm’s lawyers.
Once you’ve done your homework and learned as much as you could from the firm’s website, email an articling student with a few questions you may have about the firm. Feels like ages ago, but when I went through this process, I met for coffee with an articling student who gave me greater insights into the firm. Most articling students have done the same and would be more than willing to return the favour, just remember to pay it forward when you are an articling student.
During the Interview: The Fastest 17 mins of Your Life
Have a checklist of things you want to discuss. These will be aspects of your life - be it personal or academic that could not accurately be displayed in your cover letter or resume. Most importantly, and this cannot be stressed enough, be your authentic self. If you have a set of unique interests, make sure to share it. The firm is always interested in meeting interesting individuals and interests are what make particular candidates memorable. No one forgets meeting the student who rides equestrian.
Send a personalized thank you email to each person you interviewed with.
Best of luck!