Canadian Lawyer 4Students

Fall 2009

Life skills and career tips for Canada's lawyers in training

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BY ROBERT TODD Best side Y Showing your Law firm recruiters share some of their secrets for what makes a good impression. ou've worked your tail off on coursework, likely fi nishing in the top third of your class, and it's time for an interview at that big, shiny fi rm you've been dreaming about. Th ere's only one problem — you break into a sweaty mess at the thought of sitting before a panel of interviewers who will determine if you've got what it takes to make it in Big Law. Lucky for you, 4Students has done some digging with talent management gurus from top fi rms across the country. Each has a slightly diff erent slant on what the recruitment process should entail. But all agree that preparation is a must, and nailing the in- terview is obtainable for those who spend a little time up front. First of all, it's important to know what type of candidate these fi rms are looking for. Kelly Callon-McLean, director of student and associate pro- grams at Aird & Berlis LLP in Toronto, says her fi rm is looking for "smart, well-rounded students who have interesting work experience." She notes that a history working in a law-related fi eld is not necessary. Candidates with experience volunteering or who have shown a passion for sports or music, for example, are also appealing. "We want to see that the students know how to balance their work and their play and are still able to do well at both," she says. Mary Jackson, chief offi cer of legal personnel and professional development at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto, puts her fi rm's stance on this issue very succinctly: "It's a mixture. In- tegrity and judgment are key," she says. "Practical intelligence and the ability to present oneself — in writing and in person — also are important. A bit of bravery helps too." Léna Taylor, director of student programs for the Quebec Region with McCarthy Tétrault LLP, says her fi rm looks for future lawyers who are "excellent team players, smart problem solvers, and have a sincere interest in learning about our clients' businesses." Th e fi rms also want candidates who are excited about their fu- ture in the industry. "Being passionate about the law is something we look for," says Marketta Jokinen, director of professional re- cruitment for Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Vancouver. "Most fi rms are looking for students who seem to be excited about the law and being a future practitioner." Kara Sutherland, director of professional resources for Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Toron- to, says her fi rm has straightforward criteria. "We are looking for students who have a demonstrated interest in business law, who are engaged by their environment, and who are creative thinkers with exceptionally good judgment." C ANADIAN Lawyer 4STUDENTS SEPTEMBER 2009 21

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