Frequently Asked Questions and Other Things We've Missed

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I am thinking about applying to your firm, can I schedule a time to meet with some lawyers before I apply?
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We follow the LSO guidelines for the application and interview process. In order to be fair to all applicants, we cannot offer individual tours in advance of the application/interview process.

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When are applications due?
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We follow the LSO guidelines for articling interviews in Toronto. The most up to date information is on their website: https://lso.ca/ArticlingRecruitmentProcedures

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When is a good time to submit my application?
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When it is complete, and in advance of the LSO deadline. Applications are not reviewed until the LSO's deadline has arrived, so anytime in the weeks before the deadline is perfect. Don't be tardy! Submitting them months in advance does not speed up the process, nor does it put you at an advantage. Your resume will be considered at the same time as everyone else's.

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How many students are you hiring?
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We will be hiring 2 articling students for our Toronto office during articling interview week this coming August, to commence their articles with us the following August. We also hire 1 student for our Windsor office, and also conduct interviews in accordance with the LSO’s guidelines for recruitment in the Windsor area.

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How many applicants are granted interviews?
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Our goal is to interview between 10 to 12 students for each position we are looking to fill. You can do the math to figure out how many interviews we grant.

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Does the cover letter need to be signed?
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Preferably. But you may use an electronic signature.

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Do you have any tips for me for resume/CV?
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Yes! Please have a read through the other webpages under Articling for more information.

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Should I call/email to find out if you received my application?
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There's no need. Within one business day of receiving your application, we will send an acknowledgement to you confirming that we have received it. No acknowledgement email means that we haven't received it (or our acknowledgment email is in your junk mail folder).

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Which applicants receive an interview?
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Ah, the $500,000 question. The answer to this question is similar to the answer to the $1,000,000 question – see below – but in 2D of course, as there is only so much information we can derive from a paper application.

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How do I know if I will receive an interview?
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You will only be granted an interview if you receive a telephone call on Call Day. Interview dates and times are not scheduled by email, but we do confirm them by email once we have spoken with you and you have agreed to an interview date and time.

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I would like to interview with your firm but will be away on the interview dates. The LSO has granted me permission to interview with your firm ahead of time, can you accommodate my request?
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We cannot interview anyone until we have reviewed all applications and selected the interview candidates. If you have been selected for an interview and you have the LSO's written permission to interview for an articling position in advance of the interview dates, our interview team will make all reasonable efforts to find a mutually convenient date to conduct the interview, whether it is in person or virtual. To be frank though, if you are interviewed a week or more ahead of the other candidates, our memory of your interview, and the impression you make on us, will likely not be as fresh as the impressions of the other candidates we interview.

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Oops, it's 8:45 a.m. on Call Day, my phone has stopped ringing, and I am looking at my schedule. To my horror, I realize that I have booked myself in for two interviews at the same time, one of which is an interview with Shibley Righton LLP, which I don't want to give up. What should I do? OR, Ooops, I just realized that I booked a virtual interview in between two in person ones, and I have nowhere quiet to do the interview from.
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Figure out which interview you need to reschedule. For geographical reasons (or because you like us better), you may prefer to keep our interview as scheduled, in which case, you need to contact the other firm. However, should you wish to change your interview time with us, please call Stacey as soon as possible, and we will do our best to accommodate you.

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When are the articling interviews?
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We conduct first interviews of students on the Monday and Tuesday of week designated by the LSO for articling interviews in Toronto. We may (but not always) call candidates back to meet more members of our interviewing team on Wednesday morning. Wednesday morning interviews are generally shorter as we appreciate students' schedules are busy, and our team needs to meet before 5:00 pm.

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I received an Articling Interview, can I meet with lawyers in your firm ahead of time to discuss my application and find out more about the firm?
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No. We consider scheduling meetings with lawyers during the application and interview process to amount to an unfair advantage over the other applicants. If you really want to find out information about our firm, contact our students well ahead of the application and interview process. They will have more time to answer genuine questions about the firm, and will not immediately perceive that you are trying to get a 'leg up' on the competition. We say contact them ‘well ahead’ because our students are usually Called to the Bar in June, after which they are no longer students and may or may not be available to speak. Their articling term is usually from August to June, and sometimes just a wee bit longer than 10 months.

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I received an interview, can you tell me who I will be meeting with prior to my interview?
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We could tell you, but between Call Day and the scheduled interview days, the interview schedule continuously evolves due to changes in both the schedules of the applicants and interviewers. Sometimes the schedule changes on the fly if, for example, there is a delay in the public transit system, the wifi gets glitchy, a court attendance is scheduled, or someone shows up a half hour early or late for their interview. We try our best to accommodate everyone's schedules, but in doing so, we sacrifice the ability to predict with 100 % accuracy who will be interviewing which candidate.

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How should I prepare for my interview?
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Only you have the answer to this one. Some people need to prepare down to the last detail, others do not. We want to get to know you during your interview, and that entails chatting with you about you, without it being only about you. Be prepared to talk about what you have included in your application, such as your work and academic experiences, why you excelled in certain courses and not others, and what may not be in your application, such as what interests you about a career in law, why you think you are a good fit with our firm, what your expectations of articling are, what book you are reading, what you observed on the street coming to the interview, or what you heard on the news the night before. Most importantly however, be yourself. Prepare yourself in whatever way possible to ensure that we get to see the real you and what working with you will be like.

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How do students convey their interest in the firm?
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Well, by applying, we assume you are interested in us. But, it is always good to simply tell us what your level of interest is during your interview and then, for good measure, you can send one follow up email to confirm your continued interest or to let us know you are focusing your attention elsewhere. No need to send us a zillion emails though – even though we will be doing this virtually, we take pride in being able to ascertain a candidate's level of interest without the need for repetitive emails.

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How do you let the firm know what area you are interested in?
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If you know your interests, then that is wonderful. Tell us during your interview. If you are hired, tell the lawyer(s) in that practice area and ask for that type of work. Just keep in mind that as a student, you will also be required to work for all lawyers in any practice area. We do not hire enough students for one student to be exclusive in the type of work they want to do. We see this as a benefit though as we strive to give well rounded articling experiences!  

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How do I successfully secure an offer for an articling position?
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This is the $1,000,000 question. The answer is different every year, as we hire individuals with varying backgrounds, life and work experiences, personalities and academic histories. We look for students who will seek to get the most out of their articles rather than ones who only see their articling year as a job. Potential students should be able to convey that they are willing and enthusiastic enough to take on work and responsibility, handle multi-tasking and stress well, identify their own limits and weaknesses as well as strengths, and present themselves in a professional manner. We look for candidates who will fit in well with our diverse group of lawyers and staff. How's that for skirting the question?

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Describe the work / life balance of associates and students.
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We want you to do good quality work, on time, and make us and our clients happy. We expect everyone to work hard to get the work done to the best of their ability. Students and lawyers are required to work some late nights and weekends when necessary. We expect students to be in the office (or virtually available, as conditions permit) to accept work assignments during normal work hours, except of course, when they have been assigned work outside of the office (ie, attend court or mediations, meet with clients, interview witnesses, commission affidavits etc.). If you are assisting on a trial or a closing, you will have greater demands for your time. But we all have personal lives which we cherish. Some of us have families, some of us are avid athletes, some of us love to travel. Most of us have achieved a work/life balance suitable for our individual needs while at the same time managing successful practices. One thing is clear, with the exception of unusual, but usually predictable, circumstances, we do not expect you to be on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week (which is one of the reasons we do not provide PDAs). Update June 2022: We are proud to say that we wrote that last sentence years before your right to disconnect became legislated so we are not just saying this because we have to!

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Will I receive a PDA?
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We do not expect you to be on call 24/7 so we do not provide PDAs (or smartphones or whatever you call them these days). The lawyers you are working with will let you know if they need you to check your email or voicemail at night or on the weekend. If you know a client will need to speak with you after hours, we expect you to make your own arrangements to accommodate them.

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Will I be assigned a mentor and what do mentors really do?
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Yes. Each student will be assigned a partner who will be their principal and mentor throughout their 10 month articling stint. Mentors/principals are volunteers – they want to be involved in the student program, they like supporting the students and they are interested in them. Mentors take students to lunch from time to time, check in on the students from time to time, are available to answer questions from the students about pretty much anything the student wants to ask (although answers are not mandatory to EVERY question asked), and overall, they are generally there for the students when or if needed. We also have a non-mentor partner who is in charge of overseeing the students and associates (she doesn’t really have a formal title, but we all know what her role is).

Speaking of associates though, they are often the ones who find themselves acting as informal mentors to the students on a daily basis, having been in their shoes not so very long ago themselves. Our students always find that our associates are wonderful resources and provide great advice on a variety of issues that may arise (such as what jokes to include in the student skit for the holiday office party).

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Are there formal rotations?
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No. We like our students to see things through, for as long as they are with us. No dropping files or assignments onto another student’s lap just because a set number of months has expired.

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How is work delegated to the students?
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Work enters the student office in a similar manner as it comes into the firm from clients. Lawyers with work to delegate approach the students directly in person, by email, through a Teams call, by memo or telephone. (In the past, lawyers have tried to delegate work telepathically without success, but we’re happy to report that in recent years, that practice has been eradicated - for the most part.) During the pandemic, this is done mostly via unsolicited emails or calls (video or audio). However, work has still been assigned during impromptu chats in the hallways or the kitchen, because these days, one can't walk down a quiet office hallway and not engage in some discourse.

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What type of work do students get throughout the year?
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It really depends on what is happening in our practices when you are articling. If someone has a trial, you may be asked to junior on it, but we all know that there is a push to resolve litigation matters these days. Generally speaking though, on the litigation side of things, our students have full carriage of small claims matters, assist in document discovery, attend examinations for discovery, mediations and arbitrations with a lawyer, prepare motion materials and first drafts of statements of issues, attend assessment hearings, and of course do research and write memos. On the corporate end, students may assist in drafting contracts, agreements, minutes, resolutions, directions and policies, assist in closings, and prepare real estate documents. The work the students can get is typically determined by the student’s willingness to take on responsibility and their ultimate ability to produce good quality work on time, and keep the clients happy.

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Do you have a question not found in our FAQ?
Please email us at articling@shibleyrighton.com

We look forward to receiving your articling application.

Contact

Stacey Chandler

Stacey D. Chandler

Director, Human Resources & Administration

250 University Ave, Suite 700
Toronto, ON M5H 3E5
T: 416.214.5280
F: 416.214.5480stacey.chandler@shibleyrighton.com