As a law student, you’ll likely hear about “the Recruit” once you get into law school. It’s all the rave! But if you’re like me and you didn’t know any lawyers before coming to law school, you might be wondering…what the heck is that? Worry not my fellow aspiring lawyer! That’s what this article is all about so read on to learn more about this “Recruit.”
What is “the Recruit”?
“The Recruit,” which is just a short term for law student recruitment or law student recruit, is when law firms hire or recruit law students for a summer or articling position! Unfortunately, there are very few positions available and because everyone is desperately trying to get a job, it can be very competitive and stressful.
The good news is, you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to! Sometimes, you can get swept away by the pressure of everyone around you that you forget you don’t have to participate in the Recruit. Now, the real question is…should you? As someone who participated in the Recruit, I do recommend it because I think it’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the process and get some interview experience. Does it hurt your chances of getting a job or articling position later on if you don’t? Not at all! I know plenty of students who didn’t participate in the Recruit and still found a job.
Different Types of Law Student Recruitment
So now that you know what law student recruitment is (and assuming you’d like to participate), let’s go over the different types of recruitment: the 1L Recruit, the 2L Recruit and the Articling Recruit.
The 1L Recruit
If you haven’t come across it yet, the term “1L” refers to first year law students and the 1L Recruit, as you’ve probably guessed, is the law student recruitment for 1L students. Since this recruit is the first exposure that law students will have to the law student recruitment process, it’s also often what everyone means when they refer to “the Recruit.” Not all law schools or even provinces will have a 1L Recruit. I know, for example, in Vancouver, there’s no 1L Recruit. But in Alberta, the 1L Recruit is a BIG deal and a lot of the (bigger) firms participate. It usually runs from mid-January to the end of February.
The 1L Recruit is specifically for summer positions i.e. firms are hiring 1L students to work for them in the summer so after their first year before they start their second year. The reason that the 1L Recruit is so competitive (other than most of us need summer jobs to pay for life) is it generally leads to an offer for an articling position. This means if you get a job offer for the 1L Recruit, you’ll “summer” at the firm and at the end, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to come back to article at the firm. If that happens, you’re all set! That is the end goal, afterall: to secure an articling position.
The 2L Recruit
The 2L Recruit is specifically for students in their second year of law school (“2L”). In places where there’s no 1L Recruit, the 2L Recruit is the first law student recruitment process that students can participate in so what the 2L Recruit will look like really depends on where you are. For example, because there’s a big 1L Recruit in Alberta, their 2L Recruit is often considerably smaller. In Edmonton specifically, when I participated, there were only 3 firms hiring for the 2L Recruit which made it even harder than the 1L Recruit to secure a job because there’s still so many students fighting for a couple of positions. Unlike the 1L Recruit which happens in January/February, the 2L Recruit happens in the Fall (September-October) but again, depending on where you are, this could be different. In terms of contents and structure, the 2L Recruit is basically identical to the 1L Recruit and is also for summer positions. I’ll talk more about the contents/structure of these recruits below.
The Articling Recruit (Law Firms Hiring 3Ls)
The 3L Recruit a.k.a the Articling Recruit is the last law student recruitment. It’s targeted towards third year or 3L law students. This recruit is not for summer positions but for articling positions. It generally happens in May-June right after your second year in law school. But you wouldn’t start your article until a year later so you would have the summer after your second year (your last summer) free! Again, the Articling Recruit is pretty much the same in content and structure as the 1L/2L Recruit. The only difference is that there may be new/unfamiliar firms participating in the Articling Recruit as some firms don’t do summer recruits and only participate in the Articling Recruit.
Note: Not all firms that participate in law student recruitment are private firms, the government participates as well so if you’re more interested in the public sector, you can benefit from participating in the Recruit as well.
From the 1L to 2L and Articling Recruit, the entire process can be overwhelming and stressful. But I hope this article gives you some insight into what you can expect and takes away some of the stress if you choose to participate! The Recruit is a great opportunity to gain valuable skills and become familiar with the law firm hiring process. But remember that you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to. There are other ways to get a job. In fact, some smaller firms tend to avoid recruits and prefer to hire outside of them. If that’s more your scene, that’s perfectly fine too!
This is the first article in a series of articles called Your Ultimate Guide to Law Student Recruitment.
Next article: The Law Student Recruitment Process