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Faculty of Law

Career development thrives yearlong at Queen’s Law 

(May 10, 2017)

Queen’s Law students engage one-on-one with employers in “coffee chats” at Careers Day on March 10 at the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront.
Queen’s Law students engage one-on-one with employers in “coffee chats” at Careers Day on March 10 at the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront.

When the academic year draws to close, students largely exchange the familiar Macdonald Hall for summer experiences elsewhere. But they still have access to a wide variety of career development resources. 

“Queen’s Law students secured work and placements across a broad spectrum of legal employers and geographic regions,” says Julie Banting, the Director of the Career Development Office (CDO). Queen’s students are represented in small, mid-size and large private firms, government offices, and in-house corporations across Canada. “Through Public Interest Internships, some students are exploring legal opportunities around the world,” she adds.

With so many focused on gaining career experience, working at firms for the summer or articling, it’s worth recognizing the excellent work the Career Development Office put in the past year. 

New Career Counsellor Mike Molas joined the CDO on a full-time, permanent basis. 

“Mike has integrated well into Queen’s Law, working and engaging with students,” Banting says. Molas could often be seen in the lobby of the law building, open for quick questions. 

The drop-in session, which was also new this year, helped increase the CDO’s visibility and allow students to get quick and easy answers to career-related questions, Banting says.

For larger career-related issues, approximately 900 one-on-one student counselling sessions were held through the CDO. According to anonymous, post-session feedback survey results, the average rating students gave these sessions was 4.7 out of 5, and 98% of students would recommend the CDO services to their peers, Banting says.

The CDO’s annual Careers Day was a success this year as well. Students had the opportunity to meet and greet potential employers and share experiences with students who have are working with employers across Canada. Coffee chats were held with lawyers from firms each student was personally interested in, followed by an opportunity to take professional LinkedIn photos, and a series of panel discussions aimed at giving students a greater understanding of their options in the future. The day was capped off by the Five Years Out Panel, where Queen’s Law’11 grads spoke about their experiences. 

A Peer Mock Interview Day with upper-year students was held, for the first time, in both semesters. Career Development Committee members also ran Resume and Cover Letter Lab sessions, with greater flexibility this year than in previous years.

CDO numbers indicate more than 60 first-year students participated in the Shadow Program, which matches them with alumni lawyers, to shadow for a day. (Read the story, "JD student recommends mentorship program without a ‘shadow’ of a doubt").  

“Positive feedback included how illuminating it was to: see legal theory in practice, to watch exceptional advocacy take place in a real-world setting, to witness how lawyers actually prepare for court, and to more fully appreciate how important a lawyer’s work is to his or her client’s life,” Banting says. “Students also appreciated the networking opportunity and the ability to gain insight into what makes a summer student, articling student, and lawyer successful in their workplace.“

“In addition to the approximately 50 annual workshops hosted and facilitated by the CDO, this year saw the launch of the Osler Biz Basics series,” she says. The four-part series run by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt lawyers introduced students to business law and the business of law, and was a success. Eighty students received a certificate of completion for attending all four sessions.

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean the CDO’s services stop; career counselling and support are still available throughout May to August, whether it’s in person, over the phone or via Skype, Banting says.

“It is important to stay connected throughout the summer and we have found that students who work with our office tend to be successful.”

The listserv will still be active and the on-line job portal CSM will be updated with recruitment information when it becomes available. Banting advises that developing a routine of checking and reading emails, wherever they are spending their summers, will ensure students stay well informed.

Looking ahead, the CDO has exciting summer events planned for students to network with professionals and tour law firms.

“We are actively planning an open house/firm tour for the summer that would allow students the opportunity to network and visit Vancouver legal employers.  A networking event in Calgary this summer is also being organized,” Banting says. Those on-campus interviews (OCIs) will take place on September 13 in Toronto.

Students planning to apply for 2018 summer positions in Toronto should save July 24 in their calendars. Queen’s Law grads will be sharing their insight into second-year recruitment from 4:30–7:00 pm at The Advocates’ Society Education Centre in Toronto. The Centre is at 2700 – 250 Yonge Street.

The event will serve to allow exiting first-years to get their bearings for Toronto OCIs, which will be held on September 18 in Kingston. Immediately after the session there will be a networking reception with Toronto employers looking to hire second-year students for summer 2018. 

The 2017–18 academic year will certainly be off to another great start as students enter the next phase of managing their career plans. 

By Jeremy Mutton