Some bad habits never seem to go out of date. Here is a reprint
of an article we wrote years ago about the silliest and simplest
mistakes that applicants for articling positions make, over and
over. Amazingly, the same mistakes are still being made:
For decades, there has been much wringing of hands about those
students who failed to find articles, so that they can learn
practical skills before being unleashed on the unsuspecting public.
The Law Society has pleaded with firms to take on more articling
students. Based upon my experience, a surprising number of
law students have not learned the basic skills for obtaining any
type of professional job, paid or unpaid. The Law Society has
now chosen to resolve the problem by allowing students to enter the
practice of law without having articled at all. Let the client
Nevertheless, I was so astonished with the applications I
received that I have summarized them in the following useful tips
for future applicants. Each and every one of the tips is drawn from
an amazing number of actual applications.
TEN EASY RULES FOR AVOIDING ARTICLING:
Make mistakes in the name of the person or firm you are
applying to. This will demonstrate your attention to detail and
your respect for accuracy, which are so important for a lawyer.
Better still, make two different mistakes in different places.
Don't proofread your letter or resume. Typos, spelling
mistakes and improper punctuation demonstrate your importance and
your respect for the person reading the letter. After all, who has
time for such petty stuff?
Send a generic cover letter that has nothing to do with the
firm you are writing to. Tell a specialist firm how much you look
forward to general practice; tell a sole practitioner that you want
to rotate between departments. This will showcase your research
Get your application in late. Only wimps worry about artificial
deadlines. The recruiter may not look at resumes on deadline day
Make sure your attachments are incomplete. Enclose your
transcript with a note from the Dean that it must be read with
another document. Don't enclose the other document. This is a
test; if the recruiter really wants you, she'll ask you for the
Pay no attention to how your letter and resume look to a
reader. Fold them so they won't lie flat in the recruiter's
file. Make sure the pages are loose so that they scatter when the
envelope is opened. Leave blotches and whiteout. Never waste money
having them properly typed & printed on good paper. Show the
unimportance of presentation skills in a competitive profession
marketed by the hour.
Be mysterious; don't tip your hand. Assure the reader that
you have a good explanation for that poor mark in Evidence, and
promise to let him in on the secret during the interview. Surely
recruiters will be happy to gamble their free time on the chance
that your explanation is a good one.
Don't enclose reference letters. Make the recruiter spend
the time and effort to phone your references if in doubt whether to
interview you. Better still, state "references available on
request". Don't let a potentially interested recruiter
check up on you without your knowledge.
Don't do anything to get ready for your chosen field. Avoid
volunteer work. Wait for someone to pay you to learn about it.
Remember, the world owes you an articling job of your choice,
with all the perks. After all, you worked pretty hard in law
school. So what if you don't have top marks? You need an
articling job, therefore recruiters have a moral obligation to hire
you. Don't let them forget it!
PS, yes, this is meant to be a satire....
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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