Below are some tips for preparing your application and resumé.
- In cases where your name may be gender neutral, you may wish to indicate how mail should be addressed ie., Mr. or Ms. etc. This saves firms the embarrassment of addressing a letter incorrectly.
- Always include a permanent address and telephone number. During interview week, if you are from out of town, make sure to include a number where firms can reach you.
- Make sure your address is complete, including apartment number and postal code. If you change addresses during the recruitment process, be sure to advise the firm(s).
- Make sure you include your area code.
- If you provide more than one number, indicate which number you can be reached at during interview week.
- This may be a good time to listen to the message on your answering machine and ensure it is appropriate.
- Don't rely on the computer to do your proofreading/spell check. Firms frequently receive letters containing merge errors where the address refers to one firm and in the body of the letter refers to another. A spelling or grammatical error in your cover letter will inevitably negatively affect the reviewer's impression of your application.
- Confirm that your information is current. Is the person you are writing to still responsible for recruitment? Have you spelled the name of the firm and the name of that person correctly? Check with your Career Services Office or the NALP Canadian Directory of Legal Employers.
- Most common oversight -- students forget to sign their cover letter.
Cover Letter Content
- Keep it brief and be modest about what you can bring to the firm. You do not need to repeat information included in your resumé.
- Indicate which law school you are attending and what year you are in.
- If you have an area of interest, identify it. This will assist the firm in arranging an interview with an individual(s) from the area(s) in which you are interested.
- Creativity in cover letters can sometimes backfire -- it won't get you an interview and may hurt you. Avoid being too funny or cute.
- Do not go into lengthy descriptions of previous summer employment which are not directly related to the practice of law.
- Extra-curricular experience is particularly important for students who have relatively little work experience. Volunteer work, school activities and organization memberships indicate a well-rounded individual and may also demonstrate a student's leadership and interpersonal skills. Believe it or not, firms look for more than grades.
- List language skills.
- Keep to two pages.
- Review the firm's website and brochure to see what is required. Enclose copies of undergrad and law school marks available to date. Please note we do not accept printed copies of grades from students' personal university web accounts.
- You may wish to include an explanation of a particularly poor mark or any employment/education gaps; although this may be a discussion best left to the interview stage. Hopefully, the mark will show up as an anomaly and most individuals reviewing your résumé can relate to one poor mark.
Submitting an Application
Back to top
- Don't leave your application until the last minute. Although our firm has established deadlines for summer and articling applications, you should not wait until this date to submit your application. You should submit your application in a timely fashion. This gives the firm time to fully and fairly review your application.
- Under certain circumstances, the Vancouver Bar Association will allow firms to interview students outside the interview period established. Requests for permission should be included in your cover letter outlining the reason for the request.