Student applying online

Application and interview guide

In addition to seeking students with strong academics, we look for well-rounded individuals as we believe this serves the best interests of our clients and our practice.

Hallmarks of a Successful Candidate

  • Active Intelligence: You should have curiosity, insight and the ability to be analytical.
  • Engagement: Demonstrate enthusiasm, drive, and perseverance.
  • People Skills: The traits of integrity, respect and teamwork are especially helpful for our lawyers.

You'll find it beneficial if you can demonstrate some of these traits in your resume, cover letter and through the interview process. Here are some suggestions.

 

Cover Letter Tips

Research

Please research this and any practice before considering your approach. Recruiters can detect your level of interest based on the tone and language used in the letter. This is why it's to your advantage to visit our site, read promotional material, and best of all, speak with students already working here. This will give you a good feel for who we are and if we're right for you.

Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter demonstrates your ability to think and write clearly. It should be short, concise, fit on one page, and ideally, be similar in appearance to your resume in terms of font style and size, margins, etc. Please tailor the letter to the practice. If you have a particular interest in us or a specific reason for approaching us, say so. If you know someone who works at the practice or is an alumnus, and who you are certain will speak well of you, feel free to include that. If there's a particular area of law practiced at the practice that's of particular interest to you, let us know.

General Cover Letter Tips

  • Take the time and care to include the addressee, and spell both their name and the practice name correctly.
  • Triple check your cover letter for typographical and grammatical errors. Do not rely on spell-check.
  • Have someone proofread all your application material.

 

Your Resume

A professional legal resume includes your name, where and how you can be contacted, education, awards, employment experience, and extra-curricular activities-usually in that order.

Your name, along with where and how you can be contacted, should be on the header of the first page of your resume. You may consider putting your name on the top of each subsequent page. This helps remind the reader of who you are and can be helpful if the pages of your resume become separated. Please include area codes with your phone numbers, and use a professional e-mail address instead of one that includes a nickname or that might be construed less professionally.

Your educational background is best presented in reverse chronological order beginning with post-secondary degrees and institutions. You should include academic prizes, scholarships, papers or special research projects.

Use the "Employment Experience" portion of your resume to let your personality come through. Job titles and responsibilities should be listed in reverse chronological order. If any of your work helped support you through university, please say so. If any of your work was highly technical, involved teamwork, travel or training, you might wish to include how these factors gave you further insight or increased your knowledge. Use accurate and descriptive active verbs to describe your responsibilities.

When describing "Extracurricular Activities" you might want to highlight your interests such as volunteering, learning languages, involvement in arts, sports, or travel. This is where you can include comments of a more personal nature such as coping skills learned as a result of some of the challenges you've experienced, significant amounts of time spent in other countries, etc.

General Resume Tips

  • Keep your resume to two pages in length.
  • Use headings, a simple font style, and white space to help your resume look clean and organized.
  • Refrain from gimmicks and including personal information such as height/weight, marital status, dependants, photos, or health.
  • Triple-check your resume for facts, dates, typographical and grammatical errors. Do not rely on spell-check.
  • Have someone proofread everything!

 

Interviews

The OCI interview, though professional, is an informal meeting intended to allow us to learn more about you and vice versa. We are interested in who you are and where your passions lie. Your academic background, work experience, and extracurricular activities and interests will all inform this, so the information you provide on paper will set the stage for a great conversation. The interview is also an opportunity for you to learn more about who we are and what we do, so we invite you to ask any questions you have.

Here are some tips might help you get the most out of the interview experience:

  • If you are visiting a number of places, scope out the locations ahead of time and plan your route. Knowing exactly where you're going and how to get there will minimize your stress. 
  • Make sure your shoes are business-like and comfortable. 
  • Dress in appropriate business attire and glance in a mirror before each interview to make sure everything is in place. 
  • Ensure mobile devices are turned off during all interviews and/or dinners or lunches with firms. 
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early so that you have time to compose yourself before the interview.
  • Try to relax and engage in conversation with your interviewers.  Remember that you are also assessing each employer to gauge where will be the best fit for you.
  • Take notes after each interview so that later you can distinguish one firm from another.