Establishing yourself in the practice of law is a long, hard slog. First comes the question of where you will work the summer after first year, then second year, then articling. The anxiety builds. Throw in that dreadful Bar exam. Finally, the question becomes where will you land that lawyer job that you have been working towards for at least half a decade?
Everyone who has been through the slog knows how hard it is. If you are currently facing one of those hurdles, I have one word for you, PERSEVERE! Your opportunity will come knocking. Put yourself out there. Keep your head up. Endure the slog.
On a more personal note, I worked hard, even struggled at times, to find law positions through these hurdles; first year summer, second year summer, articling - I still refuse to reflect on the Bar exams. I remember the anxiety all too well. Once I was comfortably employed in each of these stages, I was happy. I found myself learning a ton, and felt successful. But the in-betweens were a different story! Attaining law positions through the slog felt daunting. I kept a sense of humour. Throughout I shared the difficulties with friends going through the same hurdles. I worked hard and persevered. I passed out resumes, cold-called lawyers, and checked in with mentors.
When it came time to find employment for that lawyer job, the last hurdle - the one I’d been working towards for the better part of a decade - an opportunity presented itself. It didn’t appear overnight. I had spent months revising cover letters in coffee shops, and attending CCLA and OBA functions. I had changed my concept of a dream job, and my focus areas in law, more times than I care to admit. When the opportunity presented itself, I was ready for it. I was in the right headspace and I had come around to the idea of working for myself.
One thing led to another, like a chain reaction, but my stars aligned and I am happily practicing family law. I got lucky. One thing was obvious to me. Contrary to the saying, timing was not everything. Without the hard work, the opportunity would have dissipated. With hard work – luck should be no problem.
by Ceilh Henderson, Advocacy Club Member
Ceilidh’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org. She practices Family law and Child Protection law, in partnership with Altynay Teshebaeva.
Welcome to the Advocacy Club's guest blog. Here you will find mentoring tips and techniques from some of John Hollander's students and associates.