Application & Interview Guide
Whether you are interested in a summer position or an articling position, you should give considerable attention to your application package. This is often our first impression of you. Your application package should include a cover letter, your resume, references (if you have them) and all post-secondary transcripts. If you know which courses you will be taking in future, please include those as well. To represent yourself at your professional best, please remember these tips:
- It’s a good idea to personalize your letter to the firm. If you do so, however, please make sure you have addressed us correctly throughout your letter. It is disappointing to receive a letter addressed to another firm, or addressed to us but applying for a position elsewhere.
- Tell us why you want to work with us at Patterson Law. If you’ve met members of our firm, please let us know. If our reputation in a particular area has drawn you to us, let us know that too.
- Proofread your letter, your resume, and any communication you send to us. Remember that you are providing us with a writing sample and mistakes will be noticed. Have someone else review your letter and resume for spelling and typographical errors before you sign them and send them to us.
- Provide us with several means of communicating with you. Include your mailing address, email, home phone, cell phone, etc. We often communicate by email, so this is a good time to rethink your personal email address – if your current address is email@example.com, you may want to create a new address to begin your professional career.
We participate in the on-campus interviews at the Schulich School of Law in Halifax in January of each year. These interviews are a great opportunity for you to meet with many different firms. As the on-campus interviews are often fairly short, it is crucial that you come well prepared and leave a favourable impression. We accept applications from first and second year law students, for both summer and articling positions.
We encourage law students from all law schools to submit resumes. Non-local students should send a copy of your cover letter, resume and transcripts by mail or email.
After preliminary interviews at the law school, we invite the students who most impress us to secondary interviews at our offices. Depending on our needs, we may arrange interviews in our Truro or Halifax offices, or both.
Members of our recruiting team will meet with you for about an hour. They will ask questions that allow them to get to know you better, and give you the opportunity to tell about your professional abilities, personal qualities and interests. You will also be given a tour of our office.
During the interview you should feel free to ask any questions which are important to you. We understand that choosing a law firm can be a difficult and stressful process. We also understand the need to balance work and life, and want to ensure you are as comfortable with us as we are with you.
Interview week can be very hectic and stressful for students and law firms. We realize that you may have many interviews to juggle and we will do our best to accommodate you. Keep your schedule manageable, get some rest, and keep the following tips in mind:
- Be yourself. If you try to alter your personality to fit what you think we’re looking for, that will probably show in the interview. We want you to be relaxed, honest and forthcoming about why you are interviewing with us. You’re not just looking for a job, you’re beginning your legal career. We’re not just looking for a student, we’re looking for future lawyers. It serves us both well to get to know each other to see if our goals and values are a good match. Staying true to yourself goes a long way toward finding a happy, long-term career fit.
- Maintain a professional demeanor. Your clothing, your handshake, your eye contact, and your speech should reflect how you intend to handle yourself in professional situations.
- Be prepared. Review the websites of the firms you are interested in, and if possible the profiles of the individuals who will be interviewing you. Be prepared to ask questions about the firm and our student program. Be confident in your own goals so you will be comfortable answering questions about your own interests, values and expectations.
- Make notes. Following your interviews, jot down some notes to record the names of people you met, your impressions, and anything that stood out about the firm or your feelings about it. Review your notes at the end of the day – you may have new questions, or be able to make decisions about which firms seem like the best fit for you.
- Follow up. Let us know if you liked us and are interested in talking further. We are sometimes struggling to select two or three candidates from among several we would love to hire – it is very helpful for us to know if you want to be considered.
Making a Decision
Our recruiting committee meets regularly during the interviewing process to discuss candidates and to create a list of those candidates we feel would be a good fit for Patterson Law. We will contact all of the students we interview, whether they are offered a position or not. To ease the stress of call day:
- Make sure we have appropriate contact information.
- If you haven’t heard from us, please don’t hesitate to call one of the lawyers with whom you interviewed and ask for a status.
- Check your voicemail and email often.
We know that waiting for a phone call on call day can be stressful. Some students receive several offers but find themselves waiting for their “first choice” firm to call. We understand the importance of this decision, and want you to take the necessary time to choose wisely. If we make you an offer, we ask only that you make your decision as quickly as possible, as other students are facing the same dilemma and may be waiting for our call.