The Application Process for Articling Students
What does the Legal Services Branch (LSB) look for in a student?
We look for excellence and commitment to personal and occupational growth over time. Throughout the interview process, give thought to how you have demonstrated excellence in all areas of your life and how that has prepared you for your articles with LSB. We are less interested in legal office experience than in how you have gone above and beyond the call of duty in whatever path has brought you to this point. This isn’t to say we aren’t interested in how you have demonstrated your legal and analytical skills in your career (both academic and otherwise) but we are also looking to see how you have demonstrated maturity, clear thinking and teamwork in various aspects of your life.
If you have any questions about what you can do to prepare for an interview or for a career with LSB, we encourage you to contact Hailey Nelson, Articled Student Manger or any of our current articled students to discuss the interview process and the articling experience within LSB.
Does the hiring committee review every application?
Due to the large number of applications received each year, the hiring committee is unfortunately unable to review each application that is submitted. To determine which applications are reviewed a grade cut-off is set each year. The grade cut-off is set differently in each year to reduce the number of applications reviewed to approximately 60-80. While the grade cut-off is not set, it usually falls in the range of B to a B+.
What does this mean for you? It shouldn’t mean anything. You should not self-select out of the interview process if you are interested in working with LSB. The fact that you have arrived at the point of applying for articles demonstrates that you have achieved success to this point and you should feel confident in the skills and abilities you can bring to this position.
The Hiring Process Generally
All hiring decisions within the B.C. public service are subject to review by the Merit Commissioner. This means each round of interviews is scored. This can result in a process that is more formal that other interviews that you may have had but it also means everyone comes into the process on an equal footing. While only the top candidates from each interview stage move forward, there are no scores that are carried over from one stage to the next and each candidate has an equal chance of being successful at each stage of the interview.
If you are interested in how to differentiate yourself as a candidate, take a look at the list of characteristics that we look for in a student and consider how you can demonstrate that you have these characteristics through your career and volunteer opportunities to this point.
The entire process up until the in-person interview is done on a name-blind basis allowing your skills and achievements to speak for themselves.
The First Impression
Your cover letter and resume are your chance to make a great first impression. You should devote a lot of time to getting them just the way you want them.
- Cover letter - Your cover letter is a great way for you to show us who you are. Use this space to demonstrate that you have the skills and experiences to thrive in your articles with LSB. Show us why you are passionate about the law and about working with our team. You should also edit your cover letter - a lot. Write it early and set it aside for a few days and then edit it again. Having a personalized, distinct and expressive cover letter is a great way to show your keen interest in this position.
- Resume - It can be difficult to choose what to include in your resume. While legal experience is relevant, don’t discount the other experiences that you have in your career to this point. You can easily demonstrate how being a lifeguard has allowed you to practice working as a team member or how being a server has taught you how to effectively manage your time or develop your client management and interpersonal skills. So long as you have learned relevant, applicable skills in your previous positions they are worthy of inclusion.
Showing off your skills: The first round of interviews
The first round of interviews with LSB is a timed written interview. Applicants are required to answer a series of questions that allow them to demonstrate their knowledge of legal concepts as well as their clear, concise writing style.
Showing off who you are: The final interview
This final, oral, interview is an in-person (or Skype, if you are far away) interview. It is typically one hour long and will involve answering some legal and behavioural questions. Successful candidates at this stage are able to demonstrate an understanding of the unique role of the Attorney General within the British Columbia legal community, as well as strong communication skills and excellent judgment. Successful students will be able to articulate how their skills and abilities uniquely qualify them as a candidate for a position within LSB.
At this stage of the interview process, we will ask you for three references, which will allow us to extend offers to the successful candidates.
Call-backs and feedback
We endeavor to call back each candidate who we have interviewed in the final round of interviews, regardless of if they were a successful candidate or not. Interviewing is a skill and only by practising can you improve. We encourage all candidates to seek feedback on their interviews, which we are happy to provide.