A Farewell to Online Recruitment

  • November 07, 2022
  • Erin Eccleston, Marek Coutu and Emily Barlas

Online Recruitment

In the pre-pandemic world, hiring summer students and articling students involved several networking events, such as the CBA Law Firm Showcase, the College of Law Career Fair and receptions hosted by law firms themselves.  

The interpersonal interactions at these networking events (while uncomfortable at times), were important. The ever-elusive determination of a student’s “fit” with a law firm was often largely determined at these events, from both the student’s and recruiter’s perspective. These events often played a large part in determining where a student would apply, and whether that student would ultimately be granted an interview.

With the onset of the global pandemic, in-person student recruitment events were put on hold. Students and law firms alike were required to shift and adapt. The process went virtual.

The once personal recruitment process, where students worried about the firmness of their handshake, was replaced with a new set of issues to navigate: how is the lighting in my basement? Do I have anything embarrassing in the background? Will the law firms care about my toddler making periodic appearances to say hello?

We all made the best of it. The CBA and the College of Law, for example, adopted the PheedLoop platform for their respective career events, which facilitated networking via video conferencing between students and recruiters. There were upsides and downsides to these types of virtual events.

Those students that embraced the forum were able to connect with more lawyers in a shorter span of time than was typically possible at conventional in-person events. Likewise, law firms had the opportunity to connect with a wider range of students.

On the flip-side, something personal was lost in the sea of faces on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Recruiters would later see this disconnect reflected in student interviews, which were also conducted via video conference. Maybe it was the fact that new students did not have the benefit of the guidance that comes from informal discussions with the upper-year students around the College, maybe students were not as inclined to take virtual events seriously – or maybe recruiters were just fatigued from the changing nature of their legal practice (which also found many of on video conferences all day,). We suspect the latter is true.

Despite these challenges, students from the U of S College of Law continue to impress. The students our firm has been fortunate enough to recruit in the past two years have proved to be among the most eager, hard-working and well-rounded law students we have seen. We have little doubt the students that commenced and completed their studies during the pandemic will make fine additions to the bar. 

We look forward to a return to the traditional networking events that have been cornerstones in the recruitment of students from the College of Law for years, starting with the CBA Law Firm Showcase on October 20, 2022. These events provide students with their first look into the Saskatchewan legal community, and we could not be more excited for that first look to be in-person, instead of through a screen.

Erin Eccleston (she/her) is a Parter at MLT Aikins LLP and maintains a commercial law practice focused on financing leasing and purchase/sale of commercial real estate.

Marek Coutu (he/him) is an Associate at MLT Aikins LLP and is a member of the litigation team with a focus on commercial litigation, construction disputes and insolvency and restructuring.

Emily Barlas (she/her) is an Associate at MLT Akins LLP and maintains a general corporate commercial practice.