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2021 Toronto Summer Student Recruitment Procedures

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Law Society of Ontario (“Law Society”) understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected legal employers and law students in a myriad of ways. Following consultation with stakeholders including employers, students and law schools, the Law Society has updated these Procedures in order to facilitate an equitable and timely process for all participants. Please review these timelines to ensure that you are up to date with the most recent timelines. If you have any questions about the Procedures, please contact the Law Society at articling@lso.ca.

Special Considerations for 2021 Recruitment

  1. Staggered application process for second year students: Following extensive consultation with stakeholders, the Law Society will be implementing a staggered application process for the recruitment of second year students in 2021. The Law Society has determined that this application process is necessary in order to ensure that employers have adequate time to receive transcripts from law schools, review and assess completed applications, and for law schools to schedule on-campus interviews for students. As a result, applications from second year students will be collected by employers on two separate dates that are set out in these Procedures. This process takes into account the abridged recruitment timelines for 2021.
    The application groups that are set out in these Procedures (see Group A and B in the definition section below) are separated based on the anticipated release of fall semester grades by law schools. This grouping also takes into account the schools that do not participate in on-campus interviews and the participation of NCA candidates in the recruitment process. The staggered process does not prioritize one group over another, and the date of a student’s application shall not be a factor in the recruitment process so long the student’s application is received by the applicable deadline.
  2. Remote on-campus interviews: The Law Society does not regulate the manner in which law schools and employers conduct on-campus interviews. However, the Procedures that have been established contemplate that all on-campus interviews will be conducted remotely for 2021 student recruitment. The conduct of remote interviewing ensures equitable participation for all applicants in the recruitment process. It also takes into account the fact that both students and employers may still be experiencing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Concurrent recruitment processes for first and second year students: In accordance with the recommendations made to the Law Society, the recruitment processes for both first and second year summer students will take place concurrently for summer 2021 positions. The concurrent recruitment processes does not impact the overall number of positions that are available to first and second year students. The concurrent recruitment process is being implemented in order to ensure that the recruitment of both first and second year summer students is conducted efficiently for both students and employers.

It is the responsibility of all participants in the recruitment of summer students in Toronto to ensure that the integrity of the process is maintained through compliance with these Procedures. Breach or circumvention of these Procedures should be reported in writing to the Law Society to the attention of the Director, Licensing and Accreditation, by email to articling@lso.ca.

These Procedures are binding on all students and lawyers who participate in the recruitment of students for summer 2021 positions in Toronto. These Procedures are to be followed in spirit as well as in letter.

  • Preamble

    The purposes of these Procedures are to:

    1. provide an orderly recruitment process that promotes fair dealings between students and firms and among firms, and
    2. reduce interference with students’ studies and pressures on students.
     

    Participants are reminded that compliance with these Procedures is required under rule 6.2-1 of the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Deliberate breach or circumvention of these Procedures by a lawyer may result in the commencement of proceedings for Professional Misconduct against the lawyer who participates in or authorizes the circumvention. Deliberate breach or circumvention of these Procedures by a student may result in a hearing by the Hearing Division of the Law Society Tribunal to determine if the student meets the good character requirement for call to the bar and admission as a licensee of the Law Society. 

    Please note that the dates mentioned in these Procedures are specific to each licensing cycle, and as such, are updated on a yearly basis. These Procedures set out the earliest date on which certain recruitment activity can take place in any given year and are only applicable to that specific licensing cycle. Firms may choose to hire after the earliest prescribed dates set out in the recruitment procedures.

    Comments with respect to these Procedures may be submitted for consideration by the Law Society at the end of the recruitment cycle.Comments may be submitted in writing to the attention of Counsel, Licensing and Accreditation, by email to articling@lso.ca.

  • A. Definitions

    The following definitions are provided for clarity:

    “2022-2023 Licensing Cycle” means the period from May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023.

    “2023-2024 Licensing Cycle” means the period from May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024.

    “early offer” means an offer of a summer 2021 position made by a firm to a student who is or has previously been employed and/or hired as a first year summer student with that firm.

    “firm(s)” means an employer of students for summer 2021 positions and includes a law firm, sole practitioner, company or non-profit organization legal department, government department or ministry, and legal clinic.

    “first year student” means a law student who reasonably expects to be eligible to commence articling in the 2023-2024 Licensing Cycle or later.

    “Group A” means applicants who are applying for second year summer 2021 positions from the following law schools:

    • Dalhousie University
    • Lakehead University
    • McGill University
    • Queen’s University
    • Thompson Rivers University
    • University of Alberta
    • University of Calgary
    • University of British Columbia
    • University of Victoria
    • University of Windsor
    • Western University

    “Group B” means applicants who are applying for second year summer 2021 positions not outlined in Group A, including the following law schools and individuals:
    • Osgoode Hall Law School
    • University of Ottawa
    • University of Toronto Faculty of Law
    • Law Students registered at schools not listed above or not in Group A
    • National Committee of Accreditation (NCA) candidates
     

    “March 2 Interview Week” means the interview week for first and second year student positions that starts at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

    “on-campus interview” means an interview conducted in person on the premises of a law school or at another location to be determined by a law school, or remotely by telephone, videoconference, or other remote online communication platform, that takes place after Friday, January 29, 2021, and before Tuesday February 22, 2021. Students apply directly to the firms in which they are interested. These interviews cannot last longer than 20 minutes each and students may interview only once with any firm.
    Commentary in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic: These procedures contemplate that for the summer 2021 recruitment period, all on-campus interviews will be conducted remotely.

    “recruitment activity” means open houses, firm tours, and similar activities held for students, as well as any activity originated by a firm and directed toward specific individuals or targeted groups for the purpose of encouraging employment with that firm, including but not limited to the conducting of interviews and the making of offers of employment.
    Commentary: Activities that are not considered recruitment activities include but are not limited to participation in law school orientation, job fair and mooting events; dinners held for prize-winners; and seminars and other educational opportunities provided to students, participation in which is open to a recognized law school student group (or groups).


    “second year student” means a law student who reasonably expects to be eligible to commence articling in the 2022-2023 Licensing Cycle.

    “Toronto” means the municipal area incorporated as the City of Toronto by the City of Toronto Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 11, Sched. A.

    All times listed in these Procedures refer to the time in Toronto.
  • B. General Procedures

    Part B of these Procedures applies to both Parts C and D.

    1. Any firm, either within or outside of Toronto, seeking to recruit a student who will spend a significant portion of summer 2021 with the Toronto office of the firm shall be governed by these Procedures with respect to the recruitment of that student.

    2. Firms must not participate in the recruitment of students unless they are confident that they will be able to offer a position to a qualified student.

    3. A firm that communicates its intention to interview a student must subsequently do so, unless the student has advised the firm that the student does not want to participate in the interview. Students must notify a firm of their intention to accept or decline an interview within 24 hours of being offered an interview.

    4. Interviews may be conducted in person on the premises of the interviewing firm or at another location, or remotely by telephone, videoconference, or other remote online communication platform. The location of interviews and the method(s) by which interviews are conducted are within the discretion of the interviewing firm (except with respect to on-campus interviews). Interviews conducted remotely are subject to the same requirements and guidelines that apply to interviews conducted in person.

      Commentary: In scheduling their interviews, students are to allow for interview lengths of at least 90 minutes. Students who are interviewing in person should also allow for travel times between premises when scheduling their interviews.

      Commentary in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic: For such period as the COVID-19 pandemic remains a concern, the Law Society strongly encourages all employers to conduct interviews in a manner consistent with guidance from the relevant health authorities. The Law Society notes that remote interviews may assist in providing equitable access to all students and may be of particular assistance to students who may be facing a variety of challenges as result of COVID-19 due to their individual circumstances, including but not limited to health considerations, financial issues, and travel limitations. Employers are reminded that the provisions of the Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19 apply to the hiring process.

    5. Firms shall not make offers of employment on terms or in circumstances that do not give students a proper opportunity to consider the offer before deciding to accept it. Firms shall also not make offers that are conditional upon the position still being available when the acceptance is received, or contingent on another candidate declining an offer.

      Commentary: When making offers and early offers, firms may communicate any relevant information about the terms of employment, including the position’s anticipated start date, compensation, and benefits.

    6. When making an offer to a student, firms must communicate the period during which the offer shall be allowed to remain open. A firm and student may mutually agree to extend this period.  

    7. Throughout the recruitment process, firms shall not put undue pressure on students to accept an offer of employment or to reveal their intention to do so.

      Commentary: Students may voluntarily communicate their intention to accept a prospective offer from a firm if such an offer were made. However, attempts by firms to solicit these intentions, however veiled or indirect such communications by firms might be, are considered inappropriate.

    8. Students shall deal with offers received as expeditiously as possible regardless of the stipulated time that the offer shall be allowed to remain open.

      Commentary: Failure to communicate a rejection of an offer as soon as a decision to reject is made prejudices not only the offering firm but also fellow students to whom an offer may next be made.

    9. Students who accept an offer shall immediately notify firms from whom they have an outstanding offer or with whom they have scheduled interviews. Students who have already accepted an offer shall not thereafter participate in interviews with other firms or accept offers subsequently received.

    10. Firms shall not knowingly make an offer to a student who has already accepted a position at another firm.
  • C. Second Year Students

    Part C of these Procedures applies to the recruitment of second year students.

    1. Firms shall not set application deadlines for Group A earlier than Monday, January 18, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.

    2. Firms shall not set application deadlines for Group B earlier than Monday, January 25, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.

    3. Applications for interviews for Group A received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 18, 2021, shall be treated without regard for the date of receipt.

    4. Applications for interviews for Group B received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 25, 2021, shall be treated without regard for the date of receipt. 

      Commentary: In considering whether or not an interview will be granted and the time and date of such interview, the date of receipt of an application shall not be a factor if the application is received by 5:00 p.m. on the applicable date for Group A and Group B applicants.

    5. Firms may conduct on-campus interviews of candidates for summer 2021 positions. The organization of on-campus interviews, including the notification of students, the location of on-campus interviews, and the method(s) by which on-campus interviews are conducted, is within the discretion of each individual law school. An in-person on-campus interview may not be conducted at any individual firm’s office, unless the law school agrees to do so in order to accommodate any candidates who would be otherwise unable to participate fully as a result of a factor or condition listed as a ground in the Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19. Interviews conducted remotely are subject to the same requirements that apply to interviews conducted in person. 

    6. There shall be no recruitment activities for second year students attending Ontario law schools between 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 18, 2021, and 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, except for the scheduling of on-campus interviews and any other recruitment activities to be conducted during the March 2 Interview Week.

    7. The time and date of interviews and other recruitment activities to be scheduled for the March 2 Interview Week shall not be communicated in any way until 8:00 a.m. on Monday, February 22, 2021.

      Commentary: A firm may communicate, at any time after 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 18, 2021 for Group A applicants, and any time after 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 25, 2021 for Group B applicants: (a) that the firm will or will not be interviewing a student during the March 2 Interview Week, (b) that the interviewing will be conducted in accordance with these Procedures, and (c) that it will or will not be inviting that student to a meal, reception or similar event during the March 2 Interview Week. Firms may advise students in advance of dates and times of events to which all interviewees will be invited. However, firms shall not suggest the specific date or time of an expected interview prior to 8:00 a.m. on Monday, February 22, 2021, nor may students participate in the making of such appointments before that time.

    8. With the exception of on-campus interviews, no interviews for summer 2021 positions in Toronto shall be conducted by firms prior to the March 2 Interview Week. This rule applies both to firms conducting on-campus interviews and to those not conducting on-campus interviews.

      Commentary: Firms wishing to interview students from out of province law schools may attend at an out of province law school on a date or dates and in a manner specified by the school for that school’s summer recruitment process.

      Commentary: The Law Society will only permit students who are unable to attend March 2 Interview Week to attend interviews prior to the March 2 Interview Week in exceptional circumstances, and only with prior approval being first obtained from the Law Society. Requests for Law Society approval to attend an interview prior to March 2, 2021, must be made in writing to the Law Society, by email to articling@lso.ca, to the attention of Counsel, Licensing and Accreditation. An exemption granted by the Law Society will apply only to the date(s) that have been approved by the Law Society. All firms and students remain bound by these Procedures as to the date on which offers of employment may be made.

    9. During the March 2 Interview Week, interviews shall only be conducted between 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, and 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2021, firms are prohibited from contacting students and students are prohibited from contacting firms. Recruitment activities are not restricted at other times during the March 2 Interview Week.

    10. Unless otherwise set out in this Part, the communication of offers of employment shall not be made before 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2021. All offers made at or after 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2021, shall be allowed to remain open until at least 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 5, 2021. Any offers made at or after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 5, 2021, shall be allowed to remain open for a reasonable period of time.

    11. The following rules apply to early offers:
    1. Firms may make an early offer of a summer 2021 position, in accordance with these Procedures, to any student who is or has previously been employed and/or hired as a first year summer student with that firm, at any time prior to the earliest time after which communications of offers of employment may otherwise be made by that firm.
    1. A student who receives an early offer must respond within two business days by notifying the firm that the student either accepts, rejects, or is holding the offer.
    1. Accepting an early offer of employment constitutes a binding agreement between the student and the firm.
    1. Rejecting an early offer immediately releases the firm from any obligations to the student with respect to the recruitment process for summer 2021 positions in Toronto and allows the firm to consider other applicants for the position.
    1. Holding an early offer means that the offer remains open and binding until the earlier of either:
      i. the student notifying the firm of acceptance or rejection; or
      ii. 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 5, 2021 (the earliest time until which offers of employment must be allowed to remain open).
    1. Firms shall not put undue pressure on students to communicate an acceptance or rejection of an early offer.

      Commentary: If a firm makes an early offer to a student that the student does not accept until after the firm has already scheduled interviews with other students, and that position is no longer available as a result of such acceptance, then the firm must contact those other students to cancel those interviews as expeditiously as possible.

       

  • D. First Year Students

    Part D of these Procedures applies to the recruitment of first year students.

    1. Firms shall not set application deadlines earlier than Friday, February 5, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.

    2. Student applications for interviews received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5, 2021, shall be treated without regard for the date of receipt.

      Commentary: In considering whether or not an interview will be granted and the time and date of such interview, the date of receipt of an application shall not be a factor if the application is received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5, 2021.

    3. There shall be no recruitment activities for first year students between 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5, 2021, and 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, except for the scheduling of interviews and any other recruitment activities to be conducted during the March 2 Interview Week. 

    4. The time and date of interviews and other recruitment activities to be scheduled for the March 2 Interview Week shall not be communicated in any way until 8:00 a.m. on Monday, February 22, 2021.

      Commentary: A firm may communicate, at any time after Friday, February 5, 2021, (a) that it will or will not be interviewing a student during the March 2 Interview Week, (b) that the interviewing will be conducted in accordance with these Procedures, and (c) that it will or will not be inviting that student to a meal, reception or similar event during the March 2 Interview Week. Firms may advise students in advance of dates and times of events to which all interviewees will be invited. However, firms shall not suggest the specific date or time of an expected interview prior to 8:00 a.m. on Monday, February 22, 2021, nor may students participate in the making of such appointments before that time. 

    5. Interviews shall not be conducted prior to 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

      Commentary: Firms wishing to interview students from out-of-province law schools may attend at an out-of-province law school on a date or dates specified by the school for that school’s summer recruitment process.

      Commentary: The Law Society will only permit students who are unable to attend March 2 Interview Week to attend interviews prior to the March 2 Interview Week in exceptional circumstances, and only with prior approval being first obtained from the Law Society. Requests for Law Society approval to attend an interview prior to March 2, 2021, must be made in writing to the Law Society, by email to articling@lso.ca, to the attention of Counsel, Licensing and Accreditation. An exemption granted by the Law Society will apply only to the date(s) that have been approved by the Law Society. All firms and students remain bound by these Procedures as to the date on which offers of employment may be made.

    6. During the March 2 Interview Week, interviews shall only be conducted between 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, and 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2021, firms are prohibited from contacting students and students are prohibited from contacting firms. Recruitment activities are not restricted at other times during the March 2 Interview Week. 

    7. No communication of offers of employment shall be made prior to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2021. All offers made at or after 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2021, shall be allowed to remain open until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 5, 2021. Offers made on or after Friday, March 5, 2021, shall be allowed to remain open for a reasonable period of time.
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