Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Click here for an audio recording of this blog post: https://soundcloud.com/user-381880794/forereach-consulting-blog-post-data-wanted-law-student-interview-experiences
Click here to go directly to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NJVR2TN
I recently committed to writing a feature article for the National Association of Law Placement (NALP) bulletin. Deciding on a topic was easy, as I have been working on an inclusive interviewing project for the past couple of months. In my research, I found a lot of accessible information about inclusive interviewing, but not in a legal talent context. I have always had an interest in interviewing techniques, but my interest in this specific topic was sparked after I viewed the results of a survey conducted by a NALP Canadian working group. The survey was distributed to law students who participated in recruitment processes in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary in 2020-2021. Many of the questions related to feedback on the virtual interview process, but one question asked students whether they experienced any "improper questions/comments related to protected grounds of discrimination". 644 students responded to the survey and 50 of those students reported that they had such an experience. At first glance this may not seem like a large number, but I was dismayed to see that 8% of law students encountered this situation in a year when the awareness of social and racial justice issues and the need for diversity and inclusion has never been greater.
According to the survey results, the protected grounds of discrimination that were tread upon in these interviews were: national/ethnic origin, race, religion, colour, sex, age and mental/physical disability. Keep in mind that the people conducting these student interviews were all lawyers. The Barristers' and Solicitors Oath that lawyers in BC swear when they are called to the bar states "...in all things conduct yourselves truly and with integrity; and that you will uphold the rule of law and the rights and freedoms of all persons". The oaths for lawyers in other provinces have similar language. These oaths do not state that there is an exemption for when you are interviewing future generations of lawyers.
This statistic fueled me to drill down and find out more about law students' interview experiences. I designed a short survey to assess other aspects of the interviews that candidates have experienced. My goal is to incorporate the survey results into the article and shine a light on the perceived impact of these experiences, with the hope that legal employers will re-evaluate their interviewing approaches and make any necessary changes to ensure that law students have only positive, inclusive interview experiences moving forward.
If you participated in a student recruitment process in Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary in the last 5 years (2016+), please click the link below to complete this brief, anonymous survey, or please forward the link to anyone you know who may be eligible. The survey closes on Friday, July 23, 2021. Thank you in advance for your participation!
ForeReach Consulting Student Interview Experience Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NJVR2TN