September is hectic. One of the hallmarks of this chaotic month is the flurry of extracurricular clubs and activities soliciting students to join. But with so many options, which ones deserve your membership?
First, let’s back up and examine why a student should join law-school clubs at all. Time at law school is precious: when you’re not poring over cases, you’ll probably want to be sleeping. But as Marissa Daniels, a second-year associate at Torys LLP explains, clubs offer something classes don’t: the opportunity to build relationships with other students, and think about the law in a different way.
When Daniels was a student at Osgoode Hall Law School, she was involved with the Law Journal, the Osgoode Women’s Network, the Jewish Law Students Association and the peer-counselling program. “I learned to collaborate with people in a way that I couldn’t through group class projects,” she says. “It’s more akin to what I do now in the professional world.”
So yes, clubs are worth the time. But which ones should you join? You may already have an idea, based on your own interests. So to narrow it down, some students try to game the recruitment process and sign up for the clubs they think will stand out to firms on their resumé. This is probably a waste of time. “The most important thing is finding something you’re passionate about,” says Daniels. “That way, your passion will come out in your interviews.” And recruiters are always on the lookout for enthusiasm and curiosity.
Which means you don’t have to join the Law Journal, and you don’t have to be a part of student government. “There isn’t one club or team that stands out,” says Graham Hood, a fourth-year associate at Smart & Biggar. “If students can demonstrate a genuine interest in a particular field, that will stand out.”
In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a club. Many schools offer co-op placements that provide valuable outside-the-classroom experience. For his part, Hood interned at the Trademarks Opposition Board as part of a course he took at the University of Ottawa. This ultimately helped him land a job at Smart & Biggar, where he works as a trademark lawyer.
So when it comes to choosing extracurricular activities, one thing matters above all: pick something you enjoy.