Western Law launches summer program to prepare law students for employment

Students will be eligible for at least ten weeks of 'meaningful legal employment'

Western Law launches summer program to prepare law students for employment

Western Law has launched a program that will connect all incoming law students with work placements after their first year of studies, providing them with a head start in legal employment and exposure to different types of legal work.

The Summer After 1L Employment Program (SA1L) program will start in Western Law's 2023-2024 academic year. The law school says interested students will be eligible for at least ten weeks of “meaningful legal employment” beginning in the summer of 2024 through this program. Placements will include faculty research assistants, positions at Western Law's legal clinics, and through the Western Law Internship Program (WLIP), and with other local agencies, non-profits, and offices on campus. Students may also be eligible for self-proposed internships.

"Connecting students to law-related work early in their studies will deepen their academic experience through research and experiential learning, and will also benefit the work of our faculty, clinics, and other important community agencies," Western Law dean Erika Chamberlain said.

While opportunities for law firm employment for 1L students have increased recently, positions are still relatively rare and highly competitive. Western Law says its career and professional development office will continue to support 1L students seeking law firm employment. Adding SA1L will mean that all 1L students have access to law-related work experience before entering the second year.

The application process will be administered through a centralized portal that enables students to apply for multiple jobs at once and rank their preferences. Students will be able to make informed employment decisions, with the ability to access all options at the same time.

"We hope to remove the uncertainty many new law students may feel towards gaining employment," Chamberlain said.

Western says the SA1L program builds on its career support activities for students, including one-on-one counselling for career planning and the recruitment process, an annual career conference, and a mentor program.

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