Your Application for Summer Student Positions 

On Campus Interviews (OCI) for NCA Students

Updated August 28, 2019

We are excited to announce that for the first time (ever) NCA candidates and ITLs can participate in 2L summer student ‘on-campus’ interviews (OCIs). Check us out in Law Times here.

Please note that this initiative is only open for the Toronto 2L summer positions (in the Ontario Region) at this time. This means that only the Toronto Offices of the Firms listed below will be available to interview candidates at the Ontario Bar Association on October 15, 2019, and this is not a National OCI event.

NCA Network’s Inaugural OCI Day will now include 13 participating Firms (Toronto Offices only):

  • McCarthy Tétrault LLP
  • Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
  • Norton Rose Fulbright Canada
  • Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
  • Bennett Jones LLP
  • McMillan LLP
  • Goodmans LLP
  • Torys LLP
  • Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
  • Cassels Brock & Blackwell
  • Stikeman Elliot
  • Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP (Toronto Office)
  • Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein

We look forward to expanding the list of participants in the years to come.

As this is a brand new initiative, you may have some questions:


What is an OCI?

An OCI is an on-campus interview. It is the very first step in the recruitment process for 2L summer positions. An OCI is a brief interview with a firm, often multiple firms in one day, that lasts no more than 17 minutes.

If the candidate is successful at their OCI interview, they will be invited to participate in the second step of the recruitment process - Interview Week, which happens at the firms themselves on November 4th, 5th and 6th, 2019.

NCA Network’s OCI Day Vision:

The idea is to recreate an ‘on campus’ first-round interview so that firms can meet a number of NCA candidates for 17-minute intervals (in the same way they do with students from Ontario law schools). The hope is that firms who may be reluctant to allocate a coveted in-firm spot (during Interview Week) to an NCA candidate will be willing to meet with a number of NCA candidates in an OCI setting. We acknowledge that part of the reluctance is a lack of understanding of the international qualifications and this 17-minute OCI can provide NCA candidates with the opportunity to address any such questions.

Important 2020 Summer 2L Recruitment Dates:

  1. Application Deadline – Monday, August 19th, 2019 at 5:00 pm EST
    • If your application is successful you will be invited by the firm(s) to attend an OCI at NCA Network’s OCI Day at the Ontario Bar Association on October 15th, 2019.
    • The Ontario Bar Association is located in Toronto, ON. The address is 20 Toronto St, Toronto, ON M5C 2B8
  2. NCA Network’s OCI Day – October 15, 2019 at the Ontario Bar Association
  3. Interview Call Day – Friday, October 25th, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. EST
    • If your candidacy was successful you will receive a call on October 25th from the firm(s) to invite you to attend the next step in the process – Interview Week
  4. Interview Week – November 4th, 5th and 6th, 2019
    • Interview Week will take place at the firm(s) and you will be invited to attend by the firm(s)
  5. Offer Day – Wednesday, November 6th at 5:00 p.m. EST
    • If your candidacy is successful at Interview Week – you will receive a call from the firm(s) with an offer

What is vi-law portal?

VILAWPORTAL is “the” portal ie. Where you send your applications. Back in the day, you sent your cover letter and resume by mail (or even e-mail). Nowadays you send it very easily by uploading your pdf cover letter and resume to vi-law portal.

How does vi-law portal work?

Quite easily! You create your document by word, save as pdf, and upload to the portal. If you are applying to numerous firms, make sure you change your cover letter appropriately to the address and name of recruiter particular to the firm. You may also wish to target each firm based on their specialty/needs.

I’m an NCA Candidate – anything I should add about my cover letter/resume? 



  • We recommend all candidates to name your pdf in the convention of “NCA Candidate: YOUR NAME: FIRM NAME.”
  • For example, for resume: “NCA Candidate: John Doe Resume. McCarthy Tetrault, Resume” (If space permits)
  • For example, for cover letter: NCA Candidate: John Doe Cover Letter. McCarthy Tetrault, Resume (If space permits)
  • In your cover letter please add the following sentence in the conclusion paragraph:


“I am willing to participate in NCA Network's OCI Day and I am available to be interviewed on October 15, 2019 at the Ontario Bar Association.”


When would my interview be if I am chosen?

Good luck with your applications! If you are chosen to be interviewed, your interviews will take place on October 15, 2019 at the Ontario Bar Association. The Ontario Bar Association is located downtown Toronto, 20 Toronto St, Toronto, ON M5C 2B8.

If you are invited for an interview, NCA Network will confirm your interview time – give yourself ample time (arrive early) from the time you are given!

We will provide further information about the interview day here on our website closer to October 15, 2019.


Am I eligible?

This recruiting process is regulated by the Law Society of Ontario. For full information about the rules please check out the LSO’s website: LSO’s website.

You must be able to article in the 2021-2022 Licensing Cycle. This means you must have completed your NCA Qualifications (and be in receipt of your Certificate of Qualification) by early 2021. For further clarity, articling conventionally takes place August 2021, so it is important you have your Certificate well before this month.


When will the position start and end?

This is for those who want to “summer” at firms in 2020!

This position is usually for May – August 2020, some firms may veer a bit from the norm so make sure you look at each firm’s site and job posting. Moral of the story is to be available the summer of 2020.


What about articling?

Most firms hire directly from their summer student class the following year! While there is no guarantees in life, this means if you get a summer student position in 2020, you are now in the hiring pipeline for an articling position at that firm in 2021. Articling is ten months and would begin in August 2021!


What if I want to article sooner than 2021?

 If you are almost done your NCA exams or already got your Certificate of Qualification, you may not want to wait two years to begin articling. That is a personal choice! Remember, articling positions come up all the time. Just because you don’t have one now, doesn’t mean all of your networking and hard work won’t pay off.

If you are applying for summer student positions, you are telling firms that you are available the summer of 2020 to work as a summer student at that firm and that, given the opportunity, you would be available to article August 2021. If you aren’t willing to make this commitment – no sweat! You don’t have to apply to the formal scheme. There are many other boutique firms who have more flexible dates who hire on an as needs basis.


When is the deadline to apply?

The deadline to apply on the vi-law portal is August 19, 2019 at 5pm.

I still have more questions!

 We know this is a lot. After all, this is the first (ever) time we have had on campus interviews available for international students. Send us an email at