Wednesday, 15 October 2014

What Can Come With Change! Summer vs. Articling

It’s McCague Borlack's 20th anniversary this year and just to know how far they've come, I’m writing this blog in their Ottawa office, one of the cities MB has expanded into since the firm’s inception.

Would I ever get to see the top of my desk again or will it be buried under all the new work coming in?

When I applied to the Ottawa office last year for a summer position, I was both intrigued and excited. Here was a reputable Toronto-based firm that just had expanded into Ottawa, my beloved hometown.

I suspected that given the newness of the Ottawa office, I would have an opportunity to form good relationships with the lawyers I would work with and be provided considerable responsibility as a student. Let’s be honest, during your articling period, you spend a lot of time at work, so relationships with other firm members and having challenging work assigned certainly helps. And my suspicions about how my summer experience was going to be at MB turned out to be true.

However, since last summer, the Ottawa office has more than doubled in size. I have to admit, initially, I couldn't help but selfishly think about what this all meant for me - the only articling student in the Ottawa office. Questions started to fill my head: Would I ever get to see the top of my desk again or will it be buried under all the new work coming in? Would I be recognizable to my family when they saw me next? Would all the great projects I was looking forward to be transferred to the other lawyers? Would the new members of the firm like my work and me?

So far I've completed at least two months of articling and I’m still intrigued and excited, these worries of mine… well most of them… have faded away. I've learned more in these last two months about the law then I would have ever expected... and sometimes liked. The lawyers have been good at assigning me interesting work and, I think, I've also been good with prioritizing tasks.

by Stuart Miles
Additionally, I've been able to tag along to trials and examinations conducted by the lawyers here and I've been able to observe their differing styles. I've also already done my first settlement conference, and appeared before the Provincial Court. Plus, I have my first trial scheduled in November!

It’s not to say that I have no more worries about articling (because that would be a lie!). They've just been replaced by new ones, like making sure I get that pleading or reporting letter out in time or making sure to draft that coverage opinion correctly (all under great mentorship and supervision of course).

While things have changed considerably for me since the last summer, I've learned that change can be good. Oh, and I’m happy to report that my family still does recognize me.

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