Thursday, 7 February 2013

Introduction: Welcome to Articling

It is truly a pleasure to provide the inaugural articling student post for the McCague Borlack (MB) student blog.  Having “summered” here and now amidst articling I feel confident that I can not only accurately represent the student experience but perhaps more importantly convey what it’s like to be part of the MB family.  My fellow articling students and I are excited at the chance of sharing real-time updates and information as to the happenings at our litigation firm.  But as the first of many posts to come, I feel it incumbent upon myself to share what I believe to be the deeper truth about MB.  More specifically, my personal opinion is that the articling experience at MB is best defined by challenge, growth and family. 

The moment you walk in the door as an articling student is a moment you accept the many challenges that await you.  We all expected that the practice of law would require a tremendous amount of dedication, hard work and perseverance and MB is no exception.  As articling students, we are entrusted with tremendous responsibility and the firm relies on our ability to rise to the challenge.  Any given week could involve attending and advocating at a settlement conference, arguing a motion (or two) and drafting a mediation memorandum, wait…that was last week.  Variety is the spice of life and thankfully each and every day is absolutely unique.  One day you’re a research scholar of subrogation law, the next you’re arguing a contentious motion in Small Claims Court (true story).  One day you’re formulating written argument for factum materials and the very next day you’re in Superior Court before a master. You get the point.  Before my time at MB, I never truly grasped the meaning of the word “carriage”.  But as the firm entrusts all of its articling students with “carriage” of their own files (this is huge), the word now is all too meaningful.  Carriage means analyzing a file, drafting a defence, assessing damages and a whole lot more.  Having your own files is the epitome of challenge, thrill and excitement and is the nexus in which all your hard work comes together.  I’m sure I speak for all articling students when I say “challenge accepted!”

It’s always been a closely held belief of mine that subsequent to any challenge comes personal growth and development.  Working at MB demands much from you and as a result, you demand a lot from yourself (this is a good thing).  Working on a wide variety of tasks has increased my capacity to multi-task, organize my time, meet deadlines and work efficiently.  Not only are complex undertakings becoming more and more routine, but I also find that my ability to manage novel tasks has vastly improved.  I’ve learned that knowing the answer isn’t nearly as important as one’s ability to be resourceful and find the answer.  As such, I am certain that with each passing day not only do we gain knowledge and experience but perhaps most importantly we increase our capacity as lawyers. 

What may surprise many is that I could not fully convey my articling experience without speaking about the sense of family and the strong bonds that are created when working at MB.  The firm’s positive culture has helped to facilitate and foster lifelong friendships, not only between the 7 articling students but between the students and the entire firm.  This supportive culture is essential to an articling student’s success.  “Open Door Policy” is by no means an exaggeration and many a time I find myself seeking the assistance of associates and partners; just today I sought the support of roughly 8 different associates for a variety of reasons and was welcomed by each and every one of them.  Though the work we receive is very fulfilling, it is the people in the firm that make the experience dynamic, exciting and dare I say fun.  Articling at MB is more than an opportunity to learn but rather an invitation into a welcoming and supportive family. 

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