Monday 25 August 2014

In the Blink of an Eye: First Day vs. Last Day

With the blink of an eye, the summer term has now come to a close. As the articling students return and we wrap up our assignments, we all have mixed feelings about heading back to our final year. During our short time here, we probably learned more about the practice of law than we have in law school so far. That is not to say that law school was futile, but rather, this summer, at McCague Borlack, we saw it come to life.

... we all have mixed feelings about heading back to our final year.

Those four criteria of negligence? Yes they are important, but there is so much more to it. What does it really mean for the client when you cannot prove damages? What does it mean when causation cannot be shown? Well it might mean that you recommend a client abandon their subrogation claim. When there are more than one defendants on a file, the smallest fact, like what exact spot the plaintiff actually fell, may mean that your client should not be implicated in the action.

"Digital Eye" by renjith krishnan
When I look back at all that I have learned this summer, I realize how much more I have ahead of me. Be it understanding the legal practice, the nuances of client management, the practical aspects of file carriage, or even construction terminology, or medical injuries, the learning will never stop in this practice. I will forever be a student and continue to learn from others.

Needless to say, our summer here has not just been about legal research and drafting, we all have had our fair share of field trips, client interactions and carriage of files. We have also discovered what it was like to work in downtown Toronto and the realities of work life. Here is what everyone had to say:

Alex R.
Day One: Could not imagine docketing every minute, of every hour, of every day.
Today: The timer and I are one.

Aryeh S.
Day One: I wore a tie
Today: No flipping chance.

Navid G.
Day One: Got lost in the PATH, got lost in the office, and took 10 hours to do his first motion record
Today: Still gets lost in the PATH, but finds his way around the office, and can now do a motion record with his eyes closed

Christine L.
Day One: Standard food court lunch
Today: Takeout from every nice sit-down in sight

Bogdan M. 
Day One: Thought Subrogation was a car part
Today: Settled 2 Subrogation files and now calls it “subro”

Michael G. 
Day One: Arrived with a conservative look
Today: Wears polka dot socks

Carol-Anne W.
Day One: no idea that damages brief existed
Today: has drafted countless damages briefs

Leona K.
Day One: Did not know what a motion record looked like; what wood shims were for; or what was open late in the PATH. Also thought I would not have time for anything else.
Today: Have a few motion records under my belt, can give you a primer on wood shims, and some dinner options in the PATH. Also managed to keep up with my yoga and gym routines and explore Toronto’s dining scene.
Leona K.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Looking Back at a Memorable Summer

This summer, which felt very long at times, but also as though it had slipped away extremely quickly, has sadly come to an end. Despite the ongoing stresses and struggles, this was one of the most rewarding and enjoyable summers I have ever had. I learned more than I would have imagined I could in 12 weeks and I am happy I had the opportunity to work at such an amazing firm. As a student on his way out for the summer, I just want to reflect on some highlights of my overall experience.

I learned more than I would have imagined I could in 12 weeks,,,

The People

Among the many good things MB has to offer, the people are at the top of my list in terms of aspects of the firm that have stuck out. MB has a very diverse and unique group of people who somehow mesh together amazingly well. The lawyers never stopped being helpful and were always available to answer summer student questions. They are very patient and great teachers. Additionally, the summer students were some of the most helpful, friendly, intelligent and fun groups of people I have ever been around and I am grateful to have been able to work with them this summer.

Work-life Balance

MB allows for a very rewarding work-life balance, and my summer experience is a testament to this. To provide some context, I have commuted from Richmond Hill every day. The commute is about an hour each way, so at times it can be difficult to maximize free time since two hours a day is dedicated to commuting. Truthfully, it was difficult to find the balance in the first few weeks, but once I was in the swing of things I was able to accomplish a fair amount of work while on the Go Train to and from work. As long as you are able to work efficiently, you will have no problem spending time with family and friends, going to the gym, cooking, or doing whatever it is you enjoy doing, on most days that is. The work-life balance is an aspect that I value very much and has been great this summer, even while having to commute from pretty far north.

"Day Out Calendar Means Excursion Trip Or Visiting" by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.netField Trips

Another highlight of my summer is the out of office experiences. By this, I mean discoveries, trials, mediations, etc. These are definitely things that every student should make time for. Not only do they provide greater insight into the life of a litigator, they are valuable because they allow you to witness different lawyers applying their own approach, which helps you find what style fits you best and also what you find to be most effective. They are also great opportunities to take a well-deserved break from the office grind.
Final Remarks
Looking back on the short summer term, I am amazed at all that the students were able to accomplish. The experience that we gained is, in my opinion, unparalleled. I firmly believe that each of us is now more confident, efficient, and vastly more knowledgeable than we were just 12 short weeks ago. I am happy to have had this experience and also very sad to have to leave. However, with just a year of school left, it won’t be long before we are back in action.
Michael G.

Friday 15 August 2014

Why I chose MB as “my” firm

It’s hard to believe that our summer term at MB is coming to an end. Time honestly flew by. It seems like it was just a few days ago when I wrote my first blog describing my first two weeks at the firm. In this blog, I write about four qualities of MB that have re-affirmed my decision to choose MB as “my” firm.

...four qualities of MB that have re-affirmed my decision to choose MB as “my” firm.

Varied Work

In my previous blog, I wrote about MB’s desire to get its students involved as much as possible. Due to this exposure, students get the opportunity to work on different types of assignments and expand their knowledge. For example, during my summer term, I had the opportunity to attend court for a preliminary hearing; went to a mediation during which parties actually reached an agreement and settled; attended several interesting discoveries, one of which was very heated; drafted several motions and had the chance to watch some get argued in court; commenced actions; amended claims; prepared damages briefs and conducted research.

In addition to different types of work handed down to students, our group was also exposed to various industries that our clients, namely insurance companies, are involved in. Such exposure always provided new learning opportunities and made work more interesting.


Teamwork is perhaps one of the greatest qualities of MB. During my term here, I have felt comfortable enough to ask questions and seek help from my colleagues regardless of their “rank” within the firm. Not only are the people here very easy to approach, but also based on my experience, they are willing to go out of their way to help. This collegial environment is evident amongst our own student group. Despite the fact that we have had a busy – and sometimes stressful – time here at MB, our group has stuck together like a true team, often giving a helping hand to team members that may be swamped with work so that deadlines can be met. I truly appreciate this quality amongst our team and believe that credit must be given to our Student Committee for selecting such an amazing group.

Hire-Back Rates

If you have visited the student program section of our website, you may have noticed MB’s emphasis on its hire-back rates. This is not just a slogan or a marketing strategy; it is the way of life here at MB. In fact, so long as you work hard and show your dedication to learning, not getting hired back as an articling student or a first-year associate is an anomaly. This relieves the student from having to stress about a future position with the firm, and instead allows them to focus on their professional development.

Work-Life Balance

"work life balance Signpost" by Stuart Miles
Working at MB provides an opportunity to work at a large “Bay Street” firm without having to give up your work-life balance. While as summer students we occasionally had to stay at the office late into the night or come in on a weekend or two to catch up on some work, we don’t work the crazy hours that students at other big firms do. Fortunately, at MB there is no expectation for students to stay late or come in on the weekends to show face. This not only allows students to have a life outside of work, but also positively affects the quality of work by students as they are not over worked.

While there are many reasons that make MB a great firm to work at, the ones mentioned above are the MB qualities that I most appreciate about the firm. These are the qualities that have re-affirmed my decision of choosing MB as “my” firm.
Navid G.