Monday, 2 February 2015

Life is a Marathon

Have you heard of the saying, life is a marathon, not a sprint? Well, articling is like a series of sprints within a marathon. It demands your focus, respect and humility. It requires your very best work. And it places on your shoulders the responsibility to do the best job you can for your client, your firm, and your principal.

As an articling student, you are on call to do great work at any time.

Articling represents a level of intensity that I never saw in law school. Yes, there were moot and exams and final papers and Socratic classes. But you could pace yourself and spread tasks across weeks or months. As an articling student, you are on call to do great work at any time. This means you are operating at peak efficiency, often for long stretches of time.

So, how do you avoid burning yourself out? 

First, develop relationships with your peers.  Depending on your outlook, these individuals are your competitors or your compatriots. One of the reasons I chose to article at McCague Borlack was because they make an effort to foster collegiality and tend to attract people who thrive in that environment.

picture courtesy of freedigitalphotos by iosphere
Second, take breaks. I mean real breaks, not “go outside and stare at your cell phone for 10 minutes” breaks. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a case or assignment, but you have to be cognizant of your time as well. Sitting for three hours straight may seem productive at first, but it can hurt you in the long run. This seems obvious, but when you are under pressure or deeply engaged in a task, sometimes you forget.

And third, get a life. Your family and friends are important. They have been with you since the beginning. Let them be there for you during articles.

Articling is a truly challenging process, but the quality of your experience will depend on the quality of your personal and professional relationships at home and at work.
Ben C.