Wednesday 11 April 2018

Essential Gear - A Survival Guide for Articling Students

Before I go backcountry camping, I triple check that I have packed all the essential gear – plenty of matches, my headlamp, the water purifier, etc. I have a feeling that if I ever forget my rain jacket, I will be in for a rainy canoe trip.

My articling experience is no different – the gear is key. Having all the essentials on hand helps me stay focused on the work.

The Rules of Civil Procedure

We consult the Rules daily and it is important to become familiar with them. The firm provides a print copy of the Rules that are kept in the Student bunker (the area of the firm where all articling student cubicles are located). You can look them up online, of course, but if you’re going to Court, bring the actual book so that it’s as easy as possible to flip to the appropriate Rule.

Blue Light Filtering Glasses

These filtered lenses can help to lessen the strain on your eyes caused by working on a computer all day. You can get them with or without a prescription.

Mos Mos Coffee Gift Card

This coffee shop, located on the concourse level of the Exchange Tower, is my go-to spot. Even if you only order a brewed coffee, they steam the milk and sprinkle cinnamon on top! If you load a gift card with $30 or more, they will add 10% to your card balance. Who doesn’t like discounts!?

Lip Balm & Hand Cream

Offices are dry places – stay hydrated, folks.

Brookside Chocolate & Kind Bars

Snacks can help tide you over until you can get home for dinner on nights when you just need to finish something before leaving work.

Comfy Shoes

I like the look of high heels but definitely not the feeling of wearing them all day. I like to keep a pair of flats at my desk to change into. Many of us also have Blundstones for the commute.

Carrot – the App

This step counting app incentivizes you to hit a daily step goal by rewarding you with loyalty card points. I’ve got mine set up to award me with Scene points when I hit my step goal. It encourages me to get moving daily and means that I can see a free movie every now and then.

Membership to a Professional Association

I’m a member of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario (WLAO), the Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA), and Young Women in Law. I enjoy attending networking events, professional development workshops, and social events with other articling students and lawyers. Membership fees at most associations are low for articling students. A couple of my favourite events this year included the WLAO’s Champagne and Shop Event at the Bay (I’m a bit biased since I co-hosted that one) and the TLA’s Articling Head Start Program. I’m excited to attend the Young Women in Law Gala later this spring with keynote speaker Margaret Atwood.

Bose Quiet Comfort 35 Wireless Headphones

These cost a pretty penny but boy are they worth it! A colleague of mine had a pair while we were summering together and she convinced me to buy a pair. Since we work in an open-concept workspace, it can be noisy. So the headphones' noise-cancelling feature is very important to me. If music is distracting for you, I suggest you listen to a white noise track or nature sounds. To save money, buy a refurbished pair at the Toronto Premium Outlets’ Bose store. Incidentally, that outlet mall is also a great place to shop for work clothes.

I hope this kit list inspires you to surround yourself with whatever you need to feel comfortable, prepared, and ready to tackle any task that comes your way.

By Emily K.