Monday 8 April 2019

Time-stamped: A true day in the life...

Time to start my workday!

Wait! Don’t worry, I choose to be here this early. One of the biggest advantages of working at McCague Borlack is the work-day flexibility. It goes without saying that students must be present during business hours, but otherwise, our time is not micromanaged by lawyers. As long as we meet our deadlines, we make our own schedule. Some students come in around 9:00 a.m., but I personally prefer early mornings: my head is clearer, the office is quieter, and the line at Starbucks is shorter.

I start my day by checking my “to-do” list. Most students make the habit of recording their assignments in an excel sheet in order to keep track of their deadlines. I skim columns for any limitation periods and client guidelines: there’s a motion that needs to be confirmed by 2:00 p.m. tomorrow and four days left to submit an initial report. These will need to get done first.

Ideally, I’d sit at my desk and focus on one assignment at a time; however, seldom do my days go uninterrupted. Usually, I stop my work for one of two reasons: receipt of a new assignment or correspondence from an external source (such as a client or opposing counsel). I hear my email chime go off, and it’s a conflict check… with an interesting legal problem! In addition to list and walk-in assignments, McCague Borlack encourages its students to pursue their curiosity. I quickly reply to the lawyer to express interest in the file and then go back to my initial report.

The mail has arrived, and I notice that I have a fax from plaintiff’s counsel indicating that they maintain their refusals, and agreed to my undertakings motion for any time in the last two weeks of June. This means I can finally requisition my motion date and make final amendments to the motion record. There is a lot of work involved, but thankfully we have a wonderful support system that helps the students save time (and the clients save money). Without skipping a beat, our assistant requisitions the date and our very own office services prints and binds the motion record.

Today we have a Lunch and Learn seminar. McCague Borlack likes to feed educate their lawyers by providing these information sessions with a nice lunch. I’ve noticed that topics tend to provide updates in the law or provide tidbits for practice. Today’s workshop is about calculating costs and interest, which is a tricky (yet very important) part when drafting pleadings.

Upon returning to my desk, I notice there is an email with a list assignment marked “STATEMENT OF DEFENCE - URGENT”. It’s not my turn on the rotation system, but the student to whom this is assigned does not have the capacity to draft one right this minute. This student isn’t worried though, as she knows the other students have her back.

Although we are all eager to take the assignment, we decide to settle this matter by comparing our “student bucket lists”. Yes, you read right. Although McCague Borlack affords its students a lot of freedom, there is a student coordinator that checks in to ensure we’ve had the best-rounded experience, and this involves keeping track of our work history. According to the bucket list, two students have not yet drafted a statement of defence. This assignment will go to one of them.

My phone rings and it’s a lawyer for whom I drafted a statement of claim. She wants to know if I’m interested in assembling the Affidavit of Documents for the examination of the co-defendant next month. This is a perfect example of how lawyers tend to keep students involved in a file in a significant manner. I inform the lawyer that I’m happy to assist and add the Affidavit of Documents to my to-do list.

At this time, you see people slowly heading for home as the office begins to clear. I don’t have anything pressing at the moment, but I know that I’m attending mediation the following day. As such, I choose to stay a bit longer knowing that I might be out of the office on a field trip. MB Lawyers are big on visual learning and encourage us to go out of the office. In fact, this tendency is so well known, I’ve heard other lawyers comment on it.

It’s the end of the day. Most students are packing up (if they haven’t already left yet). I throw some papers in the shredder, log off my computer, and head home.

by Ă‰milie-Anne P.