Thursday 6 June 2019

What to expect during orientation week

I was both excited and extremely nervous to begin my first day of work at McCague Borlack.

The night before, the usual first day of school jitters began to start:

"I hope the other students are nice! Should I pack a lunch?
Is it okay if I wear the same outfit as I wore at my interview?"

On Monday morning at 9 a.m., all the students were greeted by our student director, Ashley. Thanks to her smiling face and approachable manner, our nerves began to slowly fade away. At McCague Borlack, the students receive a full week of comprehensive training. Each day consisted of seminars on legal topics and learning skills that would teach us “how to McCague” such as docketing and binding court materials.


On Monday, we all sat in the boardroom which would become our home for the week. Ashley took time to introduce the summer program and outlined what we could expect for the summer. At lunch, we went on a food court tour of the Toronto building with the Articling students (I guess I didn’t need to pack a lunch after all!). The day ended with learning some legal office skills and a firm tour.


Having had our first day under our belt, on Tuesday morning we all came in a little more relaxed. The morning was spent learning how to docket. This was a task that seemed a little overwhelming at first but turned out to be a very user-friendly system. We also had our first legal seminars covering topics such as subrogation, and how to run a small claims court file. We were lucky to have partners come and give us tips and tricks for dealing with files of this nature.

Wednesday morning was picture day! Having spent Tuesday evening practising their best Zoolander poses, all the students came in looking glamorous and ready for their pictures. In the afternoon we had a representative from Westlaw visit. She taught us tips and tricks for making the most of Westlaw resources. I learned a lot, I had no idea that you could highlight and save information straight into a PDF from Westlaw!

Thursday morning we received a tour of the Great Library at Osgoode Hall. The library facilitates legal research to lawyers, by providing an extensive collection of books and online resources. The library itself is beautiful, walking around we felt as though we might actually be at Hogwarts. Not only does the building have an amazing legal history, but the building is also an active courthouse. It was very exciting to see seasoned lawyers roaming the halls in their robes, hopefully foreshadowing our future as litigators.

Friday - Our last day of training had finally arrived! We had received so much information over the week and yet felt that we still had so much more to learn. We had a visit from Howard Borlack, who officially welcomed us to the firm. He told us stories of his journey from law student to named partner, highlighting that the learning doesn’t stop once you leave the law school classrooms. He also encouraged us from now on to think of McCague Borlack as our firm and to take pride that this is the first step of our legal career.

Orientation week was a great way to settle into the firm. We all cannot wait to get our first assignment once the list starts moving on Monday.

by Olivia