Thursday, 15 August 2019

So You Want to be a Litigator: Development the MB Way

Entering law school I, like a lot of my peers, had an initial interest in litigation. I had spent many rainy days reading about Atticus Finch’s iconic closing, watching Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee demand to know who ordered the code red, and begrudgingly viewing Elle Woods have epiphanies in the courtroom based on her knowledge of hair-care products. Because of this, I made an effort in my first year of law school to get involved in moots and work with my school’s advocacy committee which grew my interest in the field. What I needed to know now was if a career as a litigator was going to be everything I had made it out to be in my mind.

The truth is that you never know if you truly like something until you try it, and this is exactly how I entered the OCI process. I knew that if I wanted a career in litigation, I wanted to get the most experience possible to be certain that this was the primary direction I wanted to head in my career.

Throughout the hiring process, McCague Borlack promised me exceptional early experience in the field as a primary feature
of their summer student program and they have not disappointed.

So what should you come to expect from a summer with McCague Borlack? In my experience anything and everything. From the first day that we were able to accept work following orientation, I was challenged by a broad array of interesting tasks and treated as a full, equal member of my new team: team MB. I drafted a wide variety of pleadings, attended numerous discoveries, mediations, and court appearances, and worked on several thought-provoking issues from across a broad spectrum of legal topics. I can honestly say following this summer, I learned as much as I possibly could about a career in litigation in a three-month period.

The experiences that I had also allowed me to do meaningful work with twenty different lawyers across the firm, including associates, partners, and even Howard Borlack himself. By getting an early opportunity to work with senior lawyers at the firm from day one, I had a great opportunity to work on big and exciting cases that many students wouldn’t have the opportunity to work on this early in their careers. Additionally, working with a wide spectrum of different lawyers from across the firm was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the culture of the firm as a whole. Getting a lot of responsibility in a fast-paced and demanding work environment can be a daunting proposition, however, the support I received from every lawyer I worked with at the firm was tremendously helpful in becoming acclimatized to this new work environment. The biggest takeaway I had was that, from top to bottom, people want to teach you how to do new things and are truly invested in your development as a lawyer.

Reflecting back at my earlier self thinking about a day where I might be making a passionate and over-the-top closing in court, I am glad that I made the conscious effort to pursue this field and take a leap into the deep end of "the litigation" pool. Learning the process of this craft, improving my abilities as an advocate, and being a meaningful part of this team is a true joy. I can only imagine what I will learn next going into articling.

by Adam O.