Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Be a Sponge Part 2: What I Learned from my Summer Student Experience

In my last blog, I outlined all the things I planned to do to make the most out of my summer student experience. As promised, in this blog, I will let you know how everything worked out for me, as well as mention other things I learned this summer.

Every assignment is a new opportunity

In my last blog post, I said I would keep an open mind when it comes to new assignments (no matter how daunting they seemed). I am proud to say that I did just that. 

"When I was first assigned to do a report for a marine law file involving multiple jurisdictions, I felt extremely overwhelmed since I had never even heard of marine law before."

When I first started the assignment, the issue felt impossible to solve. However, instead of feeling defeated, I saw it as an opportunity to learn about an area of law that not very many lawyers I know practice. After pushing through the difficult parts and keeping an open mind, I found that I actually enjoyed learning about marine law. Through that experience, not only did I learn things I would have never learned in law school, but I also found a new area of law that is of interest to me.

Small assignments can turn into big assignments

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, when I complete an assignment or attend a field trip, I would ask the lawyer if I can be a part of the next step on the file. Sometimes, I didn’t even need to ask because the lawyer would already assign me the next step on the file. Because of this, what started out as a simple assignment has allowed me to get more involved in the development of a case. For example, after drafting an initial report recommending that we file a claim, I was able to draft the actual claim itself. Because I already had familiarity with the file, the lawyer thought I would be the best person to move the file along. This not only increased my knowledge in the different areas of law but also helped me build connections with different lawyers at the firm.

Ask and you shall receive

Whenever I had an interest in exploring a new practice area, I learned that all I had to do was ask the lawyers if they had any work in those areas. Most of the time, many of them have something I can help them with and are happy to give me assignments that I can work on. This is another way to build connections with the lawyers and gain a broad range of experience in the different practice areas.

Last but not least, your fellow summer students are one of your best resources

I am so grateful to have been able to share this experience with my fellow summer students. Whenever I receive an assignment I have never done before and I feel overwhelmed, I can just quickly shoot a message to the summer student group. Most of the time, someone else has already done it and can send you a precedent and even give you some advice. What would have taken several minutes to figure out has just been solved in a few seconds by a single message. I honestly do not know what I would’ve done without Anita, Alexandria, Rebecca, Winona and our Student Program Director, Ashley. They have been such a valuable resource to me and have made this experience truly amazing.

I am super excited to come back to article next year. I look forward to continuing to be a sponge and soaking in more knowledge and experiences (and sharing them with you again)!

by Dominique M.