Friday, 27 August 2021

So what has the first few weeks of articling been like?

Approximately three weeks ago, I, along with six other students began our articles. In short, so far, my experience has been beyond what I could have imagined articling was going to be like, especially “working from home.”

But, let’s backtrack to the night before my first day. As I prepared my outfit for the next morning, I felt both a sense of nervousness and excitement. After all, tomorrow was going to be a big day. I was finally going to be able to start work!

 I remembered the utter joy I felt when I received the phone call at 5:00 pm sharp on the last day of OCI recruitment and was offered a position to work at MB. 

After meeting so many members of the firm and learning about all the interesting work students would be able to do, I couldn’t wait to begin, and now, the time was finally here!

As excited as I was, I also felt a bit nervous. There were so many thoughts that crossed my mind. What will it be like to learn how to practice law, especially away from the office? Will I miss out on the learning experience due to not being able to be in-person and seeing my colleagues? Will I be able to stay motivated working from home? What if I make mistakes on an assignment? Am I even capable of all this? Unlike school, which is what I have been familiar with all my life, for the first time now I would be working on real client files. Hence, there was added nervousness.

Approximately three weeks in now and much to my surprise, none of my earlier concerns have factored into my incredible experience so far. From the very first day of articling, our comprehensive orientation prepared us very well by educating us on the substantive practice areas of the firm, as well as the administrative "know-how" of litigation. In addition, our orientation was thoughtfully planned in a way where we not only covered substantive material but also got the opportunity to socialize and “e-meet” other members of the MB team - all through Zoom of course. Who said Zoom could only be used for serious meetings? Thanks to Zoom, I really enjoyed our charcuterie board-making and mixology event where we channelled our culinary skills while sharing some great laughs with lawyers from across all five office locations.

Although our articles have begun remotely, I am grateful for all the efforts made to simulate an in-person experience. For example, every time we receive a new assignment or have questions about an assignment, we are encouraged to simply call the lawyer and have a discussion instead of writing a lengthy message over e-mail. Initially, the thought of calling a lawyer felt nothing short of daunting. However, now, this has become my go-to and truly feels most similar to hopping in their office for a quick chat. I have also found video-chatting with other students while we work on our assignments as a great way to overcome the “work from home” blues. This way, I feel I have company and can unmute my microphone to ask my colleagues any questions I have, just as I would if we were in the office together. Clearly, not being in-person is only as much of a barrier as we let it become.

All in all, to describe my first few weeks of articling, it is similar to a child growing up learning how to navigate the world. I feel likewise as I am learning how to navigate the fascinating world of litigation. There are many challenges and a steep learning curve, which is both rewarding but also challenging. What helps, however, is that I do not feel alone. I feel happy to have such an incredible support system in the other six students (shout-out to our WhatsApp group), and also the large variety of resources available to us.

In the weeks to come, I look forward to learning the ins-outs of litigation, and most important of all, enjoying the ride!