Monday 27 September 2021

Articling is no joke

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but articling is no joke. At MB, we are assigned real client work with actual deadlines. Plus, we are given work on a variety of client files and must learn to prioritize, multi-task, and schedule our own time well. We also must learn to track and record our time by entering our dockets in the firm’s accounting system. We are allowed to ask questions, but we must figure out the right questions to ask. We must also be team players in order to work well within the articling student group and with many different lawyers and personalities. 

This holds especially true in today’s climate, while we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Luckily, MB provides robust training!

"While work from home didn’t come without its challenges, I’ve slowly grown accustomed to it over the past (almost) two months of articling and can now confidently say I enjoy it."

Here’s what a typical day in the life of a work from home articling student looks like for me:

9:15 - 10:15 a.m.: I attended a team meeting with all articling students.

The articling students meet virtually twice a week with the Student Director, Ashley, on a meeting we call Zoom 7. This meeting gives us the chance to discuss our assignments, receive firm updates and ask any questions. We also discuss our “roses and thorns” each meeting; sharing the good and not-so-good experiences articling has brought us.

10:30 - 1:00 p.m.: I attended my first examination for discovery!

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into an examination, but I was ready to diligently take notes and learn. I enjoyed watching the different styles of lawyers as they cross-examined witnesses. McCague Borlack encourages articling students to go on “field trips” so that we can get real-life experience of what being a lawyer and carrying your own files is like. Since I learn the most from actually doing rather than listening, I was grateful for this experience and look forward to accompanying lawyers again in the future.

1:00 - 1:30 p.m.: I took a quick lunch and coffee break.

Coffee is a non-negotiable work-from-home necessity.

1:30 - 4:00 p.m.: I checked my to-do list and planned the rest of my day.

I find that I’m most productive when I have a clear list of what needs to be accomplished and what my goals are for the day and week. I had an Affidavit of Documents due later in the week, so I started drafting it after calling the assigning lawyer to get some clarifying instructions. Lawyers at McCague Borlack are always happy to chat and answer any questions you have on a matter. Even though it can be daunting at times, I’ve learned picking up the phone and making a call is more effective than e-mailing back and forth.

4:00 - 6:30 p.m.: Switching gears and winding down.

By this point, I made considerable progress on the Affidavit of Documents I was working on. I switched gears and started working on a research memorandum I had due in the next couple of days. Legal research can be tricky, but luckily, we had WestLaw training during orientation and access to many resources to help us!

By 6:30, I started winding down for the day. 

No two days are the same, but this is what a typical day of articling looks like! I’m excited to continue learning and developing new skills as the articling term progresses.

Friday 10 September 2021

Virtual Social Events

In approaching a potentially virtual articling term here at the firm, you may wonder how we manage to get to know each other? 

 Even in these strange and restrictive times, we still managed to eke out some face-to-face contact with one another. 

To get us organized, our Student Director, Ashley, created a schedule and assigned a different student each month to arrange an event for us on the first Thursday of the month. For obvious reasons, there is no requirement that the event be in-person. 

The first month, Ashley organized a virtual charcuterie and mixology class. See Ashna's blog below.

This month, Paul organized a Jackbox Games night. For those unfamiliar, these are a suite of web games where you log in with your phone and compete with others in various trivia-based games. 

Some of us keeners -- that were able -- met up in person, and the others joined via Zoom. 
(Shout-out to Tess who came from Ottawa.)

Zohaib generously hosted and put out an awesome spread. 

Lots of fun was had by all and many laughs were shared (along with a bottle of wine or two).

Ashley deserves credit for her expertise in selecting the right people for a student team. So, for those prospective students interviewing with the firm, rest assured that you will find yourself within a group of people who just seem to gel. Also be assured that despite the virtual world we are living in, camaraderie is alive and well. 

With that said, I am very much looking forward to our October social event.

Conner S.