Monday 28 March 2022

Articling in 270 rows

images merged from pexel

With final reviews and offers to come, I find myself looking back on how far I have come since I started here in August. Back then, everything seemed very foreign. Pleadings sounded like a desert and summarizing thousands of pages of productions sounded like a daunting task.

Looking at my assignment worksheet on excel (which every articling student likely has an iteration of) it looks like I have completed roughly 270 unique assignments to date. These assignments differ in complexity, length of time required to complete, and how interesting they were. In reviewing the list, I would say that there are probably seven categories of assignments that I have worked on:

  1. Pleadings (i.e., Statements of Defence, Claim, Third Party Claims, Defences, etc.);
  2. Research;
  3. Summaries (i.e., summarize affidavits of documents or undertakings productions);
  4. Review and Compile’ (i.e., affidavits of documents, books of authority, etc.);
  5. Motion Materials (i.e., affidavits, notices of motion, motion records, etc.);
  6. Written Advocacy (i.e., mediation briefs, pre-trial briefs, factums, etc.); and,
  7. Oral advocacy (i.e., speaking to a motion).

While any list is necessarily over or under-inclusive, and your mileage may vary, I would say that the list is a fair representation of an articling student’s life at a civil litigation firm.

Looking back, I am proud of how far I have come, and how much I have learned. When I interviewed with the firm, I was told something to the effect of ‘we train litigators’, and I can confidently say that that promise has been fulfilled. The firm has allowed me to be involved in each and every step of the litigation process, from the pleading stage to the execution stage, and for that, I am very grateful.

There’s no real takeaway here, but if one is required, I would say it is amazing just how much you can learn in the right setting.

by Conner S.

Monday 14 March 2022

Here's a peek into one Articling Student’s work

compiled from images on pexel

As articling students, we are given the opportunity to assist lawyers with different types of work. Our assignments vary, depending on the file’s stage in the course of litigation.

One of my past assignments required me to research case law where a party had suffered similar injuries as our client and to focus specifically on the non-pecuniary damages awarded by the court. 

My research would ultimately assist the lawyer with their post-discovery report, which must be prepared for the client after an examination for discovery. This report typically entails pertinent evidence from the examination for discovery, along with the lawyer’s revised liability and damages assessment of the file.

In order to find relevant cases, I took a three-step approach.
  1. I logged into the firm's Westlaw account, an online legal research platform. I also spoke to a Westlaw representative over the phone, who introduced me to the “Personal Injury Quantum Service” tool. By inputting certain general details, such as the type of injuries sustained, age group of the injured party, and jurisdiction, the tool populated the applicable cases along with a range of damages awarded in those cases. 

  2. Then, I met with our firm’s designated Westlaw representative over Microsoft Teams. I shared my screen, allowing me to learn more about the fascinating Westlaw platform and obtain more thorough research results. 

  3. As a final step, I sent a firm e-mail to the “MB lawyers'"group, asking for their insight on this topic. One of the lawyers directed me to the “Compendium of Damages awarded in personal injury actions across Ontario”, which was compiled by CCLA and was useful for my assignment.
The examples above are indicative of the vast variety of resources available to students for their work. While it is inevitable that we will get assignments we have never done before on topics we are unfamiliar with, what remains consistent throughout is the firm's support available to help us every step of the way.