The articling experience is about learning to become a practicing lawyer and a significant part of it involves developing time management skills. This is critical for a litigator. What I am quickly realizing is that while you can try to formulate a plan to divide your tasks a few days ahead, it can often change so quickly. The key is to adjust and recognize that at McCague Borlack, you have a team of people ready to assist you.
In the 8 to 10 months of an articling student’s term, there is bound to be at least one week where everything seems to come all at once. Last week just happened to be one of those weeks for me.
On Monday, I had come in early to plan out my weekly schedule. The prior week, I received numerous rush assignments. So naturally, the assignments I had planned on finishing way in advance had to be done this week instead. Thus, my schedule already had to shift from the start.
I created what I thought was the perfect schedule in which I would meet all my deadlines with time to spare. However, all of a sudden mid-week, a variety of new tasks came in on files I had worked on previously and needed to be addressed on an urgent basis. All my careful planning had to be set aside to complete these more urgent and interesting new matters.
Fortunately at MB, we have a student director, lawyers, and fellow students who understand that a litigation file can have many twists and turns and are always available to assist and work as a team for a common goal. With their help, I was able to meet all my deadlines and finish the tasks I planned for the week.
The biggest lesson I learned from my busiest week is how to better manage my time and plan around unexpected rush assignments, as you never know when they will come. I will do this in the future by scheduling to finish the assignments I receive way in advance of the actual deadline if possible and being honest with the lawyers upfront about my capacity to deliver the assignment within their preferred deadline.
I also learned that fellow articling students can be your biggest resource during the articling term as they have been there for me when I needed them the most. I am so grateful to be able to have other articling students to reach out to for help during my busiest times. I could not wish for a better group of students to have been able to share this experience with.