Tuesday 4 June 2024

Summer Student Orientation Week

Every student feels the nerves that come with starting a new job. Transitioning from the classroom to the office is always a significant adjustment. Prior to the start of summer orientation week, our Student Director, Ashley Faust, made sure we were well-prepared to commence our journey with McCague Borlack. We are lucky to have Ashley as a mentor as she was not only a summer and articling student at MB, but she is the lead lawyer on a number of files, enabling her to share all of her experiences with us eager students.

My fellow summer students and I received a detailed orientation schedule outlining the activities for the weeks ahead.

This schedule was so helpful to ensure we were prepared for the start of the summer term, which greatly eased the stress from the start. It made day one so much easier for us to navigate and gave us many exciting things to look forward to. It also provided our first glance inside the firm’s multifaceted practice areas.

Every day of orientation was filled with plenty of insightful presentations, seminars and activities. We were given the opportunity to learn from many of the firm’s amazing lawyers about their practice. This allowed us to have a variety of insights into the different ways each person would tailor their files based on their personal preferences. While the program prepared us for the work that we had to look forward to, it was also a great way to get to know the incredible people that make up the firm’s staff. Everyone gave us plenty of time to ask questions about anything that we could think of and made us feel so welcome.

Despite the focus being on preparing us for the substantive work that makes up much of the summer, we were given plenty of fun breaks to ensure that we could stay energized for the next activity. Some of the fun activities included playing Scattergories and participating in the annual student Brownie Baking Bonanza (which turned out to be the best brownie recipe I have ever tried!). This week was an amazing way to get to know the other students, especially those I am now in the Ottawa office with every day.

With the summer program having just kicked off fully, the orientation experience was so helpful in preparing me for the start of the work period. Not only did it give us a great overview of the summer term ahead, but it also ensured that we were able to seamlessly transition into being in the office every day. Even though I took notes and paid attention during orientation (with the help of a few coffees), there was still so much to learn/re-learn once we got started officially. But everyone at the firm is so helpful in teaching you the best practices, tips and tricks to help you succeed. Now, I wonder why I was ever worried at all.

To any future summer students reading this: even if you feel like you know nothing, someone will always be willing to help. I have learned so much from asking questions and doing my own exploration of the firm’s systems. While I know that I still have a long way to go before I am comfortable, I am confident anyone I ask will happily jump in to help. The firm culture is truly special in terms of the willingness to support the summer students with all our needs. We know that we will make mistakes, but this is part of the experience. We will be better for it by the end of the summer.

by Alexander D.