How to Have a Successful OCI Day

Interviews are inevitably a little stressful…okay, maybe not a little, a lot! So, you’ve submitted your OCI applications and have heard back that you have an OCI. First off, congratulations! Second, no need to stress. This blog post will hopefully give you the tips and tricks to make your OCI day as smooth as possible, and maybe even fun! (insert shocked emoji face here).

  1. Choose a professional and comfortable outfit.

A well-fit, professional outfit is key to feeling comfortable and confident during an interview. To avoid scrambling around for an outfit at the last-minute, it’s a good idea to plan your outfit ahead of time. Although a couple of weeks sounds like a long time, this will allow you to get alterations or dry-cleaning done with time to spare. If you decide you need to buy something, you will also have time for that. For outfit inspiration, see “Fashion Files 2019 – 3rd Edition: CBB Style”.

  1. 2.  Visit the venue the night before or early that morning.

The last thing you need before OCIs is to get lost on your way to the venue. To avoid this, it’s helpful to visit the venue the night before or early that morning. This will provide some comfort, as you will know exactly where you are going! If entering the building is an option, go in, look around, and get a feel for the layout.

  1. 3. Create a schedule so you know who you are meeting at what time.

It can be difficult to manage which firm you are meeting at what time. To avoid unnecessary chaos and stress, it’s helpful to create a schedule showing the firm name, interviewer(s) names, time slot, and brief points about the firm. I created a table, which really helped to keep the information straight! I even saw some students include a photo of their interviewers on their schedules. If you have back-to-back OCIs, you can put the firm information on a cue-card and review it in-between interviews. This helps to refresh your memory and keep your thoughts organized.

  1. Bring easy to eat snacks that you will want to eat.

This sounds like a silly point but it’s really important to keep your energy up! Energy bars, cheese and fruit are easy to pack. Bring whatever you think you’ll be able to stomach!

  1. Bring mints or breath strips to stay fresh.

The last thing you want to be thinking about during an interview is, “do I have bad breath?” Avoid this by bringing a pack of mints or breath strips. It’s best to avoid chewing gum during interviews, so if you do chew gum make sure to get rid of it before the interview!

  1. Write a brief note after each interview.

It’s easy for memories of interviews to blend together. Try your best to write a note after each interview describing what you talked about. You could write this on the back of a business card, or in your own notebook. The note does not have to be long, it could be as simple as “spin class” or “John’s cat” – anything to help jog your memory for writing personalized thank-you emails.

  1. Send thank-you emails that day or the day after.

After a long day of interviews, next comes the thank-you emails. To make your life easier, it’s helpful to prepare a general template and then customize it for each firm based on your interview and conversation. If you connected over something, such as a common school or interest, it’s a good idea to include those points.

  1. This day does not define you.

There is a lot of hype around OCIs but please remember that everything is going to be okay. All you can do is prepare and try your best. The only thing you can control is your attitude, so have a good one!

Best of luck and have fun!

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Don’t Tell Me to Get a Real Job: A Camp Kid’s Path to Bay St.

If you’ve worked at camp, you’ve heard it before: “isn’t it time to get a real job”? The first time this question was posed to me, I got defensive. But as time went on, I began to feel sorry for the person asking it because clearly the person had no idea what it’s like to work at camp.

That person hadn’t had the experiences or opportunities that only camp can provide – and as a result, all I can do is feel sorry for them. But this post isn’t for the people who don’t understand. Sure – if someone who has never been to camp can read this and gain a greater appreciation for what it means to be a camp counselor, then that would be great – but the intended audience here is you: the camp kid.

The one who, at 17-years-old, stayed up with a homesick camper or facilitated cabin clean-up with a group of 10-year-olds; or the 19-year-old who was responsible for teaching a new skill and driving children around the lake on a ski-boat; or the 21-year-old who managed a group of staff not more than three years younger and provided evaluations, feedback and guidance. Camp is a wild place – not simply because of how much fun it is (which it is), but because of what it offers young adults like us.

Pisher (2007)

If you couldn’t tell, I’m a camp guy. My first summer at Camp Kadimah was in 2007 as a 12-year-old pisher with chubby cheeks and braces (as you can see). 12 short summers later, in 2018, I ended off my camp career after 6 years on staff, as Assistant Director.

This summer at Cassels Brock is my first full summer spent in Toronto since I was 12. In other words, this job is my first full-time summer job that isn’t camp. Yeah. It’s a bit different. But don’t you dare read ‘different’ as ‘harder’ – cause honestly – it isn’t.

Regardless of your position at camp, if you want to be a good staff, there are a few base-level skills that you need to demonstrate: initiative, effective communication, critical thinking, and the ability to work as part of a team. If you are able to refine these skills, I promise you, you will make a fantastic camp counselor. But not just that – I also promise you that you will be well on your way to becoming successful beyond your years at camp.

The truth is, the value of the work experience you get at camp cannot be recreated in any city job, at least not at the same age. In what “office” job would you be given managerial responsibilities before you can legally rent a car? In what “city” job would a teenager be tasked with the business’ most integral operations? The answer: none.

Now that you’re nearing or are at the end of your camp career, the question is: what’s next? You need to figure out how to qualify and quantify the totality of your camp experiences, consolidate them, and tie them up in a nice bow with the end product being your resume and cover letter. While this may sound hard to do, it’s not. It just takes the right kind of guidance. Which is where I can come in. If you, like me, spent the better part of your childhood at camp and continued onto become a staff, I think I can help. And even if you didn’t spend that many years at camp but worked on staff for even just one or two summers, those experiences are nonetheless valuable.

Leadership, management, loyalty, intuition, initiative, critical thinking, teamwork, communication…

These are the buzz words that, whether or not they want to admit it, your future employers love to see. What can separate you from the rest is that you have a tangible, real-world experience under your belt where you have not just practiced these skills, but have refined and re-refined them.

While it’s always sad to move on from camp (trust me, I’m still trying to get over it), it should be a small reassurance to know that not only do your memories of the summers-past stay with you, but also the skills and experiences that you inevitably gained will stay with you too. It is these skills and experiences that have prepared you for this moment, and provided you with a uniquely strong base for you to begin your professional career.

Working on Bay St. is no more a “real job” than working in Barss Corner, Nova Scotia at Camp Kadimah was, and I find myself lucky to have wound up at a firm that gets that. And trust me, Cassels does get it. But it’s up to you to make sure your future employer, no matter who they may be, knows that just as well as we do. And I should mention – even if camp isn’t your thing, the moral of the story here still stands: be yourself, and don’t let anyone, not even those Bay St. recruiters, tell you that your experiences aren’t good enough. If it’s something you’re passionate about and you know that it has made you a better you, then that’s what matters and that’s what the right firm will care about.

Pisher in a suit (2019)

(p.s. my offer to help still stands – shoot me an email, find me on Facebook, drop into my DMs.. I really am happy to help. The more camp kids here the better!)

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Brunch, the most important meal of the weekend

If you’re like me, you don’t live for the weekend… you live to eat on the weekend. And the best meal on weekends is brunch. It’s perfect; you get to sleep in and eat a dish that is over a thousand calories by justifying it as both your breakfast and lunch. Does it get any better than that?

Here are my three favorite weekend brunch places that are a must try

          1. Petit Dejeuner

This is a charming little place in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood that specializes in Belgium waffles. The wait can be about 20-30 minutes on weekends, but the waffles are definitely worth the wait. My favorite is with strawberries and chantilly cream. Absolutely delicious.




          2. Le Sélect Bistro

For lovers of Parisian ambience, food, and drink – this is the spot for you! This place serves amazing lattes and house-made pork sausages. My go-to order here is the oeufs et saucisses fermières.



          3. Bar Reyna

Rule number one: always sit at their secret back patio. The menu draws inspiration from Mediterranean regions. My favorite dish to order is the Baklava French Toast.

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Unique Law School Courses: Osgoode Edition

Each summer, Osgoode upper-year students frantically go through some kind of cost-benefit analysis to determine which courses they will take in their 2L and 3L years. Well, we at CBB want to put that frantic search to bed with a list of a few must-take courses at Osgoode.

  1. Advanced Business Law Workshop I: Corporate Finance (ABLW I)

ABLW isn’t your average law school course. Applicants must apply through the Clinics & Intensives applications and only 16 students are selected. However, if you can pass this first hurdle, then you’ll be taking the best course Osgoode has to offer.

The class takes place every Wednesday evening in a boardroom at the Davies office and will usually be conducted by three partners and one associate from Davies. I won’t lie to you, the course is tough and cold-calling isn’t out of the question. There is quite a bit of material to review for each class and there’s a list of maybe 20 questions per class that each student goes around answering (there’s no option to pass). The main evaluation method is through 3 assignments and the first is negotiating and drafting a loan agreement.

But the knowledge you gain about corporate finance from outside the purely academic perspective is worth the hard work. Plus, the last class has a nice little dinner party at The Shore Club.

  1. Legal Drafting (Professor Julia Shin-Doi)

Looking for a course that has no final exam and no research paper? Well this is your course. Don’t be intimidated by the 40% participation grade. All you have to do is attend 10 out of 12 classes, sit there, and submit a small drafting exercise at the end of the class. Plus, Professor Shin-Doi gives you time at the end of the class to complete the exercise, it’s done in groups, and you get the full marks just for completion.

I would say this course really prepared me for my summer at CBB (and this will likely apply anywhere you work). You go through all sorts of contracts (e.g. share purchase agreements, licensing agreements, purchase and sale agreements, etc.) and you go through the different components of contracts (e.g. the parties, recitals, boilerplate, etc.).

And if I haven’t sold you on Legal Drafting already, Professor Shin-Doi treated us to a delicious dinner for Lunar New Year.

  1. International Courts and Tribunals (Professor Obiora Chinedu Okafor)

I normally shy away from heavily academic or theoretical courses (which international law courses usually are) but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a class with Professor Obiora Okafor. Professor Okafor is a UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, as well as a professor at Osgoode and the York Research Chair in International Legal Studies.

In this class you will learn about various types of international courts and tribunals, who has standing before these courts, how the courts assert jurisdiction, the composition of the bench, and more.

This likely will not be the most relevant course in terms of my career, but it was definitely interesting to learn about how countries resolve disputes with each other. Professor Okafor is also probably the most engaging professor at Osgoode.

I realize in hindsight that this would probably have been more beneficial before the deadline to submit courses, but there’s always next year! … Unless you’re a 3L.

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First 2L Summer Student at Cassels Calgary

When I started here I did not know what to expect – I am the first student Cassels Brock’s Calgary office had hired in the 2L recruit for a summer position. Being at a newer and growing office, I was not sure what types of files I would get to work on. Would there be a volleyball team like the Toronto office?

Now that I am half way through my term, I still have not played any volleyball, but I am pleased that I have had the opportunity to work on a number of big and interesting files. These include: regulatory applications for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project with our Regulatory partner, CNRL’s $3.8 Billion purchase of Devon Energy assets with our Business Law partner and $100 million insolvency files with our Restructuring & Insolvency Group partner.

What is the common thread running through all these experiences? Our growing office has big and interesting files! I am also getting the opportunity to work directly with some really knowledgeable senior lawyers instead of working through a big hierarchy. Everyone has been great at involving me in their work, explaining the context behind it, and helping me develop my skills.

Now I just have to get that volleyball team going!

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