Coffee Chats 101

Hey Blogwell readers! Now that we are in June, I’m sure you all can’t wait to chat with us about our student experience at Cassels Brock so far!

If you are a law student heading into your second year of school this fall, you may already be thinking about the wonderful and blissful experience that is OCI recruitment. Here are a few tips to help you prepare.

1.Schedule a phone call or a  coffee chat

Although applications are not due until August, now is a great time to start researching the firms that interest you. Phone calls and coffee chats with current summer students are a great way to do this.

Start by visiting the Cassels Brock student website ( where you can find our current summer students bios and contact information. If it is possible, reach out to a summer student that attends the same law school as you. Send one of us an e-mail introducing yourself and expressing your interest in the firm, and we will be happy to schedule a phone call or coffee chat with you!

2.     Do your research to ask great questions

The next step is preparing questions before your call or coffee chat. There are tons of standard go-to questions when chatting with a summer student at any firm. For example, you can ask a student about the most exciting assignment they have received this summer, or if there was something specific that drew them to the firm during the recruitment process.

While these are great questions, the best way to stand out and demonstrate interest is to have firm-specific questions ready. Take the time beforehand to research our general and student websites to get a sense of the student program and the type of work the firm does. Since you are reading Cassels Brock & Blogwell, you are off to a great start!

3.    Attend our open houses

Open houses are another great way to meet with current summer students, lawyers and learn more about Cassels Brock. The Toronto office is holding two open houses – July 18 and August 1, both from 12-1pm. The Vancouver office will host an open house on July 24 from 4-5pm. Register here to attend.





4.    Send thank you e-mails

After speaking with a summer student, send a quick e-mail thanking them for their time. This is also the perfect opportunity to reiterate that you are interested in working at Cassels. Now, you have plenty of information to help you tailor your cover letter to the firm.

Phone calls, coffee chats and going to open houses are truly valuable experiences to have before submitting applications and heading into OCI’s. Last summer, I spoke with a student at Cassels over the phone, and later in the summer we met for coffee. Not only did she tell me about her amazing experience at Cassels, but she was also generous enough to read over my cover letter and provide me with tips for OCI’s (thank-you Grace Wu!!).

We hope this helps and we can’t wait to hear from you!

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Cassels Block & Spikewell (2019 Volleyball Tournament)

On Thursday, May 30th, Cassels 2019 Summer Students made their way to Woodbine Beach for the annual Bay Street Beach Volleyball Tournament. The excitement was palpable as the students were finally allowed to leave the walls of Scotia Plaza for something other than delivery law.

The morning started with a heart wrenching loss against Goodmans. The team was clearly distracted by the free Timmies and the glaring sun in their eyes. Game number two was a close one, but the team still took the ‘L’ against Stikeman Elliot, our old rival.

After regaining forces with pizza and granola bars (the lunch of champions), Cassels was ready to turn up the heat. The third game was against McMillan – and boy was it a good one! Cassels finally found their flow and came together to earn their first win of the tournament. The crowd went wild!!! (i.e. crowd meaning the other Cassels students cheering on the sidelines).

The fourth game against Aird & Berlis went smoothly, with a massive serving streak for Cassels. Again, the win would not have been possible without our very own students cheering until the last second.

Even though Cassels won two out of four games – the team did not make it to the quarter finals. How is that possible? Great question. We don’t know either… but we’re proud of our efforts nonetheless!

Leaving the court a little disappointed but a lot more sunburnt, the Cassels student team retired to Bier Markt to socialize with students from the other firms for an evening of celebration and hydration (wink wink). Of course, Cassels rewarded us with firm-sponsored drinks and delicious foods for the night. The evening was spent mingling with students working on the street and celebrating the Raptor’s first win in the legendary NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors. It was a night to remember.

While this tournament was an amazing event, the Cassels students “hope to be better in the courts than on the courts!” [i]


The CBB Student Blog Team

[i] (Stacey Weltman, CBB student, Instagram Caption, 2019, Bier Market, with the help of some Mojitos).



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Best Lunch Eats Downtown Vancouver

Hello, Blogwell readers! Having been in the office for only three weeks, the Vancouver students are still learning their way around all the nooks and crannies of CBB Vancouver, but in true Vancouver fashion, we know all the lunch spots pretty well. Cassels treated us to an incredible lunch at Miku with some of the best sushi, views (and company!) in the city on our first day, but alas we’ll focus on highlighting the lunch options that we can actually afford on a daily basis.

Angela is obsessed with Soho Road Naan Kebab, an Indian food truck that parks right outside the Vancouver City Centre entrance. While butter chicken is good for the soul, it is not the best for post-lunch itis. If you’re looking for something that won’t put you in a coma, Tractor makes awesome salads and has a huge variety of options. Fujiya is also a great spot for takeout sushi and bento boxes, in addition to Japanese snacks and sodas!


Lauren’s go-to smoothie spot is Body Energy Club. It really helps with balancing out all of the junky snacks she gets from her officemate Angela.

While Shayna has been admirably meal-prepping for all of the last two weeks, she prefers the likes of Cactus Club and Earls, a sign of a true Vancouverite. She highly recommends visiting Earls’ test kitchen in Yaletown. And of course, we can’t forget Chipotle



The Vancouver students are looking forward to exploring more lunch options over the course of the summer, overlooking our incredible view of the mountains and ocean. Take that, Toronto!



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Recruitment Pearls of Wisdom

As the summer is sadly coming to an end, we’ve had lots of law students reach out to us about our experience going through the wonderfully natural OCI recruitment process. With the application deadline coming up in less than a week, we decided to share some of the wisdom we’ve been able to gather from other OCI veterans and by reflecting on our very own, not so distant, experience on the OCI rollercoaster!

(*cue “Love Rollercoaster” by Ohio Players*)

Before the applications are due (or even after, as you learn where you will be interviewing), reach out to people from firms. You do not want to overdo it (that is, don’t speak to five people at every place that you are applying), but the more people you get a chance to chat with, the better you will be able to see what sets the firms apart, and the better you will be able to know where you want to work/where you would fit in.

There is no such thing as asking too many people to read your cover letters/resume. If you haven’t already, reach out to upper year mentors, friends, family, pets, whoever is willing to give you the time.

When drafting your cover letter, tell a story. You want to draw the reader in, make them interested in who you are, and say something separate from what is in your resume. Focus on specific experiences that illustrate the skills that you want to show to firms (and show that you have the skills, don’t just tell the reader that you do).

If possible, do not book OCIs back-to-back. A break between them makes it a lot easier for you to take the time to remember what you spoke about, and prepare for the next one. To that end, your interviewers will often give you business cards at the end – during the break, jot down quick notes on what you talked about, to make your life easier once you write follow-up emails.” – Robert Sniderman


My biggest tip for OCIs would be to go in with no expectations and no favourites. There’s no need to put more pressure on yourself for certain interviews than others. Treat each equally, that way you’ll be sure to show your best self to every firm and not crack under the pressure. The less expectations you have of what will or should happen in the interviews, the better.

In regards to the In-Firm interviews, don’t wait for a firm to chase you – if you want to come back the next day, let them know. Although the whole process is like some big silly game, don’t let yourself fall through the cracks – make your interest known. You want to feel by the end of the interview week that you did everything possible you could have done to get the job.” – Erin Minuk


OCI Interview Day tips:

Bring Listerine Strips. Use them in between interviews, it keeps the mouth moist and the breath fresh!

Write a quick sentence about something you talked about in the OCI on the back of the interviewer’s business card as soon as you’re done. This will come in handy when you’re trying to personalize thank you emails later.

Know your resume inside out and backwards. Have an anecdote about every single thing on it.” – Carmen Bruni


“Ask questions that show you’re interested in the day to day, things like:

What does an average day look like for you?

Do you find that in your department the work comes in waves or are you constantly fairly busy?

If your interviewer is a new associate, you can always ask:

            What was your favorite student event in the summer?

I find that asking questions shows you’ve been thinking about the firm and the type of work you’re going to do.” – Aamir Chherawala


I think it’s important to remember that there is no one way to get through the OCIs.

Everyone in our summer group was their own unique and interesting person, which goes to show there is definitely no single type of ideal candidate.

So, my advice is, in preparing for the recruitment process, know the story that you are trying to tell about yourself.

Who are you and what stories about your life, your experience and your goals do you want to share?  If you are prepared with what you want people to know about you, you’ll make a great impression no matter what questions get fired your way in the interviews and informal meetings. And most importantly, the job you find will end up being the right fit for you.”
Nico Elliott-Armstrong


Be as energetic and engaged as you can be. You’ll be super tired but push through it. Also, no such thing as being too prepared. Try to at least know some information about every firm you interview with, including whether they have rotations for summer students, areas of practice, etc.

Don’t forget to be prepared to talk about your interests! The interest line will come up time and time again, so think of stories to share beforehand.”
Jackie Karbi


“Try to have fun! I know this sounds strange, but looking at the OCI process as an opportunity to meet interesting people and to learn about their careers and unique paths to law helps to change the anxious, nerve-wracking job interview vibe to a more relaxed and exciting one.

Going into the interviews with this positive attitude will help you feel and be your best self, which is what you should be aiming for in order to not only make a good impression, but also find the firm that will be the best fit for you.”
Corina Capmare


If you have any specific questions about the recruitment process, we’re happy to answer them.* Check out our Cassels Brock & Blackwell student webpage at for our contact information.

*This offer expires Friday, August 17, 2018, at 12:00pm 6:30pm.

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Favourite Assignments of the Summer

Blogwell Readers, (because we like to believe we have a following…)

With only one week of work left this summer, we couldn’t be happier sadder. While the thought of leaving Cassels brings us to tears, it is time to reminisce about our summer experience. Us summer students have been lucky enough to work on some pretty cool files with some very cool lawyers. This blog post is dedicated to our favourite work assignments of the summer. Because the students are spread out amongst the floors, we were able to get a variety of work throughout the summer.

Here are some of our highlights:

“I think the best thing I’ve done this summer is attend collective bargaining with Adrian Jakibchuk. It’s cool to see in person how lawyers prepare with their clients as well as seeing them advocate for their clients in front of opposing council. One especially nice part of going out of the office with a lawyer is that you see the research or work you’ve done for them have a real impact on the matter at hand. It makes you feel kind of important.” – Erin Minuk

“I got the chance to attend a client cross-examination, which was pretty exciting. I took notes and prepared an undertaking chart from the examination which was sent to the client.” – Corina Capmare

“My favourite work assignment was drafting an article on the updates in Canadian franchise law, both case law and legislation, over the past year.” – Reza Sarsangi

“I’ve really enjoyed some of the litigation research I’ve done. In one case, I did research for a fast food franchise. I’ve also done quite a lot of due diligence work during my time at Cassels, including for a cannabis M&A deal.” – Jacqueline Karbi

“I got to ‘dig up dirt’ on a litigation opponent this summer.” – Kieran May

“I had the pleasure of working with Partner Len Glickman on performance agreements for the Entertainment Law Group over the summer. It was a great learning experience because I had a chance to observe what a trained lawyer sees when drafting and analyzing a contract.  I had the opportunity to see the creative thinking and industry knowledge that a lawyer like Len applies to pre-emptively consider any circumstances surrounding an agreement that may arise effecting the client’s interests. Following along through the negotiation process was also enlightening.  I was fortunate to be able to watch and learn how a lawyer tactfully and assertively represents a client’s interest while maintaining positive professional relationship with the other party and opposing counsel.” – Nico Elliott-Armstrong

“Assisting in the preparation for and then attending an arbitration!” – Rob Sniderman

“I was invited to co-write an insolvency paper with Matthew Nied. I have been working on it between billable work all summer, and it looks like not only will it be published, it will be presented at a conference later this year!” – Spencer Toffoli

“The first time I got to sit in on a closing.” – Aamir Chherawala

“My favourite work assignment was definitely going to court. I loved how exciting it was and how much I learned. Also, it was a relief to (mostly) not screw up.” – Aaron Cressman

“I cannot pick just one – way too difficult. My top three (in no particular order) are: a contempt of court motion (I have been doing research on this file from the start of the summer and it has been a fabulous learning experience); a Supreme Court of Canada appeal about limitation periods (both research and drafting parts of the factum – so exciting to work on!) and an international fraud file (the most interesting facts of all my files).” – Katelyn Leonard

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