Eating Our Way Through Cassels

There are a lot of things to look forward to when you work at a firm – going home at midnight, getting an assignment from a lawyer at 4pm on a Saturday, or receiving a memo back you thought you nailed covered in red pen.

While those are all exciting things to look forward to (at other firms, of course), here at Cassels, we look forward to Wednesdays. We know what you’re thinking – Wednesday? What good ever happens on a Wednesday – it’s too far from the previous weekend to reminisce but too far from the upcoming weekend to talk about all the plans you’ve already made. As you’re having this mid-week crisis in your head, your stomach grumbles. Now, not only are you faced with the mid-week blues, but you’re starving on top of it. Then there comes the next struggle – do I eat the lame carrots and dip I packed for lunch because #cleaneating or do I venture down to the PATH to find something delicious AND healthy with my friends and ignore the voices in my head saying, “STOP spending money”. This dilemma occurs to all summer law students. Correction: This dilemma occurs to all summer law students, EXCEPT those at Cassels.

On Wednesdays, Cassels caters lunch for all of the lawyers at the firm, and honestly, it’s delicious every time.  To be honest, I don’t have anything else to say. It was a lot of build up for one sentence. Okay, I’ll say it again, but this time I’ll bold and underline it. Cassels caters lunch every Wednesday.

But wait, it gets better.

Remember in elementary school when your teacher designated 15 minutes every afternoon to snack time? Yeah, Cassels does that too. Every day at 4pm, well, 4:07 if we’re being polite, the Cassels Summer Students file into the lounge for daily snack time! It sounds minute, but when you spend your entire day doing Due Diligence, or spinning your wheels on Westlaw, a delicious break is needed, and appreciated.

Okay, two more very quick headlines on the food topic, since we’re here.

Throughout the summer the Summer Students have CLEs. Okay, I just had to look up what that was too, you’re not alone. CLE stands for continued learning education… I think? Regardless, when Shannon Leo sends an email invitation to one of these sessions and you click “Accept” because you’re not really sure you have a choice, the first thing to do is look at the time of the CLE. If it’s at noon – Hallelujah! Lunch will be served. No lame carrots and dip for me. I remember the first CLE we had post-Orientation Week scheduled for noon. Here is a rough list of the thoughts that went through my head upon receiving that initial invitation:

  • Will lunch be served?
  • Is it presumptuous of me to think lunch will be served?
  • Ugh, but if lunch isn’t served I have to make it myself.
  • What if lunch is served but I make a lunch and my food goes to waste?
  • Erin, just leave the food you made in the fridge for the following day – problem solved.
  • Wow, that really wasn’t hard to figure out. Now I just need to decide if I bring my lunch to the CLE or not – how presumptuous do I want to seem?

Many a thoughts for nothing, as lunch was served. Crisis averted.

Lastly, but honestly, probably the most important food tip of the day. Birthday parties aren’t just for kiddos. I really lucked out with the group of Summer Students this year. No, not because of their dazzling personalities (although that’s a close second), but because there are so many summer babies – which means Birthday Party!! Seriously, we get a calendar invite when it’s a student’s birthday entitled, “_____’s Birthday Party” where we all go to the lounge and eat cake.

Cassels Brock & Brockwell: Where you’ll always be learning, but never be hungry.

We’re not saying that food should be the reason you pick a firm, but it definitely shouldn’t not be a reason you pick a firm, either.

Sincerely,

The Cassels Block & Blogwell Team

 

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Cassels Block & Spikewell

 

June 8, 2018

On Wednesday, May 23rd, a group of Cassels Summer Students made their way to Woodbine Beach for the yearly tradition that is Bay Street volleyball, donning their team shirts and slapping on sunscreen for a day of games in the sun.

The morning started with some easy wins against McCarthy and Torys to warm up the team. However, the afternoon got heated, with Cassels taking a close win against the massive roster of Stikeman-Elliot. By the fourth game, Cassels was joined by the fresh faces of students who had worked in the morning. The final game of the round robin was a nail-biter, with the Cassels team coming back from a 13-point deficit to beat Faskens 37-35.

Undefeated in the round robin, Cassels went into the quarter-finals matching up against their old rival, Stikeman-Elliot. Unfortunately, a day in the sun and a limited roster had taken its toll on the team, while Stikeman’s seemingly infinite amount of subs ended up making the difference. Despite a close game, Cassels ended their run with a 21-19 loss and closing out the day with a 4-1 record.

Leaving the field a lot sandy and a little salty, the Cassels student team retired to Biermarket with the students from the other firms for an evening of celebration (and mourning). That night was spent celebrating with firm-sponsored drinks and food, mingling with the other firms and learning about other summer student experiences on Bay Street (tip: it isn’t as fun as Cassels).

Until next year, Cassels will have to wait for a new batch of students to bring home the championship title to suite 2100 of the Scotia Tower.

Cheers,

The CBB Student Blog Team

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First Impressions

Hello world!

Today marks the end of Week 3 for us 2018 Summer Students here at Cassels Brock & Blackwell. Before we dive in, let us thank you for being interested in our summer experience and Cassels as a whole. Our three weeks here have taught us that Cassels is a great place to work and we’re excited to share our insights and experiences with you in the coming weeks. As with past summers, the CBB Blog will be run by several of Cassels’ eager Summer Students, but look forward to features and quotes from the rest of the students too. We hope you enjoy getting to know the team by the end of the summer!

To kick things off on the CBB Blog, we thought it would only be appropriate to start from the very beginning: Orientation Week. Here is a brief overview of our Orientation Week activities, but feel free to skip below if you would like to hear from some of our Summer Students on their personal highlights of the week…

Day 1

Monday started with some warm welcomes to the firm by Jonathan Freeman and Jennifer Wasylyk, Co-Chairs of the Student Committee. This was followed by a presentation on the “Nuts & Bolts” of summering at Cassels, given by none other than our beloved Director of Practice Excellence, Shannon Leo (a name any aspiring Cassels student will quickly become familiar with).

That day we were also all given our office assignments and formal mentors. Many of us met our mentors over lunch with the Student Committee, which was the first of many great meals to come.

The afternoon was spent getting our work iPhones, taking a professional headshot photo for the CBB website and LinkedIn, and capping the day off with some firm-sponsored food and drinks at Beer Bistro.

Day 2

Our second day was spent receiving IT and library training, as well as going out for lunch at Mercatto where many of the Summer Students (myself included) ate way too much pizza and pasta for our own good.

Day 3

On Wednesday, we had the pleasure of hearing from some associates and partners at the firm, giving us brief “101” sessions on the Business Law group and due diligence work. We also had a training session across the street hosted by Thomson Reuters, teaching us all how to use WestlawNext like pros.

In the evening, we were officially welcomed and introduced to the firm at an evening cocktail reception, where we interacted with many of the firm’s lawyers and were treated to some yummy finger foods and wine.

Day 4

During the day, we were given time to work on our personal CBB web bios for the student website, each of us driven to come up with the perfect and punny tagline.

In the evening, we went to dinner at Wayne Gretzky’s with our mentors, attended the Second City show, “The Best is Yet to Come Undone”, and finished off the night with some drinks on the roof-top patio at Oasis. It was an evening full of laughs, and a great opportunity to get to know each other.

Day 5

The last day of Orientation Week was highlighted by a delicious three-course meal and champagne for lunch at Terroni on Adelaide, with Shannon Leo sending us home early to enjoy the long weekend and sleep off the food.

So what is your favourite Orientation Week memory?

Shannon Scrocchi: “Getting to mix and mingle with all of the summer students!”

Kieran May: “Having some laughs at Second City after a busy first week!”

Carmen Bruni: “Seeing everyone Friday morning after Second City – you can learn a lot about a person from how they handle a hangover!”

Reza Sarsangi: “Getting together with all the students at Beer Bistro after the first day. It was a great way for the summer student class to get to know one another.” 

Corina Capmare: “One of the many highlights of Orientation Week was having lunch with one of my mentors on the first day and learning about all of the interesting places and scenarios that litigation practice can take you!”

Forrest Finn: “Going to the bar the first night and getting to know everyone better over drinks and going to Second City with all of the students and mentors!”

Photos from Orientation Week:

Summer Students bonding over some drinks during Orientation Week

Summer Students from left to right: Aamir, Spencer, and Rob

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OCI Applications: Cover Letter, Resume & Final Tips

Since 5 PM on Monday August 21 is fast-approaching, our summer student group thought it would be beneficial to share some final tips of advice as you finalize your cover letters and resumes. We know the stress of uploading every document to the ViDesktop… making sure that every T is crossed and I is dotted.

Don’t fret! Considering the fact that all of us went through the exact same process last year, we thought we would share some of the key features/ elements of a successful cover letter.

1) Know yourself and be able to communicate your “theme” in your cover letter

The reader of your cover letter will be greatly impressed when they can draw connections between your resume and your cover letter. You want your cover letter to provide a strong sense of your personality, character, work ethic, and attitude. Every line you include in your cover letter should therefore have a purpose. Make sure you are drawing connections between the work experience and the skills you acquired during the experience.

For example, if you were a barista at Starbucks, do not waste valuable real estate on explaining the role of a barista. Everyone generally knows the roles and duties of a barista at a coffee shop. Do your best to communicate the lessons and skills you gained on the job, IE: “Over the past four years, I have worked as a barista at Starbucks Canada, where I was promoted from Jr. Server into a managerial role, overseeing roughly 15 employees. It was through this experience where I learned the value of working within a team-setting under tight deadlines.”

Already, as a reader, we would get the sense that you are team player who rose through the ranks based on hard work, dedication, and commitment. Do not be afraid to tell your story!

2) Be honest about your interests but do not pigeon hole yourself (if applying to a full-service firm).

At Cassels Brock, we are a full-service firm, which means that our lawyers practice all different types of law. Our advocacy and business groups consist of many sub-groups and practice areas. This structure is quite similar at other firms. As a reader, one would definitely want to see that you are interested in certain areas of the law. It shows that you have done your research and have selected courses that can somewhat prepare you for practice. At the same time; however, always keep an open mind.

Many of us wrote to Cassels something alone these lines: “I am interested in your franchise and intellectual property groups, but would welcome the opportunity to gain broad exposure to the various groups within advocacy and business law.”

3) Always include a paragraph on WHY the firm

We are sure that many, if not most of you, have attended various firm tours across the city over the course of the summer. While it may not be apparent to you just yet, you will notice (during in-firm interviews) that firms embody distinct cultures. Ultimately, many of you will be making decisions about your legal career based on a specific culture of a firm. If you have had the opportunity to speak with summer students/ articling students and/or lawyers from firms, be sure to mention some of the integral tidbits they shared about the firm in your cover letter. Always explain to the reader WHY you see yourself making a great addition to the firm and WHAT about the firm attracted you to apply. Do your best to communicate characteristics and/or features that are not directly mentioned on the website.

Were there certain diversity initiatives about the firm that you admired? Did a summer student speak about a work assignment that seemed exciting and intriguing? Did you speak to a recruiter about the unique qualities of the firm? Be sure to mention those key interactions/ conversations! It will benefit you in the long run, especially when you are able to put a name to a face during the interview process.

Resume

  • Use powerful active verbs such as “I managed,” “I facilitated,” “I organized.”
  • Maximum use of 3 bullets per experience.
  • Try to avoid high school involvement (unless it is inherently unique).
  • Be specific when describing your tasks.
  • Think carefully about your skills and interests section.

Final Tips

  • Be yourself! Everyone in this process values authenticity.
  • Know your personality- be able to recognize the type of firm/ working environment you are looking for (IE: smaller, medium, big, rotational summer program, flexible summer program, litigation, corporate, full-service).
  • Ask meaningful questions (Try not to ask lawyers questions that can be answered directly from the Cassels Brock website).
  • Use students as your resources from beginning to end (Call a friend who interviewed at Cassels prior to OCIs to learn more about the interview experience).

We wish all of you the best of the luck in the process. Our summer term ends Friday August 18th, 2017, but all of us would be happy to provide support and to answer any of your questions throughout the process!

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Summer Student Events: Looking Back

We can hardly believe there are only a few days left of our summer at the firm! Aside from the exciting files we got to work on, one of the highlights of our summer was definitely all the fun student events!

At the Open Roof Festival, an event that supports independent filmmakers and artists from Canada and around the world, we had the opportunity to get drinks and food with our mentors at the venue with live music. We also very much enjoyed watching the movie Get Out at the outdoor theatre later that evening!

 

The summer class also got to experience SoulCycle with Shannon the other day. Some of us are experienced cyclist. For some others, it was our first time biking in a long time. After an amazing and intense workout, we all headed to Four Seasons for breakfast.

And of course, the summer class went to an all-time favourite event – the Jays game!

We’re grateful for Shannon and the firm for organizing these events and making sure we’re all achieving a healthy work-life balance. These events provided great opportunities for the students to mingle with our mentors and other lawyers at the firm and were an invaluable part of our experience and development as a team.

Till next time,

Your 2017 Bloggers

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