Yearly Archives: 2008

August Rush…by Sarah J.

You can feel it in the air – the beginning of the end for Cassels Brock summer students! Some of us have only four days left, while others are here for another four weeks. For many of us the end of work means traveling, sunbathing, and sleeping…but first you have to make it out of the office!

I’m not sure why I expected the last few weeks to slow down, but I shouldn’t have. The firm, and its students, has been busier than ever![1] It seems we’ve all had our share of late nights, early mornings, and numerous cups of coffee. Work assignments have been scooped up more slowly than usual and we’ve resorted to debating about who is the least busy (sadly this is not a lie)!

After a summer of great work, everyone wants to leave on a high note. That means memos have to get written, summer projects have to get finished, and corporate loose ends have to be tied up. No one is quite sure where all the time went, but it seems we’re all scrambling a bit to get it back.

I would say things will quiet down for us next week once the articling students arrive – but around here, you just never know!

[1] Ever pertaining to the 3 months I’ve actually worked here.

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The Art of Asking – Eric

Apparently there are no stupid questions. That’s a relief because I ask a lot of questions. Seriously… lots… I’m like that person who sat in the front row of your torts seminar – the one who could automatically elicit a collective groan from the rest of the class simply by raising a hand. Ok, I would never be that bad, but you get my point.

Anyway, I have learned an important rule about questions: Choose Your Battles Wisely. Questions are a double edged sword: You can courageously defend your intellectual honour, but with a few careless moves you won’t have a leg to stand on.

Not all questions need to be addressed to a busy partner when a friendly first-year associate can help. Not all questions need to be asked right away. It follows that not all questions must be answered right away (it probably isn’t best to loiter around a lawyer’s office 5 minutes after sending a lengthy issue-spotting email… not that I have done that… today).

When I began working here a few months ago, I was pretty trigger happy with the questions and the askings and the askings of the questions. At the first sign of an issue, I would be dialing a lawyer’s extension, even though I had not even articulated the question yet. Trust me, this is embarrassing.

I have since learned the importance of patient consideration. Write down the question. Think about it. Think about it some more. Why do I want to know this? Who can I ask? Does it need to be answered ASAP? And so on and so on. Basically, I try to wait at least 30 minutes from the time I have a question before I do anything about it. Usually, if I keep reading, working, reviewing, etc, it will answer itself.
Patience, yeah, patience.

Said Question, take it slow
Things will be just fine
You and I just need a little patience…

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The Assignment to End all Assignments – Eric

Hello. I wasn’t planning on writing today, but it’s Friday Afternoon in the Universe and something has crossed my mind.

Summer student culture seems to have its own mythology; we have all heard stories about students getting (too) drunk at social events, accidentally ‘reply all-ing’ embarassing emails, and even insulting the managing partner’s partner directly to his or her face. I haven’t witnessed any of these myself. Maybe they are rare occurances – sensationalized and exaggerated tales achieving legendary status on abovethelaw.com and lawbuzz.ca.

Even the most ordinary summer experiences are discussed at length by students. (Are the hours as long as they say? Do firms really have beds? If I work for the government, can I be on the patio by 5:10?)

You may have heard the one about the work assignment to end all work assignments. You know, where a lawyer gives you work and instructs you not to take on anything else until its completed?

Today, I confirm the existence of the assignment to end all assignments.
Want to hear about it? I want to tell you about it.
Unfortnately for us both, its 12:17 on hot dog Friday.

Have a great weeked.

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Golf Event by Laura S.

Yesterday was the student golf day event (yes, we have had a lot of “extracurricular” events this summer). The rain held out, we missed half a day of work, and we all had a blast!

The event began in the early afternoon, when the summer students and many of our mentors abandoned the air-conditioned offices of Scotia Plaza and set out for Diamond Back Golf Course. When we arrived, we were treated to a lesson from one of the pros at the club. This was great for me since I, as well as several of the other students, had never even held a golf club before. While the experienced golfers used their lesson to work on their technique, I learned how to make a “V” shape when gripping the club.

After that, we split up into teams of four, hopped into the golf carts, and hit the course. My team consisted of myself, David G., Mow C., and Deborah Glatter, the director of our student program/unofficial firm mother. Poor Mow was the only experienced golfer, and we all owe him a “big thank you” for (a) showing us the ropes and (b) not killing us. Mow was always the perfect gentleman and never once lost his cool while his teammates botched every aspect of the game by speaking during his backswing, lying about our scores, walking in the path of the ball, and missing our turns due to distraction by the snack cart (I must admit that this was my favourite part of the game).

Once golf was over and everyone was sufficiently starving, we headed back to the clubhouse to enjoy an abundance of bbq and booze. We also had an awards ceremony. The winning team consisted of Tracy L., Craig P., Tilly G., and our resident golf pro, JTK. Eric M. was also acknowledged as the “Most Improved Golfer.” Deborah and I are still confused as to how we did not win and are hoping to solve this mystery at the next golf event.

We would all like to thank Erin Finlay and her husband, Craig Cupido, for making the day possible.

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What’s a gym?….. Oh a gym!! by Ryan G. (Guest Blawgger)

I consider myself to be fairly active. I enjoy going to the gym and playing sports. However, I have this lingering fear in the back of my mind. The fear: how will I maintain my Schwartzenegger deltoids, Van Damme esque calves and Segal killer squint with all the time I spend at the office?

Thus, I write this blog for the athletically inclined, for those among us that don’t view weight training as lifting a few CEDs at a time (although after 70 Reps of easements you start to feel a good burn) and for those that want a little more cardio training than speed walking to a lawyer’s office to get work. So, I hope to share some insight into the options available for current and future summer students looking to stay fit.

As a Cassels Brock summer student, you are given a gym membership card. I can remember back to orientation week when we summer students were given the grand tour of the local gym. My colleagues’ hopeful remarks still linger in my mind:

– “I’m going to lift every day and after that grab a booster juice ” (FYI: Ripped Berry has narrowly edged out Tropical Thunder as the summer student go to drink)

– “We will do yoga and pilates and spinning, and core training and kickboxing!”

No. You will not. In reality, it is difficult as a summer student to stay fit. The reason. You have no time. Indeed, a regular workout schedule, is very difficult to maintain. It takes dedication and commitment. Now, this is not to say that it is an impossible feat, it just takes a well thought out approach.

Take, for example, my officemate Sarah, I believe you have heard from her, she is quite committed to her regimen. She participates in something called “body pump” at the local gym, and apparently it is good for you. Now, where Sarah and I differ is that my brain and body don’t turn on until approximately 11 AM. You see, Sarah is a morning workout person, I am not. In many instances, however, squeezing a workout in before you arrive at work can be the only way you get to workout. Thus, recommendation one for staying fit as a summer student is: get up early (if you can) and go to body pump.

There are also those among us that workout during the day. I personally am not one of them, but you see them, periodically sneaking out of the office hoping that no one sees them carrying their gym bag- oh I see you. The pitfall with this approach lies with the ongoing fear that the lawyer you are working for will notice that you are gone. On the other hand, If you can get away with this risky manoeuvre the payoff can be great –you’ve squeezed the precious workout in at the perfect time, not too early and not too late. Again though, take caution with this approach. You may crash and burn if you are needed on closing but are doing squats instead. Thus, recommendation number two for staying fit: leave the office, but do so at your own peril.

Now, here is my approach. Simply put, I workout at night. The problem with my approach is that I never end work at the same time. So, on those days where I arrive home at a reasonable time, I can maybe squeeze in a workout. However, where I arrive home slightly later, forget about it, I am too exhausted. What has this taught me? Essentially, being a law student and a lawyer is about balance. Finding time for the things you want to do in life is crucial, but can be difficult. Bottom line; you can stay fit, just don’t expect to join the cast of 300 anytime soon.

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