Off to the Races

Hello and welcome to my inaugural blog post of Summer 2011. My name is Alec M, and as you can see from the intro I know all the words to “Ice Ice Baby”,  which is a huge asset at a firm that chooses partners based on karaoke talent.  

We are now at the end of our second week. With all the training sessions, procedures, manuals, codes, etc., that we have been exposed to over the past two weeks, it’s easy for a summer student to start taking themselves too seriously. To bring some levity, I present to you a non-exhaustive list of orientation week missteps:

  1. While searching for the 22nd floor coat room, mistakenly walking into a board room with partners meeting inside. In this situation, it’s best to back out slowly, or just walk in as if you are part of the meeting. Don’t be afraid to commit.  
  2. Repeatedly mistaking your neighbour’s office for your own. This has happened to your faithful correspondent several times. Luckily, the neighbouring associate has always been absent.
  3. Thinking for a moment that Brian Reeve on the 22nd floor is actually Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, who has settled down after his abortive NBA career to maintain a modest sports-law practice with Cassels Brock. This is not the case.
  4. Getting lost on the way to the photocopier/bathroom/coffee machine, etc. A major skill of orientation week is the ability to confidently walk throughout the building while having little idea where you are going (I find donning a pilot’s cap and acting like you’re in a rush is a good way to deflect questions).   

Aside from learning humility, we’ve also learned a great deal about how the work allocation system operates here at Cassels. Something readers of this blog might already know about the firm is that the summer program does not have a rotation system. This means that summer students are not committed to a single practice area for a set period of time; rather, they are free to pick and choose work from various practice groups.

In practice, the allocation system works like this: a lawyer will send out a mass email to all the summer students, offering up an assignment on a first-come first-served basis. Often, when there are many students available for work (as was the case this week), a request by a lawyer will induce a salvo of eager replies. The first to reply gets the job. In this system, the race is to the swift.  

Just how swift? Ardy M nabbed work on a closing by replying within 30 seconds of a request by an associate. He might just have the fastest fingers in the firm. I managed to snag a pair of field-level Jays tickets (a sweeter bounty, I know), but that was only because Ardy abstained from replying out of pure sportsmanship.

So, all in all, it’s been an exciting two weeks, with much learned and much to learn still. There promises to be more excitement to come. Stay tuned, folks!

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