Yearly Archives: 2014

Early Summer OCI Tips

Now, I know what you’re thinking already. Its mid-July, you’re sitting by the pool sipping some sangria or K-Juice (ask Kwaku for a recipe) and you are saying: why would I ever start worrying about OCI’s right now?!

The scary truth is that Toronto OCI applications are due in around 6 weeks, and it is never too early to start prepping. In fact, I would highly advise not leaving these applications until the last minute. The good news is that there is some very easy and helpful prep work you can start doing right now. Here are a few tips for getting started on the application process:

1) Contact people you know at the firms you are applying to. Reaching out to students and lawyers at these firms is a great way of demonstrating your interest to the firm and learning more about the firm culture.  And most importantly, you will have a name to reference in your cover letter. Every little trick you can use to help distinguish yourself from the pack is highly recommended. Also, if you don’t know anyone personally at the firm you are applying to, don’t be afraid to contact an alumni from your law school who works there. We have all been in your shoes and we are all happy to help.

2) ORDER YOUR TRANSCRIPTS. NOW. I won’t name names (NOAH LESZCZ) but some students forget to order their official transcripts from both their undergrad universities and their law school. You don’t want to be compiling your applications and suddenly realize that the transcript you thought you had from undergrad was in fact incomplete, and missing your entire fourth year. Needless to say, it’s not a fun feeling. (I ended up realizing my mistake with a week to go and rush ordered the transcript from McGill for a hefty price. No harm, no foul.) On this same note, contact the people (if any) who are writing your reference letters to give them as much time as possible.


Chan and Chad’s Tip: “Don’t wear the exact same suit, shirt, and tie combo as your good friends. One of you is inevitably going to look better.”

3) Clean up your resume. Start editing and re-writing your resume to make it as professional looking as possible. I highly recommend contacting a friend in upper year at law school and asking for a copy of their resume. Law firms want to see a specific format from your resume and double checking with an upper year buddy is a good way to make sure you are on track.

4) Go on firm tours. Firm tours are a great way to meet lawyers at the firms and give yourself a leg up before OCI’s. Most importantly, you will start to figure what people mean when they say “firm culture”. Finding a firm that you like, is just as important as finding a firm that likes you.

5) Find an “upper year OCI buddy”. Yes, I made up that term. And yes, I had an upper year OCI buddy. The next few months are going to be a whirlwind of applications, cover letters, interviews, dinners, and phone calls. Having someone that you can call at any time to bounce questions off of is crucial. There is a tremendous amount of strategy that goes into the whole OCI process and having a wise sage (AKA upper year OCI buddy) in your back-pocket will prove to be extremely helpful.

Stay tuned for more blog posts with tips for OCI’s in the upcoming weeks!

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Fashion Fridays: A Shopping Guide

Buying fashionable clothes for work can seem like a challenge, and can seem to be quite expensive. But, do not fear, Fashion Fridays is here! We have compiled a list of some of our favourite places to shop.

TIP: Always ask if a store takes a student discount. They usually do but they don’t advertise it (hint: Club Monaco, JCrew, Banana Republic)

TIP: check out factory or outlet stores!

For the men:

  • Brooks Brothers
  • Club Monaco
  • Tom’s Place
  • Suitsupply
  • (please see David Kelman for endorsement re: his new burnt orange tie)
  • JCrew
  • Banana Republic
  • Strellson
  • Aldo
  • Winners (a Matthew Gold personal favourite)
  • Moores (who doesn’t love a buy one get one deal!)

For the ladies:

  • Club Monaco
  • Ann Taylor
  • The Loft
  • Banana Republic
  • JCrew
  • The Bay
  • H&M
  • Aritizia
  • Zara
  • Femme de Carriere
  • Ricki’s
  • The Gap (sometimes)
  • Joe Fresh
  • Winners (don’t underestimate it!)

Have a great weekend, and happy shopping!


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First Years Take on Bay Street

As we have mentioned, there are 22 summer students at Cassels. What you may not know is that three of us are first year students. While we usually blend in with the second year students, sometimes we just can’t hide our “inexperience”.

While the first year recruitment process begins in second semester, landing a first year position at a Bay Street firm may be something on your mind when you begin law school in September. If not, you may start to consider first year recruitment after receiving your grades in January. In either case, you will undoubtedly have endless questions and concerns about the process. I have decided to compile this post (with the help of the lovely previous and present 1L students) to provide some insight into the application process, explain why you should consider participating in 1L recruitment, and offer our perspective on being a 1L student at Cassels.

From us to you, we hope this post eases some of your worries and provides you with a few (albeit corny) laughs along the way!


The Application Process:

“I highly recommend applying for a 1L position because even if you don’t end up landing a job, you still come out with polished application materials, invaluable interview experience, and a handful of new connections at law firms.”

– Michael Garbuz


“Although all interviews come with a reasonable amount of stress, the 1L process is much less stressful than the frenzy of OCIs. Firms generally interview fewer 1L candidates and as a result, you get to experience the firm on a more holistic level. I had the benefit of meeting the entire student committee during my interviews at Cassels which provided me with a much more comprehensive view of the firm and its culture.”

– Xi Chen


Life as a 1L at Cassels:

“This year, the 1L students are sharing offices with the returning 1L students. We are thankful that we each have an “unofficial” mentor to calm our nerves and answer all of our questions (usually with a sarcastic response or a laugh). So, while we have capitalized on their knowledge of the Firm, we have also been the victims of the “oh, you silly 1L” jokes.

I was particularly looking forward to having a returning summer student officemate so that my most serious issues – all computer and printing related – could be addressed. Unfortunately, Jacquie has been very unhelpful in this respect. I have suggested that she sign up for additional computer training sessions to fix this problem.”

– Amanda Metallo


“Being a 1L at Cassels is not so different from being a 2L at Cassels. However, there are some changes I would suggest:

  1. Provide us each with an “in training” label for our clothes to alert lawyers that we don’t know what a PPSA or a Prospectus is
  2. Provide our office-mates with sensitivity training (looking at you, Chan) to support our professional development
  3. Take us for ice cream when we have had a tough day at the office
  4. Give us the authority to delegate work to the 2L summer students

That being said, life is good being a 1L summer student at Cassels.”

– Chad Podolsky


“You will feel like you are scamming the system because you are getting paid but don’t know anything substantial. Don’t worry, everyone is in the same boat, including the 2Ls. Although you might not know anything about securities or business or what a PPSA Registration is, the summer program is all about learning. The lawyers know that we know nothing and everyone’s willing to help so just ask questions. The one caveat to that is if you’re wondering what’s on the lunch menu or how to set up voicemail, you might want to ask another summer student and not a partner.”

– Andrew Chan


“As a 1L student, the number one lession I learned was that, if you don’t know what something means, ask.

As a returning student, I’ve decided to reject my own advice entirely and impart knowledge upon my officemate Amanda exclusively through the “learn by doing” method. While Amanda has not yet figured out that this is almost entirely because I still don’t know what “toggling a doc ID” means or how to convert a PDF into a gif into a three dimensionally printed working airplane, I still take partial credit for her laudable skill at “replying-all” to assignment emails in three seconds or less.”

– Jacquie Richards


Jacquie reminding me that what we lack in skill, we make up for in enthusiasm


Michael has been trying to perfect David’s ‘serious’ face all summer long


Andrew and Chad need a little distance from time to time


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The Climb

(Sung to the Miley Cyrus song “The Climb”)

There’s always gonna be another memo

I’m always gonna wonder when it’s due

Always gonna be a tricky question

Sometimes it will be tough to prove

Ain’t about how fast I get there

Ain’t about what they’re saying on the other side

It’s the climb


The Cassels Brock summer students enjoyed a great evening of rock climbing at Joe Rockhead’s last Thursday night. We were diligently taught how to fasten our harnesses, secure our ropes, and belay our partners before heading up the walls and reaching new heights. We were happy to be joined by Deborah Glatter and several members of the firm’s student committee.



After working up an appetite we rolled into the Brazen Head pub in Liberty Village to have some snacks and wish a fond farewell to Stef Sebanc, one of our excellent summer students who will be spending the rest of her summer working for a professor at Western Law. As Jay-Z said, Stef came, saw, and conquered and we are sad to see her go.

Stay tuned for more blogs from the 2014 summer students. For details on how to sign up for a firm open house please visit

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West Coast Wednesday: Fun Facts about CBB Vancouver

Time is flying by and I can’t believe that there are only six weeks left in our summer student term!

I’m feeling sentimental this West Coast Wednesday and I want to share a few of my favourite things about the quirky office at CBB Vancouver.

1. We have a *real* woolly mammoth tusk in the foyer

Legend has it that this specimen was hunted down by prehistoric securities lawyers.

2. There is unlimited Perrier

At CBB Vancouver, we maximize productivity by staying hydrated with sparkling water straight from natural springs in Southern France. Collectively, the office consumes enough Perrier to fill a small, carbonated lake. Check out Arend’s previous West Coast Wednesday post for a poetic discussion about the symbolic meaning of Perrier in our summer student experience:

3. Everyone is named “Jen”

All of the Jens

…well not everyone, but 5 out of the 14 lawyers have names that begin with “Jen” and 8 out of 14 have names that start with “J”. I’m convinced that the main reason they hired me was to continue this trend.

Pro tip for second year students seeking jobs: If you’re on a firm tour or in an interview at the CBB Vancouver office and you can’t remember someone’s name, just mumble something that sounds like “Jen” and you’ll probably get away with it (disclaimer: this may backfire horribly).

4. We have a foosball table in the lunch room


Arend and I are developing a fierce rivalry.

5. Arend and I get to feel special at student events

Arend and I have been seriously spoiled at student events so far. For example, when Deborah Glatter – CBB’s lovely Director of Professional Development & Student Programs – visited the Vancouver office recently, she treated us to steak frites and grilled halibut at Good Wolfe in Yaletown, and front row seats to see Wicked at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Garabaldi Lakes 3

Arend made good use of his souvenir water bottle from Wicked when he trekked up to Garabaldi Lakes.

6. Lunches are catered every day

I treasure every extra minute of time in the morning before work. Knowing that I don’t have to pack a lunch gives me at least 15 extra minutes of sleep and saves money on my grocery bills.

Catered Lunch 1Catered Lunch 2

Today’s offering: grilled chicken salad with avocado, slivered almonds and (hidden) cherry tomatoes.

7. There are four(!) patios in the office

On sunny Friday afternoons the CBB Vancouver team congregates on the main patio to enjoy drinks, chat and wave at our patio-less neighbours in the building next door. Two of the other patios attach to partners’ offices (Arend and I are trying to convince everyone that it would be the most economical use of office space if we shared one of these).

Balcony 1     Balcony 4

Balcony 3    Balcony 2


Life is good up here on the 22nd floor of the HSBC building. I’m looking forward to what the next six weeks will bring!

Until next Wednesday,


Jenna C.


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