Category Archives: Misc.

Diversity: A Look at Cassels and Beyond

Diversity. The word itself gets thrown around endlessly law schools and law firms alike. However, without any action behind it, the world itself is lifeless. Diversity is subjective and means different things to different people. But at Cassels, diversity is more than just a buzzword. It is a commitment to unlearning biases and restructuring our workplace. Cassel’s hasn’t just vowed to do better, but has devoted time, people, and resources into actually doing so. We proudly have Black, Asian and LGBT Affinity Groups, a flexible maternity leave program, and accessibility and inclusivity training. I was proud to learn that Margaret Paton Hyndman, a pioneering female lawyer and the first Canadian woman to be appointed King’s Council, practised at Cassels until her retirement.

To learn something about diversity at Cassels, look no further than our current summer student group. As Tiffany Chiu told me, “the firm truly views the members of our summer class as multi-dimensional people and embraces both our shared similarities and differences. For me, this speaks to the core of the firm’s commitment to diversity.”

Mentorship and friendship can be brokered through similar interests, aspirations and personalities. Yet, there is something invaluable about a prospective student looking at our firm and seeing students, associates, and partners like themselves. When we are mentored by someone who shares the same kind of diversity trait as we do – be it race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation – it allows us to envision who we might become in the future. Put simply, come walk our hallways and I can almost guarantee you’ll find someone just like yourself.

Summer student Tristan Davis gave us his thoughts on diversity and the realm of law.

“Diversity  was one of the most important things I considered during the recruitment process. As President of the Osgoode Hall Black Law Students Association, I am particularly active on campus with regard to diversity initiatives and I wanted to ensure that the firm I chose was equally committed to diversity. Although the diversity of Canada is not yet reflected within the legal profession, many firms and legal departments have made significant strides in recent years. It is important to remember that it takes a special perseverance and dedication for many minorities to achieve success in such a demanding profession.

With that being said, if diversity is equally important to you, remain true to your values. Ask questions about diversity and inclusion initiatives and don’t be afraid to ask for concrete examples of the firm’s commitment to promoting diversity. If you are a member of a diversity group on campus, include that information within your applications. Wear your hair and clothing the way you like. It is important that you feel comfortable when going through the process and you want to choose a firm that allows you to be yourself. At Cassels I am fortunate enough to have excellent Black role models and diversity initiatives that celebrate our unique culture. If any potential applicants have any diversity related questions, please feel free to email me at any time.”

Many other students echoed Tristan’s thoughts. As one of my fellow summer students told me, “on a personal level, it provides a much more comfortable work environment for me and it’s a nice change from the concerning lack of diversity I see at my school. I love that there are ascertainable manifestations of different ‘kinds’ of diversity at Cassels as well, not only in the conventional race/ethnicities sense but also in backgrounds, life-style and interests.”

I will give the last word to my fellow Blogger Any Obando, who eloquently shared her perspective on diversity at the firm and beyond.

“My personal thoughts on diversity mostly stem from my identity and experiences as a minority female. Although there have been enormous strides towards pushing for equality for all, there are still many adversities that women face. I didn’t think too much about my differences until I got to law school, where statistics about being a minority and a woman in the workforce were thrown at me. The attrition rates, the partner ratio of men to women, and the struggles women sometimes faced while taking maternity leave.

I put diversity at the top of my list during the recruitment period. I dug deeper during interviews and did online research to see which firms not only talked the talk, but “walked the walk” of valuing diversity. Cassels impressed me beyond any other firm. Not only do they demonstrate diversity at all levels of their work force, but their programming demonstrates they are leaders in developing and evolving existing policy in diversity. From having a mental health component to the variety of affinity groups at the firm, I felt this was somewhere that would value me and help me break these “invisible barriers” I was told so much about in law school. Going forward, I hope to see both Cassels and the rest of the profession continue to strive forward to both truly value and develop diversity through recruitment and through developing and evolving existing policy. We can always be, and should always strive to be, better as a profession.”

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Launching Humans of Cassels

Happy Friday everyone! This year, we’re excited to launch the Humans of Cassels series to introduce you to numerous people at the firm. We thank Mike Weizel, articling student and returning associate in the fall, for taking the time to speak with us for our first interview of this feature. We hope you enjoy hearing about his Cassels experience!

Stay tuned for more,

Your 2017 Bloggers

Mike Weizel, Articling Student and returning First Year Associate

Queen’s University

“My time as a summer and articling student at Cassels was positive for a variety of reasons. From the outset as a summer student, the lawyers and staff throughout the firm made me feel welcome and provided me with the support that I needed to get my bearings in the first few weeks. After spending a year at the firm in total, that level of support has not faded as I’ve seen how the firm is committed to helping its students grow and learn throughout the process. If there was one thing that I would want to pass on to incoming and potential students, it would be to keep trying. Keep trying new areas of law and forget any preconceived notions that you may have about a particular area of practice. With an open mind and a focus on learning as much as possible you will give yourself the best opportunity to find the practice area that you are truly passionate about – and when you do – it won’t feel like coming to work at all.”

Humans of Cassels

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Orientation Week Recap

Wow! Just 2 weeks ago, 15 eager students entered the main boardroom at Cassels Brock, truly excited for a memorable orientation week.

Our Commander-in-Chief, Shannon Leo, welcomed us with open arms. During our first day, we received a training session on the “ins and outs” of the firm, met with the marketing and business development team, received our freshly groomed iPhone 7s, and took head shots for the website.

One thing we can say about orientation week is that we were all VERY well fed. Between lunches with the student committee, International Diversity Lunch in celebration of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a 3 course meal at Mercato, and a “You Survived Orientation” meal at Terroni…let’s just say that everyone spent the weekend at their local gym.

Orientation gave us a wonderful sense of the firm culture. From meeting with partners and associates, to getting our offices, to learning about some of the exciting business deals and files the firms is working on, to working with our librarians about how to partake in cutting-edge legal research, it is clear that Cassels Brock is a place that truly cares about student mentorship and development.

There was no shortage of social activities throughout the week. After finishing Day 1, we all traveled to a nearby bar to celebrate our summer class with cocktails and appetizers. On Night 3, we had a delicious dinner at Wayne Gretzy’s followed by a hilarious comedy show at Second City. On Night 4, the entire firm welcomed us to a cocktail reception. In addition to the fantastic sushi bar, lots of introductions were exchanged.

A huge thank you to Shannon Leo and the student committee for an outstanding week. We leave you with our fellow colleague’s thoughts on orientation week.

Ave Bross: The summer student orientation at Cassels Brock was both fun and informative. The firm welcomed their students with open arms. The week consisted of educational training sessions as well as social activities that allowed the students to bond with each other and integrate themselves within the firm. It was a fantastic week and I am excited to be a member of the Cassels Brock team.

Heesoo Kim: I had high expectations of orientation week but they were exceeded. The various training and social activities provided ample opportunity to not only familiarize myself with the firm but truly get to know all the great members of the summer class team. It was an informative, exciting and inspiring experience and I’m grateful to already feel so at home at Cassels Brock.

Koen Yi: My favourite aspect of orientation week was meeting everyone in the new summer class. I had a great time getting to know my new cohort through the various activities that Shannon planned for us. The highlight of the week was when we all went to Second City to enjoy some good food and laughs.

If you would like to learn more about the summer student class, you can visit http://www.cbbstudents.com/Section/Students/Summer_Students_2017

Stay tuned for more exciting posts!

Till next time,

Your 2017 Bloggers

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Introducing your 2017 Summer Student Blog!

Welcome to the Summer 2017 Cassels Brock Student Blog!

We are the four summer students who will be heading up our weekly blog postings. We hope that you will get a chance to hear from all 15 of our summer students (Toronto and Vancouver) but the four of us will be posting regularly.

We know what it is like to be in your shoes. The pressure of OCIs, landing a job, cover letter and CV preparation, in-firms, full-service life, firm tours…the list goes on and on. Don’t worry! We’ve got your backs. Last year at this exact moment in time, we were all thinking the same thing. We are here to guide you, offer some words of encouragement, provide emotional support, and leave you with a variety of tips and tricks to steer you in the right direction. Most importantly, we hope to teach you about Cassels Brock life and to share intimate details about our awesome experiences as summer students.

The four of us are very excited to introduce ourselves. Tiffany, a 2L from Osgoode is excited to share her Cassels experience with our followers. Any, also a 2L from Osgoode, is looking forward to launching some new and innovating blog posts this summer. Jesse, a JD/MBA from Windsor is already taking snapshots for the new and improved @cbbstudents Instagram page. Emma, a JD/MBA from U of T is excited to spearhead some new initiatives for prospective students at Cassels Brock.

Stay tuned for our “Orientation Week” Post.

Till next time,

Your 2017 Bloggers

Jesse's Angels

Jesse’s Angels

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OCI Tips

Hi All,

I know the recruit is coming up quickly and I remember how stressful this time was. To help you out a bit I thought I’d poll the summer students here and ask them for their best advice. So, below you can find some great tips from the Cassels Brock Summer Students of 2016.

Before I begin I should say there is no one size fits all solution to the recruit. While these are all great tips the big take away is that you should try to be yourself. It’s not just about winding up anywhere – it’s about starting your career in a place you’ll feel happy and fulfilled. I know while your applying it just feels like you really need a job-any job, but trust me you’ll be much better off if you treat the process as a two way street and try to find a place that you love. And besides, you are awesome and smart and qualified, and even if you don’t land an OCI there are a million more great opportunities coming your way.

Here are some of the reasons this years summer class chose Cassels:

  • “The people – but also the tools and resources the firm provides for business development. This summer I’ve been able to attend multiple events and it was great being able to interact with our clients and develop my networking skills.” (Taschina, Dalhousie)
  • “The people, that’s why I’m here I connected well with the people.” (Florence, UofT)
  • “From the moment I walked into my OCI I felt the most comfortable here and all summer that’s continued. I feel really comfortable with the people at Cassels.” (Meghan, Osgoode)

*It should be noted that literally everyone said the people (because the people here really are that awesome) so I just picked some samples.

And without any further ado onto the recruitment tips!

Applications

  • “Don’t let your cover letter be a regurgitation of your resume, highlight a few skills and leave white space.” (Kojo, Osgoode)
  • “Your application is the first piece of your writing the firm will read, don’t just talk about your skills show them! Be clear, concise and persuasive.” (Tegan, UofT)
  • “Have your cover letter tell a story- highlight the best moments of your career.” (Taschina, Dalhousie)

OCIs

  • “Make it a conversation.” (Meghan, Osgoode)
  • Think of an anecdote or a story for everything on your resume. Also, watch out for the skills and interests section, a lot of lawyers will ask about this.” (Richard, Windsor)
  • “Be prepared but relaxed, have some questions ready for your interviewers.” (Koen, UofT)

*these tips are also great for in-firms.

In-firms

  • Be friendly and approachable to everyone, don’t discount the importance of being kind to other students, support staff and everyone else you meet.” (Florence, UofT)
  • “It’s a two way street- figure out what you like and where you will fit.” (Sam Chan, UofT)
  • “Do your research, know each firm well and, if possible, find out your interviewers in advance and learn about their career.” (Jasmine, Western)
  • “Get a card from everyone you meet and as soon as you’re done chatting with them write down a few things you spoke about. This will be so helpful for thank you emails.” (Tegan, Uoft)

And just remember you got into law school, you are doing awesome at life and everything will work out!

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