Three Strikes and You’re OUT

As a summer student at Cassels Brock you get three strikes and then you’re fired. Just kidding, this is a post about softball.

Get ready folks because I am about to tell you why being part of the CBB softball team is the only important thing you will do during your summer with Cassels Brock.

Yes, your instincts are correct: as a summer student you don’t know anything yet and being the new guy/gal is tough on the ol’ self esteem. But that’s where the CBB softball team comes in; to let you know that CAPTAIN ALEX APPRECIATES YOU.*

Our league is made up of Toronto’s big Bay St. firms and it’s a casual, co-ed, self pitch style of softball and honestly not that athletically demanding, fun for all! Fun, but also competitive, as our team has taken home the play-off title the past two years and look to make it a three-peat heading into this years’ playoffs in what should be a top four position.

 

Captain Alex Slota in action. Note the power stance.

Not that us millennials need more convincing beyond the promise of being appreciated, but let me give you one more word to seal the deal: CHEESE. After every game we go for post-game drinks and food, and when I say food, I mean cheese. We’ve got all the classics; cheese bread, nachos with extra cheese, cheese sticks, wings with blue cheese dip and of course, BEER. Now, I know what you’re thinking,  on a work night?!?! Yes, on a work night. And you know what else you get to do on game days, leave work early. You know why? Because Business Development baby.**

Future associate litigator extraordinaire and team MVP Meghan Rourke stepping up to the plate.

You would think that after all this hanging out, eating and drinking, meeting new friends, and casually swinging a bat around, you would get to go home and that would be the end of it,  but you would be WRONG. The next day you get the Alex Slota special; the email highlight reel. It’s an email to the team with game highlights, and of course, biggest blunders and so much more.*** It would be fair to say it’s the highlight email of the week firm-wide. So, to come full circle on this post, don’t disappoint Captain Alex.

*Only if you’re good though.

**Business Development billings are very important for your personal and career growth. Softball is an indispensable opportunity to interact with partners, staff, and firm alumni in a fun and relaxed environment.

***None of the 2018 summer students have been featured in biggest blunders (yet). It should also be noted that despite being present at a majority of the games, Kieran is the only summer student who still has yet to be featured in the emails at all.

Email Feature: Aaron Cressman

Aaron “Speedy Gonzales” Cressman was especially fun to watch run the bases, too.  The cloud (and I mean cloud) of dust that he leaves behind him when he runs, is beyond impressive.  You basically have to call a time out to let the dust settle every time he reaches base.

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Fashion Files 2018

We’re bringing back Fashion Files for Summer ’18 with a whole new cast!

If you’re already wondering (worrying) about how to dress like a pro 5-days a week, we get it, and we got you:

Scroll down for some of that #fashioninspo

Florals with Thea

We love the summery touch Thea’s floral accent blouse adds to her classic black suit and pumps.

Thea,

How do you save time and effort getting dressed for the office? 

Keep a few staples in your closet, and work with them (black pants, white collared shirts).

What is your go-to place to shop for work? 

Aritzia and Club Monaco.

What is your favourite fashion accessory?

Can’t go wrong with a pearl necklace.

Spill the tea – who is your CBB fashion icon?

Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada.

Ed: Wait…she works here now?!

Out of Office with Shannon

A great bag is key for a law student on the go.

Shannon,

How do you save time and effort getting dressed for the office? 

I keep spare shoes at the office to match any outfit.

What is your go-to place to shop for work? 

Banana Republic

What is your favourite fashion accessory?

A pair of earrings.

Spill the tea – who is your CBB fashion icon?

Amanda Scolieri

 

Accenting with Nico and Erin

Adding a stripe, or a polka dot to any of your staple suit pieces can easily upgrade your look.

Nico and Erin,

How do you save time and effort getting dressed for the office? 

NI wear a lot of black. it’s easy to match any blouse to a black skirt or pants, then I grab a black blazer and I’m done!

E: 1. Dry shampoo, dry shampoo, dry shampoo! and 2. have a blazer in every colour.

What is your go-to place to shop for work? 

N: Aritzia and The Bay.  I always order online, it saves so much time!

E: J. Crew and Club Monaco.

What is your favourite fashion accessory?

N: A simple gold necklace or bracelet, and a watch.

EGlasses, and funky statement necklaces.

Spill the tea – who is your CBB fashion icon?

NXi Chen

ENoelle Engle-Hardy

 

Going Day to Night with Carmen and Aamir

Carmen’s shift dress with the sweet trim detail is perfect for leaving the suit jacket behind and heading out after work.

Be like Aamir: Lose the tie and loosen up after a long day.

Carmen and Aamir,

How do you save time and effort getting dressed for the office? 

CWhen you’ve only got  a few choices it isn’t that complicated! #studentdebt

AKeep your ties tied and ready to slip on.

What is your go-to place to shop for work? 

CBanana Republic

AMade2Measure for suits, Aldo for shoes, and Le Chateau for belts.

What is your favourite fashion accessory?

C:  The key to any accessory is to wear it with confidence.

A: Tie clip

Spill the tea – who is your CBB fashion icon?

CXi Chen

AOur very own Mr. Aaron Cressman, (but only when he wears that one suit I also have).

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Rock, Paper, Scissors: A Tale of Triumph; A Tale of Defeat

A common question students ask about a firm is “how do you and the other students distribute work?”

At some firms there is the horrible very helpful randomizer, while at others it is on a  first come first serve basis.

Here at Cassels we have a different way of administering tasks…. ROCK. PAPER. SCISSORS. Honestly just saying the name gives me shivers as I currently have the worst record for these battles. While the wounds are still fresh, I am here to explain how this process works, and why it actually does work.

Don’t worry young grasshoppers, I will first give you some background so you can laugh along with the jokes like you have some idea of what’s going on.

To understand the point, dare I say significance of rock paper scissors you need to understand how the students get work at Cassels. Much of the work you receive as a summer student comes through a list-serve which any lawyer can use as a means to reach us with an assignment they have. There are two types of students (1) List-serve students; and (2) Students who are apparently too busy for the list-serve. But, that’s a story for a different day. As I was saying. When a list-serve email comes in,  that is where the bloodbath begins!

Well, virtually.

When an assignment comes through the list-serve, every student pretends reads it. Sometime from the title alone you can gauge whether it’s a yasssss queen (said in the voice of Jonathan from Queer eye) or a hard pass for you personally. Once you have decided it is the assignment of your  dreams,  you will obnoxiously post, “ME ME ME!!” in our CBB student WhatsApp group chat and secretly hope no one else wants the assignment. If no one else wants the assignment, then either you have poor instincts or everyone else is “SUPER BUSY.”

But alas, that is not always the case and there are many times when 2-3 students want the same assignment. When this inevitably happens, we need to find a fair way to decide who gets to do the work.  Now, I could make up a story about how it came to be but as a certified investigative journalist – I am going right to the source – scrolling through 3 months of Whatsapp messages to find the initial messages that started this system.

The first virtual Rock Paper Scissors came to be in the following manner:

  • Erin: Can I do this? (referring to an assignment that came through the list-serve)
  • Reza: Meeeeeeee
  • Erin: No meeeeeee
  • Kieran: We need a Rock Paper Scissors function in WhatsApp
  • Reza: Very true. I have nothing right now…
  • Erin: Sameeee
  • Kieran: [emojis of Rock, Paper Scissors]
  • Reza: Where is your office
  • Erin: 19th floor
  • Reza: Hahaha, kk on my way!
  • Kieran: Both of you message me either rock paper or scissors and I’ll tell you who wins

[the rest of the conversation is not important except that I’d like to point out I did win that battle]

After this event the student of Cassels realized Kieran, now officially known as Sheriff Kieran, was onto something. It has become standard practice in our group chat that if there are 2 or even 3 (yes, we’re skilled enough to do a three-way RPS battle) students who want an assignment, Rock Paper Scissors is in order. However, there are times where we crave the in-person drama and will make the trek to the other student’s office for a LIVE EVENT. Because RPS has become such a source of entertainment for the students, if there is an “in-person” battle, the students involved will send pictures of the event – usually of the loser crying in the corner.

I’m going to be totally frank with you – RPS has ended friendships, started rivalries and resulted in a lot of tears. It’s not a game for the weak. I’ve learned that the hard way. For every rock I play, there’s a paper to smother me, for every scissors I play, there’s a rock to crush me, and for every paper I play there’s a pair of scissors to cut me up. Luckily at Cassels, they hire students who are positive and resilient. So, while I may lose almost everyday in RPS, I know that one day, maybe not this summer, I will be a winner.

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Mentorship at Cassels

Upon arrival at Cassels, all of us Summer Students were each assigned a Student Committee Mentor and a Firm Mentor to help guide us throughout our summer experience. While many firms may have mentorship programs, we wanted to share with you a bit about our mentorship relationships to date and why we think the mentors at Cassels are particularly great.

 

Spencer Toffoli:

  • “My experience with my mentor has been great. We went out for lunch before I started work, and have since had one or two lunches, but he has really been a great resource outside of that. I feel very comfortable going to him and asking him questions or seeking advice about how to best operate within the firm setting – how to manage deadlines, what to do if I have a personal appointment during work hours, and how to leave early on a Friday. I know that he is there if I get stuck in an awkward situation and I trust him to take my questions seriously and keep them confidential. I have also found that many of the associates have mentored me outside of the mentorship program, and have been available to answer questions from ‘is this outfit professional enough for work?’ to sitting down and giving me advice and feedback on how to write better research memos.”

Aamir Chherawala:

  • “I really appreciate how hard my mentors have worked to make themselves available to answer any questions or concerns I may have, no matter how busy they are.”

Shannon Scrocchi:

  • “I have had such a positive experience with mentorship over my summer here at Cassels. My formal mentors that I was originally matched with (Carla and Marisa) have continued to check-in on me and support me throughout my summer. Whether we are crossing paths in the halls or grabbing a coffee, they are both always there to make sure I am getting enough work, that I am getting exposure to areas I am interested in, and that I am supported throughout it all. Both Carla and Marisa are incredibly approachable and friendly people, which is exactly what I would look for in a mentor.” 

Erin Minuk:

  • “Having a mentor has been one of the highlights of my summer. Being able to talk to an associate and partner who know what it’s like to be a student is so beneficial. But aside from the mentors you’re assigned, Cassels is such a friendly firm that you’re bound to gain informal mentors as well. While they are called ‘mentors’, they really just feel like friends. Also, mentors (informal or formal) are a great excuse to get out of the office for coffee or lunch and try all the amazing restaurants in downtown Toronto!”

 

Moral of the story: The mentors at Cassels are no joke. They are always willing to help, are friendly and approachable, and driven to help you succeed.

 

If you want more information on the mentorship programs at Cassels, feel free to reach out to any of the Summer Students with questions about their personal mentor-mentee relationships.

 

Until next time,

Cassels, Brock & Blogwell

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The Art of the Perfect Phone Call

Last summer, I did a lot of phone conversations, and a lot of coffee dates with summer students from law firms in Toronto. My body is still recovering from the caffeine overdose I put it through. This is the post I wish I had last year before embarking on a journey that left my mouth dry and my cheeks cramped. Here are the ins and outs of how to handle the phone calls and coffee dates that are unfortunately inevitably in your future.

You’re not alone, phone calls scare me too. Actually, it’s the potential for long awkward pauses that scares me. Anyway, you don’t need to worry about that, because that’s not going to happen after reading this post. That’s right, this post is long awkward pause proof. The key to avoiding awkwardness, and more importantly, standing out as a prospective student is to be prepared for the phone call. While you may think your memory is infallible, I’m here to tell you it’s not and that a pen and paper are your friend. These phone conversations are for your personal benefit, so you want to ensure you get the chance to ask every question you intended. If you rely solely on memory, you risk missing out on valuable information and honestly, most likely (not speaking from experience or anything…) you’ll end up asking the same question 5 different ways. I consider this to be a skill – others, not so much.

To help you out, we have compiled a list of meaningful questions to ask summer students so you can save your creativity for another day. And no, if we’re on the phone and I notice you’re just reusing these questions I won’t judge you. If anything, I’d be flattered.

  • What does a regular day look like for you as a summer student?
  • What type of work have you had the opportunity to try?
  • How do students get their work – list-serve or going out and getting it?
  • What types of student events are held throughout the summer?
  • Do you find that your mentors (if the firm has a mentorship program) have helped you throughout the summer?
  • What is the environment like between the students – collegial, competitive?
  • Why did you apply/choose the firm you’re at?
  • Have you had the chance to go outside of the office “in the field” with lawyers at all?
  • What were you nervous about when you first started work? How do you feel about that now?

While these are obviously just a warm-up, hopefully it helps to get the juices flowing. If I have one piece of advice it would be to ask questions about what matters to you. No topic is too taboo, or too controversial for our ears. If you approach the questions professionally and thoughtfully, we’ll appreciate your candidness.

Also, don’t feel self-conscious about your questions. I remember thinking to myself that the student must’ve heard these questions a million times. Even if we have, if the person is enthusiastic, engaging, and easy to talk to, that’ll often overshadow the rest.

I didn’t ask their permission, but feel free to reach out to any of us students at Cassels this summer. We’re all unhealthily slightly obsessed with the firm and would love to chat about it.

Yours in social anxiety,

Cassels, Brock & Blogwell

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