It is Thursday, May 15, 2008. I have completed one full week of orientation and several days of legal work.
Orientation consisted mostly of legal education, information technology training, social events and lots of good food, which was extremely satisfying after an exam-time diet of spicy chicken combos and Tim Hortons.
Several things about orientation stood out in my mind. The entire week was very organized, specifically the administrative elements. It was like a turn-key operation; we arrived on the first day and everything from email accounts and security passes to commissioner stamps and fully equipped offices were in place and ready to go. I suppose it is to be expected of any professional service firm, but the comfort level this created impressed me nonetheless. Personally, if I were to do OCIs again, I would ask firms to describe how students are taught document and file management, as well as the use of computer servers, email applications and voicemail.
That said, for as much as I learned, I forgot plenty. Our trainers warned us this would happen – they said the average person only remembers 1/3 of an intense training session… or was it 2/3… Thankfully, we have resource manuals that explain everything and a great “helpdesk” team. For the most part, it only takes a few times of doing something new to learn it.
Finally, the people stand out. Our student group has gone out together socially (not counting firm events) and has bonded quickly. The lawyers and support staff have been helpful and friendly.
Overall, orientation was successful and gave us an immediate sense of comfort and belonging. That’s all for now. I look forward to writing about the legal work soon.
How Eric Got Here:
I worked for one year after undergrad and constantly asked my bosses about the business and legal side of their work. The decision to apply to law school seemed natural.
I have generally enjoyed my time at Osgoode Hall. Things get a bit crazy around exams, but that’s just part of the experience.
I heard the term “OCI” on the very first day of school. The second years, or 2L’s if you prefer, were rattling off facts about more law firms than I knew existed. I couldn’t understand how anyone was capable of thoroughly discussing the major practice areas and recent deals of 30 law firms, let alone remembering the firms’ names. Fast forward one year and I became that 2L. If you are preparing for OCIs this summer, chances are you can empathize.
I found the OCIs kind of fun in a weird way, but very tiring. In firm interviews were a unique challenge for me. Thankfully I found a match that I knew was right (and suspected would be from the outset). Having dedicated plenty of time and effort to the process (I began working on resumes in July and accepted an offer in November) It is pretty great to be sitting here now.
22 OCI applications
3 empty printer-ink cartridges
2 new ties
17 revisions of that awkward cover letter paragraph
1 New job = priceless.
Orientation was both an utterly exhausting and extremely exciting week. In this entry, I will try to highlight some of the most notable events.
The first day began with a warm welcome delivered by Mark Young, the firm’s Managing Partner. Then we were introduced to the administration and learned how the everything around here runs so smoothly. Everyone was very friendly and encouraged us to ask questions. In the afternoon we were given a tour of the office but unfortunately I am directionally challenged and it took me 20 minutes to locate the ladies room later in the day. Monday ended with a cocktail reception in our honour. By the end of the day my entire body was exhausted and I fell asleep on my couch at 8:30pm.
The rest of the week consisted of various educational seminars and social events. What I was most surprised by was the intra-office IT. Virtually everything from floor maps to ordering supplies to turning on the lights in your office is done online. We even receive our faxes and voicemails via email.
The social events, which included activities such as a tour of the Courts and the Great Library and lunch at several different downtown eateries, were a lot of fun and great ice-breakers. On Friday, we capped off the week with drinks and appetizers with the Student Committee at Reds. Afterwards the summer students relocated to the Bedford Academy and hung out all night. Apparently five days together was not enough!
Overall, Orientation was a great blend of learning and fun. Now, at the end of the week, I know enough about the firm to jump right into work on Monday morning. I have developed relationships with my fellow summer students as well many lawyers at the firm and I feel like I have been here for a lot longer than five days. In my opinion, that is the sign of a successful first week.
For our first entries, the blawggers decided that we should give a little background information about who we are and how we ended up at Cassels Brock. While I could tell this story in 10,000 words, I will try to keep it brief.
I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and World Religions at McGill University. I wrote my LSAT after my second year, and by the time I graduated I had decided that going to law school was a good idea. I graduated from McGill, backpacked Europe, and went straight to law school at U of T.
The beginning of law school was a shock to my system! I was utterly confused by the subject matter and always felt like I was the only one who didn’t have a clue what was going on. I even had a dream that the administration called to tell me that they had made an error and had not meant to accept me. In the end, everything worked out (just like the upper year students had promised) and I passed.
I found the OCI process to be stressful as well. I worried that no firm would want me. I worried that the firm that did would not be the right fit for me. I worried that no matter how many times I read over my applications I would still make silly errors (Note: Make sure that you have a friend read over your OCI applications. I can guarantee that you will not catch all of your own mistakes). Again, in the end, everything worked out and I was hired at the firm I had my heart set on.
Looking back on my two completed years of law school I can say one things for certain: Time has flown by! I cannot believe that I am writing this from my office on the 22nd floor of Scotia Plaza. It has been a whirlwind for me, and I am sure that many of you feel the same. For that reason, I think it’s great that Cassels Brock has provided this avenue for law students to learn about the summer student experience and connect with those who are going through it. Because the four blawggers have diverse backgrounds and interests, it is our hope that you will be able to relate to at least one of us and use our experiences and tips to help you succeed in your own endeavours.
My final words of advice are to enjoy your summer. You worked hard this year and you deserve it!