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izzy2018

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  1. I am a first year associate at a very small firm (myself, two senior associates and two partners) in Ottawa that specializes in Family Law and Wills and Estates. I started about 2 months ago. I am struggling to feel somewhat self-sufficient at work, and I am not sure what is expected of me at this level. Most assignments I get come with very vague instructions and comments like "give this a try" but in reality, as a first year with no previous experience, I often do not know where to start. The senior associates aren't overly helpful either, as they are busy with their own practices and are not always responsive. My experience in articling was to ask most of my "how do I do this?" questions to junior associates, but I do not have that option here. Can anyone share their first year associate experience? Is this a normal feeling/situation? I am not exactly "happy" at this point because I feel like on one hand, I need to show that I am independent and a self-starter, but on the other, I am working with real clients and need to know what I am doing before I do it. I do not want my trial run to take place on a file where my mistakes could have a long-term effect on the clients. I also do not want to bug the partners that I work for 3 times a day with all of my questions. Also, everything I do takes me a very long time because I am constantly guessing, going to an associate or partner to obtain their approval (which, at times, takes a day or two), etc. It is just a very slow, tedious process. Any suggestions on how to get through this difficult phase would be great. My goal is to stay positive and find some realistic solutions so that I can grow with the firm over time!
  2. As our 10 months of articling come to an end, I am curious to hear what your thoughts are on next steps. Let's say an articling student doesn't love his/her firm and is offered a position as an associate in a practice group that doesn't really interest them all that much - should they take it for now so that they have something OR is this their opportunity to get out of the firm and find a position that they would be happier with? On one hand, the job market in Ottawa isn't great and I am sure that having something would help me beef up my resume but I have also really struggled throughout articling because of the firm culture, people, etc. Is taking a job in any group just to get a job worth it? If anyone has had any similar personal experiences, feel free to DM me. I would love to hear from you.
  3. Thank you so much to those who took the time to share their experiences. Such interesting stories and perspectives. Please feel free to continue sharing. I am sure that MANY women (and men) are reading this thread with the same questions as me.
  4. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and also reminding me that many of my questions may remain unanswered until after pregnancy. Definitely something to think about.
  5. So I know that there are multiple threads on the topic of being a lawyer and having kids. I went through a lot of them and felt that perhaps it would be helpful to get some general advice going for those of us who are just starting out in this field. I am narrowing this down to just female lawyers because I would really like to hear about how you: 1) Worked long hours in a high stress job while going through the physical changes that come with pregnancy (especially the lack of sleep and energy that I keep hearing about); 2) Revealed to your employer that you were pregnant; and 3) Returned to work after maternity leave (What was it like to return after a chunk of time off? Did you feel that it really affected your progress as a lawyer?). I am especially interested in hearing from those who decided to do this fairly early in their careers. Would you do anything differently? I know that having kids is the biggest blessing and most would say that they wouldn't change a thing, but if you had one piece of advice to give, what would it be? Looking forward to some potential responses. I am finding it difficult to connect with female lawyers who went through this process. Very few seem to openly discuss their experiences, so I figured a forum like this could be helpful.
  6. I also just passed the second time around. If anyone is looking for some motivation, feel free to send me a message. Happy to chat about what I did differently.
  7. What really adds to the stress/anxiety is refreshing one's e-mail multiple times a day to see if an e-mail came in from the Law Society. Now multiply that by the 3, or 5, or 10 days (that fall within that 6-8 week range) that you are sitting around waiting to see if anything came in. If, on the other hand, that person knew the results would come out on December 15th (for example), they would only anticipate that e-mail on that specific day. Personally, I kind of forgot about the exam until I realized that, based on previous years, they could actually appear at any point. I don't think that you can conclude that one thing or another thing is more or less stressful. Each person handles stress differently.
  8. A large portion of those who write in November and/or March are re-writing. The results will likely determine whether they get called to the bar at the same time as their peers, whether they can accept a job if they get hired back after articling and whether they have to go through the process of studying for the third (or potentially fourth) time (which is VERY painful). So yes, 4-6 weeks is vague and stresses me (and a lot of others) out.
  9. They should use the LSAT score release system for the bar exams. They pick a release date, and people can breathe knowing that at most they would come out 2-3 days prior to that date. Torturing us by making us wait weeks is really unnecessary.
  10. Ah, got it. I remember someone in a previous thread writing that the Law Society confirmed that they would not be receiving the results that week so looks like it may depend on who you speak with.
  11. Me too. Every single time I see someone post in this group, I think that the results are being released. Do you think the Law Society would give us a clue as to if the results are being released this week if we called?!
  12. I creeped some of the older forums and saw that results could definitely be released this week. EEK. Not sure I'm ready...
  13. I think that you should 100% take time off during articling. In fact, I think that firms should encourage articling students to take a vacation at some point. I am articling right now and in touch with many other friends who are in the same boat. Articling is hard. There is a serious risk of burning out and if you don't take healthy breaks, I think that your work would actually really suffer. Taking a few days off somewhere in those 10 months to re-charge is absolutely reasonable (and necessary) to me. For those who are saying this is your time to learn as much as you can, I HIGHLY doubt that taking 5-10 business days off within the 10-month period would in any way impact how much you learn. Also, if a firm were to judge me for taking a few days off after spending months working wild hours then I honestly do not think that I'd want to stay there as an associate.
  14. I think it's a combination of both things for me. In terms of firm culture, there is none. I feel that most of the lawyers come to work, sit in their offices to do their work, and then leave at the end of the day. In the past, I have always had a great relationship with the people I work with which is what kept me going. Here, I come in and essentially feel like a ghost. At first I thought maybe that is because I am an articling student, but I am realizing that the firm itself is just like that. Second, like @Diplock said, when I sit in on client meetings (which I rarely do), I suddenly get excited and feel engaged. I have always been an extrovert so I think that client interaction is very important. As an articling student, you don't get much of that and instead spend your entire day in an office with no window staring at a computer screen. I am just struggling to see an end to this articling process. Usually, an articling student has an end goal (which is often getting hired back). Here I am with no real end goal. I am not sure that I want to get hired back (and I am sure that this will become increasingly apparent with time), I don't know what practice area interests me (mostly because the work we get as articling students really doesn't allow us to figure that out), and I don't even know if I even want to practice (because I am feeling so unmotivated).
  15. Thanks, Hegdis (for linking the other post - I am sure they are in some way related). I have ruled out depression because I am still happy when I am around people and NOT at work. I haven't lost interest in everything. I am still myself otherwise. That is why I really feel that it is purely circumstantial...but then again, I am not a doctor.
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