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chezjackie

Articling at a National Firm in Toronto, what to expect?

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Hello friends! 

I start my articling next week and I am so so nervous for what to expect. For those of you who have gone through the experience of working at a large national firm, what am I in for? What are the hours like? Did you get yelled at? Did you ever enjoy it? After how much time into the articling period did you feel the exhaustion/burn-out? Was there drama between the students? Is how you dress important?

 

Edited by chezjackie
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I didn't article at a large firm, but being yelled at? Does this actually happen? 

I cannot fathom adults treating each other this way in a professional environment.  I shudder to think of the possible outcomes if I had been treated like this by my principal. (Likely an assault investigation and my boss's jaw being wired shut due to multiple fractures).

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58 minutes ago, BabyRhinoRainbow said:

One of our offices frequently sounds like an episode of Kitchen Nightmares. It has a very high turnover of associate lawyers.

giphy.gif

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1 hour ago, BabyRhinoRainbow said:

One of our offices frequently sounds like an episode of Kitchen Nightmares. It has a very high turnover of associate lawyers.

see I don't get this. wouldn't it be more efficient to keep the same people and not turn them over?

presumably the people in charge are not stupid, so one has to think they are doing it on purpose? but what is the reason?

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14 minutes ago, law4sho said:

presumably the people in charge are not stupid, so one has to think they are doing it on purpose? but what is the reason?

Herein lies the problem of a multimillion dollar organization being run by people with law degrees and no experience running a business. I'm lucky to work at a firm with many who advise corporate clients on day to day matters and understand the ins and outs of a business. However, I wouldn't expect as much from some shops that don't work in the field. It's very possible to be a successful lawyer who is brilliant in their practice area who has no idea how to run an office. It's why some firms move to more traditional business layouts and organizations (CFO, accounting staff, HR, etc).

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15 minutes ago, chezjackie said:

No I didn't summer there which is why I'm nervous

You’ll be fine.

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The hours can be long depending on what’s going on in the groups you’re getting your work from. Every firm has a slightly different method for assigning work to students. Some firms use a list serve and send the work out to all students and then the students decide amongst themselves who can take it, some lawyers may walk into your office directly to give you work. It really does depend. No one should ever be yelling at you. I’ve never seen or heard of any of my peers getting yelled at. That’s not to say that you won’t deal with shitty personalities but outright yelling? No 

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37 minutes ago, chezjackie said:

No I didn't summer there which is why I'm nervous

Don’t be nervous. It’s okay not to know how to do things, especially in the beginning. Make sure to ask thoughtful clarifying question, ask about deadlines and how to bill the work you’ve done. All of this will be covered in orientation. 

My advice would be to remain eager and responsive and always think about what steps you can take to make the assigning lawyer’s life easier. That’s pretty much why you’re there: to learn and to be a helpful colleague. Take on enough assignments that you’re busy but not so many that the quality of your work goes down. It’s better to turn down an assignment than to rush through it and hand in something that is garbage. 

Dont engage in any gossip- especially if you’re at a firm with a larger class of students 

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Thanks for asking the question! I'm also starting at a national firm this week and am super nervous! Wish you all the best and hopefully we survive (and maybe even thrive!)

I was wondering what to wear on the first day as well. Do we dress formal like an interview, or is it a bit more laid back since it's orientation, etc. If anyone has insights, would greatly appreciate them!

 

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5 hours ago, HarryPotterForLife said:

Thanks for asking the question! I'm also starting at a national firm this week and am super nervous! Wish you all the best and hopefully we survive (and maybe even thrive!)

I was wondering what to wear on the first day as well. Do we dress formal like an interview, or is it a bit more laid back since it's orientation, etc. If anyone has insights, would greatly appreciate them!

 

Assume formal. 

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On 7/29/2019 at 9:31 AM, chezjackie said:

Hello friends! 

I start my articling next week and I am so so nervous for what to expect. For those of you who have gone through the experience of working at a large national firm, what am I in for? What are the hours like? Did you get yelled at? Did you ever enjoy it? After how much time into the articling period did you feel the exhaustion/burn-out? Was there drama between the students? Is how you dress important?

 

Don't be nervous.

Death comes to everyone eventually. lol

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14 hours ago, HarryPotterForLife said:

Thanks for asking the question! I'm also starting at a national firm this week and am super nervous! Wish you all the best and hopefully we survive (and maybe even thrive!)

I was wondering what to wear on the first day as well. Do we dress formal like an interview, or is it a bit more laid back since it's orientation, etc. If anyone has insights, would greatly appreciate them!

 

People tend to dress more formally during the first week and relax a little after that. Air on the side of caution and were a suit. You can never go wrong in a suit. There might be a reception, your firm might be planning to take a group photo, etc. It’s easier to take off pieces than be stuck without them 

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A lot of people say they were "yelled at" in articling when what they really mean is that they were given negative feedback, sometimes with less tact than they would like,  and it was a blow to their ego.  This will probably happen to you, and it is not inherently a bad thing. Criticism makes you better.

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On 8/5/2019 at 6:14 PM, beyondsection17 said:

A lot of people say they were "yelled at" in articling when what they really mean is that they were given negative feedback, sometimes with less tact than they would like,  and it was a blow to their ego.  This will probably happen to you, and it is not inherently a bad thing. Criticism makes you better.

agreed, constructive criticism should be welcome. but genuine abuse does exist as well, having worked downtown i have seen plenty of examples.

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