One of the most common questions we hear from candidates is: “What is a typical day like for Aird & Berlis LLP students?” We thought that the best answer would come from our students themselves, so we asked all of them to describe what they did during their summer. As you’ll read below, there really isn’t anything like a “typical” day in the practice of law, which is part of what makes it so exciting: you really do learn something new every day!
Patrick Copeland, 2010 Second Year Summer Student (University of Western Ontario)"As there is no formal rotation, every day at A&B holds the possibility of working on a wide variety of files. From attending discoveries, writing memos, going to court, and drafting all kinds of transactional documents, students are given a lot of latitude in determining how their summer unfolds. Some students use this flexibility to focus their efforts on certain areas of law, however I chose to take a broader approach and managed to work with every practice group at the firm. Coming into the summer I was fairly unsure of where my interests were, but because of the nature of the summer program, I now have a much clearer idea of where I want to end up. Regardless of the type of work assigned, the common denominator throughout is the large amount of responsibility given to students. While at times this can seem daunting, having to take ownership of each task enriches the entire experience and really makes you feel like you are contributing something important to individual files. This ability to tailor my summer experience to my individual interests, along with the friendly and supportive lawyers at A&B, ensured that my summer was both extremely fulfilling and enjoyable."
James Desjardins, 2010 Second Year Summer Student (University of Western Ontario)"Over the course of the summer, I received high quality and interesting work. There was truly no typical day or work assignment. Rather, I did everything from researching the law, preparing memos, drafting pleadings and motion materials, attending court and client meetings, and helping write articles. The ability to work for different lawyers in different practice areas was an invaluable learning experience. I had two notable tasks this summer: one was to complete the sale of a business from start to finish on my own (with supervision, of course!); the second was attending a discovery with my mentor. The former gave me a first-hand view into the type of corporate work students and junior associates do while the latter showed me how the law impacts clients directly and in dynamic ways. Overall, the work I was given was challenging and interesting without ever being overbearing."
Shawn Goldmintz, 2010 Second Year Summer Student (University of Windsor) "My summer at Aird and Berlis was filled with unique and ever-changing challenges. From day once we were given the opportunity to seek out and receive work from any practice area within the firm. Throughout the summer I was continually surprised at how many areas that I hadn’t had much exposure to genuinely interested me. These new interests are certainly some of the most valuable things I took away from the summer experience. Another great aspect of summering at A&B was that I got to work with lawyers of all experience levels, from junior associates to senior partners. This allowed me to develop an understanding of the practice skills I would need to develop my career going forward. This summer I got to work on closings, litigation files, tax matters, corporate governance issues, and more. The most encouraging aspect of being involved in these assignments was that I felt my work was genuinely valued and I could see how my work was being applied to files to help solve issues for clients. No two days were exactly alike during my summer, and that variety facilitated one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had." Jackie Goslett, 2010 Second Year Summer Student (University of Windsor) "Each day at Aird & Berlis brings a new and exciting experience. Due to the flexible rotation program and my interest in corporate law, I was able to obtain work assignments from both the corporate commercial and corporate finance groups. This summer, my favourite experiences included being heavily involved in a large corporate closing and drafting a number of securities related documents. I also enjoyed conducting research and preparing a memorandum on corporate governance issues. Aside from my broad corporate exposure, I thoroughly enjoyed working in the litigation and municipal practice areas. Working with these groups allowed me to attend discoveries, draft documents in preparation for trial, complete legal research memoranda, review new legislation, write articles to be published, and attend pre-trial conferences. What I enjoy most about the firm is that students are genuinely encouraged to branch out and work for each practice group. Not only does this allow for a better working knowledge and understanding of each group’s function within the firm, but it demonstrates A&B truly cares about its students and wants them to be well-rounded, knowledgeable, and comfortable with their decision regarding their future practice area."
Erin Greenblatt, 2010 Second Year Summer Student (Osgoode Hall)"The firm’s flexible summer program was particularly helpful for me, as I came into the summer without having a particular area of interest. I really enjoyed gaining exposure to different areas of law, and I was able to work with many lawyers on varied assignments. I conducted municipal law research for an upcoming publication, drafted commentary on new legislation, wrote research memos for two ongoing corporate/commercial files, and I had the exciting opportunity to present my research at a client meeting. I was also given the ongoing responsibility of maintaining organization of a large corporate/commercial file. One of the most memorable experiences I had this summer was attending a fascinating examination for discovery with a senior partner in the tax group. I also completed many high-quality, interesting assignments for the litigation group, which included preparing research memos, compiling a brief of documents in preparation for a trial, and drafting a notice of motion and an affidavit. It was very rewarding to see how my work was being put to use by the lawyers. I learned so much this summer, and I look forward to exploring my interests further during my articling year!"
Gary Pattison, 2010 Second Year Summer Student (University of Ottawa) "With there being no formal rotation system, the summer students at A&B are encouraged to seek out work from all of the firm’s practice groups. This level of freedom and flexibility was certainly something I capitalized on. Consequently, I was assigned a wide range of tasks, each providing invaluable insight into what it means to practice law in a particular area. Personal highlights include appearing on behalf of clients before justices of the peace, representing a client at a small claims court settlement conference, and observing a successful mediation in its entirety. All that said, what made my summers truly rewarding was feeling as though I had the support of the entire firm throughout. The open door policy at A&B means that every member of the firm community, from the students to the most senior partners, is available as a resource to you and is committed to ensuring your summer exceeds expectations."
Jesse Rosensweet, 2010 First-Year Summer Student (University of Toronto) "The summer program at A&B allows students to work on a wide range of projects from the various practice groups. Most students find a balance between exploring unfamiliar areas of practice and increasing their proficiency in one or two areas of particular interest. The system of distributing assignments also provides students with the opportunity to work with partners and associates throughout the firm. Some highlights of my past summer include: drafting research memos and articles for publication, participating in the closing of an asset purchase sale, compiling and editing various securities filings and attending court on several occasions. The training sessions and lunch-and-learn seminars are excellent and very relevant to the work I encountered over the summer. Perhaps most importantly, I found lawyers at all levels of the firm to be supportive and encouraging. I am very comfortable with the trajectory I established this summer and look forward to its continuation next year."
Luciana Tancoc-Marcu, 2010 First-Year Summer Student (University of Windsor) "Without a formal rotation system, I was able to work in areas that interested me the most. While working for the ligation group, I had the chance to attend courts and tribunals and witness firsthand the dynamics involved with each institution. While working in the corporate area I sat in conference calls, reviewed contracts, researched the legal ramifications of a new Federal program, as well as helped to revive a corporation, which involved ongoing communication with the staff of the Ontario Legislature and Members of Parliament. Although most of my work involved research I was also able to attend and assist with an examination for discovery, draft submissions, opinion letters, and memos to clients. It was very rewarding to often see my research opinion or memo be sent to the client. These moments made me realize the great importance of the work I was doing and made my summer at Aird and Berlis truly unforgettable."
Michael Ventresca, 2010 Second-Year Summer Student (Osgoode Hall) "At A&B, the lawyers genuinely want to give students a true taste of the job of a lawyer. You will do much more than photocopying and making deliveries! Some of my responsibilities included drafting memoranda, contracts and other documents; legal research; preparing presentations; and attending hearings, conferences and client meetings. Throughout many of the matters I worked on this summer, I felt like part of the team. For example, when asked to assist with an administrative tribunal hearing, I not only attended the daily hearings but I also drafted submissions and participated in strategy sessions. Whatever you end up doing at A&B, you can be sure it will be meaningful and rewarding work."