Would You Survive Being a Summer Student in a Law Firm? I Kicked Ass!
“What did you do this summer?” It’s a common question among third year law students. Some fortunate law students are skilled enough to dupe law firms into hiring them to do odd-jobs at their firm (like sorting paper and brewing coffee) between second and third year of law school. I am one such fortunate student. So here’s how I answer the question:
“I spent this summer working at the best law firm in Vancouver (maybe even in Canada…or the Universe).”
I knew from my first day in law school that I wanted to work at MT+Co. Rob Miller spoke on a panel on my first day of law school orientation. The panel was made up of lawyers from various areas of practice, from corporate big-wigs to a Crown prosecutor. Rob was the only one not wearing a suit and I thought to myself “Hey, that’s smart. Suits are expensive!”.
I was then determined to get a foot in the door at MT+Co. I was hopeful they’d hire me the following year to be their summer student and to make a long story short ─ I applied and they hired me. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know and I wasn’t going to ask them, out of fear of being exposed as a fraud. “We actually thought you were that law student who won Canada’s Smartest Person” they would say, “but now it’s too late and we’re stuck with you”.
The typical Summer Student experience
The typical summer student experience involves a smorgasbord of mind-numbing tasks, the epitome of legal minutia, including: filing documents in court, conducting due diligence on boxes upon boxes of documents in a tiny room by yourself well into the wee hours of the morning fueled only by lukewarm tear-filled coffee, writing memos on obscure points of law that will likely not be read by the lawyer who assigned the task, and generally doing other soul-destroying tasks without having any idea what the file was about or how the student’s work contributed to the overall strategy.
The MT+Co. Summer Student experience
Not the typical experience here. Even before my first day at the office of MT+Co. I was invited to be part of the team’s social events and got to know everyone on a personal level. I became a member of an amazing team of talented lawyers and project managers (yes, Raquel, you are the best!). And here’s what really got me going:
- I was given the opportunity to work on real files alongside senior lawyers;
- I drafted all manner of contracts;
- I participated in negotiations and strategy sessions;
- I met with current and future clients; and
- I researched live issues.
Put simply – I had a seat at the table and a voice in the firm. I wasn’t just a cog in the machine.
During my summer at the firm, I found out first hand that the hype is real. MT+Co. provides invaluable service at the highest standard to its clients, in an amazingly friendly and collegial atmosphere. The work was challenging but incredibly rewarding, and I was guided by fantastic tutors along the way. I was given every opportunity to contribute, learn and succeed. In the end, I felt that I was able to really help people, and realized that this is what being a good lawyer is all about. And I didn’t have to wear a suit to do it.
So, “what did you do this summer?”
I’m back at school for the next round, but I’ll be back. In the meantime, if you want to ask me anything about student life, shoot me an email.