I chose to work at Goodmans for one central reason: the people. As such, I was worried when I learned that articling was going to be virtual. I developed incredible friendships and working relationships with countless firm members as a summer student. Those connections not only made going to work fun, they were also a vital component of my learning experience; as students, the practice of law constantly presents new challenges, and it is crucial to lean on those around you to overcome them. How would I do that from my couch? As it turns out, I was worried for nothing.
For one, everybody has made themselves incredibly available. I never find myself needlessly spinning my wheels. When I have a question, the lawyers I have worked with have made me feel completely comfortable picking up the phone and calling them for guidance. Alternatively, when I would rather reach out to other students, we have a group chat where we constantly exchange questions and ideas. Additionally, the tax group, which I am currently rotating through, has section calls twice a week designed to allow group members to raise complex issues and problem-solve collaboratively.
In terms of the social aspect, the firm has been amazing about fostering an interactive environment. Almost weekly, we have really fun social events over Zoom. For example, we often do “master classes” led by lawyers. Recently, we had a “make your own ice cream” night. We all took a break from work to hang out and listen to music as a lawyer taught us how to make very tasty ice cream from scratch. Although, I never envisioned using a hand-mixer during working hours at Goodmans, these classes have been a great opportunity to chat with my colleagues. Other master classes include learning how to play chess and making pasta sauce, pancakes, and breakfast tacos. Often, we stay on Zoom well after the activity is over so that we can catch up and have a few more laughs.
Despite the fact that we are all looking forward to going back into the office, Goodmans has made what could have been an uncomfortably isolating year into a fabulous experience.
Author: Aaron Barrett, 2020/21 Articling Student and Western Law Class of 2020