When COVID-19 first appeared on the world stage, I was about to finish my third and final year of law school. Two of my first thoughts were (i) what will this year’s Bar Exam look like, and (ii) what will this year’s articling program look like? I am fortunate to say those worries are behind me, and for that I can thank the Goodmans team for the tremendous amount of support and effort they have put into transitioning the firm into the virtual environment.
I was a summer student at Goodmans in 2019 and coming back to complete my articles was something I looked forward to throughout my last year of law school. One of the things that made the summer experience so special was the ability to interact with a range of different firm members on a daily basis. When I realized my articling term would be primarily remote, I worried about whether it would be possible to maintain that type of atmosphere. Happily, I can thankfully say that my days are still filled with phone calls, video conferences, and instant messages that make me feel as connected as ever to the great people at this firm.
To that end, I thought I’d go through a few parts of what my day currently looks like in this virtual environment.
-My work day starts with reviewing emails on my phone when I wake up, and shortly thereafter making my way to my desk at home. The firm sent me my laptop, two monitors, a keyboard and mouse, and a docking station when I started articling. Being able to replicate the feeling of an office at home has been invaluable in terms of helping me maintain focus throughout the day.
-If we haven’t yet connected, my assistant will usually send me a message in the morning to check in and see what’s on my plate for the day. If I can, I get her involved in my files as early as possible and we’ll message throughout the day as they develop.
-When receiving new work, I will generally get an email from the assigning lawyer looking to set up a time to talk more about the assignment either over the phone or by video. These talks often serve not only to relay information about the work, but also to get to catch up and touch base on how my experience has been so far.
-My section mentors and I also have a weekly video-conference meeting to discuss how my current rotation is going and any matters that come up in the course of my work. They have been a tremendous help in connecting me with lawyers who practice in the areas of law that I’m looking for exposure to.
-Sprinkled throughout my calendar are social video calls as well. Last week an articling student lead us in a cocktail mixology class, and this week we will be trying our hand at a virtual painting class. The students also have an ongoing friendly competition in which the winners are awarded video calls with various lawyers at the firm, which are always a highlight of my day.
My day also includes work, of course, but it has been exciting to compliment the great work done at the firm with even better people. Knowing that these people are just a phone call away has allowed me to build a remote working routine that keeps me connected to the firm in ways I didn’t think possible when this pandemic first started. The firm’s efforts to integrate the articling students in this virtual environment have given me a better articling experience than I could have hoped for when this pandemic first began.
Author: Sasha Seeber, 2020/21 Articling Student and Queen's Law Class of 2020