After an amazing summer at Goodmans, I spent my third year of law school eagerly anticipating my return to the thrilling work and engaging team awaiting us at the firm. Unfortunately, the news and repercussions of COVID-19 derailed not only our personal but also our professional expectations for the year to come. Being thankful to have such a wonderful job during a rather tumultuous time in the world, I entered articling simply excited to do great work and help out wherever I could. Right from the beginning however, Goodmans went above and beyond in showing us their commitment to the student program and their people.
From the first day of training, everyone at the firm ensured that the Goodmans culture remained a central pillar of our articling experience. From zoom meetings with partners who explained their practice areas and interesting files, to social activities amongst the students such as paint nights, we were given ample opportunities to meet new people and grow stronger bonds amongst ourselves. Whether we were the ones doing the presenting, as was the case during our cooking competition and holiday video, or sitting back and enjoying the show, as with the firm-wide holiday sing-a-long or United Way pie-in-the-face competition, it was easy to forget that this was all happening virtually.
I was also interested in seeing whether the virtual setting would impact the quality and quantity of work that we would get. We quickly realized that this would be a non-issue; the firm, busy as ever, had welcomed us with open arms and pulled us onto a variety of files where we were able to meaningfully contribute to projects. Throughout my first two rotations I worked on everything from massive, complex files that grabbed international headlines, to spearheading client-facing publications. Each time a new deliverable came my way, the assigning lawyer always took the time to provide me with the necessary information to complete the task, in addition to greater context on the project at large. These insightful learning opportunities enabled me to not only successfully complete the task, but to also add value to the deliverable where possible.
Creating such a wonderful work from home environment does not happen by accident. It emerges from the efforts and strategies of countless dedicated individuals who believe in, and understand the importance of, the values at the core of Goodmans. The result has been a seamless transition into this virtual space and has let us thrive as articling students.
Author: Shadi Varkiani, 2020/21 Articling Student and Osgoode Hall Law School Class of 2020