Leading up to starting my articles at Harrison Pensa I received lots of great advice on how to succeed articling- work hard, be in early, and make yourself known in the firm. Standing out in a law firm can be a difficult task. The reality is that everyone is extremely busy which doesn’t leave a lot of time for “water cooler” conversation. The best advice I can give to future students looking to “stand out” in the firm to become actively involved in any community or charitable events that the firm is involved in.
I have found that getting actively involved in community events is beneficial as it gives students a chance not only to give back to the community but to interact with lawyers and staff at the firm who you may not normally associate with. These different events also provide a unique setting for a student to better learn and understand the firm culture.
Experiences So Far
While it poured rained all day and we lost every game, the Scotiabank Easter Seals Power Play Ball Hockey tournament was my first chance to represent the firm in the community. What I found particularly unique about this event was that our roster was truly composed of a mixed-bag of lawyers from around in the firm. The roster consisted of:
- A bankruptcy and insolvency partner;
- A family law associate;
- A business law associate;
- An insurance defence associate and
- Two articling students.
Another event I was able to get involved in was the Ride for Juvenile Diabetes which was hosted in the parking lot of the Budweiser Garden. Four of us had to ride a stationary bike for 8 minutes each competing to get the highest combined distance. The event proved to be quite competitive and was a cool chance to try and bring home the win for Team HP. While we ultimately fell short, it was still a great chance represent the firm and get to know a few colleagues a little better.
Finally, one of the best experiences at the firm so far was acting as one of the chefs at Harrison Pensa’s pancake breakfast launch event for the annual United Way campaign. This event is organized by former Harrison Pensa students and is a sort-of a “passing of the torch” the current students.
In summary, my advice to students would be to jump at any opportunity early at the firm and make the best of it. A little time commitment can go a long way to showing your commitment to the firm and gives you a valuable opportunity interact with your colleagues at the firm. As much as articling is about showing your capabilities as a future lawyer, it is as much how you fit as a person at the firm. So whether it’s passing the ball to a partner or flipping pancakes with an associate, it is all time well spent.