Blog post by Lauren Haberer

Articling is all about gaining as much practical experience as possible before entering the legal profession. Many full-service law firms, like Harrison Pensa, help their articling students develop the skills and knowledge that they need to become lawyers by setting up a formal rotation system through the firm’s different practice areas.

During the recruitment process, I remember hearing about the rotation systems offered by various law firms. However, I often found myself wondering what kind of work and responsibilities each rotation actually involved. Sure, I had a general understanding of the differences between “corporate” and “litigation” practices, but had no idea what the nature of the student work in those areas would be. I hope that this blog sheds some light for those of you who find yourselves in the same situation as I did a couple of years ago.

HP articling students move through two rotations during their articling term: Corporate/Insolvency and Litigation. I began my articling term in the Corporate/Insolvency rotation and quickly learned that it encompasses a wide range of practice areas including wills and estates, real estate, technology law, bankruptcy and more! Now that I’ve finished my rotation in Corporate/Insolvency, I thought I’d share a small sampling of the types of projects I worked on.

1. Corporate transactions

Over the course of a corporate transaction, such as an asset or share purchase, there are many opportunities for students to assist. Students might be asked to draft documents including letters of intent, purchase agreements, shareholder agreements, leases and closing documents. Students might also be asked to sit in on client meetings and negotiations, conduct due diligence, and liaise with third parties (i.e., a municipal office or a service provider) to ensure that all of the conditions of closing are fulfilled.

2. Bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings

For insolvency matters that are being litigated, students have the opportunity to participate in all stages of the action, including discoveries, motions, trials and enforcement proceedings. Students are given the opportunity to draft the court materials for these proceedings, including statements of claim, motion records and factums. Other student work in this area includes determining the priority of claims amongst creditors, drafting demand letters and summarizing Personal Property Security Act reports.

3. Real estate transactions

During a real estate transaction, students may be asked to review the results of various title and off-title searches, research actual or potential issues arising from those results, liaise with title insurance companies, help resolve disputes arising from the representations and warranties in an agreement of purchase and sale and meet with clients to sign closing documents.

4. Wills, estates, trusts and charity law

Students are asked to draft and witness wills and powers of attorney and accompany lawyers to client meetings. There is also a great deal of research to be done for this practice group because of the many unique issues that can arise in the course of drafting and interpreting a will or distributing an estate. In the event that an estates issue proceeds to litigation, students are called upon to prepare court materials such as applications and factums. Students also assist lawyers with charity law, trust and guardianship matters.

Although this blog provides some insight into the type of tasks I completed during my Corporate/Insolvency rotation, keep in mind that the work assigned to articling students varies widely amongst law firms and lawyers. As a result, each student experience is bound to be unique! Stay tuned for a post about the type of work assigned to students in the litigation rotation at HP.