The journey to articles and beyond certainly has its ups and down, moments of self-doubt and flashes of, “what am I doing here?” The most comforting part about these road bumps encountered along the way is that, while at the time you feel like you’re the only one experiencing them, I assure you, you’re not.
A career in private practice, or in the legal field generally, was not something on my radar when I was going through the application process in 2013/14. I had just graduated from Western with a degree in Kinesiology and an honours specialization in Sports Management. Fortunately, I had interned with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League throughout my undergraduate studies and was lucky enough to be able to continue on with them in a hockey operations capacity. My love for sports, and hockey particularly, made this a great fit. As my year progressed, I was able to identify that, as an individual who had never played at that level or higher, I required a tangible that was going to make me an asset within the industry. After canvasing a number of executives and perusing online biographies endlessly, I noted that there was a commonality, a law degree. I was convinced that this was what I needed to excel and continue to move forward in the hockey world, and so I began my law school journey. Not knowing what the next three years had in store, I was convinced upon graduation that I would be right back where I was, sports.
I was naïve of the world I was walking into. I can vividly remember my peers on the first day name dropping firms I had never heard of and speaking about the practice groups they already had their eyes on. I had no idea what they were talking about. Needless to say, my legal industry acumen was virtually non-existent. Over the course of my degree, I became enamored with the practice of law. I began to find myself totally engrossed in all aspects, whether it be the moots, the legal research and writing or simply the ever existent legal debate and conversation with my classmates. I guess it’s safe to say that I was no longer so career certain. My new found intrigue in the practice of law meant that I had a decision to make. Summering at Harrison Pensa cemented my choice, I was going to give the practice of law a go.
The purpose of this post is not to bore you with my personal journey, but rather to show that plans change. I thought I had it all figured out, and to my surprise (and likely only mine given that my grandmother has told me since what seems like birth that law was the profession for me) I didn’t and I was forced to adapt. While my personal career adaptation is not necessarily akin to the adaptations lawyers, and legal professionals generally, make on a daily basis, this experience gave me perspective. Whether we think that we know exactly how a given file is going to play out or, “what we’re going to be when we grow up”, chances are we don’t. In the legal profession, it is essential to be on your toes, identify changing circumstances and seize the opportunities. It’s this ability to adjust, remain fluid and be adaptable that helps to ultimately forge a successful legal career.
Aiden Nelms – Articling Student