“Ahhh, this porridge is just right” – Goldilocks
Choosing the right size law firm for your articles is similar to Goldilocks’ adventures at the three bears’ house. Just imagine the hot and cold bowls of porridge as big and small law firms. I use the Goldilocks analogy because I believe it captures the single most important consideration in deciding where to article – law firm size. Allow me to explain.
My articles have all of the following: I appear in court every week; I have carriage of my own files; I can ask for litigation strategies from experienced lawyers or rookies who remember what it was like to walk a mile in an articling student’s shoes; I have been exposed to six practice areas; I can learn from lawyers trained across Canada from New Brunswick to British Columbia; entrepreneurship is encouraged; I love working independently and in small teams; I have a lot of client contact; and, I know the building security system really well because I have put in a lot of hours, but I also believe that that’s the only way I’m ever going to learn anything or get anywhere.
There is downside too; no different than anywhere else, the trick is to article somewhere where you won’t sweat the small stuff. I feel like I may have heard this before as dating advice, but I digress…
The impetus for most of the foregoing is law firm size. Firm size affects everything from resources and salary to scope of work and client interaction. I encourage all prospective articling students to think about the perfect firm size based on your own personality. It may be too early for you to say that you want to practice real estate or commercial lending, but it’s not too early to say whether you prefer the pace of Bay Street or Wine Country near the Niagara Escarpment.
Law firm size is not only important for articling students, but clients too. Over the holidays, the Globe and Mail ran a story entitled: “For law firms, bigger isn’t always better” in which one of DSF’s lawyers, Albert C. Luk, , made some interesting observations on recent trends in the Canadian legal industry. For the full article, For law firms, bigger isn’t always better – The Globe and Mail.
So, how do you like your porridge?