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  • The YWL Blog provides a forum for writing and discussion on various topics of interest to young women in law. Click on the dark grey icons below to read more or leave a comment. Use the hashtag #YWLBlog and share your thoughts on social media!

    • YWL is now accepting submissions for blog posts. Send your submissions to info@youngwomeninlaw. 

      Please note that the views expressed in individual blog posts are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of YWL.

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        • 20 Mar 2023 4:22 PM | Sandra Buhain (Administrator)

          In honour of International Women’s Day (IWD), which was celebrated across the world on March 8, 2023, this March piece is dedicated to women in the workforce. 

          IWD is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The United Nations’ theme for IWD 2023 was “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. This year’s theme was focused on innovation, technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. 

          Digital technology has enabled many possibilities in the working world, including flexibility with remote work, improved work-life balance, and increased productivity. Amidst the pandemic and throughout the post-recovery period, there have been major shifts in workplace cultures and expectations. 

          McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2022 report found that women leaders are switching jobs at unprecedented rates. Despite improvements in representation, women are still dramatically underrepresented at the leadership level in corporate roles. The two main barriers to achieving gender equality at the leadership levels are (1) the broken rung at the first step up to manager and (2) women leaders leaving their companies at high rates. The report noted that digital technology, and in particular having the choice to work remotely, is an important factor in women’s job satisfaction.

          Despite the benefits that adopting remote and hybrid work options can bring to women in the workforce, these ways of working may also create new challenges for women and gender equality. For example, research has found that women with kids are evaluated worse than men with kids when they decide to work remotely, which may lead to career penalties such as being passed over for promotions.

          According to research from the Women in the Workplace 2022 report, companies that are navigating the shift to remote and hybrid work should focus efforts in five main areas. Firstly, companies should share guidelines for remote work that outline expectations, such as specific windows during which meetings can be scheduled. Secondly, companies should gather regular feedback from employees on their remote and hybrid work systems. Thirdly, companies should invest in fostering employee connectedness to ensure that all employees feel included and that events are accessible.  Fourthly, companies should be purposeful about in-person work. Lastly, companies should ensure that employees who choose remote or hybrid work options get the same support and opportunities as on-site employees.  

          As digital technology continues to enable flexibility within the working world, new shifts in workplace cultures and expectations will be inevitable. All employees benefit when workplaces leverage digital technologies in ways that support healthy and supportive remote/hybrid work environments. In particular, it is important that workplaces in the digital age adopt efforts to support gender equality and empowerment of all women.

          Jane Huang is a corporate lawyer in the Business Law group at Miller Thomson. She is developing a commercial law practice with an emphasis on marketing and advertising, franchising, product regulatory, privacy, transportation, and intellectual property matters. Jane is registered with the College of Patent and Trademark Agents as a trademark agent-in-training.

          Prior to becoming a lawyer, she gained business development experience at a tech startup and was part of the investment team at a venture capital fund. Jane graduated with a science degree from the University of Toronto and a law degree from Western University. While in law school, Jane was co-president of the Western Health Law Association and served as a teaching assistant for a 1L legal research, writing, and advocacy course.

          In her spare time, Jane enjoys taking dance classes, admiring art, listening to podcasts, trying different kinds of food, and perfecting her skincare routine.

        • 27 Feb 2023 7:59 AM | Sandra Buhain (Administrator)

          The end of February may not be the most intuitive time to think about your New Years resolutions but bear with me for a second. 

          By the end of the second month of the year, I have found that I had enough time to take stock of the progress I have made toward my goals, identify any roadblocks, and re-evaluate my action plan.  If I need to re-examine my goals or my timeline, there’s still plenty of time left in the year to implement changes and still finish on-track. It’s also helpful to check in with yourself around this time to make sure you still feel the same way about your goals and priorities as you did at the start of the year. 

          If you’ve completely forgotten about your plan for 2023 (or never made one to begin with), do not give up hope. Having ‘goals’ may sound lofty and unachievable but we can make progress across different areas of our lives by starting off with something as small as a habit. No matter how big, or small, your goals are, the key to success is making them specific, measurable and achievable. You should think of your goals as building blocks that can be added on to progressively. 

          Personally, while I used to think that I would be inspired by declaring a big, bold goal—such as making the career switch to law—I quickly found that overwhelming. Instead, I fell back on tried and true techniques including action plans with lists and timelines. “Become a lawyer” turned into “apply to law schools” which became “reach out to alumni”; “study for the LSAT”; “create a financial plan”; “pick a law school”; “build up my resume”; etc. Even these smaller goals can often be broken down into smaller tasks. Every time one of those tasks were completed I could see that I was making progress toward my goal even though the end game still felt far, far away.    

          If you’re reading this feeling like you haven’t achieved anything yet this year think, about how you can implement any of these strategies to get back on track.


          Goals, especially when linked to habits, are easier to maintain if you both track them and measure them. Even a cross mark on your daily calendar to show you have adhered to your plan can be motivating. Measuring your success along the way can show your progress, even when you are having a bad day. Besides, tracking our time and progress should be second nature for lawyers.

          Celebrate Small Successes

          If you only focus on reaching your goals by December 2023, you will be setting yourself up to feel discouraged. Recognize your small accomplishments, like blocking off 10 minutes in a day for a mindfulness exercise, and the long-term work you put in will feel worth it.


          If you have an outcome or results goal, you’ll need to work daily on the behaviour you need to change to make that goal a reality. This means carefully examining your behaviours and pinpointing the ones you need to change. If your end goal is to save money for a vacation, for example, you may want to assess how often you’re spending money eating out. 

          Ask Why

          Another thing I would encourage you to assess throughout the year is the actual goal. Have your priorities changed? What were your reasons behind the goal in the first place and have any of those reasons changed? Is the goal still realistic given any life changes? Reassessing is not quitting; don’t punish yourself if your original goals need to adjusted or if new opportunities present themselves. 

          Finally, don’t limit your goals to your career—we are so much more than lawyers! Think about other areas of your life that may be a bit neglected and how you can improve on those (for example: mental health, physical health, financial wellbeing, friendships, family relationships, hobbies) this year. After all, well-rounded people make better and happier lawyers. 

          Marie Kazmer obtained her Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Toronto and worked for a few years in financial services and investments before returning to school to obtain her J.D. from Western. She is currently completing her articles at a boutique estate litigation firm in downtown Toronto and expects to be called to the Bar in June 2023. During law school Marie was a member of the Western Business Law Clinic assisting local start-ups, Western's In Vino Veritas wine tasting club and participated in several moots and competitions including coaching the Walsh Family Law Moot in her third year. Outside of work Marie enjoys cooking, skiing, travelling and volunteering with Second Harvest.

        • 22 Feb 2023 9:00 AM | Nathalie Siah (Administrator)

          In collaboration with Ontario Association of Black Paralegals and Fasken’s Ontario Women Network, we are excited to present key speakers from the Law Society of Ontario, including Treasurer Jacqueline Horvat and Benchers Atrisha Lewis and Michelle Lomazzo.

          Join us for the opportunity to hear their perspective on intersectionality and the law as well as speak with mentors with a variety of backgrounds listed below!

          The Speakers

          Jacqueline Horvat, Treasurer of LSO

          Jacqueline Horvat was elected as Treasurer by the Law Society’s governing body (Convocation) on June 15, 2022 and she took office on June 28, 2022. The Treasurer is the top-elected official of the Law Society, which regulates Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals in the public interest. She is the sixth woman Treasurer in the 225-year history of the Law Society.

          Treasurer Horvat was first elected a Bencher in 2011 and was serving her third term when she was elected. She was called to the Ontario bar in 2002.

          She is a litigation lawyer and a founding partner of Spark Law, a seven-lawyer full-service firm, which provides her with a close-up view of the issues and daily worries faced by sole and small practice lawyers across the Province.

          Treasurer Horvat has a broad and varied corporate/commercial litigation practice representing both plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial disputes, class action litigation and appeals. She has appeared at all levels of court in Ontario, the Federal Court Trial Division and the Federal Court of Appeal.

          Atrisha Lewis, LSO Bencher/ Partner, McCarthy Tetrault LLP

          Atrisha Lewis is a Partner in McCarthy Tétrault’s Litigation Group in Toronto. She is a trial litigator and with a practice focused on commercial disputes, professional liability and product liability matters. Atrisha frequently provides advice relating to fraud and asset recovery after the discovery of a fraud including by attending at court to seek urgent tracing and freezing orders. Atrisha represents clients in the financial services and technology sectors. Atrisha has argued before all levels of Court. In 2019, Atrisha was elected as bencher of the Law Society of Ontario.

          Michelle Lomazzo, Paralegal LSO Bencher/Lomazzo Worker's Compensation Appeals Prof Corp

          Michelle M. Lomazzo has worked as an injured worker advocate for more than 30 years in Windsor, representing workers across Ontario.  Michelle has her own legal services practice, Lomazzo Workers’ Compensation Appeals Professional Corporation with expertise in workers compensation appeals before the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and regularly appears before the Workplace Safety & Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT). Her practice focus is estate claims and WSIB survivor benefits for the families of emergency responders where their loved one died by suicide because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Ms. Lomazzo has represented the Windsor Police Association and the Windsor Professional Firefighters Association for years, as well as various other unions/associations. Ms. Lomazzo was elected a Bencher at the Law Society of Ontario in 2019. She is the Chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee and as well currently sits as a Bencher on the following committees: Professional Regulation Co., Treasurer’s Appointments Advisory Committee, Access to Justice, Audit and Finance,  Proceeding Authorization and Strategic Planning and Advisory. She was an Adjudicator with the Law Society Tribunal adjudicating discipline matters involving lawyers and paralegals for the nine years. She was most recently a Director of the Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital Board of Directors for eight years and a Board member of the Changing Lives Together Foundation Board of Directors.  Michelle has a in-depth understanding of governance having sat on numerous boards of directors over the past 30 years including Citizen Advocacy, Family Services Windsor-Essex, the Homeless Shelter for Women, and the Unemployed Help Centre. She is a volunteer with the Coach and Advisor’s Network at the Law Society of Ontario and a mediator with Community Mediation Windsor-Essex.  Ms. Lomazzo has been a member the Paralegal Advisory Committee of St. Clair College in Windsor since 2012. She is a regular guest speaker for Continuing Professional Development with various organizations including the Law Society of Ontario. She is bilingual. When not advocating or volunteering Ms. Lomazzo enjoys worldwide travel and golf.  She is the proud mother of three adult children and a new grandmother.

          The Mentors

          Brenell Dean, founder of Dean’s Paralegal Services has diligently and tirelessly served Windsor and the surrounding area since March 2018 in the areas of Small Claims Court and Landlord Representation. Mrs. Dean had many requests to service Clients in new areas of law and Mrs. Dean answered the call. In 2020 Dean’s Paralegal Services expanded services and hired a team of professional paralegals and lawyers; now offering a broad range of legal services.

          Mrs. Dean has a unique background in real estate investing and property management. These skills have led to a deeper understanding of the law as it relates to representation at the Landlord and Tenant Board. Mrs. Dean also has 10 years of extensive community service experience, where Mrs. Dean was involved with such organizations as Afforest-UWindsor, Sisters Taking Action for a New Direction, The Downtown Mission, Raising Autism Awareness, Youth Embracing Today’s Youth, the YMCA and Pre-Law Student Society at the University of Windsor. While maintaining a sense of pride in her community, Brenell Completed an Honors Degree in French and Psychology at the University of Windsor. Mrs. Dean holds a B.A. [H] French Studies & Psychology from the University and has graduated from the Paralegal Program at St. Clair College. Mrs. Dean is a highly sought-after public speaker and mentor in the legal profession. Alongside her paralegal practice, Mrs. Dean returned to College holding the role of Instructor where Mrs. Dean teaches such classes as Criminal Law: Summary Convictions, Administrative Law, Paralegal Practice Management, among other courses.  Mrs. Dean comes from a family with a rich history in the legal field as a direct relative of Delos Davis, one of Canada’s first black lawyers, the Honorable Justice Dean, and others spanning across Canada and the United States.

          Rochelle Ivri, Immigration Judge, Mohawk College Professor 
          Appointed in 2018, Judge Rochelle Ivri is 1 of 9 Citizenship Judges in Canada and was the first African-Canadian Citizenship Judge assigned to the Hamilton and Niagara Falls offices. She is currently assigned to the Greater Ontario Area. Judge Ivri holds an Honours Degree in Criminology, as well as a post-graduate certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution and is a professor in the paralegal program at Mohawk College and adjunct professor at Queen’s Law School. She is also an author and sought after speaker and facilitator.
          Judge Ivri is deeply committed to community engagement and involvement, serving on various boards and committees in the past and present, while continuing to lend her knowledge and expertise to advance the needs of the community. She has received many awards; was awarded a Woman Who Rocks Award for Hamilton in 2019 and, in 2020 she was a nominee in the Education/Mentorship category for the YWCA Hamilton Women of Distinction Awards. Also in 2020, she was awarded the Leading Women, Leading Girls, Building Community Award for her work in Kitchener Centre. In 2021, Judge Ivri received the Lincoln Alexander Award by the Law Society of Ontario making her the first ever paralegal to receive this recognition in the awards’ nearly 20-year history. Judge Ivri was named one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women for 2022 and her accomplishments documented in a commemorative book. Also in 2022, Judge Ivri was given the Rev. John C. Holland Award of Merit by the Hamilton Black History Council and was recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Black Women to Watch of 2022 by CIBWE.

          She is passionate about human rights, the Charter, and encouraging active citizenship and civic engagement to make communities thrive. She and her husband Eldean have 4 children.”

          Rochelle was the first African-Canadian to be appointed as a board member on the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library Board where she served for 8 years. She was also the first African-Canadian to be appointed to the Council of the College of Midwives of Ontario, where she served for 8 years, 2 of which involved being on the Executive Board. Additionally, Rochelle was also a member of the Discipline, Appeal, and Review Committee of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (Now the CICC). She currently sits on the board of Bravo Niagara! and she is the first and only African-Canadian to be appointed to the inaugural Niagara Region Women's Advisory Committee.

          Marie Kiluu-Ngila is an Indigenous Business Lawyer at Pape Salter Teillet LLP in Toronto. She works with Indigenous groups across the province to promote their economic participation within a transactional business driven context. Prior to joining Pape, she practiced corporate finance and M&A at a small boutique in Toronto, after articling at a full service Bay Street firm.

          Marie attended the University of Toronto where she completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science and minoring in History and Gender Studies in 2014. She completed her Juris Doctor in 2019 and was called to the Ontario bar in 2020.

          Marie is a co-founder of Black Future Lawyers (BFL) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. BFL is a program that aims to empower and support the endeavors of Black students who are interested in attending law school and has impacted hundreds of prospective law school applicants. The program has expanded and multiple chapters can be found in universities across Canada.

          Danielle Abimbola is an Associate Lawyer at Monkhouse Law, licenced by the Law Society of Ontario, practicing employment law. She completed her J.D. at the University of Ottawa. She was the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada National President in 2018-2019.

          Danielle assists employees with navigating workplace issues ranging from wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal, human rights discrimination, contract reviews, and disability insurance claims. She is passionate about advocating for her clients and keeping their interests centred throughout the process. She approaches her work with a listening ear, a keen eye, and seeks to protect the interests of her clients.

          Jennifer Gold is a Partner of Wood Gold LLP in Brampton, where she practices Family Law and Wills. She’s experienced in achieving consensus, negotiating agreements, de-escalating conflict, and representing clients in mediation, arbitration and court.  Jennifer was recently appointed as a part-time member of the Ontario Land Tribunal.  Since 2021, she has been a Dispute Resolution Officer for the Superior Court of Justice to assist in early resolution of cases. She has completed a Certificate in Family Mediation and, in keeping with her professional commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, has also completed the University of Alberta’s course, Indigenous Canada, and The Path.

          Jennifer is Past President of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario and is a Board Member of Pro Bono Ontario. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Legal Aid Ontario where she chairs the Audit and Finance Committee, and is a member of the Ontario Bar Association’s Council, representing the Central West region. To support the next generation, Jennifer is a mentor in the Women’s Law Association of Ontario’s mentorship program and York University’s Advancing Women program.  The efforts of Jennifer and her partner to create alternatives to the traditional law firm, with a better work-life balance in a diverse workplace, were featured in The Toronto Star.

          Jennifer is the 2021 recipient of the Ontario Bar Association’s Award of Excellence in Promoting Women’s Equality and a 2017 Lexpert Zenith Award celebrating the advancement of women in the legal profession.

          Teresa Donnelly has been a lawyer with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General since 1994. During that time, she has been an Assistant Crown Attorney in the Region of Waterloo and the County of Huron (1994-2011), the Crown Attorney for the County of Huron (2011-2015); the West Region Sexual Violence Crown, Sexual Violence Advisory Group (2015-2020, 2022-2023) and Counsel conducting a review of the Direct Accountability Program (DAP) at the Ministry (2022-2023).

          As West Region Sexual Violence Crown she was one of 7 full-time prosecutors in Ontario dedicated to enhancing the quality of sexual violence prosecutions and the victim’s experience in the criminal justice system. As a Crown, Teresa has been dedicated to prosecutions involving violence against women and children – both domestic violence and sexual violence.

          Teresa was elected as a Bencher with the Law Society of Ontario in 2015 and 2019.  She was elected the Treasurer or President of the Law Society of Ontario from June 2020-June 2022.  Teresa was the fifth woman Treasurer in the 223 year history of the Law Society of Ontario.  As Treasurer her focus included the mental health of legal practitioners, EDI, reconciliation, the competence and ethical responsibilities of lawyers and paralegals, and the important role that paralegals play in access to justice in Ontario.

          Derin Abimbola is a lawyer with the City of Toronto in their Planning and Administrative Law group. Derin holds a BA in Criminology and a JD degree, both from the University of Ottawa. She has appeared at Divisional Court, the OLT, the TLAB and Small Claims Court on various matters.

          Reshida Darrell, is an associate employment lawyer at Monkhouse Law. Reshida received her JD from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law after obtaining her Honours Bachelor in Justice Studies at the University of Guelph.During her time at the University of Ottawa, Reshida volunteered as a student caseworker with the Employment Insurance Litigation Clinic, was a founding steering committee member for the Employment Law Fellowship at the University, and finished in the top tier of her trial advocacy course.

          Before joining Monkhouse Law, Reshida gained valuable civil litigation experience articling with a multinational insurance corporation and financial services provider, as well as worked as the corporation’s legal analyst spearheading the statutory interpretation for the privacy modernization program.

        • 20 Feb 2023 9:55 AM | Sandra Buhain (Administrator)

          In honour of Black History Month, Young Women in Law would like to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of Charlotte Ray, Violet King, Corrine Sparks, and Constance Baker Motley, four trailblazing Black women lawyers.  Each of these accomplished lawyers were responsible for many firsts in their careers, breaking barriers for women following in their footsteps.

          Charlotte Ray

          Charlotte Ray was the first African American woman lawyer in the U.S. and the third woman in the U.S. to earn a law degree. Ray graduated from Howard University Law School in 1872.  She began as a sole practitioner, opening her law office in Washington, D.C. to practice commercial law. Ray ran her sole practice for several years, but unfortunately had to close it down due to a lack of business likely as a result of the prejudice she faced at the time. Ray then moved to New York where she worked as a public school teacher and joined the National Association of Colored Women to advocate for the rights of women and African Americans.

          Violet King

          Violet King was the first Black graduate of the University of Alberta and one of only four women enrolled at its law school. King became the first Black woman to practice law in Canada.  After articling in criminal law, King accepted a position with the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. She later became the executive director of the National Council of YMCAs Organizational Development Group in New York City and was the first woman to hold the position within the YMCA.

          Corrine Sparks

          The Hon. Judge Corrine Sparks was the first Black woman to serve on the bench in Canada.   Sparks attended the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, where she was the only Black woman in her class of 120 students.  Sparks practiced family law in Nova Scotia for several years and went on to have a long and successful career presiding on the Family Court of Nova Scotia.  She recently retired from the bench at the end of 2021 and now serves as a commissioner adjudicating land ownership disputes in historic African Nova Scotian communities.

          Constance Baker Motley

          Constance Baker Motley was the first African American woman appointed to the federal judiciary.  Baker Motley received her law degree from Columbia University in 1946.  After graduating, she joined the staff of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., an organization devoted to racial justice and led by Thurgood Marshall.  Baker Motley had a storied legal career, representing Martin Luther King Jr. and arguing ten cases at the Supreme Court while with NAACP Legal Defense.  In 1966, she was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

          Katrina Kairys practices charity and not-for-profit law at Patel Kairys Law.  She completed her undergraduate degree at McGill University and obtained her J.D. from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.  Katrina practiced charity and not-for-profit law at a national law firm for several years prior to co-founding Patel Kairys Law.

          Katrina is a director of ACCESS Community Capital Fund, a charity based in Toronto, and she volunteers as a member-at-large of the Ontario Bar Association Charities and Not-for-Profit Law Section Executive. Katrina has authored articles in the Estates, Trusts & Pensions Journal, Canadian Tax Foundation Conference Report and Ontario Bar Association Section Insider.

        • 05 Dec 2022 10:00 AM | Sandra Buhain (Administrator)

          One of the most common questions I get from students: wait, so you quit your first job as a lawyer? My one-liner response: Yes, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

          My story isn’t all that different from many young lawyers. Since the age of 16, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. The goal was clear and the path was certain. It wasn’t easy by any stretch, but there I was - in my robes getting called to the Bar.

          With law school behind me, I got settled in and began taking carriage of my own files. My clients were largely low-income immigrants, and I took pride in the fact that I was doing work that felt impactful. However, after several months of working into the late evening 6-7 days a week, I began questioning my life choices.

          I became short tempered with the people I loved, found myself taking medication to manage recurring stomach ulcers, and barely holding onto any sort of social life. Classic signs of burnout.

          So I did the thing that I’ve never done before - I quit. I quit because I knew there was only one person responsible for my health and happiness: me.

          And you’d think things would get better, but it only got worse. For the first time in my life - I didn’t have a plan. And everyone else around me seemed to have it all figured out. Layer on the ever-present guilt that I was letting down my parents, who sacrificed everything for my education, and of course, the nagging feeling that I was making a massive mistake. Who’s going to hire a lawyer fresh out of law school, with barely a year of experience?

          And yet, it was the best decision I ever made.

          Here’s why: There’s opportunity in not having a plan. It’s simple - if you have tunnel vision about what you think your career is supposed to look like, you’re going to miss the possibilities of what it could be.

          There are people who view their careers as “ladders”, where their career path is based on moving up in the organization. They can clearly see the path ahead of them and understand what it takes to get to the next level. However, I fall into the category often referred to as “mapping”. Like a map, my career is non-linear and I seek interesting roles, companies, and skills. Like traveling to foreign places, I enjoy the challenge and discomfort because I believe this is how I grow personally and professionally.

          By not having a plan, my career has been wide-ranging, and most importantly – fun. I have also met some of the best people, who I consider close friends. Just a quick overview of my what I managed to do without a plan: I worked in capital markets for one of the biggest banks in Canada - without a lick of experience in finance. I was a consultant for a Big 4 consulting firm - without a MBA or accounting degree (don’t get me started on how much I despise excel and Powerpoint!). Funny enough, in the last two years, I ventured back into law and work in-house despite years spent out of practice.

          I say all of this to provide an alternative to the constant pressure many young students (and lawyers) feel during the early stages of their career. There are some folks who know exactly what they want for their career - nothing wrong with that. However, for those who don’t know what their next move is: celebrate the freedom in that. Maybe do the thing you’re not expected to do - or the thing you’re most curious about. If my career is an example of anything – it’s the fact that there’s a world of possibility out there.


          Taslenna Shairulla is an in-house lawyer for Capital One Canada, where she practices corporate/commercial and privacy law. She is also a blogger, who uses storytelling to highlight BIPOC owned brands and businesses. Find her on Instagram: @whattassyknows.

        • 24 Jan 2022 9:00 AM | Nathalie Siah (Administrator)

          Some people might say that junior lawyers should accept and be happy with whatever salary they are first offered. Some people might say that first-year lawyers especially should take what they get (I was told that by a few people). My response would be lawyers (of any vintage) should always be grateful for a job offer. But being a first-year lawyer does not mean salary negotiation is off the table.

          Negotiating salary can be daunting as a first year lawyer. On the one hand, you are excited to have been offered a job, you want to get off on the right foot with your new employer, and you certainly don’t want to lose this job opportunity when you have come so far. On the other hand, you have bills to pay, crushing student debt, and genuinely hope to be appreciated for the work you will be putting in.

          Let me start by saying that I have been in those shoes. Let me also say that I negotiated my salary as a first-year lawyer. Was it uncomfortable? Yes. Was it nerve-wracking? Yes. Am I glad I did it? Definitely. Based on my experience, below is how I would recommend any nervous first-year lawyer approach salary talks with their future employer.

          Determine the Appropriate Salary Range

          The first step in determining fair compensation is finding out what the salary range is for a first year call at the firm you are interviewing with or a comparable firm. First year salary ranges might be different depending on what area of law you will be practicing too. Both are important to keep in mind.

          Perhaps you have already heard formally or through the grape vine what a first-year lawyer makes at the firm you are interested in. If not, a good starting point is ZSA’s salary guide and legal forums like to get a sense of what might be a fair salary. You can also talk to junior lawyers or recruiters you already know about salary expectations. Your ability to say you looked at X website, talked to Y person, and e-mailed with Z recruiter before coming up with your idea of an appropriate salary will make you more persuasive.

          Determine What Your Strengths Are

          After figuring out what an appropriate salary range might be, it is time to think about what assets or value you bring to the firm. As a first-year lawyer, you might think your lack of experience prevents you from making a strong case about your value to the firm. However, that’s simply not true.

          Some factors to consider when making your case as a junior lawyer are:

          1. Did you summer or article with the firm? Your familiarity with how the firm operates (from intake to docketing to drafting) is an advantage. Prior experience at the firm means you don’t need to be trained or introduced. You have the advantage of seamlessly continuing to work at the firm. 

          2. Do you have specialized experience? Maybe you specialized in something during law school. Maybe before interviewing at this firm, your worked in a niche area of law that the firm is hiring in. In either case, you have a strength that other junior lawyers applying to the position might not have and you should highlight it.

          3. Can you bring a strong reference letter? Getting a partner from your previous firm (especially if the partner or firm is known to your potential new employer) might help push your salary negotiations along. Referring to the recommendation that someone reputable and respected gave for you is one way to argue you should be receiving a salary at the higher end of the appropriate salary range

          4. Is the firm hiring urgently? If the firm is in need of a junior lawyer to step in, they may be more willing to negotiate with you once you have gotten to the offer stage to ensure that you come on board (especially if your ask is reasonable and within the demonstrably appropriate range).

          5. Is anyone at the firm leaving soon? Perhaps the firm you are interviewing with is hiring with a view towards transitioning duties. Maybe someone at the firm is leaving or going on maternity leave. Whatever the case, knowing why the firm is hiring can be also an advantage in your negotiations.

          6. Do you have other offers or opportunities on the table? We all know that rarity increases a commodity’s value. If you truly are considering other options or have another offer on the table, you can leverage this fact in your negotiations.

          In addition to the above, there may be other factors unique to you and your situation that will help negotiations along. My point is that lack of experience, alone, does not and should not discredit any first-year lawyer from negotiating a higher salary that is justified.

          Determine What You Are and Are Not Willing to Accept

          As you enter into salary negotiations, the above should help you get a clear idea about what you are and are not willing to accept. Having a clear idea will help make you more confident in your negotiation and assessment of the offer given to you.

          Also consider whether you are willing to accept a lower salary that comes with other perks. Consider negotiating vacation days, performance bonuses, continued learning costs, billable targets, working hours, office space, etc.


          Now that you know what the appropriate salary range is, what strengths you bring to the table, and what you are willing to accept, it’s time to go to bat. If you are still lacking confidence, try imagining yourself as your own client and advocate! After all, advocating is what being a lawyer is all about right? In its own strange way, job seeking and salary negotiations are an opportunity to showcase to your future employer a taste of your advocacy skills. Your pitch should be one that’s based on research, analysis, and persuasiveness. Any firm that is worth working for (even if they do not end up giving you your desired salary) will appreciate your efforts.


          Author: Grace Tran

          Grace is currently a lawyer at a boutique litigation firm in Toronto with a focus in construction litigation, fraud, and insurance defence. Grace also has a continuing interest in international arbitration. Grace’s passion for advocacy grew as a law student, where she competed in and was named the Best Advocate at two international moot competitions. Grace is also passionate about mentoring law students and writes a blog for that purpose:

        • 05 Jan 2022 9:00 AM | Nathalie Siah (Administrator)

          Those in sports never think twice about working with a coach; in fact, it usually is considered a given for athletes in order to grow, develop and move forward in their athletic journey.  So…why is it not equally a given for young women in law?  I remember in my 4th year of practice when I felt lost, it seemed unheard of to seek out a coach. Yet, I did, and there was no looking back.  Now, through YWL, you too can engage a coach.  Although there are many more, here are seven benefits you will find in doing so

          1.       Reflecting on some much needed self-discovery

          One of the most exciting “aha” moments in coaching is when you determine that what you do (or might do) aligns so well with who you are and what you believe.  When did you last spend any amount of time thinking about what you really value, what matters most to you?  Having spent many years in pursuit of becoming a lawyer (often undergrad, law school, licensing exams, articling or LPP placements, call to the bar), and then finding and making it in that first role… you likely became disconnected with the “why” of what you are doing.  A coach works with you as you re-discover, or sometimes discover for the first time, what makes you thrive.  When you are more closely aligned with your values, you feel a balance, an ease that is not present when there’s a misalignment, and this helps your choices of workplace, employers, clients and even the type of work in law you might pursue.

          2.       Getting unstuck and moving forward

          At various times in your career (and personal life), you feel absolutely stuck – as if there is a huge boulder in front of you and you simply cannot get past it.  Through conversations with a coach, a couple of things happen. First – you define that boulder: what is it? how is it getting in your way? Second – you explore ways that are right for you to deal with the boulder:  go around it; under it; over it; smash right through it; or…realize there actually is no boulder standing in your way!  This internal work often allows you to better deal, for example, with that new senior partner or make that pitch to a new client or navigate a new workplace.

          3.       Recognizing patterns that are holding us back

          Sometimes it may not be huge boulders in your way, but behavioural or other patterns that you have been engaging in that either never served you well…or have stopped serving you now.  Through conversations with a coach, you begin to recognize these patterns, from how you choose to spend your time (anyone else out there scrolling too much through social media these days?!) or ask for work or respond to feedback from a supervisor or engage in professional outreach or networking. Once these patterns are identified, you work with your coach to bring about new responses that better serve your goals.

          4.       Keeping your goals in sight

          As life moves on and various decisions, big or small, are made, individually you may lose sight of your bigger goals.  Daily messiness can cause you to forget or not focus on navigating to where you want to go.  During coaching sessions, your coach will regularly shinea light and remind you of your stated goals or purpose, bringing you back on track if you have deviated (or forgotten) that ultimate purpose.

          5.       Offering an Accountability Partner

          Most of us are disciplined in our legal practices, but when it comes to other elements of personal and professional goals, we often let things go unless we are held accountable to someone else.  Part of the job of your coach is to check in with you about the status of mini goals you have set or tasks you wish to accomplish.  And they will ask you why you may not have completed them and support you getting on track. Remember, your coaching relationship is a two-person journey, and your coach is there alongside as you move towards your desired goal.  

          6.       Asking powerful questions to motivate and inspire

          Coaches are neither therapists nor advisors.  They listen a lot and then, based on what you have shared, will often ask truly powerful questions that you may not have considered.  These questions will help you think through some of the challenging obstacles you are facing and think through some of the tremendous opportunities available for you to explore.  The look on a client’s faces when a powerful question lands well is incredible for a coach; that sense of “oh wow, I never have considered this!” And remember that your growth does not happen only during your conversations with your coach. Your coach having laid some groundwork for you and asked some significant questions, much of the work you will do happens between your coaching sessions, as you reflect on the conversation while you go about your daily activities.

          7.       Championing and empowering you

          Let’s return to the sports coach/athlete analogy from the start of this article.  You know you are bright, capable, curious and creative.  But sometimes you forget, doubt yourself, question your actions or decisions.  Working with a coach offers you someone who is there for you, with you.  While going through the work of identifying your values, smashing through your obstacles, recognizing unhelpful patterns, reminding you of your goals, holding you accountable and asking you powerful questions…your coach also stands as your champion, encouraging, motivating, empowering and inspiring you to keep being the amazing individual you are.  And let’s face it, we can all benefit from a supportive champion in our corner these days!


           Author: Gina Alexandris

          For over 20 years, Gina has been inspiring and supporting individuals and organizations to strategically define their hopes and achieve their goals. As the Senior Program Director of Ryerson’s Law Practice Program, Gina is responsible for the development, implementation and general management of the new innovative transition year training program for licensing Candidates in Ontario. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring academic excellence and the quality of service and program delivery for participants, and outreach to hundreds of contributing members of the legal profession. Gina was also actively involved with the development and launch of Ryerson’s new innovative law school. With a passion for adult education, leadership and diversity, she completed her Masters of Education in 2012 and received her Coaching Certification in 2017. Gina developed and directed the award-winning Internationally Trained Lawyers Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law and spent more than 12 years with Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, first as Director of Career Services, followed by nine years as the Assistant Dean of Student Services. Between 2013 and 2014, Gina was the Director, Strategic Planning and Knowledge Management for the Legal Services Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. Following her graduation from Osgoode Hall Law School, Gina began her legal career practicing family law and civil litigation in Toronto, Canada.

        • 20 Dec 2021 8:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

          Coaching is about discovery, change and achievement. Exciting and heady stuff, right? As a coach for the past 30 years, I can confidently say that coaching is always a two-way street. What the client brings to the process is equally important, if not more important, to what the coach does.

          So how can you as a client maximize your coaching experience and make it most efficient? Here are some suggestions involving approach, preparation and engagement.

          1.   Get Clear. Before the session think about what you hope to accomplish. What are your personal goals? What are your major concerns? Reflect on specific experiences that illustrate your concern or challenges. For example, if you wish to develop a particular skill such as conflict management, remember a time when you had difficulty dealing with a disagreement. How did you prepare, what did you do, what happened, and what did you learn?

          2.    Come Prepared. Make a list of areas you wish to work on. Or, if you can, create a list of personal goals. One client called goal setting magical because goals become more achievable once they are made conscious. If you are uncertain about areas or goals, tell your coach so you can work together on making them clear. 

          3.    Be Open. This includes being honest, even about things that are embarrassing.  The coaching relationship is a safe and confidential place for you to explore, express feelings and test your ideas. It also means being open to change and seeing things in new ways. A great benefit of coaching is discovering new perspectives on challenging issues that enable you to find new and innovative ways of addressing them. 

          4.     Be Responsible. Be ready to take action and do the work. Part of what a coach does is to encourage you to go beyond what you normally think, do or achieve. To help with this a coach will often give you ‘homework’ to complete between sessions. These actions can be challenging but this is where the real discovery and transformation takes place – in your own life.

          5.   Practice Reflection. Coaching involves an action-reflection cycle. Reflection allows you to step back and critically analyse what worked and what didn’t. You can reflect in private and also with your coach.  Reflection plays a key role in skill development and greatly enhances learning. 

          6.    Ask Questions. Perhaps you have heard the adage “the only bad question is the one left unasked”. The more you communicate with your coach, the better able she will be to understand you and to help.  By asking questions, new insights can arise and new perspectives be gained. 

          7.    Have Fun! Neuroscience tells us that we all learn more and remember better when we are having fun. Being committed, prepared and responsible doesn’t mean no enjoyment allowed! Be playful: It increases creativity and enhances our openness. 


          Author: Delee Fromm

          Delee Fromm is an author, lawyer and former psychologist. As a professional speaker and coach, her services cover the arenas of unconscious bias, skill development and career advancement. She is a career coach with the Law Society of Ontario and on the advisory board of Young Women in Law. Her books include Advance Your Legal Career: Essential Skills for Success, Understanding Gender at Work and A Workbook for Understanding Gender at Work (co-authored with Rocca Morra Hodge).

          For more information about her, please go to her website at and her profile on LinkedIn

        • 08 Aug 2021 1:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

          The time has come in your life to grow your family. Congrats! You might be like me and have every emotion possible. Joy. Excitement. Anxiety. For young women in law, there is the added question of maternity leave. For young women in law with their own law practice (or your own clients), this really does become a huge question mark.

          For me, I have my own practice and the buck starts (and stops) with me. Then the pandemic hit, and then I was expecting and I had to figure out what my firm would look like with a baby in the picture. I didn’t find many resources on how to do it all (as I later learned – no one can do it all). So, I figured it out as I went, and I’m excited to keep this discussion ongoing as there are so many tips we can learn from each other. My baby girl is 4 months old, and I am learning everyday how to be the best lawyer and mom.

          Here are some tips I learned along the way.

          #1 It takes a village

          I am here to tell you the words you already know – it takes a village. I learned very early on that I needed an assistant. This doesn’t surprise you, but law is very administrative heavy. That admin work ties you up from doing other things to grow your business, like marketing, heck even just spending time recharging the batteries.

          I also highly recommend having a bookkeeper who can reconcile your books by the 25th of the month for the previous month to stay compliant with the LSO rules. When you’re in the thick of baby and keeping your practice afloat, your future self will thank you for it!

          #2 Put systems in place

          Do you have systems in place which allow others to jump in if you’re not available? Does your current software need an upgrade? Are you able to work/continue to work remotely? Is there a system and procedures for intake calls, opening new files, sending out Zoom calls, collecting on accounts in arrears – ie. all the fun stuff!

          For me, I switched from PC Law, which was not remote/ cloud based, to Cosmolex. It was an expense, and it took a significant amount of everyone’s time to migrate and then learn the new software. But looking back, it has streamlined a lot of our docketing, invoicing, and accounting. My bookkeeper can log in remotely. Goodbye TeamViewer!

          How can you make your life easier?

          #3 Build your team

          Another decision was growing our team. I hired an associate, not even very mindfully, but I was swamped and had found a newly called lawyer to help me with legal research and finalizing drafts. I was impressed with his skills and realized that having another lawyer, which means having another pair of eyes and ears, was a value add. If things continue in this trajectory, I see the value of adding another junior lawyer. The same reasoning applies. Another lawyer to draft materials, to speak to clients regarding certain issues, and draft correspondences, frees up your time to delegate, market, and spend the cuddle time with your newborn. I get it. Hiring another associate is an additional expense and the future is that big question mark. The truth is you are building a thirty-year career and it is helpful having another lawyer by your side to help ensure your practice runs smoothly as you recover from having a baby (and go to the millionth and one doctor’s appointments).

          Preparing for a time where you will be more hands off forces you to be more efficient. I took the time while pregnant to look at my needs and wasted no time to fill them. This ramp up period helped me to take time away, my next tip.

          #4 How to briefly take time away

          I took a three-week vacation to go to London, England in 2019, and I had serious anxiety about being away. Of course, everything could wait and what couldn’t wait my summer student at the time handled. I hopped on to my emails only a few times. Planning my time away post-pregnancy felt different. I didn’t know how much time I would need, and what I could/ couldn’t do. Of course, there is no right answer. You will soon have two babies – your practice and your human (maybe you have more human babies!) This is a venture into the unknown.

          If you have your own firm, you can decide whether it makes sense to have a cooling off period. For example, we didn’t take on new clients for about four months. You might think it was four months after baby but it was three months at the end of my pregnancy and one month post-baby. I was exhausted beyond belief being so pregnant (and then I was two weeks overdue).  Saying no to new clients allowed us the time to focus on our current clients. My due date gave us a great deadline to move court proceedings forward before my “maternity leave.” This is in quotes because I never really set an out of office reply and to my clients, someone was always around and I was still there making sure they were happy. I will say not taking on new clients during that time permitted me time away. It also gave me time to train my new associate and put all those systems in place I mentioned. We are now back to full speed and forging new relationships with new clients.

          Do I have fomo of what could have been? Yes. It is normal to have that knee jerk reaction that you should be taking on clients. The truth is it makes you a better lawyer to know what you have time for because it means you’ll be focused on your existing files. There is plenty of time for the make-your-year file.

          #5 Power of the Pen  

          I am a huge advocate for printing off drafts, marking them up, and then taking a picture-to-scan to send to my associate or assistant. I find this is the easiest and quickest way to move things along the approval process. My associate sends me one email with his drafts, I print everything and throughout my day I mark it up and send it back. I sometimes draft paper to pen, or in my notes section of my phone. If there is time in my day, it is easier to return to writing in a notebook or writing in my phone then drafting on my computer. I actually wrote my first draft of this blog post in my notebook! Shout out and thank you to my assistant Jessica for typing it up!

          #6 Plan in advance

          It is tempting to have the “I’ll just do it myself” mentality, but this is not sustainable – especially when sleep is a finite resource. Looking at the month or even months ahead, what deadlines are coming up? Impress upon your team what is priority, what are the deadlines and have no hesitation to send drafts back well in time for this back and forth. If there is any aspect that can be delegated - delegate.  

          Plan an extra 2-week lead time to allow for the back and forth of re-drafts. This removes stress of last-minute drafting and re-doing the work. This extra lead time has been a game changer as it only required my feedback along the way which is much less of my time than re-drafting. Your work time, like sleep, at the beginning stages are finite. Last-minute is a thing of the past. It is a win-win-win when you can plan in advance and stay on top of your deadlines.

          #7 Phone-a-friend

          Do you remember the show Who Wants to be a Millionaiire? The ways to get the answer were called “lifelines”. One lifeline is called phone-a-friend. Lifeline is a good word for it! Support during this time is crucial, and the friend you call doesn’t have to be a lawyer. It can be anyone who gives you the confidence and always needed cheerleading boost.

          If you’re stuck on a legal issue, and you don’t have another lawyer to call, there are organizations you can contact. If you head the Ontario Bar Association’s website, go the practice areas section and reach out to someone on the section. Lawyers are always happy to help each other. I’m always happy to hop on a call and discuss estate litigation. There are also resources available for legal research including the Great Library and also the Toronto Lawyer’s Association (“TLA”) (by membership). I work closely with TLA and I can attest that they are a fantastic resource for young lawyers. Reaching out to friends, in any capacity, helps us navigate this new role of mom and lawyer.

          #8 Structuring home life

          What are the ways you can structure your new mom role that allows you to have time to recharge and also get out that case conference brief? What has helped me is having a magic erase calendar on the fridge with my call/ Zoom schedule and all appointments (with colour-coded markers, of course). If everyone is working from home, it helps us figure out where to be and who is doing what.

          Structuring your day so you can co-ordinate schedules will help you carve out some time for the work zoom calls, and personal doctors appointments. I made the decision, for now, to not accept calls before 11AM so I have time to sleep in if the baby keeps me up, to look presentable (if on Zoom), and to read anything and catch up. I also put all my non-work meetings, in my calendar (both fridge and Outlook) so I’m not double booked. One thing I do recommend is weekly video chats with your team to discuss the status of files, marketing, etc. We just started this a month ago and it has been extremely helpful to know where we are at.

          #9 Matt-leave activities

          This new baby phase is A LOT. Especially still maintaining an entire practice. Then there’s a pandemic on top of it. I joined a mom Zoom group and I figured if I meet one person it would be worth it. What I found was a whole resource of friends and activities – and as park hangouts became permitted, most were just across the street from my house!

          I signed up for a baby music class Friday mornings and I look forward to it every week. What activities and people can you meet to keep you grounded, supported, and invigorated?

          Warren Buffet surprised us all when he shares with Bill Gates his really blank calendar. In his words, “you can’t buy time”. This is a monumental time of your life and I hope these tips will help you with this time with your new baby and maintain your law practice!


          Author: Kimberly A. Gale, Gale Law Estate Litigation 

          Kim has honed her advocacy skills in a variety of settings and is a fierce advocate for her clients.

          Kim is a pioneer in the legal community and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the field of law. She had envisioned becoming a barrister from a young age as she enjoys solving problems and negotiating. In 2007, she attended Western University and graduated in 2011 from the media program. After working in shipping and logistics and marketing, she worked as an assistant to an estate litigator in 2013. Kim enjoyed working in this area of law and pursued her dream of going to law school with the plan to one day open her own law firm. In 2015, Kim graduated from City University of London and worked as a paralegal at a Bay street firm equivalent in the UK. She returned to Toronto and completed her equivalency exams, barrister and solicitor exams and articled with the same estate litigator. In January 2018, Kim was called to the bar and launched Law For Millennials and NCA Network while working at a boutique estate litigation firm. In January 2019, Kim launched Gale Law.

          Kim's experience and peaked interest in estate litigation began in 2013. She has worked on dependant support applicationsdisputes over who should be estate trustee, and capacity issues relating to will challenges. Kim is passionate about helping clients solve their legal issues.

          Kim is founder of legal blog Law For Millennials, diversity and inclusion group NCA Network, and law firm Gale Law.

        • 12 Jul 2021 8:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

          It is that time of year again, when Big Law firms can breathe after wrapping up another summer student recruit, and those students who were successful during the recruit can celebrate and start thinking about their "3LOL" year. 

          However, while there is a lot for those students to be excited for, there are many other students who were not offered a summer position during the recruit and are left asking a very important question: "What now?" 

          Ask any student director at a Big Law firm and they will tell you that some of the most heartbreaking moments in the recruitment process are the inevitable emails and phone calls from unsuccessful students asking where they "went wrong." The tragic part is that often there was nothing "wrong." These students are the same before and after the recruit regardless of the outcome: smart, talented and successful, with a promising career ahead of them. 

          While law schools do a great job of preparing students for the recruitment process, students who are unsuccessful in securing a position are often unsure of what to do next. Many of these students are left with the feeling that just because they did not get a summer student or articling position at a Big Law firm, that "door" is closed to them forever. 

          As two associates at a Big Law firm, who did not get hired here during their summer or articling recruits and took a "non-conventional route" to get to where we are today, we can safely say that nothing could be further from the truth. 

          Neither of us had any connection to Fogler, Rubinoff LLP prior to being hired. After not obtaining a summer position at a Big Law firm, both of us went on to summer and article at fairly small boutique firms. Both of us used that opportunity to obtain hands-on experience, enough so that when we did apply to our firm down the road, our resumes stood out. There was no magic to it. We worked hard, taking what we could from our experiences, so that when the time came and we had an interview, we could have something worthwhile to talk about. 

          In fact, we are not the only ones who came to practice at our firm through "non-conventional" methods. Here are some stories from our colleagues who also carved their own paths: 

          My first "legal" job was as a summer student at a boutique firm in northern Ontario where I practiced wills and estates law. Although I was grateful for the opportunity, I learned that area of practice was not for me and started looking for new opportunities in corporate law. I was fortunate to then complete my articles at a private equity firm. Traditional advice would have told me that I needed to article at a Big Law firm or my goal of becoming a corporate lawyer would be a done deal (no pun intended). However, during my articles, I gained insights into what's important for business professionals and what it feels like for a "client" to engage with external counsel. I also met an amazing mentor, who pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone. He encouraged me to take the Canadian Securities Course while articling, which peaked my interest in securities law, and ultimately to apply for a role as a Securities Associate at Foglers. Through my experience, I've learned that, regardless of the path you take, staying true to who you are and recognizing your values, strengths and weaknesses will lead to success. Surround yourself with people who inspire, motivate and push you to be your best, whether it be mentors, colleagues, friends or family. This will lead you to success and satisfaction in your role as a future lawyer, whatever that might look like. – Jennifer A. Humphrey, Securities Associate, 2018 Call 

          I was dead set on landing a summer position through OCIs. When my phone didn't ring at 5pm on offer day, I was devastated. I let that define me for my entire 2L year. Nine months later, I dove into the articling recruit, which allowed me to hone in on firms that appealed to my interest in litigation. I landed an articling position with a boutique firm, which provided with a fantastic articling experience. Unfortunately, I was on the hunt for an associate position not far into the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, I was hired into Foglers' litigation department. I was led to this opportunity entirely through my network: recruiters and lawyers that I had kept in touch with over the course of my job searches, who then connected me with new connections. My advice to disappointed 2L students who hope to end up at a Big Law firm is to stay in touch with as many people as you can and leverage those relationships. You are more likely to land a position through a connection than through a formal job posting. Not only will strong networking potentially land you your dream job, but you will benefit professionally from having made those connections. Lawyers and colleagues are usually happy to pass your name along or chat. Don't be afraid to ask. – Adam Varro, Litigation Associate, 2020 Call 

          My best advice is to stay the course, even if things don't work out at first. Following the linear path and landing a student position through a recruit is great, but there are lots of other opportunities for young lawyers. Your work experience, the people you meet and the reputation you build for yourself will be increasingly more important once you're outside of law school. Not everyone's path is linear and no two journeys are the same. – Sasha Kraus, Wills and Estates Associate, 2014 Call 

          While each of these associates had a slightly different story, they shared one commonality: they did not give up in the face of adversity. If working at a Big Law firm is your dream, then there is no reason why you cannot continue to work towards it. 

          So Where Do You Go From Here? 

          The answer is simple, you keep pressing on. While your summer or articling position might not be what you had hoped for, knowledge and experience are never wasted. Use this time to: 

          • Develop your legal skills and work on your experience; 
          • Reach out and build relationships with lawyers and mentors; and 
          • Keep working hard and working on yourself. 

          Eventually, you will find a great position where you can excel at and be happy. We hope that this article shows that you are not alone; there are many associates who are building successful careers in Big Law firms who came from other paths outside of the formal recruits. 

          So, if you were not successful during this summer recruitment process, take a breath. As you can clearly see, there is life, and success, after this if you just keep moving forward. 


          Authors: Rachel Fielding & Alexander Evangelista (Fogler, Rubinoff LLP)

          Rachel Fielding and Alexander Evangelista are both litigation associates at Fogler, Rubinoff LLP. 

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