Life on the litigation rotation is fast-paced and ever-changing–but there are times when you’ll be waiting at court while work piles up at the office (Hint: think ahead so you can put the down time to good use). You’ll be juggling assignments that are due in a couple of weeks with just-in-time delivery of files, court appearances and hastily scheduled meetings.

You’ll be involved with research, drafting materials and trial preparation; attending matters in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and administrative tribunals; all aspects of your own small claims court file; and attending litigation proceedings (motions, mediations, examinations for discovery, appeals and trials) and client meetings with associates and partners.

A Day in the Life

8:30 AM

Arrive at work. Coffee number two. (Got a head start at home.) Continue writing the memo you started yesterday on the Beds of Navigable Waterways Act, which will be used to determine whether a client is allowed to build on a piece of property.

9:30 AM

A new email arrives–it’s time to drop everything and head to Orangeville to adjourn a status hearing.

12:15 PM

Heading back to the office when your cellphone rings (your hands-free set has really come in handy). You’ve been asked to attend a discovery at the defendant’s counsel’s office in Burlington. Turn the car around. Inhale your lunch in the car before heading inside.

3:00 PM

Back at the office. It’s court filing time, so you collect all the documents the lawyers need filed and walk the two blocks to the courthouse. (You bring some cases to read, since filing can be 20 minutes or two hours.)

4:30 PM

Back at the office. There’s been a flood of emails. Check them for quick one-offs and high priority items. One asks you to head to a client’s home in Ancaster to get a document signed. Hop back in the car.

5:30 PM

Back at the office. Next new task: helping to draft a pleading for a personal injury case. Pop next door to discuss the file with the associate who is working on it.

7:30 PM

Leave the office for the day. Grab dinner on the way home.

8:00 PM

Get into p.j.s and finish research on promissory estoppel that’s needed for the defence in a shareholder dispute.

11:00 PM

Lights out. Weird dream about a zombie hamburger. Need to eat less take-out.



This is the rotation when there’s the least predictability to your day–work comes in fast and was due yesterday. Assignments may be communicated by email or verbally, depending on the style of the lawyer delegating the task (and there’s 10 of them). One minute you’re searching title for a real estate transaction and the next you’re putting together a research memo on a specific aspect of the Trademark Act. There’s never a dull moment (except maybe when you have to proofread a report).

Other tasks include due diligence; review of minute books and other corporate documents and reports; drafting agreements (shareholder, share/asset purchase, employment and construction); and assisting with wills and estate planning.

A Day in the Life

7:30 AM

Arrive at work. Coffee number one. You check email for new assignments with urgent deadlines. Begin reviewing and revising the first of 15 condo closing reports.

9:15 AM

Coffee number two. Switch gears. Start researching and writing a report regarding a settling of trust transaction for a client. You have a couple of questions, so check in briefly with the associate working on the file.

12:20 PM

Run to the downtown mall to grab lunch. Run back to eat at desk and review the closing report for a mortgage transaction. Shake crumbs out of keyboard.

1:15 PM

Research and draft an email to a client about a potential claim for constructive employment dismissal.

3:30 PM

Email comes in–you have to drive to a client’s office to execute and commission some real estate closing documents. Ride the elevator down with your fellow articling student–she’s on her way to do filing at court.

4:15 PM

Get back to the office. Coffee number three. Begin drafting policy provisions for a student code of conduct for a private school.

6:30 PM

Office is emptying out so you take advantage of some uninterrupted time to review two closing reports for credit facilities.

8:45 PM

Check out to do list for next day. Choke down panic. Pick up dinner on the way home.

10:00 PM

Fall into bed.

Hours of Sleep
Unexpected Requests
Emails Received
Coffees Drunk