This Blog is solely my opinion, something I’m always happy to share. While I am proud to be a Subject Matter Expert and Mentor Lawyer for the Ryerson Law Practice Program (LPP) these thoughts are my own and may not be shared by others in the LPP.
Wow. That was a very lawyerly start to this Blog, wasn’t it? Well good. It should be. This is a Blog that belongs to a Law Firm and it should reflect that fact. This is not a personal Blog, Facebook page or Twitter Account – when you start LPP/Articling, you start to separate personal from business and you need to adjust your thinking accordingly.
Law School is great for teaching you how to think like a lawyer, but it doesn’t teach you the business of law (the LPP is great for that, some Articles are, but most are not). These next months are going to be the most challenging of your career: you are going to transition out of student mind into lawyer mind. You are going to be pushed to produce work quickly and in a voice that is not always academic.
Remember those hours you put in at Law School, slaving away at papers for weeks and adjusting until they were perfect? For the most part, those days are gone. You’re going to be asked to write documents quickly and make sure that if it is intended for a client, it is written to their level. Avoid using big words, when a small one will do: big words don’t make you sound smart, they make you sound like you’re trying to be smart.
While Law School did have some long studying days, your LPP/Articling days will be longer. This is not school. This is the real world: work doesn’t stop at 5:00 p.m. when you’re a lawyer, get ready to be available for your clients and employers.
This is not to say that you will not enjoy LPP/Articling. You will. For most, this will be the first opportunity to interact with clients. You will meet other lawyers, Judges and members of the legal community who will encourage and inspire you. This will be the start of truly practicing Law and it will be fantastic. Or it won’t and that is o.k. too. The conventional practice of Law is not for everyone and the LPP/Articling process is a good way to decide if you want to use that Law Degree in the conventional sense or if you want to take it in a different direction.
Regardless of the end result, this will be a time in your career you will look back on as the most intense learning process you have gone through.
Use these last few weeks to rest up, socialize with your friends and enjoy not wearing suits. It’s about to get busy !
Inga B. Andriessen JD
P.S. Yes. I recognize the Blog title is the third in a row linked to musical references. (A/C D/C’s “For those about to Rock”) I’m hopeful that once summer is over the musical inspiration will wane a bit, but you never know.