What is a typical week for a summer law student or articling student?
Simply put, there is no “typical week” at HHS. Since our work depends on what is happening for our clients, every day (and every week) is different.
Students are exposed to corporate, commercial, employment, real estate, and estate planning matters over the summer or articling term. However, one week may be dominated with real estate matters, while the following week may involve more commercial law matters. It all depends on what issues our clients are facing at that moment. The diversity of work is one of the best things about our firm.
Students will typically write at least one memorandum per week. They may use Quicklaw, textbooks and other materials to assist them with their research and writing.
Students also get to do drafting every week (and usually every day). A student may get to help incorporate a company, or assist with drafting an employment agreement, will, or a shareholders’ agreement, among other things. Students may also draft letters to clients. They are provided with constructive feedback on their drafting by the lawyers with whom they are working.
What are the advantages of a small firm?
Working at a small firm provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know one’s colleagues on a personal level and also to become acquainted with the firm’s clients.
At Houser, Henry & Syron, there simply isn’t a barrier between the partners and students, as one may encounter at larger firms. Our summer students actively work with senior lawyers. Students are often assigned key components of a file – whether it is drafting a document, researching and drafting a memorandum, or calling a client to ascertain information – all with appropriate and helpful guidance from a senior lawyer.
If you enjoy being actively involved and working in a friendly, supportive work environment, then you should consider working at a smaller firm like Houser, Henry & Syron.
Are there any mentorship programs at HHS?
You will work so closely with the lawyers that you will be able to see what every aspect of their day and their practice consists of. Also, whenever lawyers will often when they come cross a task that is a good learning opportunity, they will enlist your help to the extent possible; for tasks that are beyond your capacity, they will often ask you to shadow them so that you can still learn by watching.
How is work assigned?
There are no formal rotations, rather students are given the chance to work with lawyers from all of our practice areas. Most often you will be asked to sit in on the initial meeting and then get involved in all of the stages that follow. Otherwise you will be asked to work on various aspects of a file as it unfolds.
Students are also encouraged to approach any lawyer for work that you are interested in.
What does the interview process look like at HHS?
We do not participate in the formal OCI process. We offer candidates the opportunity to come in during in-firm week to meet with our lawyers and interview for a summer position. We prefer to spend more time with fewer candidates so that we can get to know them and they get to understand us.
Why work for a boutique firm?
There are a number of reasons to choose a boutique firm like HHS, including:
- The firm does not hire many students so it concentrates its resources on a select few. It is in the firm’s interest to help students grow and learn because it turns them into assets for the firm.
- Direct contact with senior lawyers and clients, which offers more opportunities to build relationships and gain insight into all elements of private practice;
- Collegial and team-oriented work environment;
- Students get more responsibility and are trusted with a great variety of tasks;
- Work-life balance;
- HHS offers students with weekly meetings on various legal topics and skills, which are centered on practical legal experience;
- An accessible librarian who provides guidance on dealing with tough research questions.
What kind of work does a student do?
- Participating in client meetings and calls;
- Researching tough legal issues and writing memoranda;
- Contract interpretation;
- Will drafting;
- Corporate due diligence work;
- Drafting correspondence to clients, opposing counsel, government ministries, etc.;
- Drafting, revising and reviewing various real estate documents.
What skills does the firm expect incoming students to have?
Eagerness to learn – summering is an opportunity to develop diverse practical skills by taking on new assignments.
Practical thinking – memorizing case law is great, but we want our students to work with us to provide practical advice that are clients can apply to their businesses.
Great Communication – most projects will involve several of our team members so communication is important to coordinate and be efficient
Is the firm planning to grow? Could I build a career here?
Yes, the firm is indeed growing and is interested in new talent that will grow with the firm.
What contact would I have with clients?
Students have direct contact with clients, from client interviews to attending shareholder meetings.
How and when would I receive feedback?
There is no formal feedback process; feedback is constant. Feedback is also provided throughout a project , so that students can learn as they go. Students usually get comments and suggestions on every draft of a document, not just a final copy and are often provided more comprehensive feedback upon the completion of each assignment and task.
Would I have the opportunity to work on a project from start to finish?
Yes. Considering the length of the summer program, students are brought onto multiple files and are able to work on them throughout the summer.
Files are staffed lean at HHS and this allows the students to have a lot of responsibility on the files as well as a variety of tasks.
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