Born and raised in Oshawa, Ontario, Sheila Minnie obtained her Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto in 1992. Sheila then attended law school at the University of British Columbia and was called to both the Ontario Bar and the British Columbia Bar in 1997.
Midland, Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer Offers Perspective
Being a successful lawyer entails a lot more than passing the bar and knowing the law by rote. Although it has been more than a few years since I graduated from law school and articled, there are a few skills which I found extremely important in my early years, especially when I was articling.
Time Management Skills are Critical for New Lawyers
No matter how well you know the law, if you do not manage your time effectively, you are going to run into problems. It is imperative to implement and follow a system for keeping track of your assignments, their status and deadlines. Prioritizing your work is probably one of the most difficult skills you will need to develop; but also one of the most important.
Organized Files Key to an Organized Approach
As an articling student or new lawyer in Ontario, you will likely be working on a number of different matters for a number of different lawyers. In addition to keeping track of all of your assignments, it is important to familiarize yourself with the file you are working on as well as any applicable legislation. This will impress any lawyer. Seek clarification from the lawyer early on if you do not understand the assignment in order to avoid wasting precious time. Having said that, make sure you have read the file first because in many cases the answer to your question will be in the file material or the legislation. If you are not going to be able to make a deadline, tell the lawyer as soon as possible. Waiting until the due date to spring this on the lawyer will not win you any points.
Respect the Support Staff to Develop a Reputation as Fair and Good Lawyer
As in any profession, a successful lawyer is only one member of a well functioning team. Legal secretaries, assistants and paralegals are vital to a successful practice. As an articling student, support staff are your best resource for how things really get done around a law firm as well as all the procedural matters. By respecting and appreciating the support staff, not only will you make your life easier in terms of getting things accomplished, but you will also help to develop your reputation as a fair and good lawyer. And in the end, a good reputation is one of a lawyer’s best assets.