Hear It From Our people
Meghan S. Bridges
Associate (2014/15 Articling Student)
While I was an articling student, I was intensively involved in two litigation files. The first file was a College discipline matter with four weeks of hearing dates scheduled while I was a student. My first tasks on this file were to draft research memos on discrete points of law and compile spreadsheets analyzing and comparing the many medical records involved in the case.
As I demonstrated my knowledge of the file and my hard work to the partner, I was given increasingly more difficult tasks and more responsibility. I was ultimately responsible for writing all of the facta we prepared in anticipation of certain evidence issues arising at the hearing. Many of those issues actually did arise, and I got to watch the partner argue our position to the panel using my work. Throughout the year I was also invited to client meetings with the doctor and other key witnesses, and actively participated in them. These experiences helped me to build a rapport with the doctor and made me feel like an integral member of the team.
Due to a combination of unforeseen circumstances, and some interesting evidentiary issues, the final hearing dates for this file that were scheduled for my articling year were adjourned to November and December of the following year. When I returned to the Firm as an associate, I came right back on the file and continued my involvement as though I had never left. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to assist with a hearing so soon after returning to the firm as an associate, and am delighted that I have a strong foundation from articling upon which to build. The second file I was deeply involved with as an articling student was a summary judgment for a twelve-year-old case. The legal issue was highly complex, and the research I did required me to think and write from first principles, much like in a first year torts class. This file involved numerous expert reports and a voluminous record of medical literature, which I was responsible for managing. I had never dealt with either before; jumping into such a literature-heavy file forced me to do a lot of learning very quickly.
On both files, the partners and associates treated me like a truly valuable member of the team. Even when the hours were long and deadlines loomed, I felt a special camaraderie between me and the lawyers. But what I perhaps valued most was the willingness of all the lawyers with whom I worked to give me stretch opportunities and provide me with substantive feedback. These opportunities helped me become a better student, and I am certain they will continue to help me grow as a lawyer.