Coltyn H. Interview: A Summer Students Guide to Stikeman Elliot
1. How have your 1L courses helped prepare you for your summer work at Stikeman Elliot? Were there specific classes that proved to be more helpful than others?
I think that one of the biggest things to gain from 1L, and all courses contribute to this, is to learn how to read cases, analyze them, spot potential issues, and overall just begin thinking about situations in more of a legal sense. However, it’s more common that I would be doing work in an area of law that was not specifically covered in my 1L classes. Therefore, I would say it is far more important to begin developing your legal skills rather than memorizing substantive areas of law. It’s the difference between having a fish and a fishing pole.
2. What motivations did to have for participating in the 1L recruit?
The prospect of the 1L recruit very much excited me, as I knew that I wanted to end up at a large corporate firm. While the recruit does take place rather early into law school, the CPDO did a great job ensuring that we had all of the resources necessary to ensure that we knew what to expect and how to be successful. I would say that being relatively decided on wanting to go into corporate work, combined with the confidence I gained from the support of the law school made it an easy decision to enter the 1L recruit.
3. What ultimately made you decide on Stikeman Elliott for your summer work?
I discovered that there are a lot of great firms in the city that do a lot of exciting, high quality work, but two things set Stikeman Elliott apart for me. First, it was clear that their student program is very important to them. Throughout the recruitment process it was made clear that student development is a priority, and I would get the opportunity to get involved right away with very exciting projects. Secondly, I enjoyed the feeling of collegiality that was apparent in the Stikeman Elliott office, and I felt that I would fit in incredibly well there.
4. What were your expectations as a 1L summer student at Stikeman Elliott, and did they match up to the lived experience? Did your expectations alter?
I have nothing but great things to say about my experience there. From the moment I arrived the students were made to feel like part of the team. We were provided numerous opportunities for mentorship, invited to join in team building activities such as sports teams and volunteer opportunities, and we were given the chance to get actively involved in legal work that was engaging and challenging. I had a very fun summer working at Stikeman and it was also extremely beneficial to the development of my legal skills.
5. What were some of your highlights of your summer work?
There was a particular real estate deal I had the opportunity to work on throughout the course of the summer that was definitely a highlight. It was a highlight because the lawyer overseeing my work made me feel very involved at every stage, which allowed me to learn and see how my work contributed to the overall structure of what we were doing.
6. Is there anything you would have done differently in the recruitment process, or in your summer work, if you could do it over?
In terms of the recruit, I wouldn’t really do anything differently, but I would be sure to enjoy it while it was happening. The recruit is a hectic week that is stressful, but it is also incredibly exciting and fun, and I would try to focus more on that part.
For my summer work, I wish I would have been less apprehensive and afraid of making a mistake. A large part of what you’re meant to do as a summer student is to attempt things and learn. Nobody is expecting you to be perfect the first time, so try everything, take feedback seriously and learn from it.
7. If you could give one piece of advice to 1L’s now, recruit or otherwise, what would you say?
I would say that 1Ls should take a moment to realize that they have an incredible opportunity before them right now. Make the most of law school, not just by working hard in class but also by building lifelong friendships, join clubs or a volunteer group and try all kinds of new things.