“Firmly” Situated: Reflections on moving into firm practice

  • February 03, 2022
  • James McCarthy - Cunningham Swan LLP

For newly called lawyers moving from non-firm articling to practicing at a firm, the transition can be a big one. Having made this leap, from articling as a clerk to working in both a small and medium-sized firm, I wanted to provide some reflections on a few of the aspect of day-to-day practice that can look very different in a firm as opposed to other types of practice.

  1. Client Intake

If you aren’t accustomed to working for clients (other than your employer), you may not be familiar with the actual process of client intake. Generally, there are two things to consider here. First, you should find out what your firm’s own policies are: are there internal forms to fill out? Checklists? What are lawyers expected to do, and what part is done by support staff?

Beyond your firm’s expectations, it’s also important to remember that the Law Society has its own rules about client intake. Regardless as to what the internal process is, if you are providing legal advice to a client, you ultimately have the responsibility of making sure that you’ve satisfied all Law Society requirements. For lawyers in Ontario, the LSO has helpful FAQs explaining what information is required and when.