Makaela Peters first joined Singleton Reynolds as a Summer Student in 2018, and continued the following year as an Articling Student in November of 2019. Here are Makaela’s own words to describe her articling experience at Singleton Reynolds.

 

Makeala Peters

What kind of learning and mentoring opportunities have you experienced?

The Firm has consistently provided me with hands-on learning opportunities. As a 2L summer student I attended a mediation, observed an examination for discovery, and spoke to a matter at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. As an articled student, I have spoken on applications in Chambers, prepared for examinations for discovery, and acted as counsel of record on my own files. The many and varied experiences I’ve had are key components of my growth as a lawyer.

In terms of mentorship, my associate mentor and my principal have gone above and beyond in their support for me over my 2L summer and articling term. Each of them has consistently offered an open door and ready answer as I tackled new legal topics, grappled with practice management questions, and established my practice as a student at Singleton Reynolds. More informally, the culture of the Firm is a friendly and collegial environment; I am comfortable approaching lawyers throughout the office with questions. The availability of lawyers from different practice areas and levels of seniority has provided a strong framework for my own practice development.

Describe a typical day

My day starts with a coffee in Sidebar (our lunch room and café space), taking the chance to catch up with anyone else who was dropping off their lunch or filling their coffee mug at the same time – and maybe to pick up some work on an interesting file through those conversations. On arrival at my desk, I touch base with the other students to discuss what we are working on, and we all bounce questions and ideas off one another. I appreciated having all the students in one space, especially as we were all on different timelines with some students further along in their articles than me. The student group forms a crucial support system as we share knowledge and act as sounding boards for one another.

The work in a day as an articled student varies widely, as we are not confined to specific practice groups or rotations and have the freedom to seek out work from a variety of practice areas and/or lawyers that we are drawn to. Looking back on my articles thus far, I am pleasantly surprised by the variety of work and types of law that I have been exposed to in such a short time. I’ve had opportunities to work with so many people, and on such a diversity of topics, that I have begun to develop my own areas of interest and know the work, and people, I am going to seek out as I begin my career as an associate.

What is the most exciting file you worked on as a student?

In the second month of my articles, I became the counsel of record on a small claims file. This was particularly exciting for me because I was involved from the very beginning of this file. My first task was to interview the client, then to draft a reply and counterclaim. I handled the gathering and review of documents, conducted the legal research, communicated with the client and opposing party, and recently attended the settlement conference for that matter. As a summer student, there is only time to be involved in single, discrete stages of each file. As an articled student, you gain so much perspective in working on a file as it progresses. I have learned so much from staying with a file from drafting pleadings through settlement discussions, and have especially valued the opportunity to be the contact person for the client (with a lot of support from my mentor and principal).

How would you describe the culture at Singleton Reynolds?

Supportive is the best word to describe the culture at Singleton Reynolds. Whether I am running into a partner in Sidebar or knocking on an associate’s door, I have found that each lawyer is ready to offer me their experience and encouragement as I learn to practice law.

Why did you choose to article at Singleton Reynolds?

I was thrilled to join Singleton Reynolds because it was a growing firm with a well-respected practice, and the people at the firm demonstrated intelligence, kindness, enthusiasm, and collegiality. From the first time I walked into the office, on a 1L firm tour, I found the lawyers to be sincere in their enthusiasm for their work and their team. In my summer and in my articles, I have felt lucky to learn from such capable practitioners and to grow in such a supportive environment.