Interview with Hailey Pattenden

Q: Why were you attracted to EKB for your articling position? Why did you choose EKB?

Hailey: I chose EKB because I was looking for something that was a bit of a smaller work environment, in terms of how many people were there. And I was looking for a firm that also cared about mentorship and development, that would have people who were invested in me moving along with the firm and learning from them. 

Q: Do you feel that you are being guided along and taken care of as you go through this process?

Hailey: Yeah, definitely. I think I’ve gotten some great opportunities to work closely with both associates and partners. I can come to them with questions, and they’ve definitely taken an interest in teaching me how things work, so it’s been really helpful. 

Q: What was the interview process like for the articling position? 

Hailey: The interview process is standardized for legal positions. EKB hires through the OCI (on-campus interview) process. So, basically, students apply to this portal where you choose which law firms you want to apply to. If you’re given an OCI interview, you go one day and have a bunch of interviews with a bunch of different firms. A short one. And then as you move along in the process, there are interviews that are a little bit longer and you get the chance to meet other people from that firm throughout the week as well. 

Q: What were your first impressions of the team at EKB? / What was your experience like starting at the firm? 

Hailey: My first impression was that everyone was definitely very, very friendly. I think I had a strange introduction to the firm because it was during Covid, but I thought everyone was friendly and that everyone was interested in getting to know me, getting to know what type of law I was interested in, and just willing to chat and talk. 

Q: What type of law are you practicing?

Hailey: I’m our only student this year, so I do pretty much anything anyone needs to get done. I do more on the litigation side lately, but I do everything that lawyers do, basically. 

Q: Are there formal rotations in the firm?  

Hailey: You do have a solicitor rotation and then a litigation rotation that are both equal lengths. It’s not strict in that you can’t take on other work. You’re allowed to take on work from other areas and you probably will have to even during that rotation. But if you are interested in one more than the other, you can weigh your work more heavily to that side. 

Q: Has one area interested you more than another so far? 

Hailey: So far, I think I’m more interested in the litigation side, but we’ll see if I change my mind in the next few months. 

Q: What type of files are you working on right now? 

Hailey: I just finished assisting a partner with a petition hearing for a commercial dispute, and on the solicitor side I’ve been working on a bunch of different share-purchase agreements, getting to draft those agreements and taking care of documents to close those types of transactions. 

Q: Can you describe a day-in-the-life of an articling student?

Hailey: The first thing’s definitely coffee. I need to have coffee before I go to work. And then, when I get to the firm, the first thing I usually do is look at my list of things that need to be done and what’s a priority for the day, which will steer how my day will go. I usually do a couple hours of work, talk to some people at the firm, catch up. On a good day, I get to go out for lunch with some of the lawyers which is always fun, and then, back to work. I’ll probably work on a couple different files and send emails and that also takes up most of the day. That’s about it. 

Q: How would you describe the workload at EKB for an articling student? Is there an attempt at a work/life balance? 

Hailey: It really depends on what type of files you’re on. I feel I’ve been really fortunate in that I don’t have late nights very often. They do happen, like when I was working on this petition hearing. I had to work late on those nights just to prepare for the next day and help the partner with that, but I would definitely not say that that’s common, at least for my experience, which is nice.

Q: Have you been involved in professional development alongside your articling duties? 

Hailey: Well, I just signed up for a course by the CBA to take, a bunch of lawyers from the firm are taking it, so I’m going to take it with them, which is an Indigenous learning module so I’m looking forward to that. But no, I haven’t done other professional development since starting. 

Q: When did you start as an articling student? 

Hailey: I did my PLTC first, the bar course, and I finished that and then my first week at the firm was the first week of August, 2021. 

Q: Where did you go to university? What did you study? 

Hailey: I went to UBC for both undergrad and law school. I studied art history for my undergrad, and then law school. I’d always been interested in law and thought of it as a potential career path, but to be completely honest, I just didn’t think it was feasible for me. I didn’t know if it was something that was achievable.

 I didn’t start thinking about it seriously until I was towards the end of my bachelor’s degree, and I was realizing if I wanted to work in the field of art and art history, I would definitely need to get more education. So, I realized I didn’t want to do that. I decided to work hard to try and make law school happen. 

Q: Was law school more of a challenge than you thought? 

Hailey: It was definitely challenging. The LSAT (law school admission test) was in particular not my biggest skill set, but it was a really great feeling once I realised it was actually a possibility for me and that I could make it happen, so it was definitely rewarding in that way. 

Q: What’s your favourite thing about articling at EKB? 

Hailey: Honestly, it’s that I get to work on a lot of things I didn’t think I would get exposure to as an articling student, unlike doing the really small, tedious tasks that no one else wanted to do. But I’ve found that I’m really getting involved in files in a full way from start to finish and getting to take the first shot at drafting lots of things. I feel like I’m actually learning a lot and participating in the files which is really awesome. 

I would say that this is one of the benefits to working somewhere like EKB. By virtue of being a smaller firm, you definitely get involved in things in a fuller way. I think, I mean I’ve never worked at a really big firm, I’m not certain if it’s like that, but I think this is definitely something that sets EKB apart. 

Q: What is your advice to future articling students? 

Hailey: My advice to them would be to think about what area of law you are interested in and think about what type of work environment you’re interested in and then meet as many people from different firms as possible and see which ones seem like a good fit for you and to really go based off of that. 

Q: When does your article end? 

Hailey: I should be called sometime in May 2022. I’m not sure of the exact date but that’s when I’ll be done being an articling student and hopefully will be a lawyer! I definitely want to continue on at EKB as a lawyer. I’m wanting to do litigation but I’m not sure what type of litigation. I’m really just excited to try as many different types as possible.