A Day in the Life of a Summer Student at Parlee McLaws

Written By: Inna Dymouriak-Tymashov

A fun fact about me is that I have a terrible memory for details. Not the greatest thing for a law student and a true curse for someone tasked with writing about a day in their life. So, if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to go off script a bit and instead take a broader, behind the scenes look at the life of a Parlee Summer Law Student.  

Some days I’m not sure how I stumbled into law school, but I know what keeps me here are the people. That might seem cheesy to say. And with the bad rap that lawyers can get, it might even seem like a lie. But what has surprised me most (apart from finding out ‘Big Dairy’ lobbied to criminalize margarine in the 1940s) is that nice people DO exist in law. I’d like to give you a glimpse of a few of those people here at the office. 

One of my first memories of feeling panicked at Parlee was the morning I was faced with an empty coffee pot and the realization that I didn’t know how to use the coffee machine. I was not going to make it through the day without the jolt to my system, so off I went in search of someone to help me in my time of need. Being in a hybrid workspace, the Monday morning was predictably quiet. Luckily, our lovely receptionist was in and took pity on me. She not only walked me through the process but came back to check if I had been successful. I’ve been happily caffeinated ever since.

There was another moment of panic the day the letter ‘p’ just mysteriously stopped working on my keyboard. I sent an email to the IT helpdesk asking them to ‘lease hel me, one of my letters has disaeared”. Almost immediately, I received an email rallying the team to ‘lease relace this tying device. Thanks for the hel. Heldesk.’ More recently, they helped me track down a document that had seemingly vanished into the ether after I spent the afternoon digitizing it. I can’t explain how happy I was that I didn’t have to re-scan that 400-page binder again. 

For the daily fires I seem to set for myself, I can always rely on the small but mighty army of staff to help get me back on track. One assignment involved deciphering a lawyer’s handwritten notes, my own scribbles of explanation being of no help. I went to that lawyer’s assistant and in interpreting the notes with me, she also helped guide me to some valuable resources and gave me additional insight into the background of the file. As a first-year summer student, it’s nice knowing that there are so many people I can count on to help dig up precedents, share their tips, and validate my newfound fear of the office scanner. 

On top of getting to learn some practical lawyering skills, I’ve amassed a wealth of fun facts and stories from people around the office too. I learned that horses are measured in hands, the U of A used to let their law students rappel down a building for the Military Law class, and that some people eat their perogies with ketchup (questionable choice). 

The articling students, assistants, paralegals, associates, mentors, partners, librarians, and other Parlee staff are all great and each deserves a short story in their own right. Unfortunately, I’ve gone on for too long as it is and I can hear the Oscar’s music playing me off stage. I hope you enjoyed this quick peek into my summer at Parlee!