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Students Articling at Heenan Blaikie Shocked at Firm's News
By Jim Vassallo

When the law firm of Heenan Blaikie, one of the largest in Canada, announced it is closing this week, plenty of law students were shocked. The law firm made its announcement earlier this week, according to The Montreal Gazette.

One unnamed lawyer said that even if students who were set to work at the firm get hired by other ones, the legal world will become more cutthroat than before.
“This will make competition for those first-year lawyer positions very fierce,” said the lawyer.

The first major announcement came over the weekend when the firm said it lost close to one-third of its attorneys who were not happy with the plans for a shakeup. Then, in the middle of the week, the firm announced that it was ending operations.

The firm has called six top law firms in Montreal to see if they would be willing to hire the five students that are articling at Heenan Blaikie right now. There were to be 10 to 14 more at Heenan beginning in June.

“We reached out to the big law firms and we believe the legal community is coming together over this,” said Karen Rogers, a partner at Heenan. “It’s our duty as partners to help.”

Rogers went on to say that she believes the students will be picked up by other firms in Montreal because they are “excellent and any firm would be lucky to have them.”

Despite saying she hopes everything works well for the students, Rogers also said that the firm “is not a happy place right now.”

Rogers said that she has personally called top partners at firms in Montreal to discuss the students articling at Heenan Blaikie right now. Four of them have been at the firm for one month and the fifth has been there for several months.

“The faculty of law is monitoring the situation closely as it develops,” said Aisha Topsakal, assistant dean of student life and learning for the faculty of law at McGill University. “In addition to the support Heenan Blaikie is providing to its students in various offices, our career development office is in touch with McGill students and recent alumni to offer consultations and other services.”

On the Heenan Blaikie website, there is a note about the articling program. It says that “a student or stage program is a critical step in any lawyer’s career,” the firm offers promises to the students, “when joining Heenan Blaikie, you will soon find that the values we cherish are not just words blowing in the wind.”

Posted on: 02/06/2014 06:50 PM | Number of feedback 0

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