Toronto secondment story

My first day at Stikeman Elliott in Toronto also happened to be my birthday. After a relaxed brunch and a number of training sessions, I was presented with a huge birthday cake and had 'Happy Birthday' sung to me by 20 people I’d never met! It was a lovely touch and proved to be a great introduction to the firm.

My office on the 50th floor has a fantastic view of Lake Ontario and the CN Tower. Although people work very hard here, the atmosphere is informal and friendly. The lawyers are 'generalists' and do a bit of everything, which is similar to Slaughter and May’s multi-specialist approach. So far, I've worked on private and public M&A deals, securities transactions and a financing deal, as well as being involved in standalone advice, including the negotiation of a commercial contract and advising on financial regulation issues.

One thing that is very different is that I am responsible for my own work stream, which means that I have had to build the network of partners and associates who I work with. I have also had the opportunity to take on more responsibility. Currently, I am coordinating a team carrying out due diligence on a publicly listed mining company and will be drafting the report for the client.

The firm organises a constant stream of social events, from dinners and evenings at the races to karaoke and weekends in the beautiful Ontario countryside. Away from the office, Toronto has a great deal to offer. My apartment is right in the heart of the lively theatre district and a short walk from just about everything. Highlights include the Distillery District, St. Lawrence Market, Toronto Islands and the long stretch of shops, cafes and bars on Queen Street West. Further afield, I have visited Montreal, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, New York and Chicago. I hope to visit Vancouver and go skiing in the Rockies before I fly home.

Testing my skills in a new context has been a rewarding way to spend the last six months of my training contract, and a great way to prepare for qualification on my return to London.

Rachel Kitchman
Trainee secondment to Stikeman Elliott