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The intensity and high-fives in my 2L summer work

60 days in a new type of law firm
The intensity and high-fives in my 2L summer work

On my first day of work, the firm gave me a sheet that listed Counter’s eight core values.

  1. Fear mediocrity.
  2. Be a force for goodness and niceness.
  3. Don’t create false limits to your personal or professional potential.
  4. Growth hurts, deal with it.
  5. Be relentless.
  6. Find brilliant solutions.
  7. Don’t say, do. Don’t tell, show.
  8. Know that people like us change everything.

Counter’s core values were the perfect embodiment of what I was to experience over the coming months.

In my first 60 days at Counter, I was exposed to what I think is a truly unique way of developing professionally. Peter has encouraged me to develop a sense of awareness and self-reflection that lends itself to being honest and open to adapting to new ideas, something that there is no shortage of at Counter. Every member of the team contributes to an environment where no question goes unanswered, the team (literally) applauds deep and creative thinking, and achievement is (literally) high-fived.

As a summer student, I was tasked with helping research and draft a portion of Counter’s contribution to Thomson Reuters’ Practical Insight Project.  I was given every resource necessary to succeed, with an emphasis that my colleagues would be my best resource. Natalie and Yoni never balked at any question no matter how basic or rudimentary. Both have made me appreciate my opportunity and encouraged me to learn and grow. 

The "intense" vibe is not the egotistic, demanding, or tyrannical behaviour that defines some other law firm cultures. Instead, I came to appreciate that Counter's "intense" vibe is internal to every team member. It is personal.

As a short contract employee (without a contract because everyone was too busy making something happen) I was not exposed to all of the firm’s systems and internal workings.  However, I still felt like a valuable part of the team.  I was invited to all firm meetings, and the team enthusiastically answered my questions about firm projects and explained how each project fit into the firm’s larger vision.

The firm handled my hiring as an articling student with professionalism and understanding for which I cannot be any more thankful. The honesty and care that each member of the team showed me (in what was an undoubtedly an awkward process for all of us in a small and open environment) the whole firm’s humility and empathy. 

Counter’s drive to be better and to push limits is intense and contagious. Admittedly, I didn’t understand it at first.  In my first month, I mentioned to Peter that I didn’t feel the “intense” vibe.  Peter laughed.  He encouraged me to look a little closer.  The “intense” vibe is not the egotistic, demanding, or tyrannical behaviour that defines some other law firm cultures.  Instead, I came to appreciate that Counter’s “intense” vibe is internal to every team member.  It is personal.  It is rooted in each team member’s desire to improve, and it leads to an empowering environment.  I look forward to reuniting with the team after my third-year of law school so that we can continue to learn, grow, and do great work.