Firm Culture

Be a part of the team

It is a big firm but you will not be lost in the crowd

Students often comment on the welcoming and positive feeling they sense in our office when joining the firm. Our culture is friendly and open. Thanks to our collegial atmosphere, you will notice that the office feels smaller and more personal than you might expect.

We offer summer placements and part-time work during the school year to all of our future lawyers. This gives you more opportunities to explore different practice areas and to become familiar with our office and the way we work. By the time you join us as an articling student, you will be completely familiar with our systems and comfortable collaborating with a variety of colleagues from different practice areas, as well as our other offices.

Work with great people

Clients often comment on our lawyers’ enthusiastic and energetic approach. We are committed to the highest levels of professionalism, but we are still down to earth. We like to say that we take our work seriously, but not ourselves.

As a student at Stikeman Elliott, you will develop personal connections with lawyers who will make you feel welcome. We also take care to place new students in shared offices with more experienced students who help you quickly integrate into the office and the firm.

Get the real flavour of our collaborative work environment

A true sense of collegiality and comradery among colleagues is a tangible part of our culture. At Stikeman Elliott, we rely exclusively on a team-based model for staffing our files. We don’t believe in a strict hierarchy or unnecessary bureaucracy. Lawyers are genuinely happy to work together to achieve the best results.

This culture of teamwork extends beyond practice groups or the office – lawyers and students regularly collaborate with colleagues from across the firm.

Get to know your colleagues in less formal settings

One of the reasons for Stikeman Elliott’s success as a law firm is that we truly enjoy each other’s company. We keep the fabric of the firm strong and reinforce personal ties through celebrations of our achievements, big and small. We host a wide variety of events throughout the year that appeal to a range of interests such as holiday celebrations, practice group and firm retreats, fund-raisers, and other charitable events, not to mention our annual dinners at partners’ homes, our section BBQs, impromptu social nights, and celebrations of individual and collective achievements for our lawyers and our staff.

We plan a full calendar of social events for summer and articling students. From sports nights to culinary excursions, we think it’s important you get the chance to bond with fellow students. After all, you will be working together for many years to come!

A fit body leads to a fit mind

Stikeman Elliott’s SE ZONE Program allows our lawyers, articling students and students to thrive in our fast-paced environment. This program is designed to introduce our professionals to wellness and the different ways to improve mental and physical performance to impact efficiency, concentration and overall energy. Our series are shaped around four key pillars: stress management, physical activity, nutrition, and emotional resilience and grit. This initiative includes organized sports leagues, yoga classes at lunchtime, mindfulness sessions, a running club during summer months, a subsidized gym membership and various presentations on well being throughout the year. There is something for everyone.

Feel free to be yourself – diversity is real here

Diversity and inclusion are very important to us and we have great respect for our people as individuals. Personal talents and interests are engaged and encouraged throughout the firm. Many concrete steps have been – and will continue to be – taken to support diversity in all its forms.

We are proud of our multi-year recognition as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers and our goal is to constantly refine and improve our efforts.

Committed to women’s success

Stikeman Elliott is committed to fostering the continued engagement of women at all levels of the firm. Women play an integral role in our teams and are respected for their leadership and management skills within both the firm and the profession.

We boast numerous longstanding programs that support women in their career pursuits. Our Gender Balance Initiative, launched in 2012, actively develops initiatives addressing the four priorities identified by the firm’s Partnership Board regarding the advancement of women at Stikeman Elliott: retention, partnership progress, business development, and representation in firm leadership positions.

These programs include tailored business development skills training, public speaking workshops, mentorships, and leadership coaching. We have also implemented a full range of progressive parental leave as well as return-to-work policies for women who are parents, in an effort to offer the best internal and external support to women when leaving and re-establishing their practice upon their return. Other initiatives include women lawyer lunch discussions, business development events for women clients, participation in the Effet A initiative, a specific women leadership and career development path, and our own “Women in the Lead”, a grassroots initiative led by associates. The firm also actively participated in the Justicia Project, spearheaded by the Barreau du Québec, designed to support the retention and advancement of women lawyers in private practice.

Leveraging technology for better time and resource management

Everyone’s time is precious – our extensive resources facilitate an efficient and effective practice.  Investments in innovative technologies allow us to be efficient and flexible in our professional lives while also respecting commitments we make in our personal lives. For example, our workSMART initiative is a firm-wide program aimed at continually optimizing the way we practise law by leveraging cutting edge technologies and the best observed practices to elevate efficiency. 

However, no one solution fits all needs. Accordingly, Stikeman Elliott articling students and associates receive a technology grant, renewable every four years, to purchase devices and tools that will be of the greatest use to you in your practice and optimize your ability to work remotely.

Knowledge Management is a key element of our vision

Stikeman Elliott has made significant strategic investments in a dedicated Knowledge Management (KM) team as well as KM systems. This group consolidates and disseminates the insights of individual lawyers and deal teams, and captures and develops leading-edge intellectual capital, making it accessible firm-wide. STELLA KM is our leading enterprise search platform. Stikeman Elliott lawyers and students use it to gain powerful access to our rich KM collection (precedents, legal research and CLE), closing books, internal experts and body of expertise by context as well as organized by practice group, legal topic and industry. This bilingual tool is so evolutionary, it was shortlisted for the 2016 Innovative Project of the Year by ILTA. These state of the art systems support efficient research, collaboration and information delivery while KM lawyers and our professional library team help lawyers and students make the most of the firm’s resources.