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  1. 16 points
    1. Arrive early. Make sure your client is there and properly attired. Turn cellphones off. Give your client a notepad and pen and tell them to make notes of their thhoughts as it goes along. As a general trick it helps them focus and it can be useful later on. 2. Have your materials organized in your bag so when you arrive you just have to take them out and put them in neat piles on counsel table. Have extra pens and highlighters. Have a notepad for yourself. 3. Make sure you have four clean copies of anything you want to file: one is for the court file, one is a personal copy for the judge to mark up as s/he likes. The other two are for you and your opposition. 4. Deep breath before speaking. Have an outline of the points you must make and tick them off as you make them. Go slow - watch the judge if s/he is writing, pause politely to let him/ her finish before you launch into your next point. REMEMBER: this case will not be decided on what you say, but on what the judge hears. 5. Be scrupulously courteous especially to the self rep. Judges hate being referees. Don't put yours in that position. Never rise to bait. Give a considered answer to the substance of whatever comment and leave the tone alone.
  2. 11 points
    6. Remember that you're speaking to an audience. The things that annoy and concern you aren't necessarily the things that will annoy and concern an overworked, emotionally exhausted judge. Focus on the things that will really matter: the pivotal facts that will sway the case in your favour. If you've got two knockout blows, it can just try the court's patience to throw three or four jabs on their way to the mat. 7. A trial needs a theory and a theme. Every judge wants to know why they should find in your favour, and how they get there legally. A theme might be, "he's really cleaned up his act, the risk of losing his daughter has really motivated him, we should encourage this". The theory will be the legal test that has to be applied, and how the facts support it. (I don't know enough about family law to give a good example.) In my world, I'll often have a theme of something like, "golf-tan dingleberry executive probably out drinking margaritas and blowing his inheritance while the employees suffer", and then a theory of lapses A, B, and C being an adequate breach of fiduciary duty to give rise to oppression relief. 8. STAY ORGANIZED. I've done a few practice trials, acting as a witness, judge or court officer for students and young lawyers. The #1 mistake is rambling. It might be organized on the page, but it just comes out as rambling and an airing of grievances. Just like you learned to do in mooting class, do the stilted thing of putting markers in the dirt as you go along. "Your Honour, as you know, the legal test for certification has five elements. The defendants take issue only with two: class definition and preferable procedure." (Wait for judge to finish writing.) "There are three distinct reasons why the class definition is unworkable, but as I think Your Honour will shortly see, they all amount to the same fundamental and irremediable logical error in the pleadings as drafted. First..." 9. Listen actively to your witness. You'll have a great list of questions ready to go, and they're going to do something to throw you off. 70% of lawyers seem to respond to this in one of two wrong ways. First, very inexperienced lawyers will often just charge ahead, asking the next question in the list, abandoning the fact they needed to establish and dooming their case. Second, lawyers of all shapes and sizes make the egregious and very common mistake of asking an open-ended question to follow the broken closed-ended one. Look at how badly this goes: Q. And you chose not to attend the shareholders' meeting of May 9, 2016? (slam the door shut, yes-or-no question) A. I was prevented from attending. (complication!) Q. What do you mean, you were prevented from attending? (noooo buddy nooooo) A. Yeah, look, this is all part of your client's systematic attempts to exclude me from the company's operations and to push me out of my ownership interest. This was the third time that he scheduled it in some place he knew I couldn't get to on time. I mean, look at the February meeting. He knew I was in Muskoka so he calls this bogus emergency meeting... (aaaand there goes the cross-examination) Instead, listen actively to your witness. As he's talking, hone in on what you need to prove and if you're likely to get it. Vocal fry to buy time if you need to. In a pinch, dramatically go to your file folder like you need something and then walk it back --- anything to keep them from continuing to talk. Obsoive: Q. And you chose not to attend the shareholders' meeting of May 9, 2016? A. I was prevented from attending. Q. Mr. Acres... (uh what do I need) are you saying (right, that he breached his duty by failing to attend) *cough* excuse me (so let's narrow his options) that you were physically restrained at the door? A. Obviously not. Q. You were in hospital? Ill? A. No, I wasn't ill. Q. You found the scheduling of the meeting inconvenient. A. Well, it's part of what your client does to ---- Q. You were not prevented from attending; you just weren't willing to make room in your calendar. It was your personal scheduling issue? A. It's always my scheduling issue. That's how your client tries to screw me. Q. You're aware there are 34 other shareholders of this corporation? (and away we go) 10. Completely prepare two days before. This way, you'll only still be doing last-minute stuff until 11 PM the night before because you're the worst and the world is terrible, but you'll still get some sleep. 11. Accept failure. You're going to mess stuff up. A lot. And because you're new, you haven't seen how hilariously bad other senior counsel can be. You're going to embarrass yourself and forget things because you're inexperienced, but also because that's just what happens at a trial. Shaky arguments get blown up. Half-assed evidence falls flat. People forget things. At my year of call, I can spot a senior lawyer parrying an answer very well, but know full well that she's 100% full of crap and is covering for not having a good answer. A judge with five times as much experience knows it even more. Don't mistake style for substance. If you know the file and prepare a good case, and your theory and theme are clear, your client will be well served. Even if you forget an exhibit and raise the wrong objection twice. The law will do as it ought. Help it as much as you can.
  3. 9 points
    As far as I'm concerned, your situation engages two rules I live and practice by. Rule one. Never make a threat you aren't prepared to follow through with. Application to your situation. You said if you didn't take specific actions you'd file a motion to enforce the disclosure order. So do that. Rule two. Don't run to the Law Society unless the system as it is designed to work has stopped working. Application to your situation. Has this lawyer's conduct actually damaged the progress of the dispute between your client and theirs? Doesn't sound like it. He hasn't threatened your client, or done something ethically dishonest. His actions won't change anything about the legal situation at play. You have your next move. See above. Yes, lawyers are rude sometimes. It happens. But citing a breach of civility is, and I'm sorry, but it's totally pansy-assed. You say you "feel like it is the kind of conduct that should be deterred." Of course you feel that way. But when we expand civility so much, we turn every kind of behaviour that another lawyer doesn't like into a professional complaint. And again, I'm sorry, but we aren't children. This isn't peewee hockey where every bump is a penalty. This is the pros, where you get flattened sometimes and you get back on your feet and shake it off. Every lawyer ends up with the reputation they earn. In order to get best results for your clients, you do not want to be the lawyer who makes every situation personal. You want to be the lawyer who's focused on how issues affect your clients and who carries through with your threats when you make them. So, as long as this lawyer is being an ass but it isn't affecting your client, ignore it. As soon as it does affect your client, come down like a ton of bricks. And file that motion on Monday. P.S. While this doesn't directly affect your response, you might consider that having a partner go on sudden and indefinite medical leave in a small partnership could easily mean that this firm is in chaos, and that your issue is only one small part of a giant shitstorm they are all dealing with. It isn't your job to care about that. Represent your client. But when you're swapping stories in the bar, it's a good thing to keep in mind.
  4. 8 points
    TO ALL WHOM these Presents shall come or whom the same may in any way concern, Greeting: A proclamation Whereas I have observed that this thread has discharged its useful purpose and hereafter would serve none other than acrimony; I do hereby close this thread, and require all persons being assembled to disperse and peaceably to depart to other threads, or to start new ones on other topics.
  5. 7 points
    Point of clarification. You are absolutely not "up against" letters like this in Canada. I have been fairly involved with graduate programs, including admission decisions. Grad programs tend to get quite few international applicants. I have also worked in US academia. As such, I can tell you that American letters of reference are extremely effusive compared to Canadian letters. So if you happen to read your letters and they don't contain anything like the above, don't fret. http://mashable.com/2016/12/08/letters-of-rec-americans-brits/
  6. 7 points
    Out of curiosity, after two weeks of law school what can you possibly know about what the practice of law actually entails? I don't say that to be snippy, I'm genuinely curious how you've come to a view on how you think law is practiced, seemingly over the past two weeks. Law school - particularly first year of law school - bears little resemblance to the practice of law. It bears the same relationship to practicing law as learning to walk bears to playing basketball - it can be tedious, painful and takes forever, but once you learn it, you can do the fun stuff. I think we need to understand where you're coming from before we can assess your position. Maybe you're right and law isn't for you, but I want to understand how you've come to that conclusion after two weeks.
  7. 6 points
    Okay, you know why programs like this exist? Because any time there's a market for something, someone will eventually show up to sell it. Despite being told time and again that you don't learn the law in any meaningful way before law school, you are utterly and entirely unwilling to believe this. You repeatedly write "I know you tell everyone else this, but I'm special" and/or "I refuse to believe what you tell me." You are far from unique. There are students not in law school who are desperate to take programs that reassure them they are heading in that direction, just as there are students not in medical school who feel the same way, and many other things besides. There's a market for this sort of program exactly because you demand it. And yes, for that reason, universities eventually offer something to appeal to you. If you honestly can't get interested in anything else, go ahead and take some kind of "pre-law" program. Interest and engagement are key ingredients to doing well, and so if that's where your interest is located then by all means, focus on it. But please, don't delude yourself into imagining it gives you a meaningful advantage. You've been told time and again that isn't true. There's nothing special about your circumstances that would make the answer different in your case. You now have the option to either believe it or not.
  8. 6 points
    There's so much good advice in this thread already. It's hard to offer anything that isn't just repeating what my colleagues have already said. But here's one thing that took a couple of trials for me to get comfortable with, and which really contributes (in my opinion) to the distinction between litigators who "get it" and those that look less comfortable in court. Set date courts and general business courts (not sure what they are called in family) can get fluid and informal. But in a better organized court, where regular business is happening (like a trial) there's greater formality. And the issue of who is standing becomes important. Note, btw, this advice will be of minimal assistance with a self-rep, because they won't know this dance and it takes everyone dancing properly to work. But I still consider it very interesting. When opposing counsel is standing, you're not. When you are standing, they are not. The appropriate way to interrupt opposing counsel when they are speaking is simply to stand up and wait. Usually what happens then (especially in more polite litigation) is that opposing counsel will reach the end of the next sentence or idea and say "I see my friend is standing." Or if opposing counsel doesn't stop to recognize you are standing, the judge will do it. Then you raise whatever issue you need to raise, including (perhaps most importantly) objections. You do not leap to your feet, with your finger in the air, and say "I object!" That makes you look like a hack. If opposing counsel has just called your client's evil twin brother, on no notice, as a witness to demolish your alibi defence and give testimony that it was really him everyone saw at the restaurant the night of the murder then you can leap to your feet with your finger in the air and yell "objection!" For ordinary purposes, you stand up and wait. Of lesser importance, but still meaningful, is the idea that when the court is talking (meaning the judge) then someone is standing to listen to His or Her Honour. And it should be one or another counsel, because on the rare instances where the court is talking to your client (giving judgment for example) you are standing to receive that with your client. There are a few exceptions, where things get lengthy. Also when there's a jury. But generally speaking, you should always be standing if the court is addressing you. And if it's addressing both counsel, stand anyway. I know at least one judge who is a stickler for that. And even the ones who aren't sticklers know how things are supposed to happen, and you'll look more experienced to them if you handle the dance properly. Note, again, for context of this discussion, it takes all parties to do this properly and the self-rep will make a hash of it. But do your best all the same.
  9. 6 points
    One more point on self-reps. I can't speak with any authority on this subject, but it seems to have worked for me so far. Judges are human. They want to help the little guy. They're very worried that you're pushing the self-rep around and undermining him. But it seems that from their perspective, at least from hearing seminars and reading decisions, they're most concerned about making sure the self-rep feels as though their case has been heard. And I completely understand that; if I was a judge, I would hate how often I have to send someone that has legitimately suffered from poor treatment out of my courtroom, saying, "yep, but that's legal" and watching them stew over the injustice. What I try to do is to help the self-rep articulate their arguments in my response. Especially if it's an ESL litigant or one that struggles with judicial vocabulary, they want to have their case set out fairly and eloquently and to leave it up to the judge. (It's always a source of great wonder and reassurance to me the degree to which unrepresented parties, quite rightly, do believe the judge will render a fair verdict. They can believe in any conspiracy theory under the sun and set up a Facebook page with photoshopped images of opposing counsel in horror movies, but that judge up there? Straight as an arrow. I mean, they're right, but they're so irrational elsewhere that it's stunning how ingrained that belief is.) So they'll complain extensively about shoddy treatment, and often get exasperated as no one in the courtroom seems sympathetic. (On top of impartiality, we're also just the kind of people that take in information without responding to it emotionally --- and a whole colony of us weird introverts have taken over this building. It's objectively weird for most people how we all act in there.) Rather than cutting him off with "he was served, he had the opportunity to respond", or "that's not true, Your Honour", I wait until he's seated, get up and spot him the pitch. "Your Honour, Mr. Wei raises a number of procedural arguments, to which we might briefly respond. First, he takes issue with the method of service. He was served personally in his workplace, exposed to public view, and feels that the service was effected with malice by a plaintiff against whom he makes grave allegations of fraud and personal animus. Our response to that is that the Rules require that originating pleadings, like the Statement of Claim here, be served personally to ensure that it has been brought directly to the defendant's attention. Because Mr. Wei did not answer his door and would not agree to meet our process server over the phone, service at his place of employment was the only effective means of bringing it directly to his attention and complying with the Rules of Court." There's a degree of vindication you feel in having someone --- even if it's the other guy --- raise your complaints in lawyerese and make sure the court has heard exactly what your problem is in a direct and official tone. That way you know they're able to compute all the issues you want to raise. And sometimes, hearing it in that language, they see that you understood the issue and begin to empathize with why something was done. A lack of communication is the root of all evil with self-reps. And hey, you were going to have to address the issue directly anyway. Why not state it clearly for the benefit of the judge, who might have tuned out 20 minutes ago, and show that you're doing your part as an officer of the court for the reputation of the administration of justice?
  10. 6 points
    Wear glasses and then you can dramatically take them off mid-interview for maximum effect. And then when you get a question to which you don't know the answer, take of your glasses, thoughtfully wipe them and hope to god that you have come up with something.
  11. 6 points
    Monocle. Sometimes alliteratively referred to as a Morgan's monocle. And make sure it's a monocle with no cord (probably a frameless one), only cowards who worry they won't be able to control their faces use a safety cord with their monocle.
  12. 6 points
    Woah, woah, woah, you didn’t start the minute you got your acceptance letter? You’re doomed, DOOMED!
  13. 6 points
    Where you go to school matters a lot - but not for any of the reasons the OP suggests. Let's take U of T. U of T's big advantage isn't that it has a good reputation, strong professors or it's incoming class tests well, although those things are true. No, U of T's advantage is that it is located in Downtown Toronto. Your classmates at U of T will be your colleagues for your entire career. Whole law firms have been established because several people were in the same first year law school class, became friends, and decided to go into business with each other. Many of your professors will have ties to the local bar, or are active practitioners in the local bar. Well before graduation you will begin to know, and be known by, the local lawyers in Toronto through various moots, law clinics, and other meet and greets. However, that all is only true if you're going to be a lawyer in Toronto. If you're from Calgary and want to return there after law school, none of that applies. You'd be much better off going to U of C despite it not being as "prestigious".
  14. 5 points
    This annoys me more than it should but I'm just really shocked that you can't spend a few minutes on google to find out which universities in BC have law schools.
  15. 5 points
    Yes, you have a chip on your shoulder. And it's good you know enough to ask about and/or confirm that, but you need to deal with it right away, for three related reasons. 1. As already discussed, that's just the way it is. In some ways, you are the least valuable employee at your firm, and you do what needs to be done. You fit in wherever there's a need. (But people already said this, and the real meat comes below). 2. This work is a REAL part of the job. And by "part of the job" I mean "this is something that has to happen to run a lawyers' office and someone has to do it." You say the office is "understaffed" and that may or may not be true, but you do realize there are a lot of lawyers out there that don't have staff, right? You haven't indicated what area of law you are articling in so I have no way of knowing what "normal" might look like in that practice area. But has it ever occurred to you what you'll end up doing if you don't work for a large firm that can afford to park a receptionist outside your office and ensure that you can spend 100% of your time on "legal work?" I mean, do you have any idea how much of my day is spent doing non-legal work even now? You need to digest this reality. 3. This point is similar to 2, but from a different perspective. When students complain about the work environment they have as students, and wonder about the availability of staff, support, etc. I always feel like they are failing to connect to a basic realization. You are employed by people like you. Calling it a "firm" is a mental technique used to distance yourself from that realization. But your firm is just a collection of lawyers (again, not sure if it's large or small, but still a collection of individual lawyers) who are working together to serve clients. Most firms do not have any clients who shovel money at them by the ass-ton. And so every resource that you expect this firm to have is coming off the bottom line work they manage to bill for. If you think it's easy to pay for all of that support, and the rent, and all the expenses of running that firm, and for you, then you're just not thinking about it clearly. There's a moment in every kid's life when they look at their parents and stop seeing them as infallible beings and realize "holy shit - my parents are just like me and my fucked up friends only they had kids and got older." You need to see the lawyers who employ you in the same way. Both because it explains the reality of your employment situation, and because it gives you an idea of what to expect when you get out there yourself, which will be soon. I have some minor sympathy for the fact that this wasn't discussed when you were hired and it appears to be a developing situation. If you expected to be treated only as a legal resource, and not to be mingling with the support staff, then perhaps this is a let down. But it shouldn't be. This is the job. Clients are the business. There are jobs in law where lawyers end up severely cushioned from this reality for their entire careers, it's true. But those jobs are the exception rather than the norm. No matter where you end up, this is a skill set you should have. And also a reality you should internalize. Hope that helps.
  16. 5 points
    My suggestion is to pick an undergrad program that will help you find a non law job. The vast majority of people who apply to law school don't get in, so it's best to do get a degree in something that both interests you and has an application beyond law school. I agree with everyone that taking a pre-law or undergraduate law-related program will not prepare you for what you will be learning in law school. It might even give you a false sense of security during the application process and perhaps -- if you get in -- in 1L as well. A reasonable alternative might be to take a couple of law-related courses as electives. For what it's worth, I took a couple of them in my fourth year simply because they interested me and I can tell you that they did nothing to prepare me for law school, though they were interesting and I did enjoy them.
  17. 5 points
    I don't think you should get into it. It's going to be really hard to explain the situation adequately in the amount of space you are given in a personal statement. It's an incredibly controversial topic that many different people have personal biases about for a variety of reasons. As we've discussed previously on here, unfortunately, you cannot assume that your personal statement will remain confidential. From the school's perspective, you are also likely to come across as a liability in that your admission to law school will stir up a lot of controversy if the situation becomes public. Situations like yours have caused a lot of problems at a lot of schools across Canada and the U.S. It's a very heated topic and I'd argue that someone who has been accused of rape would stir up more controversy than a convicted murderer who has served time and has been punished through the justice system. Look at the mattress situation at the school in the U.S. and the amount of controversy that has generated. In the case of a convicted murderer, the school can say that the person went through the process and has been punished by the justice system, the very system law schools are a part of. In your case, it doesn't sound like you were ever arrested or acquitted but rather that the accusations spread by word of mouth. Of course everyone is innocent until proven guilty but as you obviously know, there is often a strong (and important but sometimes overreaching) movement to always believe people who say they are victims of rape. If you are going to bring up dropping a bunch of courses I think you should say you were struggling with mental health. It's less risky. You don't give need to give reasons why.
  18. 5 points
    When it comes to the necessity of explaining this purely as a quirk in your transcript, you are going to get the same advice over and over and I predict it will be a nearly universal consensus. Dropping courses in one term is not a big deal. You raise the example of someone who might have withdrawn from a term just to take a break. What in the world makes you think that's something a law school would hold against them? As in, we only want students who never take a break? That's inane. Law schools are interested in your ability to perform academically when you are doing so. They aren't recruiting perfectly formed specimens that either correspond or fail to correspond to some imagined ideal life pattern. Frankly, I'm sure you could leave this short "gap" entirely unexplained and no one would care. Keep in mind, all of this chatter you are reading on the internet comes mainly from insecure applicants who are all obsessing over the same small crap that you are, and many are secretly hoping that the stronger student who took a term off (hee, loser) will be rejected in favor of their own lower grades and LSAT because they've written some convincing explanation about how they are better. And that ain't going to happen. You're talking to many people here who have been through law school and in some cases were involved with admissions decisions. I promise you. No one cares. Now. The above is the bare answer to the direct question of if you need to explain this hiccup in your progress through school. You don't. What remains is the fact that you very obviously want to explain it anyway. And that's fine. But please, don't confuse the two. Don't get into some stupid debate here about how you need to explain this, which you seem like you're close to doing. We're telling you, you don't need to. We know what we're talking about. But wanting to anyway is a perfectly reasonable feeling to have, and you don't need to bolster that with anything. So, yes. I think this topic is a potential minefield. And that's on two levels. First, on a subtle level, anyone who believes you may be guilty may be biased against your application. There's no formal policy that would keep you out of school. Hell, UBC and then Osgoode had a student who was legally convicted of manslaughter. But if you're on the edge, someone might be tempted to go the other way. And second, you are raising a legal topic in your own background that will probably tempt you to swing towards irrationality. I'm not judging as I say that. I'd have the same response to a sexual assault survivor. Talking about surviving sexual assault is a more palatable subject than talking about being falsely accused, but it can lead down the same path. If you're not careful you start talking like you want to see a presumption of guilt in all cases, and the victim should never need to testify or answer any questions, because really we should just believe all victims and the accusation should become the conviction. And when an admissions committee reads that statement, even feeling sympathetic towards your experiences, they are thinking "it's terrible what this person survived, and good for them for getting this far, but do we really want someone who is utterly irrational in law school?" If you want to bring it up, bring it up. I am a great fan of truth, even uncomfortable truths, and it's your life. You need to feel good about how you live it. Just remember that while you probably can't mitigate the first danger at all, as noted above, you should try to at least minimize the second. Do not come off like an irrational fool on this topic. If you can't write it at all without doing that, then think carefully about whether you can bear to let it go. As the less sympathetic character in this drama to begin with, if you come off as irrational it will be bad, bad, bad for you. You need to understand that sexual assault is a real thing and if you come off like you're dismissing that you'll sound like a fool and even potentially a dangerous fool. Even right now, speaking as a guy who has, quite honestly, slept with a number of women the same day/night I met them, you need to realize that many people on the admissions committee may not share that experience. If you engage in what they will regard as highly risky sexual behaviour (meaning risky for all parties - risky for you in the sense that establishing positive consent from somehow you hardly know is difficult sometimes) then they are going to expect that you show at least some awareness of that fact. That isn't to say you're guilty. But this is a situation where you need to summon self-insight and some dispassionate rationality on the subject. Otherwise you'll sound like you're saying "my life was ruined because some man-hating bitch picked me at random to accuse of something terrible." And I'm not saying you will write that. But reading between the lines, to a knowledgeable observer who knows the tensions at play in this debate, it may sound like that. Yeah. So you have my permission (not that you need it) to get into this topic. Not because it's required to explain your gap. Because it absolutely is not required. But only because you want to. Just tread very, very carefully. And if you can't write about this rationally, and from a perspective that includes the question of "what the hell do we do when two people who didn't know each other yesterday had sex and one person claims it was consensual and the other doesn't?" then think carefully if you can bring yourself to not write about it. Because honestly, you are asking for trouble otherwise. Good luck.
  19. 5 points
    What's wrong with the articling process that someone can finish articling without running a trial? But anyways... forgive me if any of these are too basic, but you never know. I'm trying to focus in on the simple stuff they don't bother to mention in law school. Make sure you know where the courthouse is well in advance. Make sure you know how long it will take to get there, and plan to get there 30-60 minutes early. Know where parking is. Make sure you know what side of the courtroom to sit on. Bring a bottle of water. Not all courtrooms provide water. Try not to speak with your self-rep when you're alone. Try to make sure somebody (besides your client) is present. Even just talk to the self-rep in the courtroom with the clerk being present. This is just me, but - do NOT have a list of questions prepared. Instead have a list of points that you need to cover. Having a list of questions can get you to ignore what your witness is actually saying, and just sticking to your own script. Make sure you get the points you need from your witness, then checkmark that point and move on. Have fun. This is what you went to law school for, after all. You'll always remember your first trial.
  20. 5 points
    https://www.utoronto.ca/news/u-t-ranked-among-10-best-world-law-times-higher-education Being this excited about your ranking should automatically lower your ranking.
  21. 5 points
    A bunch of years ago I had a friend on a tv show. Her agent paid a magazine to rank her as one of the top 3 'stars' likely to break out in the next few years. I remember her mom getting so excited about how much this signaled for her career and she kept saying, over and over, "but it's just so obviously not true - we paid for it". UT doesn't get to be it's own mom. The methodology and scoring demonstrates pretty clearly that no one who cares about becoming or has been a lawyer was involved in this. You get marks for having more graduate students - that in itself explains Australia's high marks as the number of foreign students acquiring LLMs in Melbourne is huge. That's a cash cow, though - sort of like ranking physics departments based on which ones sell the most fidget spinners. Citations make up a third - that's a very weird approach for ranking any school (though common), but an even weirder one in such a highly jurisdictional profession. The top publishing writers in England are very likely to have higher citation numbers than in the US, where talent is more broadly dispersed. They also give marks for having more profs from overseas. Which...why? Put another way, odds you make money ("income") made up 2.5% of the marks for establishing how good a school is. Find me a law student that cares 30% about whether their prof got cited last year and 2.5% about whether they can pay off their debt. It's a ridiculous, harmful and farcical habit to have these lists. Universities should have the common honesty and basic dignity not to celebrate, but they never will.
  22. 5 points
    So I'm gowned at the Supreme Court building, and my team has to retire to a conference room during a recess. We walk past all the school kids watching the little video about the Supreme Court, and they start gasping and pointing: "Les juges! Les juges! Regardez!" The team ranged in age from 26 to 44. It was very cute.
  23. 5 points
  24. 5 points
    Yeah, I noticed that too, but wasn't sure I should say anything. But now that it's out there.... OP, if you're having trouble understanding the cases, which are at least 90% of what you will be tested on, and you read, write and think slowly when you are going to have time-sensitive exams worth most or all of your grade where speed is everything, and you're not interested in the material, I can't imagine how you could be successful in law school. This is not to say that that situation will last forever. As I said, for me I didn't understand case law at all until almost November. But when it made sense, it made sense. I could actually feel the fog lifting and the light dawning the day I finally "got it" (when I didn't do the readings before class and went into class listening to the prof with an open mind instead of panicking because other students had so many smarter things to say than I did.) I went on to get great marks. Now for me speed was never an issue, interest was never an issue and it was just figuring out how to think for the particular task of reading case law. If all three are issues then it's going to be even more of a challenge. If I recall, the problem I was having with the case law was getting too hung up on the details and the language and wanting to read every single thing. I learned to pick out of the case what the point of it is and ignore a lot of the surrounding fluff, which profs tend to talk about a lot because they want you to see the judge's process and understand the different arguments made and they themselves have their pet subjects buried in those cases. But the first thing to grasp is what the case is saying and how that advances the law, then you can go back and figure out the rest for bonus points. Even now, if a new case comes out and I sit down to read it, my first read is a skim of the facts and then skip the rest until I get to where the judge is saying "I find that..." or "The answer is..." or "The search was lawful..." After I know what the decision was - that a search in X circumstances is lawful but may not be if Y is present - then I go back and read it properly to see if there are any other insights or points to distinguish from or compare to my case. The thing is, you're not going to be examined on every detail of every case. You need to know the points of the cases and then spot the issues and apply the facts to those cases, but it's your own thinking that the prof cares about, not regurgitating every single thing in a case.
  25. 5 points
    You know what, I felt that way when I started law school and continued to feel that way for most of the first semester of 1L. In my case, I did end up being a lawyer and I have been practicing for almost 7 years and I do enjoy it. In my case, the reasons I felt that way were that I was having cultural shock adjusting to the law school environment. It was really hard for me to be surrounded by so many people different from me. I was living apart from my partner and felt really lonely. I was hearing a lot about biglaw and feeling intimidated. It was also a really different learning style than my undergrad. It can be intimidating when so many of your classmates have parents who are judges and law partners and are talking about the yacht trips and cruises they are taking at Christmas. I also didn't drink then and felt left out of social events. Really, the thing that saved me was I joined a student group and made some really good friends in 3L who are still my best friends today. They encouraged me and told me it would get better as well as introducing me to people and activities, lending me summaries, etc. Then I also made some good friends in my year and started feeling like I fit in more. I went through a personal crisis and breakup just around the time of 1L exams and I was ready to forget about law school. But my 3L friends refused to allow that. They reminded me of what I had invested and why I wanted to do this and told me I could be an amazing lawyer. They wouldn't let me quit and helped me study for exams. I'm tearing up now thinking of how they got me through the storm - I owe everything to them. They even handed their own papers in late to help me. Had they not done that, I'm sure I would have dropped out. My advice is first of all to figure out why you want to be a lawyer and what kind of law interests you and maybe even talk to some lawyers about their areas of practice so you have a goal. Also join some activities and make some friends. I'd give it till the end of the term and if you still don't feel excited about a future in the law then reconsider dropping out. I'd also talk to your profs about it. I did that too. Some of them had been there themselves and made me feel they understood where I was coming from. They will try to help you. Class can seem very theoretical sometimes but it does have real-world applications that they can explain to you.
  26. 4 points
    Op, OK, you're at least 3 years away from thinking about law schools and LSATs. As a starting point, you need some undergrad. You'll have to check individual school requirements, but most require at least 3 years of undergrad (I think some might once have accepted people after 2 years in very unusual cases - even if they still do, you can't proceed on the basis given how rare it is. Choose a program that you are interested in - there is no "best" route to getting into law school, and of course, there's no guarantee that you will be admitted into law school (or that you will be still be interested in doing so in 3 years), so take something that you think will be of value to you if you don't go to law school. Some law schools provide an entry point for mature students, which may not require an undergrad degree. I would not encourage to the pursue that option even if you qualify for it. If you're in your 20's you're not much older than most law students, so you life experience is not likely to offset your lack of formal education. If you were in your 40s and had been working somewhere for 20 years, this would be a different discussion, but that's not the case. You might talk to whatever undergrad programs you are thinking about to see if they will give you credit for college courses (BC is somewhat more flexible about that than Ontario). My one caution though is that you shouldn't look for shortcuts. law school is competitive and demanding, you will need the preparation provided by a good undergrad program (in respect of writing, critical thinking, research etc.) to succeed in law school. Getting into law school isn't your goal, getting into law school with the skills to excel in law school is your goal. Finally, there really isn't much point in writing the LSAT now. Apart from the fact that I think there's an expiry date on LSAT results (I could be wrong), the training you get in a good undergrad program around critical thinking would probably help you in writing the LSAT.
  27. 4 points
    I have some sympathy for OP. I was probably that clueless about law school and med school, my initial interest. I did go to university right after high school, but I had no idea what I was doing in terms of applications to anything. I had no idea you could “study” for the LSAT or MCAT. I looked at one practice test to figure out the questions and took them cold. I didn’t know what a good score was or what to aim for. I wrote my personal statement “from the heart” with no strategy or plan. I had no idea what we’re the good or bad schools or what I wanted to do if I got in. I was certainly nothing like the applicants on here who seem to know about OCIs, Bay Street, articling etc before they even write the LSAT. And I am a decent lawyer (I think) despite those failings.
  28. 4 points
    This sounds more like an argument than a debate.
  29. 4 points
    "I'd like to get a new experience" is quite frankly a dumb reason to spend tens of thousands of dollars to move thousands of kilometres away from where you ultimately want to be. What you will get at Queens, Dal, or frankly UBC of UVic is the "law school experience". It is going to be quite different than your experience in undergrad. Just look at some of the threads on this forum started by first year students talking about what an adjustment law school was. The people you go to law school with are not just some random acquaintances. They are going to be your fellow colleagues at the bar for life. During law school you'll meet senior practitioners who can help you find a job. While I'm sure Dal and Queens grads speak highly of their schools (and both are fine schools) I know that in the big corporate commercial firms of Vancouver there are way, way more UBC grads, and they'll be more impressed with a UBC law degree than one from Dal. If you want a new experience go on vacation. Or take a gap year and go travel. Then (assuming you can get in) get a law degree at UBC or UVic.
  30. 4 points
    Fuck it. I'm going to say this, and if everyone has a cow over it then so be it. And remember, OP, as I write this that I am a criminal defence lawyer and I've also given you the best advice I know how to give, to this point. Saying that the OP has been the victim of a false allegation is wrong. We don't know that. He was never charged, and as far as I can tell the matter was never investigated. The last point may be untrue and if so I apologize, but the OP has been deliberately (and wisely) vague, and I can only go on what we know. So it would be more accurate to say that he was the subject of untested allegations. I say this both because my criminal law brain is beginning to rebel against the tone of this conversation, and because it's more accurate to the reaction he would get from even fair-minded legal academics reading his letter if he wrote it this way. Is there anyone, anyone reading this thread who believes the system always works properly? That is, the guilty are always punished and the innocent are always vindicated? Of course we don't believe that. No intelligent person does. So it doesn't prove anything that he was never convicted or suffered formal consequences. It doesn't prove the allegations were false any more than when a survivor of sexual assault says she was assaulted, but her attacker was never punished, we assume it was untrue. A fair-minded person always has doubt. When you have one side of a story, and limited information to go on, what do you really know? You know something happened. And you can even guess that it's probably in line with what you've been told. But you don't really know. So, first off, this is the strongest argument I've yet made to suggest that including this statement is a problem. Say nothing, and there are no questions. Raise the issue, and that may be a lingering concern in anyone's mind. Now a fair-minded person should follow the "we don't really know what happened" thought with "and we start with a presumption of innocence" but quite honestly, admissions committees are human too. The rest of my thought here isn't really about the OP's legitimate concerns, but it's about the stupidity of this topic generally. There has been historical reluctance to believe victims. And there is a point to which that needs to be corrected. I think many people also feel, and I am one of them, there may have been an over-correction in some quarters. But all of that pales in relation to the stupidity I'm witnessing here and elsewhere. If you tend to believe that false allegations happen a lot, that's potentially problematic but at least it's consistent. If you tend to believe that where there's an allegation there's probably truth, that's also problematic but at least it's a firm position. What I'm witnessing here is a "believe the first person who speaks up!" movement. And that's also what "believe all victims" is turning into. For years, sexual predators got away with shit not by hiding, but by being the first to act. As in "I had to fire my assistant because she was irrational." By the time the assistant speaks up, the narrative is set. Now, we've got victims getting the first word in and by the time there's any reply, the public verdict is already rendered. But Dear God both of those situations are lazy, and ridiculous, and unfortunately common. The truth is, even as a criminal defence lawyer, my job is to defend my clients and I'm sympathetic towards their situations, with the weight of the justice system pressing down on them. But that doesn't mean I believe what they say, uncritically. And if I don't listen to even my own clients that way, why is everyone so sure that a victim's story is accurate and true as soon as they hear it? Why is everyone so sure the OP's story is accurate and true? Is it really just because he's the one talking right now? This isn't about you, OP. I'm sorry to use this as a jumping off point. But I'm trying to make two related points at once, and one of them is for your benefit. Bringing up this topic will leave lingering doubts in the best of times, and you can hope a reasonable person will give you the benefit of those doubts (which you absolutely deserve) but better to raise no doubts in the first instance. I think I've even changed my position from my first advice, there. The second related point is this. The real enemy in the public debate about how to deal with sexual assault isn't ideology, but rather intellectual laziness. And that may be inevitable in the minds of the uneducated public. But come on, y'all are lawyers here, or want to be. Identifying with the first person to tell their story may be emotionally satisfying, but it's unworthy of a skeptical mind.
  31. 4 points
    The questions for firms on the YLS sheet are not good. Do not ask your interviewer whether they have only a few large clients or many medium-sized clients. "Oh yeah, well [x] takes up 30% of our billings which is just absolutely insane and does make me feel a bit like my livelihood is threatened." Do not ask anything that could result in someone remembering something that concerns or worries them about their firm. You are selling something - you - and the Mad Men advice applies: don't let the client have a single negative feeling while they're in the room with you. Do not ask if you can work in another office; it makes you sound too eager to leave the mothership too quickly. Do not ask if the firm will merge; do Yale students think law firms keep everything confidential except from students they haven't yet hired?? Do not ask what the firm's "plans are for the future"; that's the sort of nothing-burger question that causes people to fall into autopilot. I'm happy to go on. "What emphasis is placed on getting new business?" Uh, new business is good. "How does it affect compensation?" Not even slightly? Isn't that public knowledge widely available with a 2 second google search? Some of these are good questions for coffee with an associate you hit it off with earlier. Almost none of them are good for an interview and some are so dumb I can't quite believe a person associated with a law school wrote them. Yale should take this down. I used to hire for a non-law co and I've helped out a bit on the law firm side of the table. Here are some basic guidelines: Ask something that causes the interviewer to reflect fondly on their experience at the firm. For example, "Could you tell me about some of the best experiences you had early on in your career? What kind of case/file/matter helped you take big steps forward in your learning?" Ask things that make someone feel flattered: "What do you think helps make someone successful at [firm name]? What's helped you the most?" Most senior-ish people hear that question as, 'You're very cool and did very well here. What makes you so cool and doing so well?' What you're doing is reminding the interviewer that they've been successful in their career. Everyone likes a nice pat on the back. Ask about staffing. Lawyers care about staffing and an interviewer who thinks you're already concerned about what lawyers are concerned about will think you might be a lawyer one day: "How do junior associates get staffed? Would a large transaction typically have 3/4+ junior associates taking on small segments of work - with each associate also staffed on 6+ other deals - or do you normally staff thinly with each associate on a smaller number of deals?" Ask about daily life - again, lawyers care: "What does a good day look like for you? What does a harder day look like?" Healthlaw's last piece of advice is also correct - students who don't have applicable backgrounds often ask silly-sounding questions designed to sound professional. I once saw a student ask, "which merger last year do you think will set the most market norms for new mergers?" I'm not sure how that relates to anything about our firm. It just sort of sounds like you wanted me to know that you know the words 'merger', 'market' and 'norm'.
  32. 4 points
    This is an aside, but: I think these comments regarding 'legitimate, native' British accents are slightly off base. There are lots of places, in Asia and elsewhere, where the English taught in schools (especially elite schools) is Received Pronunciation or 'BBC English.' This is isn't to say that the OP should continue to fake an accent. (I think he shouldn't.) But be careful of your own prejudices, here. There are lots of people with British accents who've never set foot in the UK.
  33. 4 points
    Honestly, my best advice for the first semester of 1L is this: ignore other people. Ignore how fast they say they read, how they say they take notes, when they make their summaries, what is in their summaries, etc. Figure out what works for you. It took me the first two months just to stop freaking out and learn to read cases. Making summaries would have been useless for me before then. What worked for me was NEVER, EVER doing readings before class - just skimming the head notes. But I spent 2-3 hours most days AFTER class reading and organizing my class notes from each class till I understood them, THEN reading the cases. And my organized notes became the basis for my summaries. That was really all the studying I needed to do. But everyone is different and you will figure it out.
  34. 4 points
    I personally think the process of making a summary is invaluable and I would not use someone else's. As to when to make a summary, don't do it until you understand the material.
  35. 4 points
    As far as I understand it, when most people on here say "long summary" they just mean class notes. You should take those always and just keep organizing them in a coherent manner under proper headings and subheadings according to how the course is teaching you that area of law. I barely did anything with these unless I was in a lecture, it isn't hard to format on the go while also paying attention. I only ever brought these into exams for "emergencies". Those were rare, and it was usually a waste of a lot of paper. Your actual "summary"--the thing you take into your exam to help you answer questions efficiently--should be designed precisely to answer questions efficiently. You won't know how to do that until you know the kinds of questions that will be on the exam. Usually, professors are consistent (or will explicitly tell you what questions they will ask) so all you have to do is either look at past exams or ask the prof. Or do both! It is very rare that a law professor shrouds their exam formats in secrecy until the last minute (it does happen, but they are the exception not the rule). Note: some classes have non-standard exams (eg. take-homes, long essays, short answer only) so you should cater your summary exactly for this purpose; Note: I liked to have two things to bring into every exam: [a] my short summary which I used as a guide to answering complicated legal questions; and a document of case briefs for every case you study in that course. Usually I only used [a], but if I was stumped and needed to remind myself of situation involving a similar set of facts, I go to . If you understand the course, there's no need for anything else (unless your prof says so, like the Criminal Code or Rules of Civ Pro.); So take a practice exam. Don't worry about failure. Every practice exam I took in law school was an exercise in humility. That's fine. If you wait until December, it will cause panic. If you do it now, it will let you know everything you do not know (which may be everything!) but at least you'll come away going "huh, I guess I should know how to answer a question about whether something falls under Federal or Provincial Powers...maybe I should craft my summary to assist with answering that." That's when you should start building your official summary. Everything else, in my view, is a waste of your time. And until you're ready to start making one, there is nothing wrong with continuing to do readings, make a list of case briefs, and learn the relevant legal concepts. By the way, the above is why following past student's summaries can be helpful, but not always the best approach. You never know if you're getting their class notes (useless) or their summary (helpful). Build your own from scratch, using past exams as a guide for how it should be structured. Again, if your exam is a different format or take-home, then you should adjust accordingly. Good luck!
  36. 4 points
    If life were fair..... As I said, start a new thread if you'd like to do so.
  37. 4 points
    Diplock is right on this. No one asks students to evaluate the delegation practices of associates for the same reason lawyers don’t evaluate the instruction practices of their clients - at the end of the day even if the client is a goof, it’s your job to figure out what they want you to do. As a student, associates are your client. The assessment of associates, that you describe, is really a comment on the students. Oh, associates gave unclear instructions? That’s a reflection on you, not them. Did you ask clarifying questions? Follow-up? I’m sure the associate knew exactly what he or she was asking for. The question is too large? WTF? No it isn’t. Someone asked the associate that question- heck, that’s probably a part of a much bigger question they’ve been asked -, they expect him or her to be able to answer it, you’re training to be a future associate, get used to answering questions like that. He’s too bossy? Guess what, he’s your boss. He’s an arrogant asshole? Welcome to the practice of law, he won’t be the last you encounter. And Diplock is right, students are literally the least experienced people at the firm, so why on earth would anyone look to them for assessments of anything At least the copy guy is an expert on copying documents - if you were looking for guidance on how to save money in copying you might ask them. students can’t even claim that. Moreover, a failure to delegate effectively does show up in associate assessment - it means their work will take longer and the bills for their files (or the files they manage) will be higher. Firms have no trouble monitoring that.
  38. 4 points
    It doesn't matter where you go to law school... I'm opening one in my basement, come.
  39. 4 points
    You're a fourth-year corporate/commercial associate who graduated from a Canadian school, and has strong views about the rankings of schools within Canada. Why don't you tell us how UK degrees are perceived? Your views are probably as good as anyone's, here.
  40. 4 points
    The irony of you saying finish a degree and get a cushy job while "reality checking" people in another thread saying they'll be lucky to get a job is rich. General rule: 3 years of your life (really 4, with articling) and tens of thousands of dollars is too much of an investment for something you hate.
  41. 4 points
    Really don't like Osgoode, eh?
  42. 4 points
    I don't think it has any impact at all. In fact, I'd recommend deliberately doing them in different provinces so you get the opportunity to see another part of Canada and live on your own. Maturing as an individual outside of the classroom is just as important as learning the stuff in the classroom. From 18-25 you are going to evolve from a teenager to a young adult, and the more you challenge and rely on yourself during that time, the better. Especially if you want to do criminal law. You need to stand on your own, alone, and be comfortable with your judgment and convictions. You only get to that point by falling down a lot and seeing what really holds you together. You are not going to get that kind of perspective if mom is still doing your laundry and dad pays off your Visa every few months. Get independent (within reason). Travel is a great way to do that.
  43. 4 points
    Some letters are brief and make vague reference to your class participation and your high grade. The prof clearly doesn't know anything about except you occasionally asked questions and you got an A. They say you are a strong student who will do well. A strong reference letter contains more detail, shows more familiarity with you as an individual, reflects more than just the grade you got but a understanding of how you got it with some examples, remarks on your personality and passion, and expresses a firm personal belief that you are an excellent candidate who will thrive in law school and the legal profession. Moral of story: get to know your profs.
  44. 4 points
    @Ryn, HR would like to meet with you in the Ladyarglwydds Memorial Boardoom at 3pm. Please bring your union rep.
  45. 4 points
    An articling student with the provincial Crown was making submission at a CSO breach hearing. Before addressing the court, she comes over to discuss with my colleague and I. As she speaks, it becomes clear she's under the impression that I'm the accused. But he's in custody, while I'm dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit. And he's an entirely different ethnicity. And the articling student and I went to law school together, even sitting beside one another in at least one class for several months.
  46. 4 points
    I second this. No need to reinvent the wheel. Here is my advice, as some one who opened up an office out of articles a decade ago: Consider the skill set you will need and make sure you are trained properly. If you are learning the ropes for the very first time with no supervision you aren't doing anyone any favours, least of all your impoverished clients. If you are serious about this, go to law school and do clinical work that gets you in the room with clients and on your feet in court. Take courses on immigration and refugee law, take courses in contracts and labour and employment, network, and seek articles with an office that does this day in and day out. Become competent. THEN open your own shop. And do it full time (in fact, do it overtime). Don't learn it on your own part time when you feel like it on the backs of the vulnerable. That isn't helping, it's self-aggrandizement. You feel good but they get subpar representation from a lawyer who is dabbling. Dabbling is bad unless you are a twenty year Call who knows everything there is to know about that area.
  47. 4 points
    To take a stab at some armchair pop psychology here... it sounds like you're in something of a mid-life crisis. I also got my degree 20 years ago, and I know the feeling of looking around at your life, realizing you only have so much time left, and wanting to make some changes. I think you're more caught up in the idea of going to the UK to study than you are looking at trying to maximize your chances of becoming a lawyer. Your story has "mature student category" written all over it. You don't need to have some kind of remarkable personal history to apply as a mature student. I've known several legal secretaries who went to law school after many years. Don't put your experiences short - working in a legal office for 20 years gives you an excellent insight into the profession. Go out, sign up at Athabasca U (Providence - Athabasca is a fully accredited Canadian university, so yes it counts) and take a few classes. You don't have to take "lots" of courses. The idea isn't to balance out your old grades from 20 years ago, but rather just to be able to show a university admissions office that you are capable of getting strong grades. So that you can say "yes, 20 years ago I graduated with a 2.5 GPA - but now I am capable of a 4.0 because of these 2-3 courses I took". Then yes - study for the LSAT. It's definitely a learnable skill. Don't get discouraged by an early diagnostic test. Put the time in, then sign up and write the test. Once you do that, I have a sneaking suspicion you'll get into a Canadian law school. If you do all that, apply and are not accepted, then and only then consider going out of the country. There are just so many disadvantages to going overseas (the extremely high costs, the difficulty in obtaining employment afterwards) that you owe it to yourself to seriously try to get into a Canadian school.
  48. 4 points
    There's almost no way to reply to this topic without being mean, so I have to ask, are you terminally clueless about education in general, or just presenting a caricature of your discontents because you're unhappy right now? I promise that I won't kick you when you're down no matter which it is, but it has to be one or the other. Because either what you're writing at the moment is just too absurd to be true, or else you really managed to get through a lot of school without cluing into basic realities. What you are saying, basically, is that you don't like reading, writing, thinking, working hard, working long, solving problems, or doing things that challenge you. Now I do, totally, appreciate that the legal profession isn't for everyone. But based on what you're saying here, you shouldn't be pursuing a profession at all - and certainly not one that involves any kind of book-learning. I mean, have you ever considered becoming a carpenter or something, or some other skilled trade? Because unless you intend to do something where you work with your hands instead of your head all day long, you're just not going to get away from most of what you say you dislike. I'll repeat what others have said. The first couple of weeks of school are not any reflection of what real legal practice looks like. But if you're telling the truth right now, your problems run deeper than being surprised by the nature of legal work, even assuming you have an accurate picture of it right now. How about we try this. What did you think legal practice might be like? What did you imagine you'd do all day long? Instead of learning how the law works, did you think you'd just tell people what you think and that your opinion, based in nothing, would carry the day? I'm not trying to make fun of you, truly. I'm just trying to pin down the problem. Try telling us what you expected. That's something concrete, at least.
  49. 4 points
    Hey, at least you weren't asked where your lawyer was.
  50. 4 points
    I was standing in the courthouse and got asked if I am a judge. I did not take it as a compliment.
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