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Malicious Prosecutor

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Malicious Prosecutor last won the day on April 25

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  1. Let me know how the "business on the side (which I don't actually have to spend much time managing!) works out for you. Unless you have significant financial means already that you can just buy an existing business, building a business up from the ground is hard work! The good news is (though let me add my standard disclaimer that you should be cautious taking business advice from a career public servant) is that focusing on recent immigrants / domestic caregivers sounds to me at least fairly do-able. They have both immigration law and employment law issues that are intertwined and somewhat specialized. A couple years ago Mrs MP and I were contemplating bringing in an out-of-country domestic worker. I looked at maybe hiring a lawyer to assist but the only one I could find was at a larger firm and quoted a completely outrageous retainer. And from a business perspective such clients actually have some money! Not a ton of money, sure, but I'm usually dealing with crim law accuseds who are completely destitute and sometimes can't even raise $100 for bail. This assumes you have some kind of connection or "in" to that kind of community. For example, if you are of Filipino heritage you might have a lot of success in getting Filipino domestic caregivers as clients. If you're coming at this area cold though that might be more difficult. Almost all domestic care givers are not unionized, so I'm not sure why labour law shops would be involved. But the second point is true. You might start out helping someone with their immigration status, but then they come to you because they got charged with an impaired, or they're going through a divorce, or bought a house. You have to know your limit of what you are and are not capable of.
  2. I suspect the OP isn't exactly clear on what a "civil law" practice involves. The disadvantaged and marginalized rarely get sued in civil court for the simple reason they have no assets to go after. I was trying to give the OPs vision the benefit of the doubt and tell that person a basic business model to go forward with.
  3. Okay, now that is a terrible idea. Running a legal practice is hard enough when you start out - the idea that you'd be able to do so on a part-time basis is not realistic.
  4. Just since people are jumping all over the OP's fairly idealistic vision of a future career... it certainly is possible to make a living on a combination of Legal Aid certificates, and paying clients by charging well under the rates those big firms do. One of the easiest steps is not having a physical office - instead you work from home and meet your clients at coffee shops or at the courthouse. Trust funds and accounting are big hassles, but if you can hire someone part-time to assist with you don't have to have any other staff. It can be done. The question though I have about the OP's plan is wondering whether the OP knows what kind of work this is likely to be. It's not big glamorous human rights lawsuits. Instead it's going to be a lot of criminal defence work combined with a lot of child welfare work.
  5. Big law firms are the major donors to law schools. They set up these elaborate receptions and meet-and-greets to try and hire away the 'best' graduates each year. Once you are in law school many students, who never would have considered doing that kind of work, get caught up in the "prestige" of working for a big law firm. But the reality is that the large majority of lawyers do not work at these big firms. You can (and many do) article at a small law firm. I would recommend against trying to start your own business the moment you get called to the bar. There is still so much to learn, both about the law and how to run a business. If possible it's much better to learn while someone else is paying your bills. But sure - after a couple of years you can totally set up as a sole practitioner.
  6. Looking for some guidance

    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.
  7. UofT/York v. UBC? (mostly regarding cost)

    Canada is unlike the US. We do not have highly stratified rankings of law schools. Personally I would question whether U of T is "worth it" at that price. U of T proponents will point out that if you're interested in Bay Street firms, U of T places a greater % of its students in such firms than Osgoode Hall does. But your interests are towards family law. Toronto vs Vancouver all comes down to where do you see yourself working after graduation. If you would like to stay in the Toronto area it makes much more sense to go to U of T / Osgoode. If you think you're likely to move to BC than UBC is the obvious choice. As for the bonus question - it might make sense if you're talking about Yale/Harvard, but otherwise no. If you plan to be in Canada you will save yourself many hassles, and an awful lot of money, by going to a Canadian law school.
  8. If I were you, I'd take the job. But I'm more of a cautious type. I have in fact done exactly this - taken a job in a town I'm not crazy about, because it was the kind of work I wanted to do. HOWEVER If you do this, I think you owe it to yourself and to the employer to stick it out for a period of time. Personally, I think about two years sounds good. You owe it to yourself because you won't even really know what the job and town is like after only a few months. I actually liked the two small towns I lived in that I initially thought I would hate. It also doesn't make you look "flakey" if you have a really short job on your C.V.
  9. TWU - The Big Show

    There are several arguments for same-sex education. The "it's less distracting" is part of it. We are talking about hormonally-charged high school students after all. And as someone mentioned there are studies saying girls-only education has several positive effects on girls (higher marks, more likely to study traditionally "male" subjects). Girls weren't denied anything. My school was, perhaps obviously, catholic. The Catholics ran an all-girls school in another part of town. We were often partnered with them for events. That all-girls school was in every way the equal of my all-boys school (well, other than the fact they didn't have a football team I guess). But the most powerful argument is, I think - it was a private/parochial school! Nobody was forced to send their kids to either school. Heck both schools in fact had public co-ed schools literally across the street. If someone wanted to pay the extra money to send their kids to a same-sex school, why shouldn't they be allowed to?
  10. TWU - The Big Show

    If they prohibited gay students, they didn't do a very good job, I know of at least a handful of my classmates were gay. Kids were sent to my school for a variety of reasons. Some, for sure, were sent because it was religious. Some went for sports (it has very strong athletic programs). Some went because it was perceived as being more disciplined. Myself, I went because it was more academically rigorous than my local public high school. And finally, some go because they like the idea of it being boys-only. I'm not sure what your position is on this. You said you "oppose" schools who "deny an education" to certain groups. Does that mean you wouldn't send you children to such a school? Fair enough. But does that mean you think such schools should not be allowed? This I would have a very large problem with.
  11. TWU - The Big Show

    The reasoning is as simple as "boys are distracted by girls", and vice versa. At least at that age. Arguing "separate but equal" might be more effective if the only option same same-sex education. But in Canada the large majority of high schools are co-ed, with just a few being same-sex only. If you don't want to have your child attend a same-sex-only school you certainly don't have to.
  12. Getting a disclosure for a traffic ticket

    I'm afraid my eyes would roll out of my head if I received a letter like that. We're well aware of our disclosure obligations. That's not to say that I haven't on a couple of occasions had to argue lengthy disclosure disputes in court. It happens - defence think they're entitled to something, we say they're not, so we pull out caselaw and argue it. But if what you're looking for is the officer's notes, or 911 calls or radio telecoms, all you have to do is ask. It's routine stuff. OP - of course you should have asked when you were in court how to go about getting disclosure. But at this point try and figure out what Crown office you're dealing with and go ask them how to get disclosure. I can't give you any more specific advice because every office handles disclosure differently.
  13. TWU - The Big Show

    I actually attended a religious all-boys high school. There are actually several in the country, as well as all-girls schools. It goes back at least a century. Girls are not excluded because they are undesirable, but because it was seen as being more conducive to obtaining a proper education. I really struggle to see what is objectionable about same-sex-only education.
  14. Lockstep progression after articling?

    I guess - there's no set bar call date out here (it's an individualized ceremony), but typically most students receive their bar call in the June-August window.
  15. Lockstep progression after articling?

    I'm well removed from that world, but in Calgary you were considered a second year associate in January or Febuary of the next year - i.e. you would only be a first year associate for roughly half a year.