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Turkeytime last won the day on December 7 2012

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  1. I'll offer the flip side to this - get involved in whatever you're interested in. Don't do it because other people say it's good for your resume bla bla. I can think of two people who will be clerking this fall and they weren't involved in the "mainstream" activities. One of them is strongly interested in criminal law and the other one is crim law/social justice. They participated in a few clubs, mostly stuck with their own group of friends, but they did things that were important to them, like pro bono, research, publishing articles. I agree with FineCanadian about clinics though. THEY ARE GREAT AT OSGOODE (this is esp in comparison to UofT which puts more emphasis on Bay Street). I can't say enough good things about them. There's so much variety (e.g. human rights, disability, crim, employment, domestic violence, test case litigation, etc.) and you learn so many practical skills while doing them.
  2. I too would like to know! Although I've heard from some graduates that we don't even need to take those practice exams. Someone in the bar exam prep thread recommended Ontario Law Exam.
  3. I have a few textbooks from first year that are at least one or two editions out of date. I'm moving cities for articling and I don't want to bring them with me. Is there anywhere I can donate them? I highly doubt at this point anyone will want to buy them ... (but I could be wrong)
  4. Could people give feedback on how many times they read the materials before doing the bar? Realistically, I can only get through all of it once. If I have a bit of time leftover (e.g. a week or two) what do you suggest I review?
  5. 1) "must takes" vs take whatever: People have a lot of opinions on this one. Some people don't think it's necessary to take courses that will prepare you for the bar. This is because the Law Society provides you with bar materials which contain everything you will need to know for the exam. But for people like me, I'd prefer not to learn tax through a textbook and take a class because I think I won't understand it otherwise. I've taken the typical "bar" courses for that reason, plus, I think it'd be great to know about family, tax, etc. before I graduate. It'll probably be the last time I get to learn about an area of law outside of my practice area. "Useful education": There are a few things you should consider. First, what are the law firms going to see when they look at your transcript. If you're set on family law, but you only took one family law course and the rest are all corporate, securities, business, etc, the firms will probably think you don't have a genuine interest in their area. Second, think about what you want to achieve from law school. Some people will take courses to prepare them for their future jobs. For example, if you want to be a litigator, you can take the commercial litigation seminar in upper year which will give you practical skills and teach you how to draft materials. I've also heard that you deal a lot in trusts in corporate law, so some people take trusts. On the other hand, you may be one of those people who wants the fullest academic experience possible, so you take some theoretical courses instead. It's totally up to you. My only recommendation is that when you choose your courses, you keep in mind what sort of career you want to pursue. Don't just take whatever you want for the hell of it. 2) I don't know anyone who has declared a major or stream. This may be because a lot of students don't want to pigeon hole themselves just in case they change their mind about what area of law they'd like to practice. 3) I'm guessing they wanted to build in some flexibility just in case you couldn't get into all the courses in one semester and you decided to make your second semester heavier to compensate. Keep in mind that you need to take 30 credits per year.
  6. Gonna piggyback on Ryn's post and add that I found law school a lot more challenging than undergrad. Think of doing well in undergrad as preparation for law school - if you can do well in undergrad, you won't have to work as hard in law school because you'll have already established good study habits.
  7. What matters most is how well your reference knows you and how well they can speak of you in the letter. At a career development session I attended, a recruiter said that she doesn't put much weight in reference letters unless they are very favourably written because she knows that applicants would not include a negative reference letter. In other words, the position of your reference doesn't matter if they give you a bland reference letter. The key is to get someone who knows you well and can describe why you are a good candidate.
  8. I have a friend who uses WIND and it seems to work most of the time for him, although I've noticed that in some areas of the building which have more concrete, I'll have reception whereas he won't. Not a big deal, though.
  9. At least you're having the reality check now, rather than in the middle of first year or second year. That can really mess you up and affect your grades. You still have time to process and plan for the future, so I see this as a beneficial experience. Because I'm still in law school, I will only speak to #1 and #3. I don't know how many lawyers are looking for jobs, but I do know that some articling/associate salaries are very low. If you work in some of the smaller regions outside of Toronto, you could be looking at articling salaries starting around $40,000 or less. There are a few threads about this forum that you can find if you dig around. I've seen ones posted for $35,000 and they were for relatively good firms in small regions. If you want to work for government, expect a pay cut as well. Even in bigger regions like Toronto, unless you are working on Bay Street, the going articling salary is $50,000 - $60,000. Those numbers are from this year's Toronto articling recruit. In fact, there is one firm in downtown Toronto that posted an articling job that pays around $45,000. #3: Yes. Our career office repeatedly tells us that 1/3 of students get a Bay Street job, 1/3 of them get a job through the articling recruit, and that the last third find jobs elsewhere. The people who are in the last third are in a difficult position because there is no formalized process left after the articling recruit to find a job. It's like finding any other job - you have to network, regularly search for jobs, and generally put yourself out there. It's hard work especially in this market. I know someone who graduated last year and just found an articling job a month ago. Personally, I find the whole job finding process stressful and demoralizing. But I'm told that's normal ... on the upside I'm not alone?
  10. Taking into consideration that you said you wanted to work in Toronto and you prefer not to work on Bay Street, I'd say the one advantage that Osgoode has over Ottawa is that more upper years will have gone through the articling process in Toronto, rather than in Ottawa. Upper years can be very helpful when it comes to reviewing your applications and telling you what to expect in interviews. This is especially the case if you find that you want to work in a specific area e.g. family, labour, etc. Also, if you're the type to call firms to find out more about them, having some sort of connection (e.g. going to the same law school), makes it easier to talk to a lawyer. Like people have said before, you're more likely to find an Osgoode alum at a Toronto firm rather than an Ottawa alum, simply because of self-selection.
  11. I don't know if Atkinson is nicer than Passy. From what I've seen, both buildings are old, but the rooms in Passy are in better shape. That's just from my small sample size though ...
  12. Someone about to go into 3L, so take my advice with a large grain of salt - working in a clinic is a very practical way of finding out what you want to do. Some clinics give you the opportunity to carry your own files which allows you to get a taste of what life's like as a "real" lawyer. The downside (from what I've gathered on the forum) is that clinics mainly give you experience in doing litigation type of work. Not sure if that also applies to business clinics.
  13. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if anyone else is worried about passing up a better, bright opportunity out there, pause for a moment and take a hard look at your chances. Especially for those of us who have straight Bs, it's a tough job market out there. The idea of closing other doors may freak you out, but at the end of the day, the goal is to get an articling job. Taking the offer is a smart move. As my dad would say, "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
  14. I figured I was ready for timed sections when I got most of the answers right in one section. At first, I didn't do all five sections back-to-back. I worked my way up to it.
  15. Just my two cents: From my experience, networking for government jobs helped me, or at least made me feel more confident going into interviews. By networking, I mean calling up the department and asking to speak with a current student. I learned a lot about what they did on a day-to-day basis, what they looked for in their students, etc. I found that the additional information I gained from those conversations enabled me to write tailored cover letters.