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About TheGazeboEffect

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  1. I don't think you have anything to apologize for. I actually applaud this way of thinking. The fact is that law school will be three years of your life, and arguably three years of your "prime" (I hesitate to use that word, but I you understand what I'm getting at). People get bogged down in a specific clinical opportunity, or a specific course, or a fraction of a better chance of getting a specific job in a specific area of law, or whatever. Yet once they get to law school that specific thing might not be what they want anymore - or even if it is, it's such a small part of their day-to-day and week-to-week life as to be almost meaningless. I think you're right in that the consensus on these forums is likely to be that Western and Queens are your best go-to options for what I'll call "quality of life" considerations. You can't go wrong with either. It sounds like you already have friends at Western, so perhaps that is a reason to resolve the tie-break in favour of Western. Full disclosure: I went to Western so I'm probably biased towards it over Queens. I will say this though: the three years I spent at Western were the best of my life thus far. I have nothing but great things to say about the law school, the people there, and the opportunities it opened for me both during and after law school, and I'd recommend it wholeheartedly.
  2. How Much Do Curricular Streams Matter?

    The "curriculum streams" at Western offer you two things: Guidance on what courses and extracurriculars to get involved in; Access to Capstone Courses (these are practical courses you do in 3L, and to enrol you need to have satisfied certain requirements that are outlined in the curriculum streams. For example, if you do enough of the business law curriculum stream then you can do the Business Law Capstone, where the class will be divided into teams and you'll do a mock transaction, including correspondence, negotiation, and due diligence. If you do the Litigation Capstone, you'll do a mock trial, including document review, witness/expert witness prep, and arguments. Same for the international law, labour/employment, etc. curriculum streams and their respective capstone courses). So in short: you never formally enrol in them and they don't show up on your transcript (so there is no detrimental effect in that it "pigeon holes" you into a certain area of law), they're just guidance, and if you follow one or more then you'll qualify for a Capstone Course. However, as mentioned above, Western offers two "Areas of Concentration" (one in Business Law, one in Intellectual Property) and you have to enrol in those and they show up on your transcript. However, they really have little-to-no bearing on your career prospects in those areas of law - if you really like one of those areas then you can get it, but it isn't really a factor for recruiters (so long as you have some courses related to the firm's area of law, you'll be fine). Neither of these things are really relevant to you until 2L though, as your 1L courses are essentially locked in. So by that point you'll have a much better understanding of all of the above and what area of law you'll want to go for.
  3. Exchange versus taking more "relevant" courses

    I highly recommend going the exchange route. The primary reason is that you say you're "very interested" in doing the exchange, and I think you should do what you're interested in (you'll probably come back for the end of 3L or beginning of articling feeling rejuvenated and happier too), but there's several other key reasons: This is perhaps your last opportunity to live abroad for the foreseeable future. That sounds extreme, but it's likely true. You've embarked on a seemingly unstoppable path: from 3L you'll do articling, then you'll want to be a first year associate, then you'll want to stay for a few years to get experience, then you may have an opportunity to pivot (but that probably won't be to somewhere abroad) or you'll get a mortgage and want to focus your last few years of associateship on making partner, then you'll be a junior partner focused on building your practice, then you'll have kids, then you'll...die? Okay that sounded grim, and there will be plenty of fun times within there that I skipped over, but the point is this: the risk vs. reward to live abroad will never be as balanced as it is now. You'll have corporate law plus two other corporate electives (based on your quote above). I agree with others above that it does help during articling to have taken related courses, but it's really not that big a deal. Here's my recommendation: figure out what corporate classes you're going to take as your electives in 3L, then pick a couple others that you think would be useful during articling. During your exchange, get summaries for those classes, perch yourself on the banks the Seine with a piping hot latte, and read the summary one evening a week (I mean, it's exchange anyways - you won't be doing much other studying/reading). If you're really keen on an area, find out what the big recent cases in that area are (they'll be in the summary) and Google to find some articles by the big firms about those cases. You'll have a familiarity with the area of law. Remember, taking a course isn't the only way to learn a subject - it's just the only way to be graded on a subject. After being out of law school for even a year you will forget a lot of what you learned in the courses (or at least I did...). You will be able to recognize where there may be issues, but you'll always have to do additional research to figure out the precise nature of that issue and how to solve it. So don't think "I will be a bad partner if I don't take enough corporate courses!". Your firm also will not care about the courses (that's not to imply they'd never care - if someone had no corporate courses at all then they may be like "WTF?"). For the record, I had approximately the same number of corporate-related courses as you will if you go on exchange (corporate + a couple electives) and it was never an issue, either for myself or for the firm.
  4. Ask a 1L student

    There's a committee of students (run by the Western Law student government) that puts together a whole slate of law merch that Western Law students can purchase. However, if I recall correctly that doesn't normally happen until the spring.
  5. TWU and the SCC

    Seeing as McLachlin CJC is on the panel and is retiring in two weeks, does anyone know what happens? I'm guessing that she only retires from hearing new cases on the 15th, but continues writing and/or concurring with the decisions already heard? Or does she and the rest of the bench have to crank out a decision before Dec 15th in order for her to be a part of it? Though I have not read the factums and only saw some of the livestream, I'm betting that TWU will lose (or at least that the majority of the Court thinks they should lose), but whether the Court can get there in a legally satisfying way or we end up with another Hutterian Brethren is another question. Alternatively, I think the Court decides against LSBC/LSUC purely on admin law grounds (fettering of discretion by LSBC, failure to properly consider balancing of rights by LSUC) but leaves the door open for LSBC and LSUC to simply re-do their decisions to not accredit TWU, this time in a way that conforms to admin law (assuming the Court finds the previous decisions didn't). I have to admit, I'm going to be sad when this case is over. It's one of the more interesting fact patterns I could imagine (for a constitutional law fan): law school, multiple law societies (and the politics that comes with them in terms of Benchers deliberations, voting, and referenda), perhaps indirect applicability of the Charter to a private university, directly clashing Charter rights/values (and two of the most relevant rights/values in society right now: religion vs. sexuality), and an on-point SCC precedent to boot.
  6. Go ahead and defend in September, you won't have any problem. Most (if not all) professors will be spoon-feeding you the materials for the first month. While there will be readings, you either a) will have no problem getting them done and finding 2 hours/week to prepare for your defense, or b) can put them off until later, which has the advantage of you understanding how to read the materials better (this is something you get better and better at as the year goes on). The only thing worth any marks during that time is the infamous 5% case brief (infamous because 1Ls freak out about it since it's the first assignment of law school, but everyone later laughs about how they freaked out about an assignment that had no impact on their final grade). Edit: I will add the caveat that I'm not an upper year. I've recently graduated, so there's always chance that something has changed, though I have no doubt that September of 1L is still as light a workload as you'll have in law school.
  7. Fox Scholarship

    Hate to bump this but...still no acknowledgment of application on my part. I'm curious if anyone has received one?
  8. Fox Scholarship

    Has anyone that applied this cycle received a confirmation of their application? The website says that "all will be acknowledged" (in reference to the applications) but I have received radio silence so far (granted, it's only been a couple of business days). Applications through the post just make me nervous...
  9. Bar Exam - Toronto vs. London/Other smaller city

    Obviously the test is the same, but my experience (and the experience of people I've talked to) is that writing in Toronto is a bit of a madhouse whereas writing in London is much more relaxed. Lines are smaller (more time during breaks), staff are friendlier, no need to worry about parking or traffic. I'd actually highly recommend it if you don't otherwise have a compelling reason to choose one over the other. Maybe study in Toronto, write in London?
  10. Fourth-year Bay Street Litigation Associate - AMA

    Would you mind expanding on this? I've never understood what the selling-point is for lateraling. The Bay St firms have generally the same starting pay, and they all seem to increase in lock-step at the same rate, so (in my mind) that must mean either: 1) They're doing it for money - but if money is the selling point for lateraling then they must be offering that associate more than what he/she is currently making, and since the the firms' lock-step pay is approximately the same, the salary offered must be above and beyond the 'normal' rate (i.e. the 3rd year associate who laterals into a firm is making more than the other 3rd year associates at that firm). OR 2) They're doing it because their chances of partnership are better at the second firm - but in that case, how does a 3rd year associate already know their chances aren't great at their current firm, and further, how in the world would they expect to have a better shot at partnership with a firm they've never worked at? If the answer is "the second firm tells them," why would the second firm do that for a lawyer who has never worked for them?
  11. Ask a 1L student

    Congrats on the offers. Turning over every stone is definitely not a bad idea In regards to OCI recruitment process, it won't make any difference on job prospects for two reasons: - First, as you referenced, firms are aware of differing grading schemes (or so I've been told). - Second and more importantly, your marks are only really relevant in comparison to the classmates from your school. For example, if X firm has 20 interview slots at Western, they'll (obviously) only fill those slots with the 20 "best" (in their determination) students from Western. Same for every other school. So your marks compared to the marks of students at other schools won't matter for getting an OCI. After that, it's in-firm interviews, where marks are no longer relevant (again, so I've been told) unless, perhaps, you're at the top of your class, but again that would be determined per school. As evidence, you'd really only have to the Ultra Vires student recruitment numbers, which show the same % of Western and Queens students landing jobs through the OCI process (though that has changed now that Queens has increased its class size, causing its % to drop a few points, though the actual number of students is the same). Hope that helps!
  12. Ask a 1L student

    As stated, the documents are available to law students but not public. However, if you want to read about how the grade distributions are calculated, check here: http://law.uwo.ca/current_students/student_services/academic_policies_and_procedures.html#evaluation Sort of off-topic, but it's actually interesting that Queens has B+ curve 1L courses, and even the B curve courses are very high (example: class of 46 students, only 3 are below a B, yet the class is still deemed a B curve).
  13. 1L Grades Disappointment

    You're right to think that your marks will not be helping you. The magic number for OCIs is generally a B+ average (though B averages still score some interviews). From here you should do two things (note that it's really easy to talk about doing these two things, but it's hard to actually do them, so make sure you actually do them): 1) Do OCIs. OCIs are only impossible if you don't apply. Though landing interviews might be unlikely, it will give you important practice refining your cover letters and resume. Reach out to upper years for help reviewing and refining your cover letters and resume. 2) Figure out what went wrong. Get your exams back, review them, and sit down with each Professor to ask where you can improve. 2L is a clean slate, and you can demonstrate that 1L was more of a fluke than a representation of your legal skills (insofar as marks can even demonstrate that) if you double-down in 2L. Based on your courses I'm guessing you go to Western, in which case I suggest you work particularly hard in Fall of 2L to get great marks and then apply for the ISLIP international internships that Western offers since those will offer a great 2L summer job in the likely event that you strike out in OCIs.
  14. Is there a particular field (or fields) of law you're interested in? If so that would be useful, it would be easier to provide you with the information that will be most relevant to you. I'll hold off on going very deep until then, only because there's a million different things that I or another poster could talk about and who knows if any of it would actually be what you're looking for. First thing, check out the curriculum streams on the Western Law website. They'll give you a bunch of information that can help you start your search. For example, if you're interested in criminal law, go to the crim curriculum stream, look at what is listed, and then look up those things on the Western Law website or on this forum. The one thing I will say is that I think the "pretty much every Canadian law school gives a stellar legal education" is always given as an answer because the "beyond the basics" stuff often ends up having little impact on a student because there's simply SO many things to get involved with and do at law school that you inevitably cannot do it all (while still maintaining decent grades). There are several things that I came specifically to Western Law for, but in the end I didn't do them because: a) my interest in the field of law changed, b) I didn't have enough time to do it, or c) I learned of something else (or something new was created) that I wanted to do instead. Another general comment is that Community Legal Services, the legal clinic at Western, combines many different areas of law (the website lists a bunch of them), and you can essentially guarantee participating as a caseworker by simply enrolling in the class. Having one central clinic only helps in exposing you to many different fields of law, which hopefully helps you find the field you enjoy.
  15. Queen’s vs Western vs Osgoode for Business Law

    Yeah, that's actually a really good point, I hadn't considered the question in that way. I'm a sucker for Toronto as a city, though I think people (generally) would have a more enjoyable law school experience in Kingston or London.