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Diplock

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Diplock last won the day on January 13

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  1. To take just a moment and give a general answer one final time I'll say this is a very charged topic that brings out strong opinions, both rational and irrational. Many people here will tell you that it's a bad idea to attend any foreign law school (any school, that is, save schools which are so selective that you could get into almost any Canadian school anyway) and they would advise either that (a) you should never do it under any circumstances or else (b) you should consider it only after carefully weighing the costs and benefits of this path and after exhausting every option to attend law school in Canada. Note that I fall into the later group. When you start to ask very specific questions about what the costs may look like, and what your opportunities may be on returning to Canada, that's where things get divisive and sticky. There's no way to give an authoritative answer here. Every experience is individual. Some people do succeed. Many struggle. How real are your chances of being in the successful minority? How high is the price if you aren't? How great is the stigma attached to foreign education? Those are all subjective questions where individual opinions are really just opinions. But let's just say that I've heard a lot more stories about failure and frustration than I have about success. There are also folks like kcraig (above) who is both a success story himself (props on that - and he speaks with more authority than almost anyone here for that reason) and who also takes it personally when people crap on foreign education and the graduates produced by it. That's it's own form of irrationality, of course, because taking things personally doesn't help with this conversation. Foreign grads feel attacked, criticize Canadian graduates of snobbery (and there could be an aspect of that) and claim the quality of their education is just as strong. People like me question whether quality really matters, if the input into the programs is weaker. And then I'll usually still acknowledge that's a general statement and individual cases could be the exception. And it goes round and round. Bottom line. Inform the shit out of yourself. Listen to everyone and make up your own mind. But remember that everyone has a bias, at minimum, and many have an agenda. Do not listen to foreign schools that are eager to recruit you and your out-sized tuition. Do not listen to agencies that are working as their middle-men. And for the most part don't listen to current Canadian students attending these schools. They are just too damn committed to repeating the story they believe themselves about the great prospects they'll find back in Canada. Listen to kcraig and people who have done it already and come back. And listen, quite frankly, to every practicing lawyer about what they think of graduates who attend foreign schools that are known to admit Canadian applicants who can't get in anywhere in Canada. Because right or wrong, ignorant or informed, each view you'll hear is representative of at least some faction of the legal market out there - in other words, the people you hope will employ you one day when you return. Anyway, good luck.
  2. Articling- next steps and woes

    It doesn't sound as though the OP has tried applying to any positions yet. This is a post about anxiety, not about results. And I'm not saying it isn't valid to ask about that, but let's take it for what it is.
  3. Articling- next steps and woes

    I disagree with providence in the main thrust of her point. I agree that fear of lack of options is not a good reason to go sole, if only because fear is always a bad reason to act. Without the objective reality behind it, that word alone (fear) suggests you are acting irrationally. But let's assume (because it isn't an unreasonable assumption) that you encounter a real lack of options in the employment market. If you really can't find a decent job to employ you as a lawyer, and if you are willing to take on the risk and the work involved with going sole, then that's a good enough reason for me. And it's a good enough reason for almost anyone. Some areas of law lend themselves better to practice as a sole than others. Maybe it can be done in most areas, but I'm more familiar with some than with others and your best advice would probably come from different people depending on what your answer might be. What area(s) of law are you looking to practice in? Note that you absolutely do need an answer to that question. Opening your own shop as a generalist in Toronto ... now that would be stupid, both from a perspective of competence and from a perspective of practicalities. So, realistically, what are you learning? Final points. Most soles don't "incorporate," which you asked about. Review basic business structures. You are most likely a sole proprietor to start. Also, while lack of options is a valid reason, failure to even explore the marketplace is stupid. There are jobs for competent associates. Maybe not enough, but they exist. If you can't even solicit employment from lawyers you're going to have a hell of a time soliciting clients on your own. If you're in a situation where you'll either find work with another lawyer or you'll be sole, networking with other lawyers is not wasted time regardless of the outcome. These lawyers may be a source of work and referral if/when you do set up for yourself, because many established lawyers do need people to send their stuff to when they find they have lower priority work that isn't worth their time for what it costs, and/or referrals they don't really want. It won't be the best work in the world, but it's a hell of a lot better than nothing, and any lawyer likes to have a number for a hungry new call handy for when an annoying client is on the phone and they need to send them somewhere to get them off the phone. Anyway. Good luck.
  4. Windsor vs. Osgoode: "Big Five" Firm Prospects

    Seriously? Can you even describe in broad terms what you believe a successful career, for you, would look like? For the love of God, if you do nothing else before law school, consider the question carefully rather than assume there is one universal goal that everyone either attains or fails to attain. This is your life - it isn't speed skating. Damn.
  5. Elite Extracurriculars

    Look. I want to admit something about my own perspective, throw some shade on a lot of this discussion generally, and then get out. Because honestly, this discussion makes me faintly nauseous. I don't know much about "elite" hiring in the Canadian legal establishment, and I know even less about the American. I know what I believe, but that's not the same thing. The reason I'm saying that is because I see a lot of people in this conversation throwing views far more certain than my own, and I know they have no more experience than I do, or possibly even less. So please, take everything you read here with a massive dose of salt. The one person on this board who I consider an expert in not coming from wealth and privilege but then successfully integrating with a wealthy and privileged environment is Uriel, and he hasn't even bothered weighing in. That might say something. Note there could be others, but he's the only one I'm aware of whose biography specifically supports that claim. My personal belief continues to be this. You can aspire to something you don't have, and if that aspiration is genuine it certainly isn't my place to piss on your dreams. If you grew up in a working class household secretly dreaming of skiing in Aspen (or wherever the hell privileged people ski - I obviously wouldn't know) then by all means, reach for that. And perhaps you'll find yourself at home among similar people one day - both those that were born into it and also those that found it. But if ALL you want is a job where you earn buckets of money, and ALL you're doing is trying to pass among the people who have money by imitating their interests ... man, that's the most depressing fucking thing I've thought about all week. And you're free to ignore my opinions about that, because they truly are just opinions from far outside that world. But I honestly think you owe it to yourself to think carefully about whether or not you'll be happier and more successful as a fake imitation of something you're not, or if maybe you should try to embrace who you are (whatever that is) and seek success on your own terms. I sure as hell know that the later choice made more sense for me. And with that, I'm out. I know where I don't belong.
  6. Elite Extracurriculars

    And what in the world makes you believe that the opportunity to attend elite American law schools is somehow reliably meritocratic? In fact, there is a vast sea of evidence to suggest that it isn't. Everything from preference on admissions to "legacy" applicants on down pushes these opportunities back towards the already wealthy and privileged. I mean, just look at the actual class profile at Harvard. I think their definition of students who don't come from money lumps everything from an income of $160k/year all the way down to living on welfare into one category. And they categorize that way because there are so few students below $160k/year that is really does make sense! I'll agree this is the entry point that's most likely to make the difference. That is, I'll agree that in those instances where someone clears this hurdle, somehow, they've cleared the major hurdle in their way and the path forward is comparatively smooth. And students from less privileged backgrounds do make it in, absolutely. But please. That doesn't mean the system as a whole is tilted less in that direction.
  7. Elite Extracurriculars

    It's really incredible, but the title of this thread only needed two words to convey douchiness. That's incredibly efficient language. Look, if you want to go work in America, it's legitimate and inevitable that you'd ask questions about American legal culture. But BQ hit it squarely. These "elite extra-curriculars" aren't identifying anything about your capabilities or your character. They are just identifying that you come from wealth and privilege. And if you don't already, you can't fake your way into it. Canada has all kinds of problems, and similar to our health care situation it's dangerous to compare ourselves only to south of our border and imagine that we are superior to others when in fact we may not be. But as compared to America, at least, we are far more meritocratic than they are. It's almost sad and amusing at the same time to see a question that comes from a perspective of assumed meritocracy (because it's emerging from a Canadian experience and background) and looking to break into a legal market that clearly is not built the same way. People who aspire to go to America are welcome to their aspirations. I try not to crap on them too much. But please don't imagine that your "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" attitude is going to paint you as someone to watch, over there. They'd far rather hire the kid who comes from wealth and privilege, and use his or her connections. So if you're looking to work your way to the top, rather than be born at the top, you should probably wrap your head around the fact that Canada is actually a far better place to do that.
  8. To add to this point, every grading policy I've ever seen at any school includes rules that dictate a certain spread of grades. And those rules are aimed at ensuring that grade inflation doesn't run rampant (i.e. you can only have X percentage of A's) but they are also aimed at ensuring that students don't get screwed over by unreasonably punitive instructors (i.e. you must have at least Y percentage of A's). Now, there is room to believe that the curve at one school is more generous than the next. There is also room to believe that the competition is smarter at one school than the next, and so coming into the slice of students who obtain A's may be easier or harder, depending on where you go. It isn't totally irrational to think about these things. However... (Side note on the above. It's not irrational to think about these things but I do believe it's ultimately pointless, because you're trying to game a system where the people who'll ultimately evaluate your applications are people who also know what you're trying to factor in and they know it better than you. Game theory only works when you're operating with better information than the people you're hoping to out-maneuver - not when you know less. So basing your decisions on the hope that admissions committees are stupider than you and won't notice the difference between one school and the next, whatever that difference really is, is dumb. But that's a topic for another day.) As I was saying. However...there's still a significant slice of students in every class at every school who are guaranteed to get A's. It's guaranteed. Be in the top 20%, 25%, or whatever, and you will get an A. Put in those terms, you can and you should walk into every class prepared to out-perform most of the other students there. If you can't do that in undergrad, you're screwed for law school. And no amount of gamesmanship will make up the difference. So that's both good and bad news. The good news is, it's not remotely impossible, no matter where you're from. The bad news is, get past the idea that being somewhat above average is good enough in university. It just isn't. Half the class barely want to be there and aren't terribly engaged with the material. Others just aren't that smart. Don't look at the students who are flailing around and congratulate yourself on knowing the material where they do not. Pick out the five smartest students around you. They are your yardstick. Otherwise, you just aren't heading towards law school. Good luck.
  9. Chances? cGPA 3.67 LSAT 147

    You know, this comment won't add jack all to this discussion. But I honestly believe that the stories we see and tell one another on television and in movies - those stories have bent towards a certain theme in recent years that is part of the problem. The idea that wanting something enough is by itself some kind of qualification. The idea that desire alone leads to results, and that objective measurements of ability and skill are all secondary to the mere will to succeed - it makes for a good story on television, but in practice it's a pernicious lie. And would-be law students can keep repeating all they want that somehow it should matter more that they cared enough to run their pre-law clubs, and how they volunteered here and there, and how they gave their time and proved their desire. But at the end of the day, someone who just bloody gets it where you do not - that person will be a far better lawyer. And you may not think it's fair. But neither does the guy who desperately wants to play football but he's just not built for it. The world isn't fair that way. And it's also not a made-for-tv movie.
  10. First Year - Course Withdrawals

    Of all people, I'm surprised you'd take this view. As though, what? Someone's actions at 17 or 18 should define the rest of their academic career? And everyone who doesn't get it "right" at the first opportunity must be judged on that failure because you, or someone else, or even I, found it easy? We agree on a lot of things, but that's your own privilege talking. Your experiences lent themselves to early maturity. Good for you. Not everyone shares that advantage. Especially when you allow that law schools aren't simply being nice or sympathetic - their admissions policies are based in past experience. They know that a candidate who had a rough start but then turned it around is still a good applicant because they know they still do well in the end. And you would disqualify that candidate simply because ... what? Teenagers everywhere should be mature like you were, and absent that should suffer the consequences of their teenaged immaturity indefinitely? Yeah. Can't join you on this one.
  11. First Year - Course Withdrawals

    Well, look. Bear in mind that I do not have a special line into admissions and even talking about "admissions" as a single topic is an error, because really it's a bunch of individual committees following their schools' individual policies. But that said, I don't think it's going too far to import some degree of logic into the process, and give these committees minimal credit for applying common sense. The reason every school out there has some process for excluding your worst grades (looking at last two, best three, or whatever) is exactly because these schools all realize that students may have a bad year but then successfully correct. It's not that the are trying to be "fair" to you. They don't give a shit about being "fair" in some abstract sense. They just want the best students they can get and experience has taught them that a student can have a bad first year and after evidence of correction that's still a good candidate. So what's the difference between a student who had bad grades in first year and convinced their school to withdraw them, but then had three good years, and a student who had one bad year they let stand, and then had three good years? The first student petitioned successfully, the second student didn't. Do you really think any law school cares about how York's (apparently kind of ridiculous) policies were engaged or not engaged on your behalf? And why would they? It's up to you, frankly. But in your case I'd own your situation properly, if only as an exercise in dignity. I really don't think law schools are going to care one way or another. Move on, and get done. If you show them three years of strong grades, that's all they are going to care about.
  12. First Year - Course Withdrawals

    If you have strong grades for three years after a bad first year you'll do fine as far as your academic record is assessed. It doesn't matter if that bad first year appears as Ws or as bad grades. I'm fairly confident these will be treated identically. Mostly I'm just surprised to learn that your school accepts "poor life skills" and "I didn't leave enough time to do the work" as a valid excuse to remove a year of grades. I mean, isn't this the same reason why everyone does badly in every course?
  13. Hey all This could possibly belong in off-topic, and if so feel free to move. But here's an article worth reading to see what it looks like to build a career in "international human rights" law. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/asma-jahangir-obituary/553043/ Honestly, I didn't know a damn thing about Ms. Jahangir before I read this article. She seems like a formidable lawyer, and she obviously had a great impact on her nation. Good for her. What prompted me to post here is a short section in the article where it mentions, almost in passing, that after a career spent shaking the pillars of the legal and political establishment in Pakistan, Ms. Jahangir had a role in the UN and was present more internationally. Which isn't surprising at all. Now I'm using this article to jump into a point I often make, but I really do hope some eager young student takes and learns the lesson here. The lesson isn't that you should get a legal education in Canada and then move to Pakistan to help the poor and dispossessed. There are two very good reasons why not. First, in Pakistan you will not be a lawyer and you'll have no standing before the court to do any of the things Ms. Jahangir built her career doing. And second, despite the fact that Ms. Jahangir has now unfortunately died, Pakistan, and other nations in the world, no matter how troubled, have their own internal crusaders for human rights who are educated in the country, licensed to practice law there, steeped in the culture and the language, and so on. To whatever extent any freshly minted graduate will have any opportunity to practice "human rights" law at all, why would anyone imagine that opportunity will be best served by flying someone halfway around to world to a nation they don't understand, can't function in, and where they aren't licensed to appear in court? It's nonsense to imagine that would happen. Anyone who wants to practice "international human rights law" the way Ms. Jahangir did should follow in her footsteps and build a practice and a profile the same way. Represent the people you are licensed to represent. Help the people who don't have anyone else to help them right here where your advocacy for them is actually meaningful. Contain your need for fame and acclaim and your expectation that you'll be applauded just for showing up. That is - and I'm sorry to say it - a symptom of Western privilege that you want to be the special person flown across the world just to show them what you learned in law school. And it's an absurd conceit that they need or want you. Do the thankless work in the trenches. And if you do it very well, and get the results that everyone thought were impossible because no one else wanted to take it on exactly because there was no fame or money in it ... well, maybe you'll develop a profile of sorts. And maybe, years into a career of doing the hard, thankless work domestically, someone will ask for your involvement in another part of the world. Maybe. Enough with the Amal Clooney crap. This is what international human rights law looks like. I didn't know this woman. And maybe someone here did, but I'd guess she was largely unknown in Canada. And yet she's a hero. There's a hell of a lot of work that needs doing on Canada. We have no lack of poor, dispossessed people who have few advocates because there's no fame, money, or glory in representing them. You want that job? No one is stopping you. In fact, plenty of people will beg you to take on the work. It's there for anyone who wants it. You know what you need to be a human rights lawyer making an impact on people's lives? You just need to give up on your dreams of fame and travel, stop expecting a parade for showing up, and realize that your dreams of being a (white) Western savior are insulting and insufferable when stacked against the reality of lawyers like Ms. Jahangir who are already doing this work far better than you ever could, in their own home nations. So take the lesson and work in your home nation instead.
  14. Living with parents during law school?

    I don't understand this discussion at all anymore. There are just two basic truths here. 1. There's nothing at all wrong with living with your parents during law school, and if it's an advantageous situation for you, by all means, go for it. 2. Part of the "advantageous situation" analysis needs to take in both convenience and savings (which are positives) but also the delay in acquiring life skills and independence (which are negatives). Describing it as "another form of self-reliance" when you still have your mother cooking for you, doing your laundry, and God knows what else well into your 20s is disingenuous. It's not self-reliance. It may be a responsible choice, but it certainly doesn't teach you how to do things for yourself. And that is a life skill you need to learn at some point. So yeah. Every situation is different. But I hope these kids (and I say "kids" intentionally) who are sitting at home and congratulating themselves on their financial maturity - I hope these kids aren't kidding themselves about the lessons they are foregoing. Because self-reliance IS an important skill in legal practice, and maturity is a soft skill that translates in many ways. At some point, you'll be staring down a shit storm with no back up in sight, and no one telling you how to solve the problems you're facing, and a pissed off client standing there wondering why they are paying your firm so much money if this kid doesn't have answers on hand. And at that point, if your mom is still picking your socks up off the floor and making sure that you don't need to worry about anything or do anything for yourself - at that point you may realize this lifestyle has cost you something also.
  15. Legal Freelancing

    As described, "freelancing" is what you do when you're self-employed but don't yet have enough clients of your own. We all start that way - taking on work that other lawyers don't have time for and/or would rather not do. But it isn't a career of itself. Or it's sure not a good one. It's the mid-point between working as a sole and working as someone's associate, combining the worst drawbacks of both.
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