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Diplock

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Diplock last won the day on October 24

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  1. Yeah, I had exactly the same reaction, and while I might have refrained from saying it it probably needs to be said. There's a hell of a big gap between suggesting that the OP simply give us without applying (there's very little reason for that) and believing that the OP actually has a good shot at gaining admission to a Canadian law school, or even that success is somehow inevitable with sufficient determination. So absolutely, apply. Or, rather, don't un-apply. But endorsing the view that you should try doesn't equate with believing it will succeed. There was a time, in the long ago past, when this board was mainly populated by would-be law school applicants who basically spent most of their time telling each other what they themselves wanted to hear. It isn't about grades. It isn't about LSAT. It's about grit, and determination, and telling a good story in your personal statement, and maybe about the fact that your uncle is a lawyer and you volunteered over the summer at his firm. That's gonna get you into law school - somehow securing you a spot that would otherwise have gone to someone with strong grades and a strong LSAT but who has, presumably, less grit and no history of volunteering for their uncle. And honestly, that's just crap. Always has been, and always will be. Maybe there's a role for empty platitudes and reassurances. Maybe this board could even have a sub forum somewhere that would create safe space for that. If it did, I'd stay out of it, and let all the would-be law students tell each other how awesome they are and how they're all gonna be rich on Bay Street or become famous practicing international human rights law. But as a whole, the board has moved past that point. Reality sucks sometimes. Not everyone gets a pony. And believe me, practicing lawyers know that more than anyone. Anyway, good luck OP. You miss 100% of the shots you never take, so take this one. But don't kid yourself about the difficulty, either, and do everything you still can to help yourself. Oh, and remember that schools themselves will always encourage you too, unless/until you become a total no hope applicant, because they'd rather have the option of rejecting you than not. Sorry to be a downer, but it's true.
  2. Hegdis and I agree almost completely on this issue, just so you know, it's just that Hegdis has put considerably more effort into being gentle in describing the issues with this topic. So as I reply, please keep that in mind. You may feel I was abrupt and Hegdis was more understanding. But you're still getting essentially the same view from slightly different angles. So, to reply, it's hard to know if your broadened description of international public law makes any sense, as a practice area, without knowing what you mean by that. And if you decline to offer a definition, that's fine, but in the absence of one I'm going to assume you mean going around to different parts of the world and helping solve legal problems, as a lawyer, in the public interest. And my reply would be largely the same as I made before. Public international law barely exists, because the "international" part would still have to emanate from an international legal authority. If someone is polluting the shit out of a river in Zimbabwe, and poisoning the local population, that behavior is still covered under the laws of Zimbabwe and not litigated before any international body. So, lawyers from Zimbabwe, laws from Zimbabwe, courts in Zimbabwe, etc. And just about any other example you could think of, also. As has been pointed out to me in the past, there are some examples relating to trade and commerce, and the ways in which it's handled, that really are international law and in a sufficiently high-profile law firm you could end up doing international law as it relates to commerce and trade. And some of the people who do this have some compelling arguments about how their work helps the little people. But frankly, I don't see that sort of work as being in the "public" sphere save in the most general of ways. In other words, if you help Canada continue to export soft wood lumber to the U.S., and thereby save jobs in small towns, you can say you've worked in the public interest, sure. But I don't feel that's what people generally mean when they talk about public law. And it's the inherent muckiness of what it means in the first place that's part of our problem. If you mean going around the world and helping people who are in trouble, in various different places, public international law is not a field of legal practice. Again, there's work that happens in diplomacy, politics, media, etc. around these goals. Absolutely that's a thing, and an important thing. But when we're trying to convince Duarte in the Philippines to respect human rights and to stop fucking killing people, it's diplomacy and public pressure that's the only real tactic. Well, short of military invasion. No foreign lawyer, as a lawyer, can do a damn thing about it. Doesn't seem like domestic lawyers in the Philippines can do anything about it either (and I would assume some are trying) but domestic lawyers at least have legal standing before their courts. You don't even have that. So, yeah. I know I'm pissing on your parade, or at least probably so. And if I'm making assumptions it's because I've seen this discussion play out a dozen or so times already, at least. Not just here, but in person, and with students who started law school at the same time saying they wanted to practice "international human rights law," and they quickly discovered how nebulous that idea really is. And that was 10 years ago. I've seen it a few more times since then. Look, since I'm being a jerk, or at least probably seem like I'm being a jerk, let me bring this disappointment back around to the extremely positive take away that I recommend to everyone who expresses ideas such as you have, here. Being a lawyer, and being able to stand before a court and litigate on behalf of a client who has no one else to help them, is a fucking super power. Literally, it's like being a minor super hero who sits around feeling guilty every time they turn on the TV because instead of watching Stranger Things 2 they could be using their power, which few others have, to help someone else. How you use that power, who you help, what you do - that's up to you. And you can do a hell of a lot of good. But only in Canada. Because anywhere else, you aren't even a lawyer. You're giving up that super power as soon as you leave the jurisdiction in which you are licensed to practice. There are so, so many people - deserving people - who need help right here. There's so much "public interest" law to do in Canada. There's so much criminal law. And it may seem more romantic to do it on the other side of the world. But that's the trade off when it comes to law. A doctor can fix eyesight in Kenya in the same way they fix eyesight in Alberta. That's not true about law, and it never will be. So, my pitch would be this. Study global affairs if you enjoy the area of study. I would never, ever recommend against education for any reason at all. It's valuable for its own sake. But ultimately, don't kid yourself about the degree you have any real chance of bring that to bear on the practice of law. Legal theory, policy, sure. Maybe one day you can teach law in Kenya. Most of the people who are teaching law in Canada aren't licensed to practice it here either. Isn't that weird? But when it comes to the practice of law, as a lawyer, I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope in that regard.
  3. You can be pissed at me if you want, and we can leave it at that. But I know you're someone who wants to attend law school and hasn't yet. Which means there's about a 99.5% likelihood that you don't know what "international criminal law" really means. So yeah, be pissy if you want. But it's not as though I was making unwarranted assumptions.
  4. Well, if you don't want a discussion on this topic and you aren't interested in my advice, that's fine. But if you're interested at all in fleshing out your ideas of what you want to do with this very expensive education before you obtain it, you could just define what you mean by "international criminal law" and what you believe a career in practicing it might look like. And then you can get away from my incorrect assumptions.
  5. If this is a major part of your rationale, you really owe it to yourself to have an in-depth discussion with someone (potentially on this board, but probably not in this thread) about the degree to which such a field of practice even exists (short answer - barely so) and the degree to which there are meaningful opportunities for anyone who is not already a very prominent lawyer to do anything in this field (short answer - almost not at all). I would never discourage someone away from their interests. But you deserve to know the truth going in. Law is a jurisdictional qualification. If you become a lawyer in Canada, your opportunities will be to practice law in Canada. You could potentially pursue a career in policy or diplomacy and hope to do that elsewhere (and, arguably, that's one of the things that a MGA could be good for) but if you actually want to practice law please be aware that most people who use a line like "international criminal law" could not even accurately define what that means. It doesn't mean going to Pakistan and getting involved in a case that's going on there. Crimes in Pakistan are governed by Pakistani law and defended and prosecuted by Pakistani lawyers. The only international criminal law that even exists would need to stem from international authority. Meaning, essentially, the UN, and treaties. At this point, btw, I'm generalizing to a degree that I'm in danger of being wrong. So if anyone wants to correct me, please do. My point being, if you're hoping to somehow be involved in prosecuting international war criminals who are brought before international authority for justice...that's at least a rational, if an incredibly competitive, career goal. Like becoming an astronaut. But please be aware, the vast majority (and I mean the vast majority) of even war criminals, and the most heinous shit you can imagine, are prosecuted domestically and within nations governed by their own laws and by lawyers who are qualified in those jurisdictions. Not by anyone from Canada. Sorry, this is just a massive pet peeve of mine. A lot of would-be lawyers seem to think that by saying they want to do international whatever, it means they'll be traveling around to other nations in the world and being a lawyer in those other nations. And it really, really doesn't.
  6. Transfer to UofT?

    Although I don't think it's actually any comment on the social environment at Western vs. the social environment at Osgoode, or anywhere else, I think this comment does capture the experience of transferring. Because it isn't about how one environment is different from another. It's just about losing the connections of 1L. Law students aren't intentionally cliquey or unwelcoming. At least no more so than most people, and quite probably less so. But 1L is when you meet people. You're in all the same classes, you see the same people all the time, you're all starting together not knowing anyone and looking to make friends. In 2L and 3L, as has been mentioned, you're in a jumble of classes with different people all the time. You see people you don't recognize in those classes and your first thought isn't even "hey, new person, maybe I should meet them" but more like "they are probably in the year I'm not in" (meaning, a student in the 3L cohort if you're 2L, or vice-versa). No one knows everybody so lacking some clear indication that another student is new there isn't even an incentive to try to meet them, even for the altruistic minority who'd make a special effort if they knew one was needed. So, what's the consequence? When you transfer, you are losing a lot. That circle of friends who makes the social events feel welcoming, who naturally share information about what to do and when to do it - stuff that isn't exactly secret but it helps a lot when other people tell you stuff you may not think of. Connections and networks that may help you, just as you help them. Anyway, all else being equal, I recommend against transferring. I may end up being the best of bad options. But it's something to avoid if you can.
  7. The answer may well be that a MGA does not meaningfully offer greater career opportunities than a JD does on its own. But that doesn't mean the joint program is a money grab. There's even a JD/MA (English). Does the MA in English have to afford career opportunities in some kind of hybrid law/literature job in order to justify its existence? You do realize that there are many degrees out there that are not explicitly geared to the job market. Sometimes people learn simply out of interest and enthusiasm. And sometimes, in unexpected ways, that education can lead to surprising careers and opportunities. But a degree doesn't need a straight line roadmap between learning and employment in order to justify itself. Presumably, the market for this joint degree are students who are interested in global affairs, and not exclusively those that imagine a career in it.
  8. Here's a question you need to answer. Do you dislike working with clients in criminal defence because you find them inherently unsympathetic and believe that most of the time you are working for the "wrong" people? Or do you just not like working with them much at all, as people? If the former, you may find Crown work to be better. Though speaking as defence counsel, I suspect you'd end up turning into exactly the kind of Crown that we hate. If you simply dislike people who are accused of crimes and suspect, on some level, that they deserve whatever comes their way in the justice system, you can be a very effective Crown but that isn't to say you're a good one, from my perspective. But in the interests of giving you balanced advice, I'll say that if you just dislike accused persons you can probably parlay that into a good career as a Crown. Despite the above, your question has thrown me into musing about what makes a person good at legal practice, what makes me good at legal practice, and what the law is all about. And here's some very general advice. The law is about people. If you don't like the people, you're doing it wrong. Now that's a value judgment that not everyone would agree with. But if you're dealing with people who have serious hardcore shit going on in their lives (as accused, as victims, as witnesses, as the loved ones of accused persons and victims, etc.) and to you the entire thing is just an excuse to masturbate over the intellectual complexities of legal argument ... that's just sad, man. If the people don't matter to you then what the hell are you doing? Some people find dealing with other people to be difficult. That's different. But sometimes we do difficult things for good reasons. And I feel as though if the human stories matter to you enough, and if you see your role in that story as meaningful, then you choke it back and you do the job. If you really can't work up any interest in doing that, then you may be right and you're in the wrong field. At which point I'd urge you to strongly consider this alternative question. What sorts of people do you enjoy interacting with? If you enjoy interacting with well-dressed, well-mannered, articulate people who keep things on a professional level, then maybe you should be doing something more business-oriented. And other examples occur also. Despite the few examples above, there are few jobs where anyone pays you to sit alone in a room and think about stuff. The large majority of legal work is about people. So for God's sake, get yourself into a role where you at least somewhat enjoy the people you'll be dealing with. That's all I've got for now. Follow up, to clarify the issues you're having with people, would be helpful, and might sharpen my reply.
  9. Discretionary Questions

    I agree with M&M. Access claims that stem from financial hardship are dicey, in my opinion, and many tend to be over-stated. Beware of comparing your life to some hypothetical ideal that rarely exists in reality, or of elevating the ordinary hardships of life to some extraordinary status. That said, it does sound to me as though your situation is well beyond ordinary, and I can't imagine anyone faulting you for applying for special consideration based on it. That's not to say you'll get in, necessarily, but you won't prejudice your application by trying for this angle. One suggestion. Part of the challenge of evaluating someone in your situation is that the question remains unanswered - how would you have performed under better conditions? If your grades were average throughout, an admissions committee may want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but how do they really know? If you can, consider one more year or even a term of post-secondary courses where you can demonstrate better results. It will really help address that outstanding question.
  10. You've asked several questions, and I'm going to answer one that you haven't asked, because it's the one you actually need a reply to. You're asking about jobs in which it doesn't matter if you are particularly accomplished (grades) and where it doesn't matter if you work particularly hard (hours) and yet where you presumably make a lot of money (vague reference to business law). Your problem is that you clearly want "success" (whatever that means) but you have no idea in what, and because you can't imagine a job as something you actually want to do all you can aspire to is minimizing the amount of work and effort you need to make in order to get that vaguely-defined thing you want. And buddy, that's not going to work out for you. The good news is that it's not too late to sort yourself out. The bad news is, it's almost too late to sort yourself out. You need to know, you need to know, what sort of career you expect out of law school. And not just "a good one." You need to figure out where you imagine yourself working, what sorts of clients you imagine yourself serving, what kind of law you imagine yourself doing, and you need to want to do that. Because honestly, the instances of students actively misleading one another or being intentionally mean to other students ... I've just about never seen that, and I went to U of T which has some strange reputation for this that I don't understand. But instances of students cracking and freaking out over the competition generated simply by the fact that every single one of their classmates were working their tails off in order to compete, presumably, for the same jobs ... that happens all the time. With few exceptions, your classmates aren't worrying about how they get a lot of money for doing as little as possible. They are eager for the chance to work. And yes, the legal industry may exploit that eagerness at times (that's another topic) but as compared to that, if all you want is a job where you do ... something ... and get a lot of money for it while doing as little as possible. Yeah, you're fucked. Because your enthusiastic classmates will beat you out every time. Figure it out. The time is past where "I think I want to be a lawyer, maybe" is an adequate answer. You need a better one now. And you can't start with "what job is easiest and will pay me well for minimal effort." You need to want to do the job. Ask appropriate questions that go to that topic, if you like. People here may help you. But that's your problem right now. Not this other crap you've asked about. Good luck.
  11. Should you wear a poppy?

    I have my own strong feelings on this debate about whether people should wear a poppy around Remembrance Day, but I won't interject them here because I'd rather answer the main question. Here's what you need to know. At your interview, you may be interviewed by a lawyer who holds any of the views you've read here. Whether they will allow their views to affect hiring you or not is anyone's guess. But they might. Be guided accordingly, if you want to worry about it. Not that there's an easy answer to glean from this, but it's the only truth there is. In related news, I agree with doing whatever your values dictate you should do. While this doesn't answer the odds that a particular interviewer will like or dislike the values you display (or fail to display, depending on whether you view not wearing a poppy as a statement or the absence of a statement) there's at least this one benefit - showing them who you really are at an interview dramatically increases the odds that you'll end up working at a firm that shares your values.
  12. School Submission-Previous History

    Yes, in both cases. If you are a current student at York, you certainly applied at some point. The policy isn't different at U of T vs. York. It's the same request in both cases. It's just phrased differently because at York their law school has a separate name and identity, whereas at U of T it's all just called U of T.
  13. Why are Windsor's medians so low?

    And in return, dude, you started a topic for no clear reason except to troll, got all your information wrong including a basic GPA calculation, were called out on this by everyone, and you respond ONLY to the one person who told you off with reference to suits? To put it more simply. Just because someone goes ad hominem, it doesn't prove you aren't also completely full of shit. And if you don't know THAT, look in a mirror and reread what you just wrote.
  14. Why are Windsor's medians so low?

    It started south.
  15. Why are Windsor's medians so low?

    Look, I have no intention of piling on a random crap on Windsor thread, but I don't think the reasoning bolded above should be left undisturbed. Students try to tell themselves exactly this, all the time, as a justification for attending almost every school. They tell themselves this about Bond too, and every other example of a school that takes in candidates who are otherwise uncompetitive. They tell themselves the same thing about even Cooley. And to be honest, it's probably true. That is, that the faculty and the program of education offered at Bond, other foreign schools, even Cooley is probably pretty good. They hire very capable academics and instructors. It's the conclusion that's the issue. That if you take a weaker student and feed them through a strong educational program, the product produced will be just as strong as it would be anywhere else. I'm not crapping on Windsor or saying that the students there aren't capable. But that logic is dangerous. The raw material does matter. And pretending that it doesn't is exactly the sales pitch that last chance schools want you to believe.
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