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AnonLaw

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  1. Actually in BC the PLTC materials are often adopted wholesale from the CLE. Not as detailed but also not exactly outdated for the most part. Some materials are not 100% accurate but its things like the explanation of the levels of court and there will be a statement such as, "there are two superior trial courts in BC, the Federal Court and the BC Supreme Court", which has been incorrect for decades. Generally experience is by far the best way to get into an area. Best to work for somebody in the beginning but if you started up on your own and were willing to put in the time you could start from a given area cold using smaller files essentially as training. You just can't fully bill on that because nobody is going to want to pay you $20,000 for a tax case involving $10,000 of tax.
  2. You guys might all want to keep in mind that a four year call is definitely not guaranteed an income that high. Many lawyers I know at that level make much less than that, or they are on a commission basis, or self employed. If you want something like my budget in Vancouver, I'm not posting my income, but I save money mostly through still living like I did in law school. Rent: $1600 for a one bedroom + den outside of downtown. (now considered 'cheap' because rents have gone up a lot recently) Utilities: $100-$200 per month plus (phone, internet, electricity) Food: A bit more than Toronto but not that much more. Restaurant meals are about the same. Car: $350 on a lease for a Honda. Gas is about $50 per month now because I moved close enough to work to walk to work. Bar fees: $3000/year Fun: $200 or so a month. I have cheap hobbies. Holidays: I'll tell you when I go on one. Oh also it looks like she doesn't have that job anymore. She's off her firm's website and the LSBC has her address as some random residential address. So she either got sick of law (completely fair and understandable) or she's in between jobs and perhaps not going to be able to have $6K a month after taxes available anymore. Some luxuries, like the monthly wine tours, may need to be sacrificed.
  3. low-150 lsat am I done for?

    You could certainly try if you have the right factors. Skimmed your post and your personal statement might resonate with some admissions people. You also should try schools other than U of T though. Maybe TRU, Victoria, the Prairie province schools, and the outside-Toronto schools? The LSAT isn't really determinative of whether you are going to suceed as a lawyer but some schools might be concerned that you went through the whole LSAT process three times and scored 150 three times. You can study this exam like anything else. It is not by any means a complete gamble. Other than a handful of geniuses most people who score well have to treat the exam like a final exam after a class, but the class is either self-taught or, perhaps, you take one of the many courses available. In my case I got a 152 in my first write without studying and on the second time I got 168 (or 169, I forget) after a half year of studying. I got into U of T with that number. You should try taking a course on the exam, get a big stack of old exams and the powerscore books (by FAR the best books even if they are expensive). Start now and then study every week until you can ace the test. It's July now. Its probably not enough time to write in September. Try in December? You may want to see if the LSAT company will let you rewrite. There's some kind of cap on rewrites in a certain period.
  4. They specifically offered to assume the government loans. It was in a letter that came in long after I was done articling, around the time the line of credit would turn into a formal loan. It had language to the effect of "we will assume your Canada Student Loans so you can get the lower interest rate". When I got in touch with the advisor she said despite the letter I would have to apply for it. A while later she said sorry, you were rejected. I was also told I could get a business line of credit on terms not a lot worse than the student line of credit. When the advisor got back to me she quoted terms significantly worse than my credit card in terms of interest, monthly fees, etc. I actually did what you said and maxed out the student line of credit to pay off the government loan because at that point I had a job and it was no longer going to be interest free. Had to also put a bunch of my savings into the government loan to fully pay it off, though. Much later (around the end of last year) Scotia started charging me monthly account fees even though they promised if I stuck with the same account it wouldn't have minimum account or monthly fees. The advisor once again ignored me and the branch wouldn't refund the charges so I changed banks. The account they give you is pretty no-frills (no interest, no charges). Other than refusing to give me a cashier's cheque after promising to do so they weren't terrible during law school. I wouldn't recommend using them as your main bank, because their advisors clearly don't view law students and junior lawyers as valuable clients and routinely make promises the bank is not willing to honor. That being said, borrowing from them for the student line of credit was fairly painless, just don't use them for anything else.
  5. Watch out for promises Scotia's advisors make. They broke a lot of promises before I got sick of dealing with them and changed banks. Stuff like saying I could get free cheques any time, then refusing to provide a cheque when I needed it. Or promising to assume my government student loan debt for the lower interest rate, then later saying they would not. They even told me they had set up auto pay on the student loan after it became a loan and not a line of credit and then within a month I got a collection call because they had not actually done so. It was also very hard to get a hold of the advisor and only the advisor was able to get anything done with the account. In seven years I never once had the advisor pick up the phone. At best I got a callback three days later, often I wouldn't get a call back at all. That kind of service as a lawyer and I'd lose all my clients.
  6. It sounds like you have a chance at any Canadian school. If you are on the british system (basically where there hasn't been grade inflation, so a "good mark" is a B or a C) just make sure the school knows this. BC has a very large community of Indian immigrants. Many of them don't speak English well. If you can speak one or more common Indian languages that's a good advantage to have.
  7. There's a famous case of a firm rescinding an offer because the student sent some improvident e-mails to the partners. It's very bad form to un-hire a student due to these formalized hiring processes but its not like you have any real recourse if you do other than the law society telling them to smarten up. It sounds like you have a job unless the firm goes bankrupt or something. Maybe follow up once by e-mail with the partner or HR asking if they want you to sign anything for the articling signup and then otherwise relax.
  8. divorce and court

    Maybe he has the inside scoop of the revisions to the Divorce Act that the Trudeau Government is proposing (as far as I know they are just modernizing it so it fit better with provincial family law acts (so we don't have to keep using the word "custody" anymore).
  9. If you want to stay in Ontario then apply to the schools outside of Toronto. If you can move, go to the prairie provinces or maybe Thompson Rivers in BC. Apply broadly and be willing to move. An LSAT score of 161 differs heavily from a 169. What was your score?
  10. Family Law

    I have a general practice that includes family litigation. 1. What the starting salaries appear to be in the Toronto market, No clue, not an employee and not in Toronto. 2. Courses to take after first year of law school, I took zero courses that related to family law. Learned it all after I was called. I guess the family law course would be helpful, plus taking a clinical course. Take the trial advocacy and negotiation course. 3. how to gain experience in this area, A clinical course or a summer job 4. whether there are family law firms hiring for the OCI season, Probably 5. what hiring firms look for in candidates If you can't get in through connections, all firms hire on "fit". "Fit" is mostly, "do we like you?" 6. and lastly, why many of the family law boutiques only appear to hire females? Small sample size? Only seeing the firms advertising to students? Tons of firms I know of have men in them. 7. When I visit the websites of many of these family law firms, their personnel is all women. So, I am wondering how hard it is to break into the field as a male. I'm a guy and I'm practicing it. No difficulty in breaking in. 8. Other than Introductory Family Law in second year, are there any other courses that people here recommend. See above. 9. Also, what are the working conditions of family lawyers like as opposed to other areas such as criminal, immigration and estate lawyers? It's civil litigation. No difference from any other civil litigation. Differs significantly from criminal, which will always be its own thing. I'll echo a lot of other people here. You get a lot of people in crisis who are driven by emotions more than dollars and cents. I represented Mom on a case where Dad wanted to force Mom to stay in my city even though Dad had already moved away (a "mobility" application). Dad was clearly a difficult client and has had five lawyers in the time I represented Mom. For a while he self-represented (while sending me copies of pay stubs showing he had earned more than I did in a whole year by May, pleading poverty), where he put into an affidavit his legal bills. Apparently he had spent $100K on the application and subsequent abandoned appeal. Going off the bills he provided he also spent at least $10K to not to pay $5K in s.7 expenses. Legal Aid is a good way to get a lot of a certain kind of family law, but: * It pays badly. * Difficult clients who don't appreciate your time, though telling them that you're gone as soon as the hours are used up does help. * Legal Aid clients are rarely repeat customers and don't give good referrals (... because they can't afford it, that's why they are on legal aid). * At least in my province the Legal Aid referrals office plays favourites, so I only get sent very difficult files. Like out of town high conflict files or something. High conflict files are a huge time sink, because things that would have gone by consent (like a parenting order where there's no family violence and Dad smartly moved out before things got too bad) turn into two day hearings because Mom wants to prevent Dad from having any parenting time. There's also a lot of client management in family. Files rarely go to trial so a lot of garbage gets said in affidavits when it shouldn't be. In order to get an ex parte protection order one party will often highly exaggerate even tiny conflicts from many years ago. Saying that a fight where voices weren't even raised over where to go for ramen caused you livelong trauma might get you that order (and thereby sole use of the family house) but it completely destroys your credibility if you have one of those rare family matters that goes to trial.
  11. Concerned Law Student

    Slightly back on topic, a funky transcript is potentially not that much of a bar to entry, you'll just have to network more. Attend a bunch of CLE events while they are free or almost free. Be social even if you're an introvert. Tons of my classmates got jobs through social contacts, not the OCIs or articling recruits.
  12. I whiffed on every moot tryout I was in at my school. I got litigation experience instead through a clinic that included credit courses. I do a lot of tax so the Bowman moot would have been super awesome, but it was not to be. I'm doing 97% litigation now. Guy I know who did the environmental moot is a family lawyer now. The law schools are doing a disservice to students in not having enough seats for moots and trial advocacy courses, to be honest. If somebody is already good at mooting then they don't need to take the course where they learn how to moot.
  13. Ask a 3L!

    Biz org really isn't that bad to be honest. There's virtually no job in the law field where you don't need to know the basics of corporate governance. Don't take "Art of the Deal" though, that course was a huge bummer. Its basically a BBA/MBA course but taught at the law school.
  14. You can probably get sample contracts online somewhere. Why don't you try the nearest law library (nearest law school, maybe a courthouse too, but law schools are more student friendly) and ask the librarian? There's been a lot of moves to electronic in law but a lot of resources are still paper only without monster sized subscription fees.
  15. Being able to do civil law and common law together would give you a leg up somewhere (Quebec firms? Fed/Quebec Government?) so you may have a leg up, to be honest. Even better if you speak French. Try the big Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa firms and then government. You're awesomely situated for getting into government since you're at U of O. Maybe hit up firms now. Only the government is so ossified that if a good candidate comes in the door they won't at least talk to you.
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