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Thatguy

Ask a current student...

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I know that a few current Robson Hall students lurk on this site periodically, so this might be a good opportunity to help students entering Robson Hall or seeking entry.

 

 

Obviously most of the information given will be anecdotal, and as such should be taken with a grain of salt.

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This may be a very stupid question and perhaps I should already know this info but oh well..

 

Is there a certain point when you really have to decide what type of law you're going to practice? Like do you have to make that concrete decision while in school or are you more so just taking electives geared towards one area of law. Also, is it possible to switch the types of law you'll practice if you're not enjoying it? Example: criminal to family?

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^^ clarification.. When I say switch the type of law you'll practice, I do mean once you've already been working for a few years, not when you're still in school.

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This may be a very stupid question and perhaps I should already know this info but oh well..

 

Is there a certain point when you really have to decide what type of law you're going to practice? Like do you have to make that concrete decision while in school or are you more so just taking electives geared towards one area of law. Also, is it possible to switch the types of law you'll practice if you're not enjoying it? Example: criminal to family?

 

Obviously, everyone's different. I came into school having almost no interest in any area other than criminal. I was advised to keep an open mind and explore other areas of law, which I did, but nothing ever changed my mind. Accordingly, I've taken all the electives I can that relate to criminal law, advocacy, etc, and applied to articling positions exclusively in that area.

 

As far as when you have to "decide" it depends in large part on where you end up articling. If it's a large, full-service firm you'll probably have the opportunity to get some hands-on experience in multiple areas, which could help you a lot. On the other hand, if the articling job you end up in only has you working in one area that could limit your exposure. Obviously at some point you'll have to pick an area to go into at least at the start.

 

Can you switch after a few years? I imagine so, but frankly since I'm still in school I can't really speak to it from any personal experience.

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I think Jethro is on the money. 

After first year I don't think you'll have an informed opinion as to what type of law you want to practice, rather you will start to find types of law you can't see yourself practicing. 

The first bridge to cross, which I think people can do while in school and even in first year, is to decide if you are going to be happier in a solicitor role or in a litigation role.

Ultimately, its important to keep an open mind. I know people who were convinced they were going to be criminal attorneys until they spent a couple days in court and realized that they didn't have the make-up to hear the details of a lot of terrible cases. 

 

The first opportunity to "specialize" is in second year, and even then I would recommend taking a wide range of courses.

 

As for switching once you start practicing, my understanding is that it is dependent upon what field you are in and where you want to switch to. The type of firm you're at also makes a pretty big difference.

If you are at a full service firm than switching will be easier since you are changing departments rather than employers. That said, if you have been writing real estate contracts for a couple of years than decide you want to become a criminal lawyer you will face some challenges. Within law there is a wide range of skill sets, what it takes to be a great commercial lawyer can be very different than what it takes to stand up in court.

 

 

As always information passed on not relating to time at Robson Hall should be treated with a grain of salt as its not first hand.

Edited by Thatguy

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I've been told by a few friends of mine who are recent U of M law grads that the Socratic method is no longer frequently employed, even in first year, and that classes consist mostly of lectures. To what extent is that actually the case?

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One professor uses it exclusively, but he will not be teaching this year due to illness.

No other first year prof use Socratic method, but all will ask students questions relating to the readings etc.

I would say that an incoming student is unlikely to see true Socratic method, but they will see glimpses of it.

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2L and 3L students..are you interested in selling your books?  the following is my first year schedule.  Please message me if so.

 

Course Code: LAW 1540
Course Name:
  • PROFESSOR: LUGTIG, SARAH SECTION: A01
    TITLE: COMP GUIDE TO LEGAL RESEARCH AUTHOR: MCCARNEY
    EDITION: 2013 ISBN: 9781552396520 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ
     
  • PROFESSOR: LUGTIG, SARAH SECTION: A01
    TITLE: CDN GUIDE TO UNIFORM LEGAL CITATION AUTHOR: MCGILL LAW JOUR
    EDITION: 8TH ISBN: 9780779860753 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ
     
Course Code: LAW 1500
Course Name:
  • PROFESSOR: SHORT, DONN SECTION: A03
    TITLE: PRINCIPLES OF PROPERTY LAW AUTHOR: ZIFF
    EDITION: 6TH ISBN: 9780779863471 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ
     
Course Code: LAW 1460
Course Name:
  • PROFESSOR: GUNN, BRENDA SECTION: A03
    TITLE: CANADIAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW W/CODE AUTHOR: BAKAN
    EDITION: 4TH ISBN: 9781552393321 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ
     
Course Code: LAW 1140
Course Name:
  • PROFESSOR: DEUTSCHER, DAVID SECTION: A03
    TITLE: 2016 MARTIN'S POCKET CRIMINAL CODE AUTHOR: GREENSPAN
    EDITION: 2016 ISBN: 9780888047403 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ
     
  • PROFESSOR: DEUTSCHER, DAVID SECTION: A03
    TITLE: LEARNING CANADIAN CRIMINAL LAW AUTHOR: STUART
    EDITION: 13TH 15 ISBN: 9780779864430 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ
     
Course Code: LAW 1480
Course Name:
  • PROFESSOR: IRVINE, JOHN SECTION: A03
    TITLE: LAW OF TORTS AUTHOR: OSBORNE
    EDITION: 5TH 15 ISBN: 9781552214008 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ
     
Course Code: LAW 1100
Course Name:
  • PROFESSOR: MACPHERSON, DARCY SECTION: A03
    TITLE: CONTRACTS VOLUME 1 AUTHOR: LAW 1100
    EDITION: F16 ISBN: 9780100018716 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ
     
  • PROFESSOR: MACPHERSON, DARCY SECTION: A03
    TITLE: CONTRACTS VOLUME 2 AUTHOR: LAW 1100
    EDITION: F16 ISBN: 9780100018730 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ
     
Course Code: LAW 1530
Course Name:
  • PROFESSOR: TURNBULL, LORNA SECTION: A02
    TITLE: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF LAW AUTHOR: WADDAMS
    EDITION: 7TH 10 ISBN: 9780779829064 REQUIRED/OPTIONAL: RQ

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in reply to Karam. I think ultimately the area of law you end up practicing is often determined by the firm that hires you and the area of law that a partner has a need for a student or associate to trickle down work to. Unfortunately, that is often the reality of how people come to practice certain areas of law. We may all have a preference upon graduation and seek those firms that specialize in those areas but ultimately, with the shortage of jobs in larger firms, we take what we can get and end up practicing in the area where we get work and can make enough money to live & pay back our loans

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Another question.. When is the best time to travel (if any) during law school. Would it just be extremely stupid to not work during 2L summer and travel instead? Is there usually time off after graduation, before articling positions start? 1L Summer is off the table for me as I wouldn't have the money.

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Another question.. When is the best time to travel (if any) during law school. Would it just be extremely stupid to not work during 2L summer and travel instead? Is there usually time off after graduation, before articling positions start? 1L Summer is off the table for me as I wouldn't have the money.

 

The BEST time is 1L summer. 

If you are set on travelling there are LOC available, and frankly graduating with a little debt is not a bad thing. Its the norm for most students.

 

When you say "work during 2L summer" I am going to assume you mean at a firm.

It is not extremely stupid to not summer in 2L. I believe most students do not. That being said, if you have the opportunity to summer at a firm where you would like to work and you pass that up, that would be stupid.

I know people who have job at the big 5 firms who did not summer in 2L, so its not make or break but it is ideal.

 

As for after graduation you usually get about a month off depending on where you are hired.

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Another question.. When is the best time to travel (if any) during law school. Would it just be extremely stupid to not work during 2L summer and travel instead? Is there usually time off after graduation, before articling positions start? 1L Summer is off the table for me as I wouldn't have the money.

 

I suggest looking into the annual Israel trip for 1L summer. You get to travel, pick up 4 credits (so fewer classes in 2L) and you can use it as a springboard to visit other places before coming back to Canada.

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@Jethro - not every student is interested in visiting a country that oppresses the very people the Israelis stole the land from. Long live Palestine!

 

Incoming students: Boycott the annual 1L trip to this apartheid country!

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I'm going to bite my tongue because frankly this isn't the time nor place.

Perhaps keep the thread on topic...

 

That being said, come Tuesday I'm sure a number of students would be happy to debate the merits of the use "apartheid", "stole", and the legitimacy of the term "oppression" :)

Edited by Thatguy

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@that guy. This is on topic as Jethro recommended the trip. Presume you & Jethro "bonded" on this 1L trip :mad2:

@that guy. This is on topic as Jethro recommended the trip. Presume you & Jethro "bonded" on this 1L trip :mad2:

I have no idea who Jethro is. I gather they are going into 3L, that's the extent of my knowledge.

 

As for keeping it on topic, you made an obviously political statement.

Incoming students are obviously bright people, they can decide if they want to go on a trip which by all accounts is a great learning experience. They may agree with your stance, but it doesn't undermine Jethro's point that if you want to travel, the Israel program is a great excuse for the flight expense.

 

 

That's the last I'll post on the topic. This thread is to help students get ready for law school.

Edited by Thatguy
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