he4dhuntr

Ask a recent associate (admissions, law school, bar, articling, course, etc.)

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Bonjour, je suis présentement un étudiant de 1er année en droit à l'udem et je viens tout juste de terminer ma 1ere session. En grande majorité, mes cours se sont bien passés sauf 1 où j'ai eu un E(echec) dans un cours que je vais devoir reprendre. Je voulais savoir les conséquences à cela. Je compte prendre toutes les mesures pour ne pas déprimer et avoir un bon dossier académique  mais je voulais savoir meme si jai un bon GPA 3,4 et +, je suis impliqué dans des comités lors de la course aux stages, est ce que mes chances à la course aux stages(surtout concernant les grosses firmes et moyennes firmes)sont terminées ou très minces? Est-ce que la personne qui se charge des dossiers des applicants se fit plus au GPA  au bacc de droit en générale ou regarde particulièrement les notes de chaque cours. Est-ce que vous connaissez des personnes qui ont coulé un cour de première session qui ont malgré tout bien fait à la course aux stages. Je sais qu'il me reste encore beaucoup de sessions pour me reprendre et avoir un bon GPA mais je veux savoir est-ce que meme si je termine avec un bon GPA cette échec me coupera le pont vers le droit privé(dans les firmes).

 

Salut! J'ai répondu à ta question ici (c'est le premier des deux que j'avais vu): http://lawstudents.ca/forums/topic/46977-fail-course-udem/

 

N'hésites pas si tu as d'autres questions.

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Hi! Currently deciding whether it is worth doing the course aux stages. My GPA isn't very competitive and I therefore feel like it will be difficult differentiating myself on paper. Is there a general idea as to what GPAs are competitive enough to attempt the course or is it possible to get an interview with average/below average grades? Due to the curve at UdeM many people are bunched together when it comes to GPA. I understand that grades are not the only thing that's considered, but it is the biggest in deciding whether or not you get a first interview. I guess it does not hurt to try, but would it affect my course next year if I were to apply to some of the same firms?Additionally, do you know what the selection process is like at the firms? Is it mainly the student recruiters who decide who gets the first interviews or are they simply the first ones who go through the applications? Thanks!

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Hi! Currently deciding whether it is worth doing the course aux stages. My GPA isn't very competitive and I therefore feel like it will be difficult differentiating myself on paper. Is there a general idea as to what GPAs are competitive enough to attempt the course or is it possible to get an interview with average/below average grades? Due to the curve at UdeM many people are bunched together when it comes to GPA. I understand that grades are not the only thing that's considered, but it is the biggest in deciding whether or not you get a first interview. I guess it does not hurt to try, but would it affect my course next year if I were to apply to some of the same firms?Additionally, do you know what the selection process is like at the firms? Is it mainly the student recruiters who decide who gets the first interviews or are they simply the first ones who go through the applications? Thanks!

 

Hey!

 

My attempts at answering your questions:

 

1.  Is there a general idea as to what GPAs are competitive enough to attempt the course or is it possible to get an interview with average/below average grades?

 

When I did the Course, and this was a few years ago now, a 3.7 or above at UdeM gave you most of your first-round interviews, all else being equal. First-round interviews are mainly based on grades, but your overall application will be taken into account. This means that if your grades are lower, you won't automatically be tossed into the "rejected" pile. Firms will review the your application in its entirety. If your grades are lower, they will look for any other reasons why you may deserve a first-round interview. Background (i.e., academic, extracurricular or professional) can help somewhat mitigate the negative effects of lower grades. That being said, everything has its limits. With lower grades, you will without a doubt get less first-round interviews than you would have otherwise, but it's still possible. The strategy would be to apply more broadly and hope to get in somewhere. It's always an uphill battle, naturally, but it's definitely doable. My grades weren't extraordinary when I did the Course and got offers, but I had a decent academic, extracurricular and professional background.

 

2. I guess it does not hurt to try, but would it affect my course next year if I were to apply to some of the same firms?

 

I don't see why it would hurt. Firms will see your grade trend either way, and if they don't call you for first interviews, it's unlikely that most will even remember you. I personally did the Course twice and didn't find that it was detrimental to have applied the first time around. Many firms that I had interviewed at the previous year called me back, and I did quite well there. Others that hadn't offered me interviews the year prior did that year (and I ended up accepting an offer from one of them).

 

3. Additionally, do you know what the selection process is like at the firms? Is it mainly the student recruiters who decide who gets the first interviews or are they simply the first ones who go through the applications?

 

Different firms will have different selection processes, but in general, the recruitment committee goes over the applications and decides on first-round interviews. From there, you will interview with various lawyers, typically on and off the committee.

 

 

I hope that answers some of your questions. Don't hesitate if you have any more.

 

Cheers,

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How difficult is the level of french at UdeM? How bad is the grading curve - and will this have a tremendous effect on possibility of getting a job later on?

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How difficult is the level of french at UdeM? How bad is the grading curve - and will this have a tremendous effect on possibility of getting a job later on?

 

The "difficulty" of the level of French is unfortunately subjective and depends on your comfort level with the language. I can tell you that there were (and are) quite a few students that were very anglophone that did very well at UdeM. That being said, it will naturally take more time and effort for people that are less comfortable with the French language than for those who are perfectly versed in it or for whom it is their mother tongue. Things have apparently changed since I was at UdeM however, since I believe writing exams in English is less of an option now. You can verify this with current students and/or the admissions office.

 

The curve at UdeM is like any other bell curve. A class will typically curve the average grade at a B-, and then you're grade will depend on the grade distribution and how close or far you are from the average on either side of the curve. You can check some of my earlier posts where I explain this in further detail (with examples if I'm not mistaken).

 

You can get a job in law in many different ways. The most "main stream" of which is the Course aux stages. If you don't have any existing academic or professional background (and even then...), your chance at getting first round interviews will largely depend on your grades. In my year, with a B- average, you were pretty safe having a 3.7 GPA for first round interviews. Less than that, you were likely to miss out on a few. Under a 3.3-3.4, you should hope to have some extracurriculars and/or professional/academic background. All that said, you can find jobs (and most people do) outside of the Course. Be it before, during or after writing the bar. Of course grades are always likely to matter (i.e., it always helps to have better grades), but it may not be as cut and dry as the first round of the Course might make it seem.

 

Hope that answers your questions a bit. Don't hesitate if you want me to elaborate on any given point.

 

Cheers,

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Hello he4dhuntr,

 

Thank you for all your advices, I've read them all and they are very useful. I have another question for you concerning the course aux stages.

 

Can you give me some advices for managing nonverbal cues during an interview (both 1st and 2nd round)?

 

For example, I know that it's important to be polite to everyone, including the receptionist, have a good handshake, sit up straight, look at the interviewer in the eye, and watch out for their nonverbal cues for active feedback. But beyond that, I really don't know how to act in that kind of environment, like how the voice intonation should be, how fast to speak, hand gestures, etc. Should I be austere, should I be more energetic? What are some things that the interviewers generally appreciate? And what are some faux pas or obscure etiquettes that I should be aware of? Sorry I realize it's kind of a vague question, it's such a new and intimidating environment for me and I'm not sure how to handle myself.

 

Thank you.

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Hello he4dhuntr,

 

Thank you for all your advices, I've read them all and they are very useful. I have another question for you concerning the course aux stages.

 

Can you give me some advices for managing nonverbal cues during an interview (both 1st and 2nd round)?

 

For example, I know that it's important to be polite to everyone, including the receptionist, have a good handshake, sit up straight, look at the interviewer in the eye, and watch out for their nonverbal cues for active feedback. But beyond that, I really don't know how to act in that kind of environment, like how the voice intonation should be, how fast to speak, hand gestures, etc. Should I be austere, should I be more energetic? What are some things that the interviewers generally appreciate? And what are some faux pas or obscure etiquettes that I should be aware of? Sorry I realize it's kind of a vague question, it's such a new and intimidating environment for me and I'm not sure how to handle myself.

 

Thank you.

 

Hey!

 

Glad some of my advice could be useful to you. As far as interviews go, and I know it will sound cliché, but just be yourself. Don't think too much (if at all really) about how you're sitting, or what your handshake says about you. Just be a normal human being. Be who you are. It will typically come off as more genuine and overall positive. Definitely be nice and polite to everyone you meet, but that should go without saying even outside the interview process. The only couple of cues I would say go a certain distance are (a) making eye contact (but not so much as to come off as creepy - i.e., blink once in a while!), since avoiding eye contact may come off as if you're not as interested, and (b) don't over-prepare your answers to questions you know you'll get, as this comes off as rehearsed and disingenuous. Don't start thinking about your voice intonation, speech speed and/or hand gestures, it will likely just throw you off more than anything else.

 

My strategy, and I believe I've mentioned this before, is to try and turn the Q&A type interview into a conversation as soon as possible. Do whatever you need to do to get comfortable as quickly as you can. If that means cracking a bad joke at the beginning of the interview, by all means do so. Just be yourself. You want to impart on the interviewers who you really are for two reasons. First, it will give them the best sense of who you are and it has the best chance of making the interview enjoyable for everyone since it will feel genuine. Second, you don't want to get a job offer at a firm that thinks you're someone you're not, since you then likely won't "fit" with the corporate culture and expectations will be skewed. The word "fit" will be thrown around a lot during interviews, and while it sounds like a buzz word, it's really the most important aspect of any interview process. You want to fit with the firm you'll eventually be working at, and vice-versa. And the best way to find the right fit is to be genuine.

 

Rare are the people who won't get a follow-up interview or an offer because they didn't sit up straight enough, or because their handshake was too soft, or too firm. And honestly, if a firm doesn't make you an offer because of those things, you likely don't want to work there anyway. Again, be yourself. If you have friends in "real life", it's likely because you're at least somewhat nice, intelligent and/or interesting, so this process should be no different. If you get first interviews, that means you're more than likely good enough on paper. After that, interviewers simply want to see if you fit with their firm, if they see themselves working long hours with you, having drinks with you, taking you to client dinners and/or lunches, having you carry the firm's name at corporate events. If you make them laugh, make them comfortable and/or give them the sense that they want to know more about you once the interview is over, you're in a good place. They're just people after all. Like you and me. Ask yourself who you would hire if you had your own firm.

 

Overall, just don't sweat the small stuff, and it's mostly small stuff.

 

Cheers,

Edited by he4dhuntr
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Posted (edited)

In law school, how many courses on average did you take per semester and per year ? 

For example, did your take 4 courses in the fall, 4 courses in the winter and one in the summer, for a total of nine per year?

Having recently been admitted, I'm considering this regimen, but I wonder how common it is for law students to do 5 courses per semester. 

Edited by almonet

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Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, almonet said:

In law school, how many courses on average did you take per semester and per year ? 

For example, did your take 4 courses in the fall, 4 courses in the winter and one in the summer, for a total of nine per year?

Having recently been admitted, I'm considering this regimen, but I wonder how common it is for law students to do 5 courses per semester. 

Hey!

It depends on what law school you've been accepted to. Many (most) offer a set course load in your first year. For instance, UdeM (at least when I studied there) was 5 courses per semester in the first year, and even a sixth at times (you can see the typical course load and path for UdeM here: https://admission.umontreal.ca/programmes/baccalaureat-en-droit/structure-du-programme/). I typically took five courses per semester and two in the summers since I wanted to fast-track the LL.B./J.D. degree. It's pretty common (probably the norm) to do 5 classes per semester.

Cheers,

Edited by he4dhuntr
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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, he4dhuntr said:

Hey!

It depends on what law school you've been accepted to. Many (most) offer a set course load in your first year. For instance, UdeM (at least when I studied there) was 5 courses per semester in the first year, and even a sixth at times (you can see the typical course load and path for UdeM here: https://admission.umontreal.ca/programmes/baccalaureat-en-droit/structure-du-programme/). I typically took five courses per semester and two in the summers since I wanted to fast-track the LL.B./J.D. degree. It's pretty common (probably the norm) to do 5 classes per semester.

Cheers,

 

Ok thanks, I could always speed things up beyond my comfort zone of 4 courses, especially if 5 courses is the norm. 

On the other hand, by September when I start, I'll already have completed 4 courses of the microprogram, so maybe I'd be able to complete all 35 credits in the first year without taking 5 courses per semester.

Edited by almonet

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On 21/04/2017 at 4:14 PM, almonet said:

On the other hand, by September when I start, I'll already have completed 4 courses of the microprogram, so maybe I'd be able to complete all 35 credits in the first year without taking 5 courses per semester.

UdeM forces you to complete your course load: 

Vous devez vous inscrire à tous les cours pour lesquels vous ne demandez pas de reconnaissance de crédits, en privilégiant les cours du bloc 70A (niveau 1000), puis les cours du bloc 70B (niveau 2000). Au besoin, vous complétez votre inscription avec des cours à option (niveau 3000).

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Hi he4dhuntr,

I had a few questions regarding options for law schools and general questions as well. I'm from Concordia, 3.49 Gpa history major.

1. Is the "bad" reputation of UQAM deserved?

2. I heard UdeM boosts your gpa based on the program you're applying from is this true? If so, how much of a "bonus", if any, would history get? 

3. My interest is in criminal law, would UQAM or UdeM be a better choice for this path? 

4. I know you don't know too much on admissions, but based on what you know, does a 3.49 gpa have a bad, ok or good chance of getting into UdeM or UQAM? 

Thats all I have for now, I'd like to thank you for the other responses given to everyone, you're a huge help and give great feedback!

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12 hours ago, Lawenthusiast said:

Hi he4dhuntr,

I had a few questions regarding options for law schools and general questions as well. I'm from Concordia, 3.49 Gpa history major.

1. Is the "bad" reputation of UQAM deserved?

2. I heard UdeM boosts your gpa based on the program you're applying from is this true? If so, how much of a "bonus", if any, would history get? 

3. My interest is in criminal law, would UQAM or UdeM be a better choice for this path? 

4. I know you don't know too much on admissions, but based on what you know, does a 3.49 gpa have a bad, ok or good chance of getting into UdeM or UQAM? 

Thats all I have for now, I'd like to thank you for the other responses given to everyone, you're a huge help and give great feedback!

Hey!

Glad I could be of some help. Here are my attempts at answering your questions:

1. Is the "bad" reputation of UQAM deserved?

In short, no. UQAM is a good school and you can come out of it successfully in pretty much all areas of law. The "bad" reputation it may have with some people is mostly due to the fact that it caters (and so attracts) more "socially-inclined" students. There are very few students from UQAM that even attempt the Course aux stages, because corporate law and "Big Law" aren't necessarily paths that interest most students who decide to go to UQAM. This number is however growing steadily I believe. Larger firms, in the past, have therefore not put much time and effort into visibility at UQAM and in attracting their students specifically. There are a lot less events organized by these firms at UQAM and for UQAM as compared to say UdeM and McGill. Even though UQAM remains "lower" in a lot of people's minds on the "hierarchy chart", I think it's slowly moving its way up. I see more students every year from UQAM doing the Course and more of these students being hired or being offered jobs at large firms. This is however anecdotal, as I don't have much of a sample size to go on. All-in-all, it's a good school and it will offer you the opportunities you want, just be aware that you may need to jump a few extra invisible hurdles at times when compared to other schools.

2. I heard UdeM boosts your gpa based on the program you're applying from is this true? If so, how much of a "bonus", if any, would history get? 

Most schools will take into account what degree you've studied in in order to evaluate your GPA in comparison to other candidates. I can't really tell you if there is an "official" GPA boosting process at UdeM however, nor can I speculate what that would be for a History major. I've also heard that they tend to be somewhat favourable towards UdeM alumni, but again, this is anecdotal. You can always ask admissions directly and see if they give you a straight answer. Or else, you can browse some accepted and/or admissions threads on this board and maybe the topic has been discussed at some length. I wouldn't however worry about things that are beyond your control. Do your best in whatever degree interests you, apply and hope for the best.

3. My interest is in criminal law, would UQAM or UdeM be a better choice for this path? 

I believe both schools will offer you opportunities in this field. I'm unfortunately not all that knowledgeable with respect to the criminal law field, or the way they go about recruitment. UdeM and McGill are definitely at the top of their class in Quebec (and McGill even more so Canada-wide and beyond), but I'm sure if you get good grades, get involved, build a network, etc. at UQAM, that you'll have the opportunities you're looking for. I don't have any statistics to base myself on with respect to criminal law hires.

4. I know you don't know too much on admissions, but based on what you know, does a 3.49 gpa have a bad, ok or good chance of getting into UdeM or UQAM? 

My admissions knowledge and experience is unfortunately dated, as my law school applications are a good 6-7 years behind me at this point. I believe a 3.49 is a decent GPA for law school admissions. As an example, I was admitted to UdeM from a B.Com. at Concordia with a 3.3-3.4 GPA (if I recall correctly). However, keeping a bit of track with the admissions threads in recent years, it seems as though it may be getting more competitive, and thus more difficult, to get accepted these days. Your best bet is to browse the recent admission threads on this board to get a sense of the stats that are being accepted, rejected and waitlisted in recent admissions cycles. Again though, try not to stress about things you can't control. Apply and hope for the best!

I hope that answers at least a few of your questions. Don't hesitate if you have any more!

Cheers,

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