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US biglaw attorneys taking questions [merged]


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#76 7ED

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 02:35 PM

I was not aware that the NCA exams were something that could be done while working. This is really good information and I think is really pertinent for those who are deciding between US or Canadian schools with the intent to return to Canada.

 

I agree that NY will have better exit options, especially into international markets. Bay st. seems limited in providing good exit options mostly in Canada. On the bright side I don't really think you can go wrong with either UofT or NYU as either school is going to put you in a really great position to work as an attorney.

 

I think it would also be worth considering NYU's biglaw placement. I used to operate under the assumption that any T6 was guaranteed Biglaw but have recently been told that this is not necessarily the case. Maybe someone who knows more about American schools can speak to this.   

Ya not necessarily the case. I have more than one friend who graduated from a T-6 and had significant difficulty finding a job. My comparison was more biglaw vs. not-biglaw, and I agree, Bay St. will offer you great exit options in Canada but is more limited internationally.

Also, considering there are simply no better alternatives for those who are actually set about wanting to be a lawyer, focusing on the downsides of going to U of T or going to a T-6 school is pretty pointless. There is no such thing as a completely risk-free option.


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#77 Goldfinch

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 06:51 AM

Hi,

 

Thanks for all the info so far - I'm trying to choose a school for the fall, and I have a couple general questions I'd love some help with. If I sound like an idiot, or have made some silly assumptions I'm sorry in advance.

 

1) When people speak about having more options internationally - is this referring to options to work for international agencies (UN, WHO,WTO etc.), or to work on cross-border files? I'm under the impression that in the vast majority of cases, a law degree isn't transferable - so I assume we aren't talking about the option to actually work in a different country. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

2) If anyone has had the chance to live in NY and Toronto - is the cost of living relatively similar? Rent prices for students seem somewhat similar, but I honestly have no idea.

 

3) For those of you that went to school in the US - were you able to access Canadian loans (Federal/Provincial Student Loans etc.)? I've received conflicting information and I didn't get a clear answer when I called asking.

 

For context, I'm deciding between UofT at cost (I won't qualify for aid year1, and probably not year2, either), NYU with a 25000/year scholarship and Columbia (aid request pending).

I have no preference between living/working in NY vs. Toronto in the short term ( <10 years).

I'm not certain on the type of law I want to practise.

 

Thanks!



#78 TheLawStudent

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 06:17 PM

Hi,

 

Thanks for all the info so far - I'm trying to choose a school for the fall, and I have a couple general questions I'd love some help with. If I sound like an idiot, or have made some silly assumptions I'm sorry in advance.

 

1) When people speak about having more options internationally - is this referring to options to work for international agencies (UN, WHO,WTO etc.), or to work on cross-border files? I'm under the impression that in the vast majority of cases, a law degree isn't transferable - so I assume we aren't talking about the option to actually work in a different country. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

2) If anyone has had the chance to live in NY and Toronto - is the cost of living relatively similar? Rent prices for students seem somewhat similar, but I honestly have no idea.

 

3) For those of you that went to school in the US - were you able to access Canadian loans (Federal/Provincial Student Loans etc.)? I've received conflicting information and I didn't get a clear answer when I called asking.

 

For context, I'm deciding between UofT at cost (I won't qualify for aid year1, and probably not year2, either), NYU with a 25000/year scholarship and Columbia (aid request pending).

I have no preference between living/working in NY vs. Toronto in the short term ( <10 years).

I'm not certain on the type of law I want to practise.

 

Thanks!

I cant speak to many of the points but with respect to the first point we are mostly referring to other countries. This is because New York firms tend to have offices in many cities so it is easier to go to other countries. You probably won't be able to work as a general litigator in Singapore with a NYU degree but if you want to work in the Singapore office of a US firm it is easier to get there from New York than Toronto. Some Bay street firms tends to have offices in other countries but they are much more limited and they tend to hire grads from that country. 

 

Obviously if your goal is just to work in a specific country there is no doubt that it is better to study in that country. I also don't know how easy it is to transfer between offices from New York but I hear they pay NY rates so money should not be an issue. 



#79 theycancallyouhoju

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Posted 17 April 2016 - 08:53 PM

Hi,

 

Thanks for all the info so far - I'm trying to choose a school for the fall, and I have a couple general questions I'd love some help with. If I sound like an idiot, or have made some silly assumptions I'm sorry in advance.

 

1) When people speak about having more options internationally - is this referring to options to work for international agencies (UN, WHO,WTO etc.), or to work on cross-border files? I'm under the impression that in the vast majority of cases, a law degree isn't transferable - so I assume we aren't talking about the option to actually work in a different country. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

2) If anyone has had the chance to live in NY and Toronto - is the cost of living relatively similar? Rent prices for students seem somewhat similar, but I honestly have no idea.

 

3) For those of you that went to school in the US - were you able to access Canadian loans (Federal/Provincial Student Loans etc.)? I've received conflicting information and I didn't get a clear answer when I called asking.

 

For context, I'm deciding between UofT at cost (I won't qualify for aid year1, and probably not year2, either), NYU with a 25000/year scholarship and Columbia (aid request pending).

I have no preference between living/working in NY vs. Toronto in the short term ( <10 years).

I'm not certain on the type of law I want to practise.

 

Thanks!

 

I'll take a stab.

 

1. I'm unclear on whether the premise of this question is going to HYS or Columbia, or working for a NY big law firm, but in either case the answer is "yes to both and all of the above". The top US law schools simply send more people to any cool organization you can think of - Harvard is a lot better recognized than McGill by essentially everyone, despite what the sweatshirt your mom buys when she drops you off on campus says (*I attended U of T, so I'm basing my knowledge of this on colleagues and organizations I now do work with in free time). Working for an NY firm can (though not necessarily will) give you more access to working on cross-border transactions and litigation with an international dimension. First there is the fact that NY is the legal hub for much of the world's international business. Second, when NY and Toronto are both involved in some cross-border project, it's generally NY that takes the lead in most ways (sometimes much to my compatriots' chagrin). Finally, U.S. industry is just a bit more international by nature - Canada's major business is oil, minerals, natural resources, not investment banking and tech.

 

Re: working abroad - The bigger NY firms generally have foreign offices that employ both a local staff (who generally work on a local pay scale) and lawyers they bring in from NYC. Where applicable (i.e. anywhere outside London), they will require you to have language and cultural competency, and generally some familiarity with the business and/or law that office generally deals in. You don't need to know PRC contract law to work in Hong Kong, but it doesn't hurt to know what a VIE is, how to set one up and why many clients are setting one up.

 

2. No. NY is much more expensive. Particularly on rent.

 

3. I can't answer this one.

 

If you have no preference between working in NY or Toronto, and you're not even very sure you'd like to be a corporate lawyer, I would lean toward U of T. The debt burden will be much lower. The only justification I can get behind for an extra $100,000 in debt (or whatever it ends up being) is a career you really want to pursue.



#80 BallLaw

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 11:24 PM

I realize this is very focused on NYC. But that's the market that tends to hire the most Canadian law grads from Canadian law schools. Some do go to Boston and a few have gone to California but the most common entry point is NYC. 

Do you know how difficult it would be to get in with a California firm? Would it be more beneficial to go to a west coast law school?



#81 BBSG

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 01:53 PM

I'll jump in to reply too as I procrastinate on exams. 3L HLS with biglaw lined up in NY after grad.

1. What they all said above. If you really mean the agencies in particular, I'd go with the added caveat that when it comes to working for international agencies (WHO/UN/etc) being multilingual is more important than law school. A six-language speaking UofT grad will land the job over a unilingual Harvard grad every time. NYU apparently has good international law classes that could probably connect you / network you in, but I wouldn't overstate how far that would take you. Languages reign supreme.

2. Words cannot describe how much more expensive NY is. People who think Toronto is expensive have never lived in a major US city or London, jesus christ.

3. Yes, but the exchange rate will likely kill you + the amount of aid is calibrated to Canadian tuition so you'll come up well short. You're gonna need aid from Columbia or NYU, and i'm not convinced they'll offer enough of it. H/Y/S all offer internationals aid that is comparable to US federal aid, so if those were on the table I'd be more optimistic from an aid point-of-view.

If you're above median at Columbia or NYU, though, you're basically guaranteed a $31k income in your 2L summer should you so-elect. So keep that in mind.


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#82 jswagbo

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 09:07 AM

Hi,

Thanks for all the info so far - I'm trying to choose a school for the fall, and I have a couple general questions I'd love some help with. If I sound like an idiot, or have made some silly assumptions I'm sorry in advance.

1) When people speak about having more options internationally - is this referring to options to work for international agencies (UN, WHO,WTO etc.), or to work on cross-border files? I'm under the impression that in the vast majority of cases, a law degree isn't transferable - so I assume we aren't talking about the option to actually work in a different country. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

2) If anyone has had the chance to live in NY and Toronto - is the cost of living relatively similar? Rent prices for students seem somewhat similar, but I honestly have no idea.

3) For those of you that went to school in the US - were you able to access Canadian loans (Federal/Provincial Student Loans etc.)? I've received conflicting information and I didn't get a clear answer when I called asking.

For context, I'm deciding between UofT at cost (I won't qualify for aid year1, and probably not year2, either), NYU with a 25000/year scholarship and Columbia (aid request pending).
I have no preference between living/working in NY vs. Toronto in the short term ( <10 years).
I'm not certain on the type of law I want to practise.

Thanks!


I don't think NYU offers enough benefits to justify the cost differential with U of T. At 25k/yr it still costs more than U of T. The amount of debt you graduate with will chain you to NYC biglaw for a significant period of time.

Fwiw I basically got the same amount of money from NYU. 75K with a possibility of 15k more if I chose a low paying 2L job. I declined for a full-tuition at a lower t14 but U of T was wayy higher on my list.

#83 conge

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 09:52 AM

See above. Ask me anything. I will not offer any identifying information.

 

I hope this isn't distasteful: How much was the total cost of law school (not including UG debt, if any)? And how much was starting salary?



#84 BBSG

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 09:01 PM

I hope this isn't distasteful: How much was the total cost of law school (not including UG debt, if any)? And how much was starting salary?

My debt attributable to law school (tuition + cost of living loans) = 139.5k. First year salary = 160k + (pretty small to start) bonus. All figures USD. This is because HLS has pretty decent financial aid, all in all. ymmv if your parents make real dough, etc.


Edited by BBSG, 28 April 2016 - 09:01 PM.

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#85 conge

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Posted 29 April 2016 - 05:14 AM

My debt attributable to law school (tuition + cost of living loans) = 139.5k. First year salary = 160k + (pretty small to start) bonus. All figures USD. This is because HLS has pretty decent financial aid, all in all. ymmv if your parents make real dough, etc.

 

Big debt but your first year salary is more than debt incurred, I'd say it's prob worth it. Would be tough to do HLS and then work in Canada though I bet...



#86 BBSG

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Posted 29 April 2016 - 05:58 AM

Yeah, I thought it was worth it with aid. I don't think it'd be worth it at sticker unless you really wanted to be in the States after graduation, in which case HLS over a Canadian school is a no-brainer.

Everyone I know who wanted to come to Canada (like 5 in my graduating class) had job offers on Bay Street. Myself included. There's an extra hoop to jump through with NCA exams but it's manageable. If you want to work in Canada it's preferable to go to a school in Canada, but HLS certainly doesn't close the door. (To emphasize for anyone reading this in the future and on the fence: if you are 100% sure you want to end up in Canada, it's stupid to go to HLS even though it doesn't close the door). It's typical for people who want to work in Canada to split their 2L summer -- 5 weeks or so at a firm in NY and 5 weeks or so at a firm in Canada, generally securing offers at both. 

Alternatively, HLS places decently with ONCA / BCSC / SCC historically, so there's the clerkship route if you want to border hop.


Edited by BBSG, 29 April 2016 - 06:02 AM.

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#87 Goldfinch

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 01:23 PM

Hi All, 

 

Thanks for the advice - it will definitely be helpful in the decision making process. 



#88 Iwanttolawschool

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Posted 07 May 2016 - 06:01 PM

Was on this forum last year and debating US v. CAN for law school as a Canadian. Ultimately went with the US school, got a 1L Biglaw SA with mediocre grades and no work experience. Being a Canadian wasn't an issue for any firms I interviewed with; I got 4 offers out of about 10 interviews.

If you want to live in Canada, go to a Canadian school. If you're indifferent/want to live in the US - go to a T14 (or UofT for NY)



#89 Marlo

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 11:00 PM

Its generally not the best idea to go to UofT with the expectation you will work in NY. This year we placed 17 out of 200 students and the students who are getting NY offers are at the very top of the class. I would recommend going to any T14 over UofT if you want NY. Unfortunately, apart from HYS there aren't any schools that are going to keep all your options open in a completely efficient manner, I say HYS because they seem to have very good financial aid and debt repayment programs. But the debate between NYU and UofT will almost exclusively come down to NY versus TO.

 

Neither school seems especially adept at placing students in the other market.   

Are UofT students only applying to the ones that actively recruit at UofT? Cause from what I've seen, its mainly grade selective firms that actively recruit like Cravath, Skadden, Paul Weiss. 



#90 This_is_Sparta

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 08:18 AM

Are UofT students only applying to the ones that actively recruit at UofT? Cause from what I've seen, its mainly grade selective firms that actively recruit like Cravath, Skadden, Paul Weiss. 

 

I think so... but i know several U of T grads who got jobs at Skadden and other big firms outside of the recruitment process. They simply applied online and were hired. 



#91 Marlo

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Posted 08 June 2016 - 08:58 PM

That there 180k sure sweetens the pot