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Hey Everyone!

 

Given the recent admin post about AMA threads, I thought I'd toss one in here in case it can help anyone.

 

I'm a 3L, originally from out west, and I've been involved in about as much school stuff as a person can be. I got a Bay St job in the 2L recruit, but I've been involved in public interest stuff as well, so hopefully I can address a range of job questions as well.

 

Happy to answer questions about pretty much anything. Feel free to PM me if you'd rather not make your question public.

 

AMAA!

Edited by NineOne
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Hi! What's your experience been with financial aid through the years? Was there a big change between what you got for your first year versus subsequent years?

 

Also - you're from out West. I'm also from away and am curious about the provision in in the financial aid for helping to cover costs of visiting home. Did you take advantage of that, and if you (or someone you know) did, is it as good as it sounds? (Money to help fly home for holidays sounds almost too good to be true.) 

 

Thanks so much - really glad a UoT student is doing one of these now!

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Hi! What's your experience been with financial aid through the years? Was there a big change between what you got for your first year versus subsequent years?

 

My first year I got nothing, due to a combination of having earned a fair bit that year, and my spouse's earnings. Fun fact: no matter hold you are, they will consider your parents income (to a lessening degree as you age, but still).

 

In my second year I received what I thought was a generous $10k or so. I'd earned very little over the previous summer, with no spousal income. Some friends got a fair bit more despite what I thought were similar circumstances, which I can't speak to, but some also got less.

 

Third year I actually got a bit more, about $12k, which was a surprise given my living on Bay St. In any event, contrary to what people say (and what might've been the case in the past), you don't necessarily get less in your later years.

 

 

Also - you're from out West. I'm also from away and am curious about the provision in in the financial aid for helping to cover costs of visiting home. Did you take advantage of that, and if you (or someone you know) did, is it as good as it sounds? (Money to help fly home for holidays sounds almost too good to be true.) 

 

It sounds more generous than it feels. On your financial aid form you check a box for being from out of Ontario, and fill in how much a round trip ticket costs, up to $1000 (I swear it was 1100 before...) within reason. So basically one trip is covered, for me.

 

Edit to add that the financial aid folk are among the most accommodating, understanding people in the law school. I have my cynical thoughts on the admin, but none of them about the Financial Aid team. They are amazing and incredibly helpful.

Edited by NineOne
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Hey, I have two questions:

 

1. Any tips on getting Hs or HHs as opposed to Ps? I know the basic strategies (learn exam writing, make a map, talk with the prof) but was there anything in particular that you found worked best?

 

2. How do the job prospects look for someone who finishes with all Ps? Will it be tougher for them to land a Bay Street or government position? In your experience, do students at U of T generally get interviews if they have all Ps, but a genuine interest in the area demonstrated by extracurriculars? 

 

Thanks for your time!

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Hey, I have two questions:

 

2. How do the job prospects look for someone who finishes with all Ps? Will it be tougher for them to land a Bay Street or government position? In your experience, do students at U of T generally get interviews if they have all Ps, but a genuine interest in the area demonstrated by extracurriculars? 

 

Thanks for your time!

People with all P's can get bay st jobs, its (obviously) not as easy as with better grades but not unheard off. Most Students at UofT will get some interviews from bay st firms so grades are not the end all and be all of the school (remember 55% of students are going to get a P in every class and around 70% of students get a biglaw offer SOMEWHERE, whether it be Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver or New York).   

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Hey, I have two questions:

 

1. Any tips on getting Hs or HHs as opposed to Ps? I know the basic strategies (learn exam writing, make a map, talk with the prof) but was there anything in particular that you found worked best?

 

2. How do the job prospects look for someone who finishes with all Ps? Will it be tougher for them to land a Bay Street or government position? In your experience, do students at U of T generally get interviews if they have all Ps, but a genuine interest in the area demonstrated by extracurriculars? 

 

Thanks for your time!

 

1. There's no magic bullet, but I'm a firm believer that *how* you answer exam questions is almost as important as what you say. Structure is really important because it demonstrates to the prof that you actually conceptually understand what's going on, and aren't throwing everything at the wall. Even if you don't fill in your whole outline (e.g. you've outlined aspects of a breach of contract remedy, but didn't get to all of them) you can still do well. Every prof will be different, so the best thing you can do is look at their past exams, and get your hands on past exam answers (they used to be with the librarians downstairs in Birge, I imagine they're in Bora now) in order to see what sorts of things they value in an answer.

 

2. The recruitment process from the student perspective is a bit of a black box. Like TheLawStudent said, people with all Ps do get Bay St jobs, but call it what it is: uncommon. The more grade-focused of the firms (you probably know which I mean) are almost certainly out. The rest it really depends. I also think it's reasonably fair to point out that "Bay St" and "Sisters or Equivalent" are not exactly the same thing. When people talk about "Bay St" firms, it's usually full service firms (which speaks to your EC point- what did you have in mind? Most of these firms do everything, so a laser focus at the student stage risks making you look disingenuous)

 

The best piece of advice I think I can give, but I'm absolutely not any kind of authority, is to network the hell out of it. Go to every open house (check on utlawcareers throughout the spring and summer for dates and registration, but don't count on that alone, check the student sections of firm websites if you don't see them on UTLC). Talk to the recruiter (just talk, you're not there to get hired), but also to lawyers. Find someone at an open house who does something interesting or that you're interested in, chat, email them later and go for coffee. If you're friends with an upper year summering at a firm you're interested in, ask them to give you a tour and introduce you to people (including the recruiter). Everyone involved in the whole process is super helpful. Get in touch and they're almost always happy to chat, and if you keep in touch they'll remember.

 

I think what you'll find if you do that is that not only will the firms get to know and like you (assuming you're a decent and decently interesting person), but you'll start to get a much better sense of what you actually want. Those two things will put you significantly ahead of the game as far as P transcripts go.

 

The second best piece of advice in my mind is to be interesting! Put some cool hobbies and interests on your resume. Remember that your application (cover letter, resume, transcript) should be designed to make the person reading say, "I want to meet this person!" If it doesn't, they'll probably move on to the next one.

 

Beyond that, I think TLS's 70% number is a bit high for the 2L recruit (even counting the other cities), but maybe not significantly so. Also, 55% of each class get Ps, I'd wager significantly fewer than 55% of all students get all Ps.

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Beyond that, I think TLS's 70% number is a bit high for the 2L recruit (even counting the other cities), but maybe not significantly so. Also, 55% of each class get Ps, I'd wager significantly fewer than 55% of all students get all Ps.

Ah, I also forgot that the 2L numbers include 1L summer students and non-bay st jobs so 70% in probably inflated. My Mistake!

Edited by TheLawStudent
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Hey, I have two questions:

 

1. Any tips on getting Hs or HHs as opposed to Ps? I know the basic strategies (learn exam writing, make a map, talk with the prof) but was there anything in particular that you found worked best?

 

2. How do the job prospects look for someone who finishes with all Ps? Will it be tougher for them to land a Bay Street or government position? In your experience, do students at U of T generally get interviews if they have all Ps, but a genuine interest in the area demonstrated by extracurriculars? 

 

Thanks for your time!

Not OP, but a 2L at U of T so I figured I would chime in. 

 

1. Practice exams. Realize you need to argue both sides. Realize that the whole point of law school fact patterns is that the answer isn't clear. My exams all have a very repetitive pattern: A will argue XYZ, B will argue EFG, A will probably win because whatever. 

 

Also, maps are helpful in preventing you from needing to use mnemonics to memorize a 7 point test. But they aren't a guide to an exam. P students tend to just regurgitate their maps. You need to be able to know about the test ahead of time so you can't spot the issue. You need to have the material in your head as you read the fact pattern. If you don't know the material, you have studied enough. 

 

2. Depends on context. Want to practice at a small firm doing a specific thing (e.g. real estate?). Demonstrated interest is very important. Want to work at Davies / BLG / Faskens? Those grades would hurt you badly. I feel like TheLawStudent understated the impact of straight P's. I know several people who had 7 p's or 6 p's and 1h, and they all 1-2 interviews (at smaller firms) during the process. I know of only one person who got straight P's who has a 'biglaw' job, and that was in Vancouver. 

 

 

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2. Depends on context. Want to practice at a small firm doing a specific thing (e.g. real estate?). Demonstrated interest is very important. Want to work at Davies / BLG / Faskens? Those grades would hurt you badly. I feel like TheLawStudent understated the impact of straight P's. I know several people who had 7 p's or 6 p's and 1h, and they all 1-2 interviews (at smaller firms) during the process. I know of only one person who got straight P's who has a 'biglaw' job, and that was in Vancouver. 

 

I agree 100% with Ambit's thoughts on exams, but thought I'd add some nuance to #2...

 

Straight Ps is a bad transcript, there are no two ways around it. However, and while I say it to qualify or support my positions as well, you have to be careful with "I know people who..." As it happens, I know a number of people working in big law in Toronto (including people in Ambit's class and including at least one of Ambit's example firms) who had all Ps or all Ps and only one H. They are exceptions, and I don't want to create false hopes or expectations, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless.

 

The important thing is that no matter the odds, you won't skate in on a P-filled transcript. Every one of those people I mentioned has a very unique background (work/employment or otherwise) and/or did what I suggested above (which is why I suggest it, not because I suggested it to them!). Also remember that if you get yourself to the OCI stage, all bets are off, so you really need to focus on that first hurdle.

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I agree 100% with Ambit's thoughts on exams, but thought I'd add some nuance to #2...

 

Straight Ps is a bad transcript, there are no two ways around it. However, and while I say it to qualify or support my positions as well, you have to be careful with "I know people who..." As it happens, I know a number of people working in big law in Toronto (including people in Ambit's class and including at least one of Ambit's example firms) who had all Ps or all Ps and only one H. They are exceptions, and I don't want to create false hopes or expectations, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless.

 

The important thing is that no matter the odds, you won't skate in on a P-filled transcript. Every one of those people I mentioned has a very unique background (work/employment or otherwise) and/or did what I suggested above (which is why I suggest it, not because I suggested it to them!). Also remember that if you get yourself to the OCI stage, all bets are off, so you really need to focus on that first hurdle.

Ya I didn't mean to suggest it was impossible, but students have complained to the school fails to illustrate how important grades are. They are very important, although not determinative. 

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Hey, I have two questions:

 

1. Any tips on getting Hs or HHs as opposed to Ps? I know the basic strategies (learn exam writing, make a map, talk with the prof) but was there anything in particular that you found worked best?

 

2. How do the job prospects look for someone who finishes with all Ps? Will it be tougher for them to land a Bay Street or government position? In your experience, do students at U of T generally get interviews if they have all Ps, but a genuine interest in the area demonstrated by extracurriculars? 

 

Thanks for your time!

 

Another 3L here so I figured I'd add my 2 cents.

 

1) Honestly, because you're graded on a curve I feel like sometimes this can be a bit of a crapshoot, and I know most of my colleagues have often felt the same. I've handed in papers that I feel are the worst things I've written in university, and it'll come back with an HH and a note from the prof telling me that I should submit it for publication, and I've had papers that I think are really strong come back with Ps or Hs. Similarly, I've had exams in my best subjects come back with just Ps, and an exam in a class that to this day I still don't understand and that I thought I'd be happy to get a P on come back with an HH (I can really just assume that all my peers were equally bad at Biz Org that semester...).

Sure, there's definitely ways you can make it more likely you'll get an H or HH - make sure you know your stuff on exams, make sure you organize your answers, make sure you do proper research on your papers and can get nuance out of case law, etc. But at the end of the day there's no secret to who's getting the better marks - we've all been in school for a few years now so you know generally how to study and write papers. Once you learn how to do it in law school, it's really just a matter of doing the work and being thorough.

 

2) I have to kind of echo my colleagues here. It'll be hard to get a Bay St job with straight Ps. I'd say almost impossible to get the highly coveted super competitive jobs, and just plain hard for any. But not impossible, and I too know some people who've gotten them. I know one girl who had basically straight Ps get only 2 interviews during OCIs and yet come out with a job at one of the Seven Sisters, and while she's super likeable she doesn't have absurdly awesome ECs or network her butt off. It happens, but don't go in thinking it'll be easy or a done deal. Better grades definitely translates to an easier time getting interviews and probably jobs. Though on the other hand I know people who had straight Hs/HHs, who've won class awards, etc. and still couldn't get an articling job even after getting lots of interviews.

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As someone who isn't from Toronto, I was curious where you would recommend to live? (Note: i am not going to have access to my own car)

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As someone who isn't from Toronto, I was curious where you would recommend to live? (Note: i am not going to have access to my own car)

Good. Given you'll be going to U of T it would only be a hassle.

 

It depends a lot on pricing. If you want to live within walking distance of u of t (I'm not sure where the faculty is actually located on campus...) then either Kensington or annex or, at a stretch, as far East as yonge st which would make it a 20-30 minute walk. Generally you don't want to live any further east than yonge street (exception: the village) because it's run down and one of the poorest areas in Toronto ranging from St James town to regent and anything in between really. Further east than Parliament and it starts to get better and even great the further you go, but note that u of t is in the west end and transit sucks in Toronto.

 

Queen west before ossington and west of yonge could work but then you're further south and again would require a longer walk.

 

If you have any more questions feel free to PM me. I've lived in various neighborhoods in Toronto, from very good to very bad to anywhere in between, for most of my life so I can be of help. Get the location right and this city is a blast. Get it wrong, well, there's always uber and quitting your lease once it's up ;).

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As someone who isn't from Toronto, I was curious where you would recommend to live? (Note: i am not going to have access to my own car)

 

I think pzabbythesecond generally spot on for most people's preferences, and I agree that transit is terrible making 20-30min a reasonable upper limit for walking.

 

In the end, it really depends more on what you want in terms of commute, and also what you like doing. If you like studying at home, maybe live closer. If you don't mind grinding out most days on campus (which was my 1L), then it doesn't matter as much. Pack a bag and settle in. If you like having cool restaurants and bars around, then Kensington and the Annex are fantastic, or Little Italy (though that's pushing the 30min a bit). 

 

I haven't quite lived all over, but I've lived about 30 min (walking) east, west, and south of campus at various times, so I'm happy to help narrow it down if you can provide a bit more detail about your wants/needs.

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Hi! I was wondering if you could comment on the atmosphere at the law school. Is it really as competitive as people portray it to be? If you could also comment on how accessible the resources (research, readings, course materials etc) are that would be great. I did my undergrad at U of T and most things were posted on Blackboard, so I'm wondering if its going to be the same. 

 

Thanks!

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Hi! I was wondering if you could comment on the atmosphere at the law school. Is it really as competitive as people portray it to be? If you could also comment on how accessible the resources (research, readings, course materials etc) are that would be great. I did my undergrad at U of T and most things were posted on Blackboard, so I'm wondering if its going to be the same.

 

Thanks!

The competition issue has been dealt with to a large extent on this forum so I won't say more other than it has been largely exaggerated. As for blackboard profs don't use lecture slides so there isint anything to post. Readings are pretty assessable. If you can't make it to class most students will happily lend their notes to you. Edited by TheLawStudent

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Hi! I was wondering if you could comment on the atmosphere at the law school. Is it really as competitive as people portray it to be? If you could also comment on how accessible the resources (research, readings, course materials etc) are that would be great. I did my undergrad at U of T and most things were posted on Blackboard, so I'm wondering if its going to be the same. 

 

Thanks!

 

The 3Ls make fun of TheLawStudents' class (1Ls) for being intense, but I think that's pretty standard 3L-1L relations. Really what TLS said is spot on. It's not competitive like how people imagine it. Don't misunderstand, law school is inherently competitive, but even in 1L before exams people were happy to share notes, summaries, maps, etc. 

 

Personally, there's nothing I'd like more than for everyone to enjoy wild success, and so I do what I can to help others. I think just about everyone else feels the same way, because I see the same out of most other people in the school. 

 

As for Blackboard stuff, in my 1L year a few of my profs used slides, but they weren't like undergrad, you'd still need to attend or have notes. That being said, there are upper year summaries for every class (other than those with brand new profs), and briefs for just about every case you'd ever come across, so it's easy to find supplementary notes.

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Hi! I was wondering if you could comment on the atmosphere at the law school. Is it really as competitive as people portray it to be? If you could also comment on how accessible the resources (research, readings, course materials etc) are that would be great. I did my undergrad at U of T and most things were posted on Blackboard, so I'm wondering if its going to be the same. 

 

Thanks!

Yeah, the whole competitive thing is basically a myth that I don't understand in the least. I mean sure, we're law students so we like to do well, etc. but I've never come across anyone who wasn't super helpful or willing to share notes, help explain a concept, etc.

 

Like the others have said, there aren't usually lecture slides or if there are they're really not helpful on their own. A lot of my profs posted readings on Blackboard if we weren't exclusively relying on a single book (I had about a 50/50 split between classes that use just one textbook or casebook, and classes that use readings or cases from all over and therefore just post things on Blackboard). First year was mostly casebooks so not a lot of use for Blackboard, but after that it depends. I find black letter law courses tend to rely more on books while other courses rely more on cases or posted articles.

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Hello all, 

 

Long time observer of the forum and forever nervous about getting into U of T or Osgoode. Currently an undergraduate student going into 3rd year at the University of Ottawa. 

 

In regards to peoples B3 GPAs: If a student is applying to law school while starting their fourth year of their undergraduate degree (as most do), how is the B3 calculated if the final year is not yet reported? Do they just use your first, second, and third year final grades? Do they only take your second and third year grades?

 

My first year grades were absolute garbage (6.7/10, or a 2.7/4 GPA), but my 2nd year grades and presumably my third year grades are 3.8-3.9 GPA. I have extremely strong ECs (started my own business and a non-profit, engaged with campus clubs and volunteering, government work experience, etc.). How likely is it that I will be accepted to U of T because of my first year grades? 

 

Any and all advice is very much appreciated. 

 

Thanks!

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How likely is it that I will be accepted to U of T because of my first year grades? 

 

You might find some input in this thread, but for myself, I'm certainly not qualified to answer this question. You'll probably get a better answer searching the "chances" threads, or posting your own.

 

Good luck!

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