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stark9696

D+ average in 1L: Feel Broken

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10 minutes ago, StudentLife said:

So people can't get a job after law school that pays more than 0 or 30k? High school graduates at Wal-Mart as associates make more than that! Pretty much any generic government job such as admin assistant pays like 50k+. Speaking in Alberta of course. Legal Assistant 60k+. The minimum is pretty much in the 60ks for most regular government jobs for example. Anything requiring an advanced degree or where one is an asset jumps to 75k+. 

I meant a law job, obviously. If they choose to do law school and then give up on the law and go work at Wal-Mart or as an admin or legal assistant, they can do that, but they didn't need a 100K+ education and 3 years of their life to do that. So some will try to salvage that investment or protect it by summering or articling for free if that's all they can get. 

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1 hour ago, StudentLife said:

So people can't get a job after law school that pays more than 0 or 30k? High school graduates at Wal-Mart as associates make more than that! Pretty much any generic government job such as admin assistant pays like 50k+. Speaking in Alberta of course. Legal Assistant 60k+. The minimum is pretty much in the 60ks for most regular government jobs for example. Anything requiring an advanced degree or where one is an asset jumps to 75k+. 

Yeah. No. I'm quibbling a bit, here, but even over-estimating what someone earns by $10k/year can set up unrealistic expectations. I agree that working full-time at Wal-Mart or similar should approach $30k. That's going to be the new minimum wage in Ontario soon. But I disagree that having any kind of "real" job starts at $50k. The salary band for a real job of almost any sort probably goes up to $50k, but that's not where people start straight out of school - I mean, some may well start there, but it's hardly the guarantee. And your estimate of what legal assistants earn might be accurate as far as large firms go, but looking only at assistants working at large firms is no more logical than only looking at lawyers in large firms. Many don't work there.

Anyway, I say that to emphasize that while it's fine to have certain expectations and ambitions, regarding what you want to earn, you don't want to distort the overall marketplace in your own mind because it will lead to poor decision-making. There are areas of law where a first year associate just has no hope of being worth more than $50-60k to the practice, allowing for overhead, etc. Now you can say it isn't fair as compared to what some people earn doing other things. You can say you wouldn't want that job and you prefer to do other things that pay better. It's fine for you to decide that for yourself. But walking in with the expectation that ... what? A first year associate will surely be offered at least $70k+ because the assistant must be making $60k? Yeah, that's going to cause you problems.

As compared to some other sorts of work, the real value of a lawyer goes up rapidly in the first few years. So, assuming the lawyer is (a) competent, and (b) employed in a position that can fully utilize their time and talents, a lawyer's income should increase rapidly as well in those first few years. But your ideas about where it must start are probably high.

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8 minutes ago, Diplock said:

And your estimate of what legal assistants earn might be accurate as far as large firms go, but looking only at assistants working at large firms is no more logical than only looking at lawyers in large firms. Many don't work there.

Seriously!!! Many articling students at firms that aren't on Bay Street don't make $60k, why would that person assume legal assistants make anywhere near there 

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2 minutes ago, bunnnnnnn said:

Seriously!!! Many articling students at firms that aren't on Bay Street don't make $60k, why would that person assume legal assistants make anywhere near there 

Mine sure doesn't! 

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51 minutes ago, bunnnnnnn said:

Seriously!!! Many articling students at firms that aren't on Bay Street don't make $60k, why would that person assume legal assistants make anywhere near there 

Well, I don't disagree with you agreeing with me, but I find the contrast you used problematic. Specifically, you seem to be saying that because articling students aren't making X, a legal assistant can't make X+. Or, to simplify, you're suggesting it's a safe assumption that articling students earn more than legal assistants. Now I'm not even sure if that's a constant in major firms. But it's definitely not a safe bet as you move down market.

Not to beat the point to death, but part of the problem here and elsewhere is that people want to assume there's some kind of natural justice at play, and there just isn't. Well, unless you believe in the natural justice of the free market as some kind of guiding good. But that aside, what people are paid is in large part dictated by what they are worth in terms of creating value. And it is frequently the case that a good assistant is worth much more than an articling student, and even more than a first year associate. I'd go as far as saying that even in large firms, if articling students and fresh calls are paid more than assistants, that isn't a reflection of their real value so much as an investment in the future. In the immediate term, the assistant is worth far more.

Just something to keep in mind.

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1 hour ago, Diplock said:

Well, I don't disagree with you agreeing with me, but I find the contrast you used problematic. Specifically, you seem to be saying that because articling students aren't making X, a legal assistant can't make X+. Or, to simplify, you're suggesting it's a safe assumption that articling students earn more than legal assistants. Now I'm not even sure if that's a constant in major firms. But it's definitely not a safe bet as you move down market.

Not to beat the point to death, but part of the problem here and elsewhere is that people want to assume there's some kind of natural justice at play, and there just isn't. Well, unless you believe in the natural justice of the free market as some kind of guiding good. But that aside, what people are paid is in large part dictated by what they are worth in terms of creating value. And it is frequently the case that a good assistant is worth much more than an articling student, and even more than a first year associate. I'd go as far as saying that even in large firms, if articling students and fresh calls are paid more than assistants, that isn't a reflection of their real value so much as an investment in the future. In the immediate term, the assistant is worth far more.

Just something to keep in mind.

My assistant is worth WAY more to me than an articling student, and I'd be unlikely to hire a new law grad for that job.

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I think that's an important point: going to law school doesn't necessarily qualify you to be an excellent legal assistant just because you went to law school. First of all, legal assistants need specific skills, for which they train. Law students don't necessarily learn or have those skills. Secondly, if I have a law grad applying to me to be my legal assistant, I'm either thinking they're a failure as a law student so why would I want them as an assistant over someone who had that as their goal, or I'm worried that they won't be committed and will bolt as soon as they get the chance to article.

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8 hours ago, providence said:

I meant a law job, obviously. If they choose to do law school and then give up on the law and go work at Wal-Mart or as an admin or legal assistant, they can do that, but they didn't need a 100K+ education and 3 years of their life to do that. So some will try to salvage that investment or protect it by summering or articling for free if that's all they can get. 

I was thinking more along the lines of you have to pay back the student loans and make a living so if an appropriate articling position leading to an associateship doesn't present itself, then the financially prudent option is to take a regular jab that pays a certain amount needed to cover the loan payments and expenses. Working for free or minimum wage for a year doesn't allow one to live, nor does it even guarantee a job after (composite articles or when there are no associate positions), so I don't get how that's a viable financial option. It's true lawyers will make a lot more down the line (potentially), but those lawyers typically found a good articling position in the first place.

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I wonder if we are prone to overestimate the desirability of a person who has a work history of waiting tables and a law degree as an employee of any worth above minimum wage. 

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I wasn't trying to suggest that law students should become legal assistants. I was just trying to provide a financial comparison of the articling or 30k articling positions versus what else is out there. I have compiled a sample list of regular job postings within government as to illustrate this point. Law graduates should be able to get an interview and potentially be hired for any of these positions as the education will be equivalent to experience on a 1 on 1 year basis. It depends on exactly how much education they have and also any work experience for the higher level ones. The point is simply to highlight that financially it would be unacceptable to be paid anything under 40k or work for free when there are better alternatives. Keep in mind that any of those positions can lead to even better internal positions after a year or two (or perhaps a few years) of experience. The listed salaries don't include benefits and pension payouts etc. Nor do they account for 7h work days with no evenings and no weekends. If someone gets an awesome articling position, then go for it. But if not, there are better career options out there than articling for free or at minimum wage with no benefits or job certainty. This is just a limited sample of some types of positions and pay ranges.

PROVINCIAL

High School Only
Administrative Assistant
Salary
$1,691.44 to $2,066.65 bi-weekly ($44,147 to $53,940 annually)
Qualifications
High school diploma plus 2 years of related experience in office administration
Equivalencies will be considered.


Service Request Coordinator    
Administrative Support 5
Salary
$1,843.28 to $2,256.80 bi-weekly ($48,109.60 to $58,902.48 annually)
Qualifications
High school diploma and three years of related experience. 
Equivalencies may be considered are as follows: one year of education for one year of experience.


University
Family Court Counsellor
Salary
$2,532.32 to $3,273.50 bi-weekly
Qualifications
Bachelor of Social Work Degree with some related experience. Extensive knowledge of domestic violence dynamics, safety screening, the Family Law Act and Provincial Family Court processes, are required; equivalencies will be considered. Knowledge of conflict resolution, mediation skills and techniques.
Equivalency: Master of Social Work Degree (no experience required); OR related University Degree and 2 years related experience; OR related Diploma and 3 years related experience; OR related Certificate and 4 years related experience.


Compliance Officer, Filing Compliance and Collections
Salary
$2,588.03-$3,394.66 bi-weekly ($67,547-$88,600 annually)
Qualifications
Completion of a two year diploma in a related field is required. Preference will be given to candidates with experience in a collections environment. Experience using the Microsoft Office Suite of applications (Outlook, Word, and Excel) is also required.
Knowledge of Federal and Provincial Corporate and Commodity Tax Legislation would be a definite asset. 
Equivalencies will be considered on the basis of:
1 year of education for 1 year of experience

Policy Analyst (Multiple Positions)
Salary
$2,775.64 - $3,638.48 bi-weekly. ($72,444 - $94,964 per annum)
Qualifications
University Degree in health related field (Public Policy, Political Science, Health Care or Health Care Administration or other related discipline) supplemented by a minimum of 4 years of progressively responsible related experience is required. Experience in a policy development environment would be considered an asset as would demonstrated familiarity in describing and defining health quality standards. Equivalencies will be considered on the basis of :
1 year of education for 1 year of experience

FEDERAL
Analyst
$65,950 to $80,650 per year
Undergraduate degree and (2) year(s) of experience
NOTE: Any higher level of education (i.e.: Masters, Doctorate) in a related field of study could be recognized as experience)
Experience (within the last five (5) years) in the areas of analysis and research*, and client service delivery.
For this criterion, analysis and research experience is defined as experience in researching information via research tools or open sources and experience in analyzing the information in order to draw inferences and make recommendations.

Analyst
$75,330 to $91,650
Undergraduate degree and four (4) years of experience*
*Experience in conducting in-depth research and analysis
*Experience in authoring written products*
Written Products are defined as the results obtained by researching and integrating, evaluating and analyzing all available data to create documents that may range from memos, briefs, reports or documents that support the development of policies, standards, procedures and guidelines, or program delivery. The work normally involves research, analysis, consultation, and synthesis of information and may make recommendations or evaluate options.
NOTE: A Graduate Degree could be recognized as experience.

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2 hours ago, StudentLife said:

I was thinking more along the lines of you have to pay back the student loans and make a living so if an appropriate articling position leading to an associateship doesn't present itself, then the financially prudent option is to take a regular jab that pays a certain amount needed to cover the loan payments and expenses. Working for free or minimum wage for a year doesn't allow one to live, nor does it even guarantee a job after (composite articles or when there are no associate positions), so I don't get how that's a viable financial option. It's true lawyers will make a lot more down the line (potentially), but those lawyers typically found a good articling position in the first place.

Well, for someone who wants to be a lawyer badly enough, they could article for free but have a part-time evening/weekend job, or in ON, do the LPP and then have a part-time job. Not all articling positions have a guaranteed job after, either, and sometimes there may be the possibility of a job after that doesn't materialize. It's a risk you have to take.

Yes, most of the more attractive, well-qualified students with good grades will likely land a decently paying articling spot and many of those positions will lead to an associate position, but there are no guarantees. And a student with a D+ average probably won't be one of those students. So they have to make a choice as to whether they want to try to salvage their legal education or move on. Also, not everyone has student loans. There are law students who live with their parents, or with a spouse with a good job, or who have saved enough for law school on their own and work in the summers. And if the parents or spouse are willing to support the person for another year or two after law school, that's up to them. Each person has to weigh the pros and cons of what they can manage, and if you get a D+ average in 1L and manage to continue on with your studies, you've got at least 2 years notice that you probably won't be the person who gets a great offer for a well-paying articling position that leads to an associate position, so you should start planning for the alternatives. If you know you can't afford the alternatives, then drop out before you incur 2 more years of expenses and then end up working at McDonald's.

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1 hour ago, StudentLife said:

I wasn't trying to suggest that law students should become legal assistants. I was just trying to provide a financial comparison of the articling or 30k articling positions versus what else is out there. I have compiled a sample list of regular job postings within government as to illustrate this point. Law graduates should be able to get an interview and potentially be hired for any of these positions as the education will be equivalent to experience on a 1 on 1 year basis. It depends on exactly how much education they have and also any work experience for the higher level ones. The point is simply to highlight that financially it would be unacceptable to be paid anything under 40k or work for free when there are better alternatives. Keep in mind that any of those positions can lead to even better internal positions after a year or two (or perhaps a few years) of experience. The listed salaries don't include benefits and pension payouts etc. Nor do they account for 7h work days with no evenings and no weekends. If someone gets an awesome articling position, then go for it. But if not, there are better career options out there than articling for free or at minimum wage with no benefits or job certainty. This is just a limited sample of some types of positions and pay ranges.

PROVINCIAL

High School Only
Administrative Assistant
Salary
$1,691.44 to $2,066.65 bi-weekly ($44,147 to $53,940 annually)
Qualifications
High school diploma plus 2 years of related experience in office administration
Equivalencies will be considered.


Service Request Coordinator    
Administrative Support 5
Salary
$1,843.28 to $2,256.80 bi-weekly ($48,109.60 to $58,902.48 annually)
Qualifications
High school diploma and three years of related experience. 
Equivalencies may be considered are as follows: one year of education for one year of experience.


University
Family Court Counsellor
Salary
$2,532.32 to $3,273.50 bi-weekly
Qualifications
Bachelor of Social Work Degree with some related experience. Extensive knowledge of domestic violence dynamics, safety screening, the Family Law Act and Provincial Family Court processes, are required; equivalencies will be considered. Knowledge of conflict resolution, mediation skills and techniques.
Equivalency: Master of Social Work Degree (no experience required); OR related University Degree and 2 years related experience; OR related Diploma and 3 years related experience; OR related Certificate and 4 years related experience.


Compliance Officer, Filing Compliance and Collections
Salary
$2,588.03-$3,394.66 bi-weekly ($67,547-$88,600 annually)
Qualifications
Completion of a two year diploma in a related field is required. Preference will be given to candidates with experience in a collections environment. Experience using the Microsoft Office Suite of applications (Outlook, Word, and Excel) is also required.
Knowledge of Federal and Provincial Corporate and Commodity Tax Legislation would be a definite asset. 
Equivalencies will be considered on the basis of:
1 year of education for 1 year of experience

Policy Analyst (Multiple Positions)
Salary
$2,775.64 - $3,638.48 bi-weekly. ($72,444 - $94,964 per annum)
Qualifications
University Degree in health related field (Public Policy, Political Science, Health Care or Health Care Administration or other related discipline) supplemented by a minimum of 4 years of progressively responsible related experience is required. Experience in a policy development environment would be considered an asset as would demonstrated familiarity in describing and defining health quality standards. Equivalencies will be considered on the basis of :
1 year of education for 1 year of experience

FEDERAL
Analyst
$65,950 to $80,650 per year
Undergraduate degree and (2) year(s) of experience
NOTE: Any higher level of education (i.e.: Masters, Doctorate) in a related field of study could be recognized as experience)
Experience (within the last five (5) years) in the areas of analysis and research*, and client service delivery.
For this criterion, analysis and research experience is defined as experience in researching information via research tools or open sources and experience in analyzing the information in order to draw inferences and make recommendations.

Analyst
$75,330 to $91,650
Undergraduate degree and four (4) years of experience*
*Experience in conducting in-depth research and analysis
*Experience in authoring written products*
Written Products are defined as the results obtained by researching and integrating, evaluating and analyzing all available data to create documents that may range from memos, briefs, reports or documents that support the development of policies, standards, procedures and guidelines, or program delivery. The work normally involves research, analysis, consultation, and synthesis of information and may make recommendations or evaluate options.
NOTE: A Graduate Degree could be recognized as experience.

Yes, but these jobs are very competitive and a law degree doesn't necessarily qualify you. How many law grads have 2-4 years' experience as an analyst? And how often are they actually hiring one? How many law students have done mediation and conflict resolution in the real world? If you have professional experience like that prior to law school to fall back on, great. But if all you have is your undergrad and some minimum wage job experience, like many students, I don't see how you would be competitive for any of those jobs. Those are very high-paying jobs, and if you want to be an analyst or a mediator or whatever, you can spend the 3 years you sit in law school gaining the relevant experience instead of incurring expenses. I don't think writing memos for a law class and getting a D+ on them is what is meant by analysis and research. 

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9 hours ago, StudentLife said:

I wasn't trying to suggest that law students should become legal assistants. I was just trying to provide a financial comparison of the articling or 30k articling positions versus what else is out there. I have compiled a sample list of regular job postings within government as to illustrate this point. Law graduates should be able to get an interview and potentially be hired for any of these positions as the education will be equivalent to experience on a 1 on 1 year basis.

If it were so easy to get one of those jobs with lower levels of education, why do you think so many people with post-secondary education are working jobs they hate for minimum or close to minimum wage? 

It's concerning to me you think it's so easy for people to walk out and get a job paying 50,000/year. I don't know if it's misinformation, privilege, or inexperience, but man...

If I were hiring someone for a job that had no need for a JD, I would not see a JD as a major factor influencing my decision. I did hire a JD for an entry-level, low-education position once, but when I saw his resume, it just made me raise my eyebrows and wonder why he went to all the trouble of law school and wasn't working in law. I suspect his poor social skills and work ethic could have been factors, but maybe he was just bitter about taking a job below him, as he saw it. He ended up being terrible.

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You left out some information about the first job you listed. One, the pay range is so high because its in Fort Mac. That is not the "normal" pay band. Two, there are a lot more qualifications that are asked for: 

High school diploma plus 2 years of related experience in office administration including financial support experience is required. Experience with Microsoft Suite including Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint is required. Experience working with IMAGIS, Exclaim and Action Request Tracking System (ARTS) or other government systems is an asset. Certificate or Diploma in office/secretarial administration is an asset. Equivalencies will be considered.

How many newly graduated JD will have experience in the accounting side of lease tracking? Not to mention A/P and departmental budgeting? That's a very specific skill set and most university business students wouldn't even have learned it in their classrooms. This is not an entry level job, they want someone who has already worked in an office doing things like A/P before.

 

Not going to go into the rest, but... these are not new JD grad jobs.

 
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10 hours ago, StudentLife said:

Law graduates should be able to get an interview and potentially be hired for any of these positions as the education will be equivalent to experience on a 1 on 1 year basis.

Family Court Counsellor.  I hope you do not see a JD as equivalent to a social work degree.  You may wish to reread the summary for this position.  

Even if the other positions did see JD as equivalent to experience they would want a transcript.  Education in lieu of experience implies that you have done well at the relevant coursework.  

 

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Reporting back, have gotten some grades back this year. All in the B range. Definitely addressed my issues. Now Im wondering what that transcript is worth in terms of employability.  A terrible first year followed by average 2nd and 3rd. Does my performance in 2L and beyond mitigate my first year performance? I have sought help and addressed the issues that led to the first year grades and seem to be on a good path. 

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15 minutes ago, stark9696 said:

Reporting back, have gotten some grades back this year. All in the B range. Definitely addressed my issues. Now Im wondering what that transcript is worth in terms of employability.  A terrible first year followed by average 2nd and 3rd. Does my performance in 2L and beyond mitigate my first year performance? I have sought help and addressed the issues that led to the first year grades and seem to be on a good path. 

Good job on the improvements and for sticking with it and keeping trying!

I’m not going to lie - the terrible first year will still hurt you. But you now have the ability to argue that you addressed your issues and are showing an upward trend. It certainly mitigates it as much as possible. Keep going!

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7 hours ago, stark9696 said:

Reporting back, have gotten some grades back this year. All in the B range. Definitely addressed my issues. Now Im wondering what that transcript is worth in terms of employability.  A terrible first year followed by average 2nd and 3rd. Does my performance in 2L and beyond mitigate my first year performance? I have sought help and addressed the issues that led to the first year grades and seem to be on a good path. 

Happy for you

1L grade will hurt you but a solid improvement in 2L and 3L will help a lot.

 

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On 14/11/2017 at 11:44 AM, stark9696 said:

Reporting back, have gotten some grades back this year. All in the B range. Definitely addressed my issues. Now Im wondering what that transcript is worth in terms of employability.  A terrible first year followed by average 2nd and 3rd. Does my performance in 2L and beyond mitigate my first year performance? I have sought help and addressed the issues that led to the first year grades and seem to be on a good path. 

Congratulations.

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but have a pithy explanation that puts you in a good light. Like (this is hypothetical, not saying it's applicable to you), after first year you realized you had to write answers that were clearer and more concise and took steps to improve your exam-writing skills and make your legal analyses more direct.

Or whatever, something that makes clear you learned and improved and phrased in a way that makes you sound good. Some people if it's genuine might try humour, e.g. say they hired goons to visit their profs after first year marks, smile and then give the seriously, I...etc. answer. But this runs a serious risk for some people of sounding crazy/threatening/strange, YMMV.

Also, 95% of the time in cover letters or emails one shouldn't try to explain away a weakness lest it draw attention to it. You might be one of the rare exceptions, but I'm long past legal employment considerations so get qualified advice on that.

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On ‎14‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 12:44 PM, stark9696 said:

Reporting back, have gotten some grades back this year. All in the B range. Definitely addressed my issues. Now Im wondering what that transcript is worth in terms of employability.  A terrible first year followed by average 2nd and 3rd. Does my performance in 2L and beyond mitigate my first year performance? I have sought help and addressed the issues that led to the first year grades and seem to be on a good path. 

I think it does mitigate the first year, especially if you can tell them how you improved. An upward trend is always a good thing, even if it starts below average. The ability to actually learn from mistakes is soooo important in this business.

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