SirBroccoli

UBC vs. Queen's - SOS

12 posts in this topic

Well this is not a dilemma I was expecting to have. I was accepted to Queen's a while ago, and have pretty much made all preparations to attend, including paying a non-refundable deposit for the place I'm renting. Recently, I got an offer from UBC, which has thrown all my plans into uncertainty.

I was pretty much set on going to Queen's since I've heard so many good things about it in terms of environment, school reputation, and student life. I had pretty much written off my application to UBC since it seemed so late in the cycle and my stats were not stellar by any means (based on my index score, it seemed extremely unlikely I would get in). Now, I am faced with a massive dilemma as both schools have areas that appeal to me. Before I have to make my decision in the next several days, I wanted to call upon the collective wisdom of lawstudents.ca which has provided me with so much sage and rational advice in the past  /s

1) Legal market

First of all, I have a slight preference for working in Toronto, although I do not have a strong preference between either as I am not from either BC or ON. I did grow up in Vancouver though, so I have plenty of family there which is nice. I am also attracted to Queen's for better Bay Street placements. I'm trying my best to not have a Bay Street-or-bust mentality, but I can't help but feel that it should be my goal given that I'm primarily interested in corporate law, and the optionality of moving from Bay Street to other legal markets, which seems relatively easier than starting out in another legal market and moving into Bay Street.

My understanding is that the Toronto legal market is the biggest in Canada in terms of job numbers, average salaries, and transactions, but that Vancouver's is the second biggest, and is expected to grow in the future. However, the weight of UBC's reputation in the Vancouver market seems to be greater than the weight of Queen's reputation in Toronto. Obviously the supposed clout of your law school won't determine your hireability, but it does have some effect, and I was wondering if going to UBC and hunting for an articling position in Vancouver might be "safer" or less risky than going to Queen's and looking for articling in Toronto.

Could someone shed some light on the differences between the Vancouver and Toronto legal markets? How about the wider BC and ON markets?

2) Value

In terms of tuition alone, UBC is surprisingly much cheaper than Queen's. At ~$11.3k for UBC versus ~$20k for Queen's, I can't help but feel that UBC offers a potentially superior legal education for almost half the cost. The downside is the cost of living in Vancouver, particularly if you want to live near campus, and not be forced to transit for an hour every morning. In your wise opinion, how would you compare the value of a degree from UBC versus one from Queen's? I've been told not to pay any mind to Canadian law school rankings, but it really is hard to ignore the fact that UofT seems to occupy its own echelon in terms of big law hiring, entrance stats, and national/international reputation--and right under this is usually some variation of UBC, McGill, etc. Coupled with the cheaper tuition, I can't help but feel that UBC does offer much better value in a straight comparison, but again, I am leaning slightly to working in Toronto so perhaps I am reading too much into this?

3) School culture

One of the aspects of Queen's that really appealed to me was their strength in multiple areas: corporate law, criminal law, academia, international law (is this really even a thing?). While I am more interested in the transactional side of the law, it would also be counterproductive to pidgeon-hole myself into one area, and the fact that Queen's seems like it would provide me with a well-rounded education and varied course selection was appealing. It is also not a commuter school like UBC, so I feel it would be easier to "settle down" in Queen's Law and make friends in 1L, although I might be wrong. Could any past or present UBC students provide some insight into what the culture is like at Allard?

 

Thanks for reading my verbal diarrhea. I haven't felt this anxious since taking the LSAT. I know that ultimately, the law school you go to won't determine the lawyer you become, but it's still probably one of the biggest decisions you'll make at this point in your life. To be honest, the value of the UBC degree coupled with living in beautiful Vancouver does weigh heavily in my decision criteria, as paying $11.3k versus $20k a year does seem like an astronomical difference, although that might just be because I'm broke at the moment. At the same time, I feel like it would be a mistake to reject the school that would give me a better chance at Bay Street. Overall, I just can't shake the feeling that UBC is a "better" school, but that Queen's probably aligns closer to my career goals.

Thanks again. Any comments, advice, tips would be greatly appreciated.

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Posted (edited)

I would try not to let money be too big of a factor. While the tuition differs, its a lot more expensive to live in Vancouver than Kingston. Additionally, you will have the costs of having to fly to your interviews in Toronto (for the 1L, 2L or even articling recruit), and your foregone rent deposit. They probably end up relatively similarly priced. Even if UBC is still cheaper, the advice when I got last year when I was in a similar position was to not let money rule your life right now. You're entering a profession with a high earning capacity, and a few thousand dollars isn't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life. Pick the place you think you'll be most successful and happy.

Edited by CoffeeandLaw
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I don't see why you didn't withdraw your application from all other law schools after you have decided to go to Queens?

If you want to work in Toronto, your best bet is Queens.

The $$$$ difference will be a drop in the bucket 4 years from now.

Read CoffeeandLaw's post carefully. He (she) is putting money in your pocket.

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Posted (edited)

15 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

I don't see why you didn't withdraw your application from all other law schools after you have decided to go to Queens?

This same things happened to me last year. I think it's because your applications are only withdrawn to Ontario schools.

Edited by CoffeeandLaw

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I would look at several things were I in your position:

-just how big your preference for the actual, physical Bay Street is: Most if not all big Bay Street firms have Vancouver offices. You can still work for a 'Bay Street' firm despite being in BC. Maybe also look at their Calgary offices to see how many people they hire out of UBC? If you aren't adverse to living in AB that is.

-Do you prefer big city to mid size city life?: I don't need to tell you that Vancouver is many times bigger than Kingston. The question is, where do you prefer to live? Personally, city size was a VERY large factor for me. For me, before I had heard back from Toronto, it was between Oz and Queen's. Despite the fact that I was much more impressed with the admissions events with Queen's than I was with Oz, I still think that if it came down to it I may have gone to Osgoode. I spent the last couple years in Guelph, which I love to death (despite it being described as a dustbag university by some) but I can tell you that I was very ready to move to somewhere much much bigger at the end of my degree. From my time there, I feel like Kingston is kind of like a more expensive, WASPier Guelph. There will be plenty of things to do in Kingston for sure. But there will be many, many more things to do in Vancouver by the simple virtue of it being so very much larger. 

-Ease of finding accommodations. Class starts soon. You may need to room with your family for a while in Van if you decide to go, and then find a place for September if you can't find one. That's an admittedly minor concern, but it could be there.

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Posted (edited)

If I were you, I would go UBC. 

 

 I actually have similar view as  " mol " moderate. I think he said it in more precise way. before he suggest someone who like to go to "big law", he said to OP in other thread that he could find corporate law on Bay street, he could find corporate law at smaller company or smaller scale. They do basically the same thing but just smaller number.

Actually I would like to say something similar like that.  I want to say is this, both school are  great but competitive school. Because Queen is only for top quarter of students body to go to Bay street, it's just not a guarantee things either, which mean 3/4 of students are  likely to disqualify for the placements. Bay street job is competitive.

If you really like Corporate law or big law, if you accidentally cannot find any big law job at first time, go to find corporate law at smaller company, do not find any substitutes, such as specialization of air space, criminal law, or anything. You still focus on Big law but just at smaller scale company. Why, if you initially disqualified for bay job , do not let those thing discourage anyone, or start thinking to switch specialty or specialization.   Corporation law at smaller scale or smaller company, dealing with less complex or smaller number,  might give you  potential springboard or energy to jump to bigger scale of Big law later on once you absorb enough handling experiences, case experiences.

I think Vancouver is probably second biggest city in Canada, it must some big law jobs, maybe it doesn't pile up in a few building or those big law probably does assemble in a few building in one piece. But it probably have big law somewhere out there too. If I were you , I would probably go UBC, because it will minimize my school debt, I might feel a little bit more relieved when the moment I graduate. But for some people are risk prone, debt may drive them for higher success or higher aim in life. It's all good.  And the Vancouver weather is really great to me personally.

In term of quality of education, both school are probably fine school.   UBC may have slightly better name in west of Canada.

But I think one of important of selection school or law school is probably where the family live. If my family live in west of Canada, I will probably be more likely in west. because proximity reasons  Everyone value things differently. Again that's just me.

Again, that's just my thought, and you will have to arrive at answer on your own.

Edited by akulamasusu

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Montreal is the second largest city in Canada

 

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I think I kind of say it in the wrong way, I just want to say if big law is not guarantee thing, I will choose UBC over Queen. I don't imply OP will not get in Big law in first round. 

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11 hours ago, SirBroccoli said:

My understanding is that the Toronto legal market is the biggest in Canada in terms of job numbers, average salaries, and transactions, but that Vancouver's is the second biggest.

 

4 hours ago, akulamasusu said:

I think Vancouver is probably second biggest city in Canada

 

3 hours ago, Luckycharm said:

Montreal is the second largest city in Canada

 

While the second largest city, Montreal also tends to be a closed market to people without adequate French and civil law training. It seems fair to say that Vancouver is the second largest market in terms of places where OP and most people on these forums can reasonably hope to practice.

 

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I'm biased as I went to and liked Queen's, but from your own post, you prefer to work in Toronto and prefer Queen's based on what you know of the legal program compared with UBC. And living in Kingston would (according to you) be significantly cheaper.

The only pluses for UBC are tuition (which cost of living may override) and you have family in BC (I assume from what you wrote that that's a plus!). Not that being in commuting distance of family is unimportant, but unless that's of overriding importance to you, it sounds like the factors you identify as important to you - including future plans - suggest Queen's is better for you? Question mark, you have to figure it out yourself.

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