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chvrches

I graduated in May, should I even bother to keep applying?

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On 12/3/2017 at 5:53 PM, providence said:

You need to take more responsibility for your own future. It wasn't your law school's career development office's job to find YOU a job. There are options other than living where you are living. You mentioned relocating to your parents' place. Are they in a larger centre? Is that something you can do without emotional or physical damage to yourself? If you're interested in crim and a solo practitioner offered you articles, why didn't you take them? You said criminal law is all he practices so he doesn't have articling students? What do you mean? Lots of people practice only crim and have articling students - and he offered you articles! So I'm not quite understanding that objection. And if you don't like networking and don't see yourself practicing law long-term then why are you so worried about getting articles? You need to figure out what you want. 

He didn't actually offer me articles; he told me that if I ended up in a firm nearby that didn't practice crim, then I could message him and he could let me help out in the office occasionally. He told me he doesn't take on articling students because he doesn't think that he can provide a well-rounded experience because he only practices one area. I have a close friend who summered with him two years in a row, but he wouldn't provide him with articles either.

And no, my parents live in a relatively small town.

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On 12/3/2017 at 12:33 PM, Diplock said:

I won't lie. I ended up here because of your negativity elsewhere and I wanted to see where you were coming from. So to some degree I'm primed to believe that your attitude is part of your problem. If I start to hit that note too hard, feel free to tell me that my perspective isn't welcome. That said, it sounds like you don't even want to practice law. And aside from the other barriers you've identified (some of which you could maybe avoid with enough effort, some you're probably stuck with) that's going to be huge. When you can't even focus on what you want to do because you don't even want to be a lawyer ... you do realize that employers will pick up on that, right? I mean, what firm or employer in some other province would ever be motivated to create a position where they pay you well enough that you move there, just to work for articles, and then at the end you intend to move back to your small town which is hours away from any city and practice ... what, exactly? I don't see how any employer would do that or why, and I also don't see how that would even help you in the long run, save that it would salvage your dignity a bit and allow you to call yourself a lawyer. But it wouldn't end up leading to a career.

Maybe get more into the situation you're in? I just don't see what you would be hoping for here, even in a dream scenario, much less in a world that requires compromise. What do you even want?

I think your problem is that you're making a lot of assumptions about me too, maybe because you're already primed to not like me. But I never said I would take articles and then move home. If I was offered articles and they wanted to offer me a job, of course I would take it. I could probably promise a firm 5-10 years of my life. But no, law isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life. Did you ever stop to think that maybe the reason I seem so against working in law now is because I spent three years of my life applying to articling job after articling job, never getting anywhere, so now I'm pretty sure that nobody would ever hire me? It's pretty demoralizing. It's not that I have no passion for the law, and don't want to be a lawyer. But A: I don't want the huge firm experience where I'm working until 2am and on weekends like my old roommate was, and B: at this point, I just feel like shit about the entire experience. God forbid I have other interests outside the law. You're like the firm that got hung up on the fact that I included creative writing as one of my interests.

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50 minutes ago, chvrches said:

He didn't actually offer me articles; he told me that if I ended up in a firm nearby that didn't practice crim, then I could message him and he could let me help out in the office occasionally. He told me he doesn't take on articling students because he doesn't think that he can provide a well-rounded experience because he only practices one area. I have a close friend who summered with him two years in a row, but he wouldn't provide him with articles either.

And no, my parents live in a relatively small town.

Lots of people article in only one area or only in criminal law. I don't see that as an issue - sounds like an excuse not to have a full-time articling student. Too bad. 

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3 hours ago, chvrches said:

Long-term, I would prefer to return to school and pursue library/information studies. The only two jobs I've ever had that I totally enjoyed were in that field. But it wasn't a passion I discovered until 3L, when I still thought I had a hope of articling, so I thought that I would find articles, maybe work as a law for a few years until I could save up enough for tuition and to be able to settled into a new city while studying. My other interests are film and writing, but I know there's no real work in that field, and history which I majored in (which goes with the library/information studies).

I'm not really asking people to use their connections to find me a job, I'm just wondering really if I still have any chance of getting articles compared to people who are newly graduated; would people rather take someone who's been out of school a year? Because I personally don't think so, so I was wondering if anybody else had any experience with that. With so many new graduates coming every year, me still trying seems kind of like a pipe dream.

I don't think that would be an issue at all, provided that you are continuing to engage in legal work, whether it's through pro bono, legal aid, or even legal research. I know a few friends that have gone through some difficult times looking for articling positions after graduation and they ended up finding one. So I don't think you are at any disadvantage for being out of school for a year. Sometimes it's better to take a gap year and figure out what you really want before moving on with the licensing process. 

Speaking of which, have you ever considered a joint-articling arrangement or even split articles? I may understand that the criminal lawyer you worked for doesn't offer articling positions per se (probably for financial reasons or any other reason), but I think it's worth giving it a try to ask him to consider it (and perhaps find a legal aid clinic that can take you on for a few months as well).

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This is going to sound rude because, well, it is, but what the heck are you doing? 

Of course you should try getting articles. I don't care if you live in a town of 8 people and your school won't answer your damn emails, find a way to figure out whose hiring, whose looking, and who will help you find articles. My goodness. 

stop making excuses and stop feeling sad for yourself and go out and take whats yours and what you deserve to have. There isn't one person I know who goes through law school who I don't think deserves articling. You sound like you're limiting yourself and, quite frankly it's sickening to me. 

Edited by Motions

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9 minutes ago, Motions said:

This is going to sound rude because, well, it is, but what the heck are you doing? 

Of course you should try getting articles. I don't care if you live in a town of 8 people and your school won't answer your damn emails, find a way to figure out whose hiring, whose looking, and who will help you find articles. My goodness. 

stop making excuses and stop feeling sad for yourself and go out and take whats yours and what you deserve to have. There isn't one person I know who goes through law school who I don't think deserves articling. You sound like you're limiting yourself and, quite frankly it's sickening to me. 

I beg to differ....

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54 minutes ago, providence said:

I beg to differ....

Don't worry, one of his other recent posts was super wrong too: 

:P 

Anyways yeah. Lots of people who graduate law school don't deserve articles. What does "deserving" something even mean in that context? Yeah, you got a degree, possibly at the bottom of your class, and now you deserve a job? No, that's not how the world works. You can't tell me the worst law student in Canada deserves an articling gig — they very likely deserve to have been failed, but unfortunately schools won't do that to students unless they're truly abysmal. 

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11 hours ago, chvrches said:

I think your problem is that you're making a lot of assumptions about me too, maybe because you're already primed to not like me. But I never said I would take articles and then move home. If I was offered articles and they wanted to offer me a job, of course I would take it. I could probably promise a firm 5-10 years of my life. But no, law isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life. Did you ever stop to think that maybe the reason I seem so against working in law now is because I spent three years of my life applying to articling job after articling job, never getting anywhere, so now I'm pretty sure that nobody would ever hire me? It's pretty demoralizing. It's not that I have no passion for the law, and don't want to be a lawyer. But A: I don't want the huge firm experience where I'm working until 2am and on weekends like my old roommate was, and B: at this point, I just feel like shit about the entire experience. God forbid I have other interests outside the law. You're like the firm that got hung up on the fact that I included creative writing as one of my interests.

I said I wouldn't sit here criticizing you to no purpose. But the "assumptions" I'm making about you are based on just a bare and literal reading of the things you've said. You said you were willing to locate to another province "at least" long enough to complete articles. I don't know if by that you meant to say you'd be willing to relocate for the next 5-10 years. But if that is what you meant, I don't think I'm at fault for not figuring that out.

Frankly, you are entitled to be pissed and miserable if you want to be. And some of your frustrations may be well earned. But then you say strange things like you think you got dinged from a job for listing creative writing as an interest. You do realize how common it is to identify non-law related interests, right? And in this case you are really sounding the wrong note with me, because I do write professionally in addition to my legal practice (or I did, at least, when I was applying for jobs) and it's not at all like that was ever a problem. Now, what I can see and easily believe is that the people who were interviewing you may have picked up on the fact that you aren't terribly interested in practicing law and maybe the "do you want to do this instead?" hook was a way of approaching that concern. But it would never be about the fact that you indicated a non-law interest in your resume. We all do that. It would be that you simply didn't project any enthusiasm for actually doing the job. As in, the truth kinda leaked out.

I don't have any further advice to offer so I'll stop sounding off with nothing useful to say. But since you did ask a question, here's my direct answer. You should do one of two things. Either commit yourself to a career in law, while keeping open the possibility in your own mind that you may move onto something else eventually. Many, many lawyers do that, and there's nothing wrong with it. But in the meanwhile, commit yourself fully to the idea that you will practice law for that 5-10 year time frame, at least. Or, if you can't be even mostly positive about it, stop now and do something else. And I don't have remotely enough information about your life to know how you'd do something else - just do something else. Because it's this halfway state that's killing you. This whole "I've been victimized by the legal community in Canada - the schools, the employers, even the lawyers who hang around on LS.ca and try to give honest advice - they all screwed me. And I'd never want to be part of this horrible, horrible community, but I have no choice but to keep applying to jobs I don't want at employers I secretly resent because I've been backed into a corner and literally can't do any other thing with my life." Man. You walk around feeling that way, you interview for a job feeling that way, and what the hell do you think is going to happen? Of course you're going to fail, and keep failing.

If you asked your question to obtain permission to give up, then you have my permission. Give up. Sometimes that's the more rational thing to do. Or if you believe you still want a career in law, then don't give up, and we've all seen people come back from more desperate situations than yours. But you have to want it. So find a way to do that. And somehow, that's going to involve finding a way to let go of this bitterness you've got against everything law-related.

In all events, good luck.

Edited by Diplock
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10 hours ago, chvrches said:

I think your problem is that you're making a lot of assumptions about me too, maybe because you're already primed to not like me. But I never said I would take articles and then move home. If I was offered articles and they wanted to offer me a job, of course I would take it. I could probably promise a firm 5-10 years of my life. But no, law isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life. Did you ever stop to think that maybe the reason I seem so against working in law now is because I spent three years of my life applying to articling job after articling job, never getting anywhere, so now I'm pretty sure that nobody would ever hire me? It's pretty demoralizing. It's not that I have no passion for the law, and don't want to be a lawyer. But A: I don't want the huge firm experience where I'm working until 2am and on weekends like my old roommate was, and B: at this point, I just feel like shit about the entire experience. God forbid I have other interests outside the law. You're like the firm that got hung up on the fact that I included creative writing as one of my interests.

Given the bolded statement and the statement you made earlier about seeing law as a way to make money to go back to school, Diplock seems to have you pegged. Your perfect job is being locked in an office all day doing research, great, but I don't know many criminal (or other) lawyers whose practice that describes.. You don't want to be a lawyer - your subsequent claim notwithstanding - and that's fine, but given that, it's really no surprise that you're having trouble finding articles. I'll tell you right now that, as Diplock notes, employers can readily distinguish between people who are really interested in doing what they do and people who are really interested in a paycheck. 

Look at it from the perspective of the sort of sole practitioner or small firm lawyer who might hire you as an articling student. You're not a profit center for them and you're probably not a future associate. If they hire an articling student it's out of a sense of professional duty, to contribute to the future viability of the profession, to train a future colleague. They're not going to be keen to devote their time and effort to training someone looking to make a few bucks to become a librarian. And who can blame them. And while I'm sure you don't tell them that's your ambition, Diplock's right that it comes out. 

But look, let's come back to your original question. Is there a genuine possibility of you finding articles? Assuming there are no obvious disqualifers (solid D average, convicted sex offender, brutal BO - you haven't mentioned anything) if you really want to be a lawyer, yes - certainly, in Ontario there are hundreds of positions filled post-august and as you note, there are positions available in your region (though not near you). If you're willing to move to where the jobs are - and to be taken seriously you may have to move before you're offered a job (if you're applying for a job in, say, Halifax, but live in Woebegone Falls, NFLD, that sends a signal to a potential employer) - yes.  So, good news on that front. 

Now, I don't know if that's what you wanted to hear. In some sense it would be easier if we told you that you were doomed, because then you could say that you'd done all you could and it just didn't work out and fate has pushed you on to a different path. That, at least, would relieve you of having to make a decision.   But, that isn't the case, you're going to have to choose the path you want to follow. 

Good luck. 

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To diplock's point, not only do most lawyers I know have outside interests (politics, community organizations, sports, charities, etc.) I know at least one lawyer who is an award winning writer of short stories, despite being a partner at a notorious sweatshop (creative writing is a skill set that jives nicely with being a securities lawyer). 

Edited by maximumbob

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11 hours ago, providence said:

I beg to differ....

 

Okay, so maybe I over exaggerated, but I do think that people who work hard, who don't think they're entitled to anything (because you aren't), and who are genuinely kind people deserve it. And I know a lot of those type of people. But, yeah.. I guess you're right. There are quite a handful of .. interesting individuals in law school. Question is whether OP is the former or the latter. 

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27 minutes ago, Motions said:

 

Okay, so maybe I over exaggerated, but I do think that people who work hard, who don't think they're entitled to anything (because you aren't), and who are genuinely kind people deserve it. And I know a lot of those type of people. But, yeah.. I guess you're right. There are quite a handful of .. interesting individuals in law school. Question is whether OP is the former or the latter. 

 

Clint Eastwood said it best:  

 

 

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