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GOT123

Went to uOttawa, got an articling position, currently 1st Year Associate AMA

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Hello, feel free to ask any questions related to law school, articling, the bar exam, etc.

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22 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

What city do you work in? What adjustment to your study methods did you have to make in 1L?

I currently work in Toronto (not Bay Street).  

I learned very quickly during 1L that my study methods from undergrad would not apply to law school.  I learned I performed better (and it reflected in my grades) when I did the following:

  1. Do the readings and do them before class - This is not for everyone. I have a lot of friends that went to class first and did the readings right after because it made understanding much easier. For myself, I perform better when I know I am prepared. Doing the readings before I went to class helped a lot in this regard.
  2. Read smart - Again with readings, doing them does not mean I read every single word of every reading.  After reading so many cases in 1L, by 2L I had learned to decipher the important parts of cases without reading the whole case, granted sometimes you have no choice.  I also learned understanding cases (especially the long constitutional law ones) was much easier when I read the conclusion (or final couple of paragraphs) of the case before reading from start to finish.
  3. Write your own summaries - The same summaries for the same courses tend to float around in law school.  I definitely did read/use them but when it came to exams, I always wrote my own.  Writing the summary was studying for me.  I learned and studied course material through writing summaries.  It definitely takes time, so plan out a schedule ahead of time and stick to it (you're going to have to when you write the Bar anyway).
  4. Time management - This is a given regardless of profession, but if you develop these skills in law school you will appreciate them even more when you study for the Bar and practice.  For me, this meant starting papers and summaries early.  I know law school is busy and you can have a lot of things due at the same time, I did as well.  But where you do have some control over your schedule, try to knock off these things earlier instead of leaving them to the night before.  For me, If I had 1 hour between classes, or a 5-hour train ride home to Toronto, I used this time to work on my summaries or papers, since most of the other time went to reading or other responsibilities.  By 3L, I mastered this skill and did not find myself working on anything the night before at all.  I even went on a week-long vacation in October during the semester.   
  5. Take a break - In 1L I thought if I wanted to do well in law school I had to commit every second of every day to studying.  You will burn out/lose interest quickly doing this.  I took breaks.  I often used the facilities at uOttawa (swim, gym, basketball, etc.), went for walks in the city, explored restaurants with friends, and as I mentioned I took a week vacation in October during 3L.  Make time for yourself. 

These are just a few of the things that come to mind right now.  Of course, everyone studies differently.  For me the most important thing was the quality of time I put into studying, not the quantity.  I could read everything I wanted but if I did not develop skills to understand and apply the material, my performance in law school would not have improved after 1L.  

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1 hour ago, chaboywb said:

How far from campus did you live? What was the commute like?

I lived about a 10-15 minute walk from the law building, depending on the weather/walking conditions. Although it was pretty cold walking some days in the winter, I generally enjoyed the walk. Especially early in the fall semester it was enjoyable in the warm weather.

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How large of a deficit would a 2L transfer student be in with regards to networking or for applying to 2L summer positions in the Ottawa area? So basically did you make any significant relations solely in 1L that any transfer student would miss out on?

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On 1/11/2018 at 4:45 PM, FingersCr0ssed said:

How large of a deficit would a 2L transfer student be in with regards to networking or for applying to 2L summer positions in the Ottawa area? So basically did you make any significant relations solely in 1L that any transfer student would miss out on?

There are plenty of opportunities to network throughout 2L and 3L.  You definitely would not be at a disadvantage having not attended uOttawa in 1L.

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