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Current Lawyers' Opinions Wanted

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I've been offered a place at UAlberta Law School starting this fall and am looking for opinions and experience from those who are currently working in the field regarding the value of the degree, current prospects for articling - or even securing summer placements - and general opinions on what has surprised you [both pleasantly or otherwise] regarding the hours you work/pay structure, career progression/promotion possibilities, and the actual work you do.

It is a fairly broad inquiry but my interest in law as a profession - even knowing that my love for proofreading and paperwork will be an asset - has been slightly offset by recent reports on the actual likelihood of securing a position or building a career and [from browsing related posts here and on reddit] a projection of little job satisfaction.

Any and all opinions or responses are appreciated and apologies if this post is not appropriate for this forum.

EDIT: Furthermore, yes I have reviewed current University provided statistics regarding placements and ongoing employment but I think we're all aware how easy it is to skew those numbers for the sake of attracting students/tuitions.

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I have an articling position that I haven't started yet, so I'm not the person you want to hear from, but for what its worth, your questions are a bit too broad to comprehensively answer. Pay, hours worked, subjective experiences of the work environment, career progression, job satisfaction...all of these things are so massively variable, that answers are not going to really be all that abstractable into useful information. In fact, if you only get a couple of responses, it could have the opposite effect, and provide a misleadingly partial view of things. 

What's more, I'm not sure the answers would be that different from graduates of other schools, aside from articling rates, potentially, or stuff like firm cultures in Edmonton. But then you are getting into more specific questions, which is perhaps the direction you need to go.

It kind of sounds like you are looking for reassurances; that you will get an articling position, that you will have a rewarding career, that you will have job satisfaction. There are no such guarantees of course. It's a risk. The vast majority of anecdotal experiences are probably not going to point you in the right direction either way, because the full spectrum of experiences are out there. Edmonton lawyers who love their job. Edmonton lawyers that hate it. Edmonton lawyers making bank. Edmonton lawyers who aren't. Edmonton law grads that don't even have jobs. Just like any other city. And as you said, you're already familiar with the dismal articling rates. 

Edited by Gaius
Addition of third paragraph
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I think your experience will vary greatly depending on whether you get into litigation or just solicitor work.  Solicitor's work for me, was not much different from other office jobs with a need for extra attention to detail.  Time management will be essential regardless of what work you get into.  I find that time management is the most difficult/stressful part of my job.  Personally, I find that litigation is more satisfying but takes some getting used to.

There currently are more opportunities for litigation positions as far as I can tell.

I have been working for a small firm and enjoyed my time here.  Like any job, having good co-workers/principals can do wonders for your work environment.  Remuneration is good, although this will vary greatly between firms/area of law. 

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It's a job like any other. I do mostly barrister work, but also some solicitor stuff. Most days I spend at least half the day at court, and half at the office. I get the occasional office-only day (today is one). I like my job generally but I don't live and breathe for the law and my work. I work hard for my raises and advancement like anyone else. I like most of my clients, dislike a few. I love my colleagues in the office, and the local bar is generally excellent too. But YMMV. Actually your mileage will vary. Job satisfaction is a very subjective thing and will depend as much on your own personality and goals as it will on which firm you end up with, or what size it is, the personalities of the people in the general vicinity of your office, what your client base is like. Who's to say how you'll feel about it, whatever you decide to do it's a roll of the dice. You will learn to roll with it, adapt, work through it when necessary and seek out better opportunities when you end up in situations that aren't to your taste.

 

Good luck :)

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Posted (edited)

When I went to law school I thought I would prefer academic options or solicitor work. Now I probably enjoy litigation the most and being in Court.

I enjoy working as a government lawyer because I can focus on the law rather than having to have part of my mind dedicated to the business side of praticing law, including accumulating clients. 

U of A is a good law school with good professors and a solid choice if you want to work in Alberta.

Edited by atg25

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