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Bupguy

Help me decide! (Western/Osgoode/potential UofT)

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Posted (edited)

Lsat 162

GPA 3.9

Currently I am considering between Osgoode and Western - but I am also hoping on a response from UofT this month (thoughts on my chances based on my stats?) My hope is to head to Toronto after graduation, mostly as it seems experience in a competitive Toronto firm leaves as many opportunities for work open as possible.

First off, if I get a Toronto acceptance, is there any doubt I should accept? I’ve looked at job distribution in Toronto firms by school over the past few years and it seems Toronto provides significantly higher placement than other schools. Ultravires.ca has stats on this over several years: (http://ultravires.ca/2015/11/2016-summer-student-hiring/

Now, if I don’t happen to recieve a UofT acceptance, I’m left debating between Osgoode and Western. Unfortunately most of the graduates I speak to generally tout their own school’s excellent program and recommend it over the other, so I’m not quite sure what to think. Stats over the last few years have gone back and forth on these schools with regards to Toronto placement. (In 2014 Western edged out osgoode, in 2013 the opposite occured. That being said in 2017 Osgoode outdid western by 3 percentage points: http://ultravires.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Recruitment-Special.pdf

Depending on who I ask, some graduates contend that being in Toronto helps a ton with networking in the city, while some downplay that advantage and suggest that as long as I’m a competitive student it doesn’t quite matter where I’m from. I’ve spoken to lawyers working in Toronto firms - some have said they see few if any Western grads, (admittedly this is the view of Osgoode grads usually - and given the small class of western it would make sense that there would be less western grads in any given firm) while some have seen pretty diverse school backgrounds with many from Western.

I love the Western campus, and have heard pretty nasty things about the Osgoode campus. I love the small class sizes that Western offers - but have heard that Osgoose provides more clinical opportunities for experience. I’ve also recieved a sizeable scholarship from Western and not from Osgoode. 

Any advice/thoughts you guys might have on this would be massively appreciated! 

Edited by Bupguy
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I am also currently undecided between Western and Osgoode.

My situation is very similar to yours, but additionally my family lives in London so I wouldn't have to pay for rent if I went to Western. 

I'll add a bit of my thoughts. I went to both Western and Osgoode's open house and I found Western's to be a lot more welcoming. I had faculty and students approach me whereas at Osgoode the environment appeared a bit cold. There didn't seem to be many students or faculty around to talk to besides the ones giving the presentation in the sessions. During Osgoode's open house one of their panels boasted about the schools reputation of collegiality... I'm not sure how much I buy into that. 

However, I was impressed by Osgoode's number of clinics. However, I'm not sure if that makes it easier for students to have experiential experience at Osgoode than at Western which only has 5 or 6 clinics. Obviously the student to clinic ratio is different at both schools. Apprx. 350 students for 19 clinics at Osgoode vs. 160 students for 5/6 clinics at Western (if you only consider 1Ls).

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@LawStudent1996

Thanks for your perspective! Unfortunately I was out of town during the Osgoode open house so I really appreciate your view.

I’ve generally recieved the same view as yours with regards to Osgoode. Plenty grads say they had a close community - but I find it hard to believe a significantly larger class with mostly commuter students is comparable to Western’s student body.

I think just about wherever people attend they’ll make that contention. Had an Ottawa student tell me he felt super close with all his classmates because the school broke the 300 students into smaller groups of about 70...

I think the Western Facebook group and ambassadors kind of speak for themselves. There are current students providing housing recommendations and whatnot, as well as offering students personal tours on their own time. Pretty awesome.

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I faced a similar decision (between Western, Queen's, and Osgoode) and went with Osgoode for a few reasons:

1) better placement on Bay (if I decide to go this route)

2) way more clinics/intensives

3) depth and breadth of the course offerings (which is good for someone who isn't 100% sure what kind of law they want to practice)

4) better location for networking opportunities 

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One perspective to consider is through the lens of where you think you will end up on the curve (and very few people have actually predicted this correctly).

If you think you will be able to run through your peers and consistently score top at your class against a large group of similarly qualified students at either school, then Osgoode is the better choice. Lots of As at Osgoode will get you interviews everywhere, clinicals are great, events all over Toronto, and OCIs will be far more convenient if you live downtown. Your only consideration here would be living expenses and risking not being top of the class. Bay street doesn't really look at B students, and you will have accumulated far more debt than you would have at Western, without the job perks people tell you Osgoode brings.

If you suspect you will be a student in the bottom half of grades, Western is likely the better choice. You save money living at home, the class is likely academically less competitive, and non-Bay street employers like government don't focus too much on what school you come from, more about demonstrated interest.

If you think you might be middle of the pack, a solid B+ student, then you should look into the courses each school offers and go with that. Osgoode has a large range of courses, with great professors. Western has a heavy business focus and potentially other fields I'm not aware of. Western likely has the better social life as well. Depending on your financial situation, Western might be the better choice overall.

 

Overall you will never know if you made the right choice. You can however predict how much debt you will be taking on haha.

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14 minutes ago, providence said:

Lots of people with Bs get interviews and jobs on Bay.... 

Straight Bs? A B+ average is not what I'm talking about.

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http://ultravires.ca/2017/11/summer-2018-recruitment-hiring-trust-not/

Your data set is a few years old. Osgoode's placement is materially better this year, not accounting for the large sub-set of students who opt of the OCI recruit to pursue other social-justice oriented opportunities. If price is not a limiting factor, on balance I would take Osgoode. If money is factor, I think Western is still an excellent choice and you will certainly get a better campus experience over 3-years. 

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OP, if you're interested in Bay Street, as between Western and Osgoode, I'd say it's probably potato/potatoe (ignore the ultra vires data - its hard to draw any meaningful conclusions about a school, or how you'll do, based on it, and in any event the differences between Oz and Western aren't material).  I've known lots of good people from both schools, both schools crank out competitive candidates, and you can get a solid legal education in business law at both (a couple of my former colleagues teach there - they'll give you a much better practical legal education than some of the tax profs at UofT or Oz).  

You will have looked at what they can offer people in terms of course selection and opportunities - Oz is larger, so I would expect it would give you more opportunities. On the other hand, there's something to be said for a smaller more intimate school setting .  My own views on the Osgoode campus are well known and need not be repeated (polar bears!), but there's also something to living in a big city when you're young (even if Oz is only technically in Toronto) and they do have a shiny new subway.  I don't think you can make a bad choice between the two schools - and if Western's giving you money, well, money is nice - go with what feels best for you.   

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2 hours ago, LawStudent1996 said:

Apprx. 350 students for 19 clinics at Osgoode vs. 160 students for 5/6 clinics at Western (if you only consider 1Ls).

Osgoode's first-year class is ~270 students, not 350. 

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26 minutes ago, Kemair said:

Straight Bs? A B+ average is not what I'm talking about.

Yep. If you're interesting enough. 

I know a fair number of 2Ls with a B average that got jobs for this summer by being good conversationalists and selling themselves.  

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, OzStudent said:

http://ultravires.ca/2017/11/summer-2018-recruitment-hiring-trust-not/

Your data set is a few years old. Osgoode's placement is materially better this year, not accounting for the large sub-set of students who opt of the OCI recruit to pursue other social-justice oriented opportunities. If price is not a limiting factor, on balance I would take Osgoode. If money is factor, I think Western is still an excellent choice and you will certainly get a better campus experience over 3-years. 

You do realize that much of the difference between Osgoode and Western in OCI hiring appears to be largely driven by difference in hiring at the MAG/Legal Aid Ontario/Ontario Ombudsmen/and the DOJ?  The sort of positions that might attract the sort of "social justice oriented" folks who you think go to Osgoode rather than Western?  

Again, the ultra vires data needs to considered critically - just looking at the bottom line is misleading.  

Edited by maximumbob
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33 minutes ago, Kemair said:

Straight Bs? A B+ average is not what I'm talking about.

I’m pretty sure more or less straight Bs, yep - not that I scrutinized peoples’ transcripts, but that’s what they’ve said. 

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I don't know about other schools but tons of people at Osgoode with mostly B's and even a few C/C+ grades (considering that there are no minuses at Oz) are working on Bay Street. 

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2 hours ago, Simbaa said:

I don't know about other schools but tons of people at Osgoode with mostly B's and even a few C/C+ grades (considering that there are no minuses at Oz) are working on Bay Street. 

Accurate. If you think about it. Most students get mostly Bs. And there are students on Bay with a random C (particularly in the ethics class at Osgoode. Thats almost a joke amongst employers)

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About 30% of Osgoode students get jobs through OCIs. Its probably reasonable to assume that the top 30% of the class comprises of most of those Bay street hires. I'll leave it to the OP to make a reasonable inference here regarding a student with most Bs, no As, and some Cs and their place in the running for those jobs. I don't know anyone with no As that got an infirm. Overall hiring for Bay street summer students has been declining as well.

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17 minutes ago, healthlaw said:

Accurate. If you think about it. Most students get mostly Bs. And there are students on Bay with a random C (particularly in the ethics class at Osgoode. Thats almost a joke amongst employers)

Well, exactly - if 50 or 60% of a class are going to Bay, they can't all have As and B+s or HHs or whatever it is now. 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Kemair said:

About 30% of Osgoode students get jobs through OCIs. Its probably reasonable to assume that the top 30% of the class comprises of most of those Bay street hires. I'll leave it to the OP to make a reasonable inference here regarding a student with most Bs, no As, and some Cs and their place in the running for those jobs. I don't know anyone with no As that got an infirm. Overall hiring for Bay street summer students has been declining as well.

Not everyone in the top 30% will want Bay. Some will want New York, some will want clerkships, some will want government or criminal or non-Bay boutique or other positions. Some will want to go to biglaw or other options in other provinces. Some may go to grad school. Therefore not everyone on Bay comes from the top 30%, which would probably make some of them B students. 

Edited by providence
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22 minutes ago, providence said:

Not everyone in the top 30% will want Bay. Some will want New York, some will want clerkships, some will want government or criminal or non-Bay boutique or other positions. Some will want to go to biglaw or other options in other provinces. Some may go to grad school. Therefore not everyone on Bay comes from the top 30%, which would probably make some of them B students. 

Math time!

275 students in a year. Top 30% of that would consist of 83 students rounded up. Lets be generous and say half of them don't pursue Bay street, that's 42 students rounded up.

Osgoode had 83 hires last year for 2L summer positions! (I'll ignore the fact that this number is exactly 30% of the class haha). Subtracting the 42 top students, that's 41 positions open to B students. 41 positions for the remaining 192 students left gives us... a 21% chance for a B student to get a Bay street position!

So being generous, you have a 21% chance of making Bay Street for a 90k degree if you aren't top 30% of the class. You are right that some B average students will get Bay street, but odds are definitely not in their favour. I won't do more depressing conservative estimates.

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33 minutes ago, Kemair said:

Math time!

275 students in a year. Top 30% of that would consist of 83 students rounded up. Lets be generous and say half of them don't pursue Bay street, that's 42 students rounded up.

Osgoode had 83 hires last year for 2L summer positions! (I'll ignore the fact that this number is exactly 30% of the class haha). Subtracting the 42 top students, that's 41 positions open to B students. 41 positions for the remaining 192 students left gives us... a 21% chance for a B student to get a Bay street position!

So being generous, you have a 21% chance of making Bay Street for a 90k degree if you aren't top 30% of the class. You are right that some B average students will get Bay street, but odds are definitely not in their favour. I won't do more depressing conservative estimates.

Yep, math time... the remaining 192 students who are not top 30% are not all B students... some are C students. Also I doubt 100% of them want Bay either. So the chances for a B student to make Bay would be higher than 21%.

U of T has a more expensive degree and arguably a more competitive class and not everyone there makes it onto Bay either, so I'm not sure what the argument is. No school can guarantee you a Bay Street job, assuming that you really end up wanting one. 

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