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Showing content with the highest reputation on 08/23/18 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    Hi all. Long time lurker here. Thought I’d share some insights I’ve gathered over the past couple of years of law school with those of you about to embark on the 2L recruit. Here are a few tidbits that I think I’d have benefited from had they been shared with me prior to OCIs. Relax. OCIs are less important than you think. If you want to end up on Bay Street, there are plenty of ways to do so outside of the OCI recruit. If you don’t, great, because many exciting summer opportunities arise outside of the formal OCI recruit, and many, many, many more employers partake in the articling recruit as do in OCIs. If you end up without a position on Call Day, you are among the majority of your class, and the most of you will end up finding awesome jobs elsewhere. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Preparation is, IMO, the key to success in interviews. Anticipate the questions that you’ll be asked and prepare responses for those questions. Don’t necessarily have your answers scripted, but have an understanding going in of what points you want to make mention of in responding to particular questions. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll feel and the more easily you’ll be able to field questions from your interviewers. Think about the following questions, each of which I distinctly recall being asked during my own interviews: Why do you want to practice (insert practice area) law? What draws you to our firm? Describe a challenge you’ve faced in your previous employment and explain how you resolved it. Tell me about that thesis paper you wrote. I see you worked with X company for a number of years, what’s all that about? Have you had any negative customer service experiences? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What do you like to do outside of school? If you were employed at our office and you were managing multiple assignments and a partner asked you to take on a new, urgent assignment, what would you do? You mentioned X as among your hobbies and interests. I do that too, and I know tons about it. What do you think about this thing that just happened that’s related to our shared interest? What has been your favourite class at law school? Do you have any questions for us? Have 1 or 2 thoughtful questions prepared for your interviewers, but don't limit yourself to those questions. Some of the best questions are those that arise naturally in the course of your conversation. E.g., if a lawyer mentions something about their firm that piques your interest at the outset of the interview, ask about it when the opportunity arises. Otherwise, try to avoid asking questions that you could ask any lawyer. Show that you’ve done some research by crafting some insightful questions about your recruiter’s practice. (E.g., if they are litigators, look them up on CanLII and ask a question about the work they did on X case). Also, this may be obvious, but it is very important that you actually listen to your interviewers’ answers to your questions; try to ask questions and make comments that flow from your conversation. There is nothing choppier than listening to the answer to your question and immediately jumping into a subsequent question that has nothing to do with the first question. Avoid the non sequiturs. Segue in. Keep a conversational tone in your interaction. If there is a particular firm that you are dying to work for, let them know! But wait until the time is right. Don’t tell firms during your brief OCI interviews that they are your first choice. Wait until in-firms and wait for the right opportunity. Firms can’t offer you a position before Call Day and they can’t ask if you’d accept a position if you were offered one. That said, they still want to be sure that you’d accept a position if they offered one, because if they offer you a position on Call Day and you choose to sit on it for a while, their second and third and fourth choices might get snapped up by the competition while you take your time to wait for another offer. If they ask a question like: So, what do you think of our firm? That is your opportunity to tell them that you’ve loved meeting their team, you love their exciting practice, and that you’d immediately accept a position of you were offered one (only once you’ve met enough of their team to actually have genuinely come to this conclusion). Also feel free to offer this information without any prompting by the interviewers. With that information in mind, they can feel secure in calling you with an offer on Call Day. Caveat: DON’T SAY THIS TO MULTIPLE FIRMS, AND DON’T SAY IT IF YOU DON’T MEAN IT. Recruiters chat, and they may catch you in a lie if you tell multiple firms. Also, it’ll look bad on you if you tell a firm that you’d immediately accept their offer and then turn around and take 20 minutes to accept once they offer you a position on Call Day. Be cognizant of your image. Be prepared for curveballs. I got the impression that one firm was trying to prompt me to breach confidentiality with respect to some legal work that I had been involved in at a legal clinic. Know what you can and can't talk about when it comes to your legal work, and don't fall into the trap of mindlessly blabbering on about information that you are bound to keep confidential. Multiple firms have asked me what other firms I was interviewing for. One actually wrote down my answer. During the recent articling recruit, some of my colleagues were asked: “If we were to offer you a position at 5:00 pm on Call Day, how quickly do you think you could respond to our offer?” This is obviously a pretty unfair question to ask of a student and is pretty clearly in breach of the Law Society’s Guidelines. A good non-response is to say “Well, I've been very impressed by you and your colleagues and your exciting practices and if I were so fortunate as to receive an offer at 5pm on Call Day, you can be sure that I'd respond very quickly." If there is some kind of glaring issue in your application (e.g. D in torts or zero demonstrated interest in the firm’s practice areas), be prepared to explain it. I hope this is at least a bit helpful. Feel free to reach out with any questions; I'm happy to take a stab. I have partaken in the 2L summer and articling recruits and have secured positions through both processes.
  2. 4 points
    Privilege comes in many forms. Kudos to you for working hard, but hard work is necessary for success, but not sufficient. Luck plays a huge role as well. I assume you were born into a stable household and have been healthy and able-bodied your entire life. Your career hasn’t been derailed because you’ve been struck with an aggressive form of cancer, or had to care for a sick relative for an extended period of time, or been crippled in a horrible motor vehicle accident and had to drop out of school to spend 4 years going in and out of a hospital for rehab/treatment, or had to skip university altogether because your father skipped out on your family and left you to work 3 jobs since you graduated high school to help your mom make ends meet. I’ve seen all of these happen to close friends or family members. The hardest working person I ever knew died from cancer in their early 30’s.
  3. 3 points
    That’s a beautiful summary of why privilege is invisible. For a long time this profession was the almost exclusive domain of white men. Every one of them would say he earned his place on hard work and hence wasn’t “privileged”.
  4. 3 points
    I work with exceptionally smart, capable, driven and professional individuals on a daily basis. (My non-law friends' stories about their colleagues never fail to make me realize just how much of a privilege this is.)
  5. 2 points
    Privilege is living longer (on average).
  6. 2 points
    Although a person (to some extent) does earn their way into law school and does earn their success as a lawyer, they do not earn the fact that attending law school and being a lawyer is a highly advantaged position. A person does not earn the historic context of the profession that makes it prestigious. A person does not earn the fact that there are institutions of higher learning that are reasonably accessible to most Canadians that allow a person to enter said profession. A person does not earn the fact that Canada is economically wealthy which allow lawyers to collect high fees from private citizens and the government for their work. And they do not earn how the many institutions that exist within Canada allow the legal system and society to function in such a way as for people who possess a certain set of skills talents, and training to reap massive benefits from them. Etc. To me it makes sense that people can make incredible personal sacrifices to earn their success within a profession while at the same time being massive beneficiaries of the privileged position that said profession occupies.
  7. 2 points
    You're right, of course. I was ranting less about this thread I guess and more at the word privilege and how people usually use it. Too often it gets used as an insult, where people make assumptions about you and your history based purely on surface level things like race or profession. To me, privilege has always meant something undeserved or unearned, and a lot of the time people HAVE earned the privileges they have in life. Which is in no way to say that those who are still struggling HAVEN'T earned them - that they're lazy or undeserving or whatever else - but it's too often used as a way of undermining all the actual work that's gone into a lot of people's success. So I get that the point of this thread was more to point out all the ways we are comparatively better off than most people, but the word privilege will never stop bothering me to describe that. I'm not privileged to have the things I do - I worked hard for it (and yes, had some luck thrown in for things like not being born with/developing serious illnesses that made it impossible and other such acts of life that no one can control).
  8. 2 points
    I dropped my caviar spoon on the floor and you’re really not supposed to clean those with soap so I had my manservant fetch me a new one. Edit to Add: I realize now that the privilege here isn’t clear. You see, the caviar prunery was closed, so my manservant had to find the prunier at home to get the new spoon. We all had a good laugh.
  9. 2 points
    For what it's worth, I'm becoming increasingly unconvinced that reason for attending law school is all that relevant. It seems like a good chunk of students go to law school to "help people" and "fight for justice" or similar, and then most of them apply to corporate law firms during OCIs so that they can represent forestry companies in their fight to chop down trees on Indigenous land or whatever. Some people stick to their guns – providence, Diplock, and Hegdis come to mind as people who seem to have stuck with their principles – but the vast majority of students don't (at least in 2L). Of course, a huge chunk of those ones fail to land OCI gigs and then go right back to being passionate about protecting people from the injustices of large corporations, but by then their claims are a bit hollow. And OPs stated reasons for doing big law are far from inaccurate or uncompelling: Lawyers on Bay Street do get all the perks of working at a big firm. They get free coffee, free snacks, free drinks, excellent secretarial and clerk support. Most have window offices to themselves on the top floors of those shiny towers downtown. That's a great environment to work in! And you know what, there's nothing wrong with wanting to work in that environment over the environment of your average family or criminal lawyer, say. At the same time, there's nothing wrong with wanting to work in a small firm. I get the feeling that providence loves her office and her partners, and I doubt she would be all that happy at Stikemans, even if (or perhaps because) her office would be on the 34th floor (or whatever). Lawyers on Bay Street do tend to live, and can afford to live, in the heart of Toronto. They make good salaries that easily position them to purchase a condo downtown relatively early in their career, particularly if they're partnered with another professional. The most successful ones can afford houses close to downtown, and even those that aren't can generally afford houses in the suburbs. The same isn't necessarily true for other practice areas, particularly early in one's career and particularly if one has to start and build their own practice. So yeah, for what it's worth, OP, I don't think your reasons are all that bad, and even if they were, I'm not convinced it matters.
  10. 2 points
    For law school and recruitment, nobody needs a $1000+ suit that is 100% guaranteed to get past every fashionista's "cheap detector". My law school suit was a cheap off-the-rack polyester blend. I received interviews that went well. I was offered great jobs that I really wanted. I generally had terrific prospects, and was not a Gold Medalist easily forgiven for shoddy style. Nobody ever commented negatively on my threads; I typically received positive remarks. Once or twice, I was explicitly told my cheap, off-the-rack suit was a "nice suit". Now, I know it is not a nice suit. And I know that in the summer it made me crave death. But when I put it on for interviews, I felt like a cool, affable, not unattractive dude. Presumably, that's what my prospective employers saw in me, and not the brutal stitching. In sum, for law school you need one--maybe two if you sweat or are a sloppy eater--respectable-looking and relatively conservative suits (navy, charcoal, or gray; matte not shiny; no flashy pinstripes or patterns). They need to fit you well and make you feel confident. No matter how much you pay for your suit, if you do not feel confident in it, you wasted your money. I felt like a million bucks in my good-looking-albeit-garbage-quality suit, and that was enough to convey to employers that I was not a garbage candidate. Most employers are looking for the confidence, not the stitching--unless of course that stitching is unraveling at a marvelous pace such that you wind up naked by the end of your interview. Tiger has dece sales though. I bought a suit there for under $800, it is possible. For $800 you could also probably get something dece at SuitSupply or Surmesur (though I have no experience with the latter, I've heard it's a slight cut above Indochino.)
  11. 2 points
    I haven’t had to pack a lunch in years.
  12. 1 point
    How many times do we have to say it?! Only one account is allowed! How difficult is that to understand?
  13. 1 point
    You can change your username now 😄
  14. 1 point
    Privilege = 115% (in real money terms) of whatever the person discussing privilege grew up experiencing as normal. There, settled.
  15. 1 point
    No part of this thread was about that. Focusing on your privilege in one thread, doesn't mean you can't be proud of your work and accomplishments. They're not mutually exclusive.
  16. 1 point
    Do you think lawyers really care, though? They know what students are paying for school and what they’re getting paid for the summer, so I don’t think many would be likely to judge students for having less expensive clothing. I think if you’re getting really far down in quality – into the 200s or so – they may care, but I doubt many of the lawyers I’ve met cared that my suits are in the $600 range instead of the $1000.
  17. 1 point
    Students, maybe not. Lawyers who wear suits daily and have shopped for them for years? I can spot the difference a block away.
  18. 1 point
  19. 1 point
    All of these posts are quite motivating, congratulations to all of you!
  20. 1 point
    Hey buddy, let me tell you something. Something that I don't think anybody here have really said to you properly. Others who were unsuccessful in this recruit should listen to this too. You did everything right. You beat out 85% of applicants to get into a Canadian professional school program - an Ontario law school - that has a less than 15% acceptance rate. You performed well academically in law school. You got a relevant 2L summer position. You got OCI and articling interviews. You made it to the second and third stages of your articling interviews. You played all the cards that you were dealt with in the best way that you thought possible - you did you. This is not your fault. Stop beating yourself up. The simple truth is that the legal job market is garbage right now, and has been for the last decade. There are very capable and hardworking students from every Canadian law school who do not have jobs right now. These few articling employers are interviewing 40-70 candidates for 2-3 respective positions. You wanted a golden goose egg and weren't offered one. Try again. It gets better once you get called to the bar because there are more employment opportunities for lawyers. There are far less such opportunities for law students and articling students. The market in most other professions is dismal right now as well. I know engineering graduates from U of T and Waterloo who are struggling. I know business students from Schulich and Laurier who don't have jobs. I know an Ontario medical school graduate struggling to find a residency match. The job market is bad for a lot of fields right now, with the legal market being right up there at the top. We get it. You wanted to be #1-5 out of the 40-70 candidates that were interviewed at these firms. But for some reason or another, you were not. Suck it up and move forward. You've hustled hard to make it this far, so keep on hustling. You came to law school to become a lawyer, right? So make that happen. Become a lawyer. You still have a full year to find an articling position. Make that happen. Good luck.
  21. 1 point
    Would I still get into the law school I got into years ago? Would I be able to get into all of the schools that I have taught at? Nope, better not to know .
  22. 1 point
    I don't disagree, but, WRT to the bolded comment, I'm reminded of this article by the then chief counsel of AON: https://abovethelaw.com/2012/07/inside-straight-dress-to-excess/ He wrote a book on practicing law, his chapter 8 "Dress for Success" read, in it's entirety:
  23. 1 point
    I wouldn't freak out. There are really three general rungs of dress shoes: quality (eg Allen Edmonds); workable (eg Steve Madden, Cole Haan); and disposable (H&M, Aldo, etc)). There are lots of excellent pairs of shoes in the workable range. They won't last as long as shoes in the quality rung, but they're fine! Wear comfortable shoes that make you feel good about yourself. Just know that the lower the quality of your shoe, the more frequently you have to replace your footwear. So sometimes it may feel like you're making the frugal choice buying a more affordable shoe, but it isn't a good long term choice. (Also, not everyone can afford to buy $300+ shoes in the first place, even if it's the more cost-effective option; there's no shame in wearing whatever shoes best suit your budget). I'd note that there are a lot of brands priced at the workable range (and sometimes even the quality range) which border on disposable--they lead to a lot of these (or came with them). If you're paying over $100 for these, you're making a bad investment. Frankly, I wouldn't pay over a hunny even for workable shoes I really like. They always go on sale. Just know that you won't get more than a few years out of these shoes--especially if they're your only pair. Meanwhile, if you're buying disposables (aka, shoes that won't last beyond a year) my advice is don't pay more than 30 bucks for them. Alternatively, you're far better off throwing money at good craftsmanship.
  24. 1 point
    Is anyone else freaking out about these names and prices? I feel like I'm doing it wrong. Is Browns taboo or something?
  25. 1 point
    You are going to be so, so disappointed by the quality of discussion in law school.
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