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QueensLaw13

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  1. I think the attitude of forever seeking the path of least resistance will be a problem for them as well.
  2. If you don't know, then why comment? Your opinion is based on assumptions. The rest of us are debating interpretation of facts. Two very different things. Also, it's not that your lsat grades might not matter much but rather that they won't matter at all come job hunting. You don't submit lsat grades when applying, nor do you bring them to the interview. The standard interview processes through which a lot of people get jobs also have rules, which include a prohibition against asking for lsat grades as I recall (one interviewer brought up the question and his cohort in the room shut him down on the grounds they aren't allowed to ask). As for job applications in general, I can tell you there are lots of factors that help and hurt, several of which you will have zero control over. I've known people with great grades and course prizes to have trouble finding articles, myself included. I was applying with decent to great grades (including an A in civ pro. Queen's doesn't have an A+ grade, by the by), two course prizes, I was working in two separate legal clinics in my last year, was involved in extracurriculars including something I started myself for fellow law students, and I was going to start a Master of Laws program in the fall. The job market is still brutal and criteria can be random. I interviewed at a lot of firms that summer, and while I was apparently runner up a lot, that doesn't do you any good when you're not landing it (advice to everyone: it's not a bad idea to talk to firms that have rejected you and ask why. Do it politely and be asking what you can do to improve, and you'll be amazed at the honesty you get. Some of it helpful, some of it not). Oh, to clarify for your 0L status, you apply for jobs a year in advance when it's the standardized process I'm referring to. There are other ways to job hunt. I found my articling position while pounding the pavement and applying to any online listing while also cold applying to places that weren't listing. But these are not desirable positions for a number of reasons, including pay and expectation. There was one firm in Hamilton applying on the lsuc articling database as wanting someone willing to go "above and beyond" and work 60+ hours a week, no pay for the whole articling term. There are people getting between $70k and $80k at big Bay Street firms for the same time period who are putting in fewer hours than that and they get benefits on top. Small firms see articling students differently because of their situation. Their resources are few so they're looking to maximize output, meaning they want more work done but don't want to pay for it. That's where we come in. We're outside labour law protection for a lot of stuff and they know we need the position to get licensed. Big firms see articling as an investment and a way to cultivate their future associates and even partners. The best you can hope for with small firms is they either see you as their replacement in training who will buy out their practice from them (most likely in small town communities) or they get that they're paying you 5 to 7 times less than you'd make downtown (I worked it out, and my final tally will be one fifth what someone gets at just about any medium sized firm you care to name, and without any benefits) and so they don't expect you to work beyond 9 to 5. But that's as good as it gets. The surge in students has helped drive down wages and plenty of places are happy to take advantage (everyone in this position remember to call osap and ask them to hold off on requiring pay back because of your financial situation. They'll do it). As for the lpp, it's something I've talked with people about, including a former classmate who is in the program right now. His observations are as follows: -You've got a ton of people doing it who graduated overseas, have poor language skills, seem to have little understanding of the legal field, and who you fear might one day practice (though he says he find these people tend to have failed the bar exams, so there's that). -he says the Canadian and English speaking students are grouped with the foreign students for the assigned groups. He assumes this was done because lsuc wants then to help these students. Generally, he says the Canadian students will just do the work for the group on their own because the submissions of their group mates are unusable if you care about your grade (oh yes, there are grades and you can fail. Mercifully, he tells me the two biggest idiots in his group have). -he says there were actually more job postings than there were people in the program, but two thirds remain without a position because these places are able to just walk away and not hire anyone. Apparently the majority of the pool of candidates are so bad (particularly because of language skills on a first glance basis) that they're just not being hired. But he says it is helpful for those like him who went to Ontario law schools, did well or decently well, but fell through the cracks. My observations: -If there are things that the law society thinks are do incredibly important for us to know that you have to learn it in the lpp, then it should be taught in law school. Seriously. The course my friend describes sounds really useful and I'm annoyed it wasn't taught (I'm asking him for his notes/copies of the materials). I have the same beef with the Bar exam. If it's on the Bar exams then it should be a required course. If it's important enough that we're expected to know it to become lawyers then not teaching it as a requirement in law school is insane! I passed the Bar exams on my first attempt, but I'd have been less stressed about it if I'd taken more of the courses that appear as subject matter on the thing. -The law society knows that foreign law degree holders have issues, and yet don't want to address the topic of an education/knowledge gap. Instead they're burdening ontario educated students with the task of trying to teach them something. That's not right. It's unfair to students who are already in a tough spot, and it's unfair to clients who might end up being serviced by people who probably shouldn't be practicing. It also indicates that we've got prime with huge language difficulties trying to work in a profession that is language oriented. That should be addressed. -The jobs that lpp candidates are getting are not that bad (though many are in the middle of nowhere) and they aren't based on performance in the lpp, as there are no finalized grades by the time most of the interviews seem to be happening. This means that passing these students actually has nothing to do with the lpp and everything to do with the system in place to connect law students to articling positions. This has been a long time observation and complaint of many students. It is certainly something that could have been accomplished without needing to double the licensing fees. -The law society was touting the course as a means for standardizing the licensing process. Great. Except then it makes no sense to keep articling as an option since you've just admitted that it provides a non standard experience that is likely leaving various candidates unprepared to just open their own shop after. A modest proposal: If the argument is there is a minimum standard to be met in order to obtain your license, and if that minimum standard is indicated by the Bar exams and the lpp, then I suggest the following modifications to the system seem self evident: 1. If a subject is on the Bar exam then it should be a mandatory class in law school so that you at least no more about it than what you could cram in just 4 to 6 weeks on your own, especially as you just get a pass or fail grade and you could well fail a section you intend to practice and not know it. Also, put more emphasis on civ / pro by also weaving it into everything. No matter how familiar I am with some of it I always wish I knew it better. It really is the backbone of so much of law that I don't get why it isn't treated that way. 2. The lpp course should be mandatory. Either break it down into multiple courses taught throughout law school, or make it the same 4 month course taught in place of one term or over the summer between first and second year. I know this and the last proposal move law schools closer to being like a practical college (or, say, med school) and further from being an ivory tower of theoretical contemplation, but there's still room for plenty of theory and this is the only road to being licensed, so teach us what we need to know while we're there! Extend law school to 4 years if you think you need to! 3. The exposure to firm life seems important, and I do believe that exposure to be vital. But is 10 months the right number? Frankly, I'm fine with 10 months. I think it gives you a great amount of experience and has the opportunity to do stuff you might not get to in a given 4 month period. The last 4 months of articling for me have been very different from my first 2 months, and that's just because of scheduling and the stage of various files. I'd have missed out on a LOT of stuff. That said, if the law society thinks 4 is all you need after doing the course (and I've already said put it in law school) then maybe it is, or maybe the right number is somewhere in between. 4. Our blanket exclusion from important areas of labour law are ridiculous. That said, I'm not proposing wage requirements. I'm tempted to say at least minimum wage, but that would further undermine placement opportunities for some. What I would suggest is more reasonable treatment from firms that pay minimum wage range or below. I would say this is especially needed when students are being ground down with almost exclusively secretarial work because the firm find this to be a cheap alternative to proper staffing. (It wouldn't be do bad if they at least had the lpp course section under their belt, but when this your situation in place of the course then it's a major issue). 5. A better system to link up students with articling positions. Have one single database from which firms list their positions. Give student a profile on it that lists basic information and what they're looking for. Have a decent search engine so that students can scan for available positions and apply through the website with their cv, transcripts, and references already loaded and ready they just have to upload the cover letter for the right firm. Also have a search mechanism for the firms do they can search for students they might be interested in. They have needs as well, and it can only help the situation if they can take a proactive approach when they need to (some small firms look for replacements very last minute and there just isn't the time to wait for people to go back and check the system at their leisure). For ease of use, build it into the lsuc portal that students and lawyers must use for their account, and make all applications have to through there. The law society regulates artiling, regulates the principals, and regulates the requirements; it's time they stopped pretending otherwise and actually get involved. 6. Make the "student-at-law" designation formally recognized as a student status by the government and banks. It makes an enormous difference in terms of loan repayment, qualifies the student for additional loans, and thereby crates a more livable situation for the students who have work for minimum wage or less because of a market that is comfortable taking advantage of them. 7. Consider the possibility of each law school running it's own law firm. It could provide something even better than the random clinics, and if law school becomes 4 years and this firm offers a month placements then each cohort could divide into thirds to do work there if needed (3 terms per year). No pay, but at least you're still a student so you could get osap. All profits go to the law school in the hopes of keeping tuition down. (Obviously there could not be enough spots for everyone, but what a great way to solve the problem of non placement for the 10-15% not getting placed) That last one is obviously the most challenging one, and also the most crazy one. I don't even know that it's feasible (though I feel it should be). It's a random additional thought I just had as a "would be nice," hence my prefacing it with "consider." I emphasize this point just to avoid distracting from the main thrust of ways to solve the articling issue. I think the first 6 points are relatively painless and make sense, the 7th is wishful thinking. Anyway, there are some thoughts from an articling student bored while waiting on someone but with a fully charged phone and free WiFi. My apologies for any weird auto corrects or Swype scree ups. Only do much I can do from a phone. Cheers, and happy New Year!
  3. Largely the clients. Firstly, I hate being lied to, especially when it's going to result in big surprises later (like at discovery). Secondly, I hate how powerless I feel when I'm trying to help deserving clients. I don't control the purse strings, and the insurance companies are getting stingier and stingier. I've pushed for some clients really hard to get them what they both deserve and even need, but I can be highly constrained by what documents are available and how much the other side really believes things. I feel like sometimes defence counsel are in a position to do more good, in that sense. Then again, if their client is telling them to keep it low and just not settle, then I suppose they may be as stuck as me with those ones... so maybe just the first one is the really irksome issue. I hear it's better if you work with catastrophic injuries, since there's no doubt about the injuries and they're more straightforward about everything.
  4. I'm articling with a personal injury firm just now. I swear, at times I feel like switching...
  5. What are people's thoughts on marketing yourself by creating your own website? Nothing fancy, but information about you and what you're looking for, a CV, a picture, maybe some personal statement. Basically a more attractive linked in profile page, but it's just you. Does it show creativity, initiative, and good advertising skills, or do you just look like a self indulgent, arrogant dumb ass? I've been playing around with Wix, and I feel like I can put together a professional enough page. Thoughts?
  6. Remember to relax when you go in! Also, read the answers BEFORE you try and look them up. It's multiple choice, so you can usually eliminate a number of the potential answers just by virtue of them being clearly wrong. When you're stuck, it's often between two potential answers, and it's easier to just confirm one of them than to first look up the answer and try to make it fit with their wording. Trust me, it's just faster. But do remember to relax and trust your judgment to some degree. As long as you took studying seriously, you shouldn't be able to go too far wrong. Sorry if that's a bit vague, but when you write the exam you have to sign stuff to indicate you won't talk about what's on the exam (I assume because they reuse a lot of the questions and don't want people to know certain things regarding types of questions and the like). Have step by step lists of what to do for each topic, I found that to be very helpful when I prepared such "maps" before going in last year. Also, have confidence in yourself. I could have sworn I failed that thing (at least one of the two exams, anyway), but lo and behold I passed. Considering I didn't get as much studying done as I'd wanted to, I feel like that means that anyone who puts in a serious effort should have NO problem! Good luck! Oh, and if you have any lucky charms that you like to bring into exams with you (I've been in university so long that I've accumulated a number such items), just keep it in your pocket. Don't take it out. They might make you leave it behind. (for the curious, my items included a 20 sided dice, an old one shilling coin, and a dragon necklace that I'd worn to every exam and while writing every paper since I was 16, including through all 10 academic years of university and the Bar)
  7. I don't disagree with you on the fundamentals. And I'm speaking as one of the unfortunates who has yet to secure an articling position, despite decent grades (Seriously. Nothing below a B- as someone would hope, I've got course prizes, extra curriculars, work in two different law clinics, and I'm currently doing an LL.M. feel free to tell me where I'm lacking since I'm clearly losing out to people who couldn't get into a Canadian school as well as Canadian students rocking marks in the C range. If it's just a lack of connections then I'll live with it, but it'd be good to know), a good CV, and what I have assumed is a generally pleasant demeanor. A few interviews but still coming up short. The only thing I can say is that I personally am avoiding the LPP and am still searching for an articling position instead. I just can't imagine it will look good that I had to do it and will negatively impact my ability to get hired by a firm in the future. That said, I'll direct a question at you as a member of the LSUC... why isn't more pressure being put on the Law Society to do SOMETHING other than this idiotic LPP? If we've got a system designed to weed out people at the front end by making it hard to get into law school, then why don't we do something about those cutting in line by going overseas just to swing back to Canada? It shouldn't be hard to tell who went to a law school elsewhere because they couldn't get in here (maybe indicate that if they didn't practice law in the same place they got their degree you want to see their transcripts and LSAT and see if they could have even gotten into a school here), and the stats say that their numbers alone are pretty well all, if not the large majority of, the glut of articling candidates. To put another way... I get that you don't like this notion of the whole profession getting kicked in the groin, and I'm speaking as someone who qualifies for the LPP but isn't using it (though I understand why people would), but what other option is there for students in my position? Nevermind the NCA students who never qualified to go to school here in the first place. I'm talking about students like me who did everything asked of them, qualified in the way asked of them, didn't take shortcuts and try to circumvent the system, kept decent to good grades, worked in the clinics and extra curriculars and donated time they didn't have a lot of in the first place... what are people like that supposed to do? The spreading of the cost I don't really understand the logic behind it other than as a general subsidy to keep debt down for others (I don't approve of that though. Though I'm not doing the LPP, were I doing it Id on't think I'd feel good at all knowing that those who successfully found a position have to pay for my inability to do so. I guess it's more complicated knowing that those doing the LPP aren't just the students who jerked around in law school... but still). All the same, I find the lack of further options available to be off putting. LSUC is just dicking around, as I think is evidenced by both the LPP and also the programs they've been hosting for people who don't yet have articling positions (I've gone to them, and I've yet to walk away feeling anything other than frustration at having my time wasted). Why aren't dues paying LSUC members getting together and demanding that something else be done? Hell, it's long past time to get more practical work into the Law School environment, and if the LPP contains enough basic information so as to work in place of articling (when combined with an oddly short internship) then why isn't that demanded as part of the law school curriculum? It would certainly be more standardized than the varied approaches of law firms (some of which have articling student programs with lectures and seminars, and some of which only take on those who are willing to work without pay and basically use them as low level labour with no view towards expanding their legal education beyond basic experience credential so they can get licensed). Why isn't there a push to demand subsidies or breaks from dues payments or professional development hours or some other form of incentive to get lawyers to take on articling students? Maybe that if you take on one every ten years you get... something. I don't know what would be sufficient incenstive as I'm not on that side of things (yet... I hope). From the perspective of those who are trying to make our way into the profession after doing everything we were asked to do the way we were asked to do it, I've got to be honest with you about how little I personally (and I imagine those in my same situation will back me up on this) care about the profession getting kicked in the groin when the inaction of the profession itself has aided in creating this mess. No one fought the province in tuition freezes and that led to schools increasing their enrollment (the most infamous being Ottawa, which more than doubled). No one fought the schools to try and find another way. No one asked the LSUC to look into things and either exert pressure on the law schools, get them to improve their curriculum so that articling could maybe be phased out, or create a more difficult bar exam (I just wrote and passed it this summer. The hardest thing about it was not knowing anything about the types of questions that would be asked. If I had an example of that exam then I could have reduced my notes to just a few pages per section and it would have been super easy to just score a pass). Maybe get LSUC to look into issues regarding all the students hitting up law schools in Australia and England given that they represent such a massive rise in numbers (going from what... less than 90 in 2007 to about 800 in 2012? Aren't we hitting about 1,000 this coming year? Someone who has the stat on that let me know)... ANYTHING! There's an entire membership that's sitting by and at the best end of the spectrum we have a few who are willing to take on students (a very, VERY few). Still on the positive end of the spectrum we have people like you who have some sympathy for the situation. At the other end we have lawyers who are beffudled by what's going on and expressing confusion over the crazy number of articling applications they are getting when they never used to see any before. Oh, and at the worst end there are those expressing genuine annoyance at receiving the influx of requests and random calls and emails from students (this is hearsay as I'm going off of what others have told me from their experience. I've yet to randomly email/call in a blanket sort of way like I've been hearing people do to some lawyers. I usually try calling the receptionist to ask and tend to seek a go-between to make an introduction or give them a heads up if I'm not applying to a formal call for applications. But who knows, maybe that's what I'm doing wrong. Maybe I should join the choir of annoying articling students with the audacity to try and land a job just so we can get licensed. Seriously, I could understand if we were just talking about jobs, like those after articling, but this is part of the licensing process. Do you know what an advantage it would be if I were a licensed lawyer looking for work elsewhere? That means a good deal more to people than just having a law degree. Not being licensed reaks of having failed to accomplish something just as much as going to Bond screams "I couldn't get into a Canadian Law School!"). Not to sound overly bitter (you know... as I look over job postings really late on a Saturday night/Sunday Morning), but many of us are less receptive to a statement that the profession/society got kicked in the groin when we feel like the profession and society kicked us there first. As part of that whole oath thing don't all new calls agree to assist in the training of future lawyers? So as part of the oath members of the LSUC accept a certain duty to those following in their footsteps... I think you can imagine how some of us feel after doing what was asked without shortcuts. You know... just to stand up for those accused of doing the kicking.
  8. Hey, I did the CanBarPrep course. "Useless" might be a bit harsh... but it wasn't awesome. For the Barrister section they had mostly good days. The first day there were two speakers scheduled and one didn't show, so the other one just read his slides. That guy's own presentation wasn't awesome. The ones that WERE good just gave a good and concise review of stuff. The problem, however, is that you're at the mercy of the lecturer. These lecturers are law professors, and each day is basically a lengthy "final review lecture." By "final review lecture" I mean like the ones you go to on the last day of class for that course before the exam. When the professor tries to summarize everything you've done over the past 3 months. It's like that. But spread over the whole day, and it covers the subjects with a bit more breadth and depth (since it's necessary for the exam). As review sessions they're great. The best lecturers were the ones that framed the materials into a cohesive narrative since the materials themselves are structured out of order in the Bar Exam print outs. That said, they are most useful if you've already read the materials through and have an understanding of them before going in. If you go in there to learn about the topic... the level of usefulness drops like a stone. This is especially the case with some really bad lecturers. You'd think they'd have refined who they bring in, but they still bring in some fairly useless individuals. I think the real estate one was particularly confusing (though not necessarily bad) because they had three lecturers alternating back and forth between each other. Aside from just the jarring changes in style you also had the fact that one of them had a voice that could cure insomnia. One had a lot of "ummms" and "aaaahs," which got annoying fast. They'd also cut in at various times and it's really not helpful when you're trying to get an ordered sense of the materials. The best study technique with this stuff is to organize a cohesive narration that goes step by step. If you have a family law case what are all the steps you'd do from beginning to end? If it's a criminal law case, same question... and you just follow those procedures out. For the Barrister section I was already really familiar with everything so it was decent review. I knew almost nothing about criminal procedure but the lecturer they had in to do it was AMAZING! She was fanfuckingtastic. I could rave about how great she was for a couple pages and still be underselling her abilities. She gave such a well structured step by step overview that even with my highly limited experience in the area I was pretty comfortable with the materials by end. If you could purchase a ticket to individual days I would do that one. The solicitor section was more... miss. The first week was bad enough that I knew people who, despite having paid for both weeks like I did, decided to just stop going. They just left because it wasn't worth the time and the money was already wasted. they found it more helpful to just stay at home and read... and for a lot of it they were absolutely right. Even the Barrister section which I thought was handled better you had lots of it where you'd have done just as well to stay at home and read. The Solicitor stuff had lots of problems. I don't remember being particularly happy with any of the days. The highest and lowest point came on the final day. There were two lecturers, one doing basic business law overview in the morning, and then a second presenter doing bankruptcy in the afternoon. The second lecturer was great. She closed out the thing on a high note and I was decently happy with her explanations. The first presenter was an embarrassment. Now, I hate to be harsh of people trying to help, but when people pay for a service they should expect to get something for their money. She took over an hour to do what any competent lecturer could have handled in the opening 5 to 10 minutes of a business law class. The fact that I'd done decently well in Business Associations and had just spent a year in the Queen's Business Law Clinic meant that I was incredibly bored... though so was everyone else. It also meant that I knew when she was MAKING MISTAKES! Although many new when she was making mistakes. Students called her out on it regarding errors she was making. It was a complete mess. Now, in the first week something like that had happened with the Public Law section, I think it was. The guy made one mistake, it was pointed out and a bit debated, and then that was that. This woman made repeated ones. It completely undermined the much needed trust between lecturer and audience. You had people checking everything she was saying, you could hear people rumbling and discussing it throughout her lecture... I honestly thought if the time hadn't run out then people might have started to really vocalize their anger. The problem comes down to preparation. These people are chosen because they know their stuff in the field (though that last one I think had not ever practiced and was probably a seminar professor who does stuff with very upper tier students and upper tier information in work RELATED to that field. Maybe even directly within business law but so high up she doesn't encounter the nuts and bolts stuff anymore and just gets easily confused by it. I've seen it happen with Professor Stuart at Queen's making mistakes on his exams and then has to send updates and corrections and sometimes it's too late by the time he notices the rather basic errors. I'm told it happens all the time. I know it happened on my only exam with him and it happened with a friend of mine two years later on her only exam with him. Sometimes the high minded high ranking and worth advertising professors are the ones who do the worst when it comes to teaching). But just being a big name isn't good enough. When so removed from the fundamentals that they have trouble teaching it then they become a real problem to people trying to learn the fundamentals. For the Bar Exams you don't need to know high flung theories, rather you're being tested on the nuts and bolts (as reflected by the fact that the materials are all on the nuts and bolts). The other major issue was preparation. Various profs seemed convinced that they weren't allowed to see the materials and so hadn't looked at them. This meant any updates to the law they weren't aware of but were in the materials were not included in their lectures (hence sometimes leading to errors in explanation and interpretation). You'd also have moments of a lecturer saying "well that's how I teach it." Great... but they didn't write the exam. The best lecturers were those who had seen the materials in advance and read through their section and made sure they 1. covered everything in there, 2. made notes along the way and informed you they were doing the bar materials out of order but also let you know where their materials and the bar materials corresponded in order to help you when you went back through them, and 3. were cognizant of the issues involved of a lecturer prepping you for an exam that they don't know what's on it. They don't even know the style of what's on it because they all last wrote the Bar Exams under the old layouts when you did one test day per section with like... a one or two week break in between each, spreading the whole thing over 3 or 4 months with Bar administered courses for each section being something you went to and did before each exam. It must have been great. Learn the relevant info, then flush it. Then repeat for the next section. Much better than doing two 7 hour exams on disparate topics. So lecturers were up and down. I'd say there were 2 or 3 really great lecturers, a few okay lecturers, and the rest were either 'meh' or just totally sub par. The majority is spent in those last two categories I believe (well, maybe call it 50%). I'm not lying when I said people would just walk out. They'd leave for the day, they'd lament having wasted the travel time, they'd get angry about the waste of money when you have lecturers who aren't showing up or just outright suck so badly you'd wish they hadn't shown up (that second last one I mentioned... I could have taught that section better and in far less time. I was embarrassed to even be sitting there never mind having paid money for the "privilege") (again, not to say these are bad people or that this person didn't maybe know the high theory stuff, but if you can't explain the basics that people are paying for you to explain... then you failed at your job). The overall experience left a bad taste in the mouth of many of those who were there. I know I was a bit peevish by the end. Plus those are long and draining days. 9 to 5 (well, really it was more like 9 to 4, with two 15 minute breaks and an hour for lunch. And even still you had more than a few days ending at 3:30 and then the lecturer taking questions till about 4PM or so. I stuck around for all the question periods and I only found one or two to be particularly helpful. Part of the issue is you don't get quality questions when you haven't explained things well enough for your audience to understand enough to ask any decent questions). Your best bet for the bar exam is to get a good index. Learn the index and make sure you know what is called what in it. Read through the materials and make notes as you go (anything you write on the materials or on stickies you put on the materials will be lost as they are kept by the LSUC at the end, so I recommend doing it on a computer so you can just print it out and then reprint if you, hopefully NOT, have to write the exam(s) again). If you have time, read through them again. Actually think about what you're reading and think about how it fits together. Have a working understanding/knowledge of it. If you do that, you're fine and the course won't help you. Best case scenario it makes you feel more confident and/or clears up a few things, worst case scenario it leaves you feeling confused and bitter about the waste of money. If you REALLY feel like doing it, keep in mind it's not cheap. I worked it out on an hour and hour basis while having my time wasted by one of the lecturers, and it's about as expensive as law school (again, on an hour by hour rate) as I recall (I'd have to check the numbers). Also keep in mind that it's time you're losing from actually studying. Plus, think about the commute time. When I went it was about an hour and a half travel each way for me. Add in all that time trying to take notes and absorb the information and what you have is a really tired law student by the end of the day. You're fried and essentially not going to do any useful studying the rest of the day. I tried and started to feel sick from it some nights and had to dial it back (might have also been nerves and/or the street meat I indulged in). Overall... I don't think it's worth it. The only definitive upside is that it gets you moving and forces you to look at materials at a time when you might feel like procrastinating. But if you're an easily self motivated person... don't worry about that. I seriously can't recommend the course. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a high rate of passing for people who take it, but I'd expect that's because the people who take the course really care and tend to try hard. If you try hard and apply yourself then you're not going to fail. Actually, the criminal procedure lecturer I really admire told me after class that I shouldn't worry; she's never heard of a good student failing the exam and people who come out to these things tend to be good and committed students. Not many would waste their money if they didn't care. At the same time, I know of people who took the course who still failed the exam. So really that just proves that it's about the student and their approach to studying and has NOTHING to do with the course. There's no special knowledge, no secret tactics. They wouldn't even be allowed to tell you how to go about passing the exam if they knew since we're all supposed to be bound by a requirement to not give away anything about the questions and types of questions on the exam. Take it seriously. The only other bit of advice I have for you is that throughout the exam I kept telling myself "faster, move on!" to keep from getting stuck on a question. Pacing is really important in this, so don't lose track of the time! I also kept telling myself "more simple." I treated the questions as being more straightforward and tried to pic the most direct and simple answer (simple as in least complicated but while still directly pertaining to the question at hand). I can't speak to whether or not that worked too well, but I passed so I guess it didn't cause me to fail. That said, there's no way to know by how much a person passes so maybe it actually brought me down. I can only tell you what I did, I sadly can't tell you what worked. Just make sure you've read things carefully. Treat it like any law school exam in that way and make sure you're properly identifying the issues. Do that, and my money says you'll be fine. Money I'd have more of if I hadn't done that course... and I don't really recommend doing it either. If they get around to making sure all the lecturers read the materials and properly prepare themselves and their own materials so that they can present a cohesive narration (basically, the best lecturer can take you form beginning to end of an issue. Step by step from when can a police officer detain you, to when can they arrest you, to what comes next, and then after that, and on and on and on and into trial and sentencing and appeal and so on and so forth), then maybe the damn thing will be worth it. Though it's still the same problem of them not knowing how the exam is really structured or what's on it. Still, when they have that first part down consistently it will likely be more worth doing. In the mean time, if you're a good student... don't bother. Either way you need to read through the materials and that course is only at its most effective when you go in having already read the materials and know what's coming. Again, I wouldn't recommend doing it. But that's me. Take it, along with the above information, as you will.
  9. I'm doing my LLM here at U of T and actually ran into him recently. I didn't love him as a prof, but then his style isn't really a style that speaks best to me. I was a huge fan of Professor Maur's style but then a lot of people aren't. As an advance, I got a B+ in the course, so I didn't do badly but didn't top out. He would assign us stuff where we could be "on call" for the day's readings, and would have to explain the case and various things about it. On the one hand, it's annoying. On the other hand... I lucked out in that the days I had to prepare for happened to be the backbone of the exam. The exam was somewhat confusing in areas, and the multiple choice section was not well thought out. Also, I think a lot of people lost marks because they took the option where you could select none of the above and give your own answer but with a 25% haircut on the maximum grade you could get for the question (as I recall). I spoke with people after the exam and for the 5 multiple choice questions we all had the same answers for 3 of them and then diversified on the remaining 2. So I think a lot of people maybe lost marks they didn't have to by trying to answer easy/obvious ones themselves to be more specific instead of just trying to get as close to the mark as possible. On a side note, I don't know what the other professors who teach Evidence at U of T are like. At Queen's the alternative was to be taught Evidence by Stuart, and as brilliant as he is I have always had a terribly difficult time learning from him (a fairly common experience). So keep in mind that opinions about him from Queen's will also be weighed against the other option available.
  10. Yeah, I think Kenoshakid did a decent job of pointing out the issue here. You might not like the LSAT, and you might not understand why it's helpful in indicating how someone might do in the practice of law, but I think that's because of a logic failing that's going on here (and willingness to speak without the facts or qualifying your statements as to what you're relying on). If you don't see why a test of someone's logical reasoning abilities might be helpful in terms of their ability to do a job that is highly dependent on logical reasoning then there's no further to go in the conversation. Of the sections on the exam the reading comprehension was likely the least useful indicator of someone's abilities in the field, but it's weighted only slightly more than the Logic Games section (unless there's been a change. I wrote the LSAT in 2008) and both together are weighted the same as logical reasoning (also, given the amount of reading involved in law school it makes perfect sense to see if someone can perform this task). Now, I'll admit that test anxiety can certainly skew results. I myself was terribly anxious for the exam and my LSAT score suffered by several points compared to what I was scoring under test condition practice exams that I knew didn't count for anything (my score was still good enough and hit the 80th percentile, but not as good as I felt I was capable of). So I am very sympathetic if it's an issue of anxiety. But if it's an issue of ability, which is the primary thing the exam looks for, then that's a truly valid concern. Your accomplishment here is impressive. You took the longest of odds and have made a go of it. I have no idea how you did on the NCA, the Bar Exam, or if you've found an articling position yet, but well done so far. The concern I think most people have with this state of affairs is that we've now seen posts from people who feel ready to give up on the stress of trying to get into a Canadian school because this is looking like a viable option. It isn't for the vast majority. Yes, you've done well, and I'm sure you know people who did well too, but this is the exception rather than the rule (and you still have yet to break into the legal field). For example, I know people who got A's in my Contracts small section class, but that doesn't mean it was possible for everyone, especially when the grades are curved and you can only have X number of top students. The situation with your oh so smart friend who transferred probably indicates that he was around the top of his class if not at the top itself, and there can only be one person at the top. People are worried that young students who are feeling a bit frazzled will view this as more possible than it is, and ignore the scores of people who can't make a go of it, can't do as well as you, and even fail to see that while you've been hard at work at this path longer than I have I'm actually closer to getting into the career than you are just now by simple virtue of the geography of where I went to school. I make no arguments about it being fair, right, deserved, or even acceptable, but it is what it is. I was at Queen's from 2010 to 2013, graduated, and just wrote and passed the Bar exams. I didn't have to take any tests to get my qualifications recognized, no one questions the quality of my law school during interviews or discussions, and NO ONE asks me "so why did you choose to go there?" I do hope you keep posting because it would be truly interesting to have a complete beginning to end saga of the process involved here. We all just want it pointed out to other students looking towards law school that there are still major challenges to this. - You still need to (or have recently done) the NCA stuff. - You've got to pass the bar exam, and while I can't speak to the difficulty level at UBC I have known people here in Ontario who failed the first time and they were decently smart people. - You need to article which means two things: 1. Your application needs to impress someone enough to call you back for an interview. This could be difficult as many interviewers ask fresh out of law school applicants for their transcripts. All of them. As you know, your earlier marks were certainly less than astounding. Now, I admittedly can only speak about the interview process here in Ontario, and the interviewers clearly want our grades because we wouldn't have much in the way of legal work experience so I have no idea if they continue this practice later (I don't think so though) or if they require it of mature status students (I don't see why they wouldn't). 2. Once in the interview you will inevitably have to explain why you went to study outside of Canada, and you have one less option available to you here than some NCA students I've known. I've known people who studied abroad because the reason they couldn't get into school here was their LSAT score. You don't submit your LSAT score with the application and, so far as I know, the interviewers can't ask you about it. Since the LSAT was what stopped them but their undergraduate grades were fine, they could talk about wanting to travel an study outside of Canada as though they had an option to do otherwise. This line is not open to you because one look at your transcripts and it's evident that regardless of whether you'd have wanted to study in Canada or not you could not possibly have done so. You can talk about how you overcame all this adversity and got serious about things, but then you've left them with the impression that you weren't always serious and are less consistent than other applicants (always remember, when it comes to law you're being compared to everyone else involved. That's the measure we're all up against). You've come far, but you still have a ways to go. I can't speak for the state of the licensing process in BC but here in Ontario we've got a bit of an articling crisis. Good and qualified candidates who went to school here in Ontario are having trouble finding positions. NCA students I've spoken with tell me it's even more difficult for them and they routinely face the stigma of having gone to school abroad as it's perceived as something done because they couldn't get into law schools in Ontario or even Canada at large (which is often the case these days, and is also the case with you). Keep at it. I really do wish you success. But I think the most responsible thing is to point to the difficulties you've had to overcome as a reason to NOT go through this process and consider alternatives rather than to gamble large sums of money and years of your life on some fairly long odds that you are, fortunately, in the process of beating. Cheers!
  11. I too got on here to do some updates. I essentially agree with Cat. 1. Career services was pretty lousy. They did get new people who are doing a much better job, but they JUST got them. So there has been a transition period and since I just graduated I didn't get to benefit much from it (though they did do some counseling and mock interviews with me, which was more help than I thought I was going to get. I think this new group is going to do REALLY well for upcoming students). 2. I actually found the environment to be welcoming. I got along well with almost all other students (you'll always have some dbags somewhere), and compared to what I'd heard from friends at other law schools I think Queen's sounds like the friendliest and most welcoming place (keep in mind, law schools are full of law students. Our marks are bell curved, meaning your gains come at the expense of someone else, and there's a limited number of positions whether for jobs, articling, or just working in law clinics (you have to apply to them, and it can get competitive). That reality doesn't create the warmest of environments. That said, the worst I heard of was people not sharing notes, which is pretty tame compared to stories closer to active sabotage that I've heard from other schools. Just avoid people you don't get along with. That's what I did. I met some incredible people during my time at Queen's law, and one of them is now so much my best friend that I don't know how I got along before I met her! 3. I didn't find a significant transfer of students. I did know students who transferred, but all save one were for family/compassionate reasons in order to be in the city of their spouse and/or kids/person they were caring for. The one person I know who transferred NOT on compassionate grounds did so because they felt they'd have an easier time getting their career in international law off the ground if they were in Ottawa instead of Kingston (one of my international law profs at Queen's helped write the damn Rome Statutes, but I did have to concede her point that more of these organizations are based in Ottawa than say... Kingston). The Gold Medalist from my year was there all three years, I can contest to that. I did know of one or two who dropped out, but those were occasions where the person couldn't hack it or they were going through a life crisis and came back after taking a year off. 4. $15K is really not out of step for law schools, and it's still cheaper than Osgoode or U of T by a good bit. In response to Cat about where the money goes, the professors aren't cheap, nor is the access to various law journals, hard copy books for the library, operation of the library, paying to maintain certain clinics, paying the travel expenses of professors for moots and stuff, and then you have all the costs for things that are there but that many or most students tend not to use (like Equity services, career services no matter how useful/or not, and peer tutors), plus Queen's University takes a cut of the money we put in to pay for general things around campus, including putting money towards the other libraries, general upkeep and student services, health services, etc. etc. etc. Also, the actual tuition is closer to 13K or 14K, over 1K of that charge is ancillary fees for the student union (which I wish we'd quit), the SGPS (which I also wish we'd quit), and the mandatory health and dental plan (among other mandatory fees). Law school ain't cheap, but Queen's isn't exactly gouging its students there. If the law school got to keep more of its money it would probably be okay. But when you have some big name professors... they can cost you a pretty penny. 5. I didn't have much trouble getting into the classes I wanted either. For me the only issue was time conflicts and Civ Pro, which I had to wait until third year to take. The only time I was ever in a class where there weren't enough seats for all the people enrolled would be for a popular course on the first day or two of class when people on waiting lists or just trying to get in would show up anyway hoping to get a spot before the add/drop period closed. 6. The emails are fine, and you can change the number and letter code email to your name. That may not have been available in 2008 but it was in 2010. Solus... yeah, I'm not a huge fan. I kind of preferred Qcard, but Solus does centralize things better, so I'll give it that. Also, as much as I used to complain about Qcard and Solus, I've also used the system at York and I hated that one more. I'm now at U of T and don't like their system either (the decentralized nature of it, bouncing me to various websites, overly bureaucratic, and requiring multiple DIFFERENT log in user names and passwords. At least Queen's uses just one username for everything except your online library book renewal account, which you rarely use). 7. There was some construction in my first year, but they finished all the buildings and improvements around the law school. At the time the OP made this they were redoing the street on two sides of the law building, installing an underground parking garage and new football field on a third side of the building, at the back of the building (the 4th side) they were doing external renovations to one building, and they were putting up an extension to the Commerce building across the street. If that wasn't enough, across the intersection they were building the Queen's Centre. All of that is built, and they finished the last of it in my first year. The remaining construction that still needs to be done is either a good ways further down the street, or is on the other side of campus. 8. I think the OP didn't look around enough. There are plenty of clinics. I was in two last year, Queen's Legal Aid and the Business Law Clinic. The Correctional Services clinic is great. There's also a Family Law clinic and an Elder Law clinic. Plus you've got Pro Bono, which is more of a one big case file project rather than lots of cases. Many also sign up for the Law Journal, which though not a clinic is something you can do for credit. I will say that I enjoyed my time in the Business Law Clinic... though less so for QLA. While I'm fine with being told to try and figure it out for myself before bothering the supervisor (I kind of like that, actually), QLA isn't well set up for that. QBLC is, but QLA isn't. QLA also insists on doing these dumb presentations of procedures instead of just giving you a 2 page handout of it, which would give you something to refer to. Your group leader can be hit or miss, and I've heard of some lousy group leaders out there. QBLC was fantastic though. Zero complaints, but 2 big thumbs up! 9. If drinking and smoking is a sign of no professionalism, then you might be in for a culture shock. Also, they're adults... like us. We can hang out and have adult conversations. I've never heard of or seen professors engage in asking students out (other than for coffee and to chat. I've played cards with one), certainly not for sex (can't swear it's never happened, but I've not seen it or even heard a "credible" rumour about it beyond "yeah, if they got that good a mark they must have fucked'em"). The professors who are a bit more laid back and rough around the edges I find I learn the most from. They tend to have practical real world experience and they can relate the theory to something that actually matters. I don't care if they occasionally let a swear word slip, it shows they're engaged on a certain level and really into it, and not just doing it by rote. 10. There's a FEW OCI firms that won't go to Kingston, but it's not a huge number from what I understand. And you can always go to them. Also, Kingston is a 2.5 hour bus ride, which I wouldn't call remote. It's not in Toronto, which is a negative... but it's not exactly in the damn wilderness or requiring a sea plane/helicopter to get you out of there. It does bring the student community together more, however. I think that's why Queen's is so well known for its community spirit, since you don't have a better option in the immediate vicinity. I will agree that having to travel for interviews and job hunting sucks. But that's the reality of EVERY law school NOT in Toronto. There's only 2 of them in Toronto, and the next two closest are Western and Queen's. I'm not saying that this isn't a negative, but rather that it's not one that contributes significantly to a law school or law school experience being good. On the additional weaknesses: - I can't speak to the library smell. Depends where you are in there. The main atrium was fine, the basement was a bit stuffy, the upper floors could sometimes smell of whatever someone had recently spilled (or if they brought in hot food). - Around exam time you DO gets lots of non-law students in there. It's a library/study space and the undergrads go looking in full force. Get there in the morning and you're usually fine. Pro tip for the guys, however, during the year you get undergrad girls going to the law library looking for law student boyfriends. Sadly, this does mean you often get people who aren't in there doing any work, and since I 't go to the library to work rather than hang out I found it more annoying than anything. - climate might be a matter of taste. I find the buildings to be awful during the warmer months. I prefer the cooler temperatures. Also... I have sweaters. - Yeah, there's not much to do in Kingston, which is why there are so many pub nights. But if you get in with a good group of people you make things to do. Wednesday nights there's trivia for prizes at Alibi. Thursday night is Trivia Night at the Grad Club. Watching the hockey game with people is also fun. I did poker nights (and hosted a few of them) with a good group of people every week. We also had a separate gaming night that we often did once a week (sometimes more, sometimes less, depends what we all had going on) and we'd play games - usually Things in a Box, Munchkin, or Cards Against Humanity, but we also did Risk and other board games. Law school life is like anything else, it depends what you make of it. IF you require a city to put things on a platter for you... yeah, you might not have a great time. There's no food festivals or anything like that, no big shows to go to. But I tend to do game night stuff in Toronto anyway, so doing it in Kingston is just as good with the right people. I don't go clubbing, though there are clubs in Kingston (but they suck, from what I hear). Most negatives I would put forward you come across at ANY law school, and it comes down to the way we have to interact with each other. I will say I've found a closeness amongst students at Queen's Law you don't hear of anywhere else. Yeah, there are cliques, but that's everywhere and it's in the work place too. The best criticisms of Queen's are that you might not like it being in Kingston, and depending on how extensive your needs you might find that their school support structure is not good enough for you (I know our health and mental health services are always backed up. At the same time, special needs get taken care of quite well). Career services... well, I can't compare it to anything else, but I'll try the ones at U of T and let you know. Much of the rest has been rectified or you need to make sure you're taking advantage of what's actually there. I too would, will, and do recommend Queen's and Queen's Law to anyone and everyone Yeah, I too would hesitate to recommend law itself though
  12. We should hold a pub night or something. Meet up and discuss options/strategies/empty drinks because we came up empty...
  13. Thanks. Just hard not to. Apparently they liked the application, just not the applicant in person. Kind of kills my hopes of working at a firm in downtown Toronto where I could article and then stay on and build a long term career, been thinking insurance defence. But yeah... shitty times. I'm happy for and envious of those who walked out of the interviews as winners. TEACH ME YOUR SECRETS!
  14. I felt I kept with their style a lot. I kept professional but confident. In one or two instances less than above board language was used by an interviewer, but I didn't mimic that. I kept things above board. Things were light and there was an ease of conversing about my application, the process, articling at the firm, building a career there, other topics that were related to my CV that they were interested in... things went fine, I thought. At the receptions things were fine. I left my phone behind so I wouldn't even be tempted to look at it, and avoided checking my watch. I tried to make the rounds to talk to as many people as possible. At an invite only one I spent a good deal of time talking to articling students and first year associates and we had a great time. I don't know... clearly I'm doing something, or not doing something. I'll have to figure it out, I suppose.
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