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  1. I don't think it's substantively more "difficult" than the Ontario bar or any other provincial bar. I think the misconception that it is so hard is due to the lower passage rate, which in my opinion stems more from the fact that there are hundreds of - for lack of a better term - shitty law schools in the US where you can get in with a 2.5 GPA and 150 LSAT. So you end up having many more people writing the NY bar exam who are probably less qualified to do so, compared to people writing the Ontario bar who have all graduated from pretty good law schools with comparatively higher entrance requirements than the US. According to a friend of mine who practices in NY, however, the NY bar is formatted differently than Ontario. Where the Ontario exam is all multiple choice, apparently the NY bar has a written essay component? Perhaps that can lead to more subjectivity in passage rates as well?
  2. There were no specific targets at my firm during articling, but I think that all the students generally felt some level of awareness regarding not wanting to be the lowest biller. The firm's policy was for articling students to track and bill time accurately. Perhaps at a smaller firm like yours there's more emphasis on targets given that your billables would make up a more relevant portion of the firm's revenues, vs. a large corporate firm in Calgary, like you mentioned, that may either write off a good chunk of articling hours and/or depend less on revenues generated by articling students.
  3. I'm a commercial real estate associate and the vast majority of what I do is (a) draft and review contracts that (b) involve real property. Property was my favourite class in 1L and I continue to find it fascinating in practice as compared to the law school context. Like others have mentioned, your interests will likely change over the course of law school and your summer / articling experience, but in any event it's probably not a bad idea to look into (commercial) real estate as a potential practice area.
  4. We wanted a nicer place that we'd be happy to stay in for more than a year or two. It's definitely a big expense now, but will steadily become a smaller percentage of income given the yearly raises built in to the pay scale of my firm. Not disagreeing that it would be more financially sound to spend less on rent and pay debt faster - we just decided between us that we were willing to spend more in order to live in a place we both loved, even if it meant delaying a certain level of savings, etc. It's also more financially sound to drive a Corolla instead of a Porsche, but people still drive 911s.
  5. I think I'm on the other end of the spectrum compared to the previous posters, lol. I graduated law school last year with $110k in debt. I'm fortunate enough to be articling at a Bay St firm that pays well, but after rent ($2,000; my split of rent with my girlfriend, who makes much less than me), groceries & internet, phone, tv ($500), car and insurance ($500), and line of credit ($400 a month just in interest. I try to put about $1,500/month towards it), there's not a lot left over at the end of the month. I'm selling the car soon, but even still the thought of saving for a wedding, down payment, or even a major trip seems far fetched at least for the next couple of years. Looking forward to those hefty guaranteed raises each year, though, which will make saving and paying down debt easier.
  6. Are there any firms instituting mandatory work from home policies yet? So far at my Toronto biglaw firm we've been getting the "wash your hands, inform HR if you're sick or planning to travel" policy repeated, but not much discussion of anything else. Curious to hear what other firms have been doing thus far.
  7. Apparently Torys gives $4,000 as an articling Christmas bonus. My firm didn't give as much as that, but we still got four figures.
  8. I'm articling and will be helping with chaperoning at my firm. Don't worry too much about it because (a) an articling student's opinion is not going to change the minds of those people making the hiring decisions, and (b) it's not enough time for your chaperone to make any real assessment of you anyways, provided that you don't do or say something totally off the rails.
  9. I lost my ID card after the barrister exam and it was a really simple process for replacing it. Log into your LSO account and go to the messages tab, then “compose message” and set out the basics of what happened and that you need a replacement. I got a response from LSO within the hour. They’ll invoice a fee to your account and then you pick up the replacement card on location the day of the exam.
  10. To go a little against the grain of the rest of the responses here, I would say that at the very least I regret not looking into other post-undergrad options in more detail before deciding on law school. From a purely financial perspective, if I had pursued consulting or banking straight out of undergrad (from which I graduated debt-free), I'd be in a much better position than I am now at age 25 with > $100k in debt and essentially zero income over the past three years. Even with a good articling position secured, the foregone earnings and level of debt I've accumulated I think will delay a lot of the near-term major life events (e.g. saving for a wedding, a down payment, investments, etc.). I definitely enjoyed my summer of actually working in a law firm after 2L, but it's hard to say whether I enjoy it any more than I would have consulting or banking.
  11. I'm a 3L at Queen's and chose it over Osgoode. Without going into any discussion on the potential differences in "prestige" or "reputation", my biggest reason for choosing Queen's was cost. Queen's tuition for 3 years (~$20,500/year) + $700/month in rent = total of $86,700. Compared to Osgoode at $29,000/year + assuming $1,000/month in rent = $123,000. While your financial situation may be different, for me I couldn't justify paying 30-40% more to attend Osgoode. If cost was not an issue, I likely would have chosen Oz given its proximity to the Toronto firms I was interested in. If you want to work in BC, however, this may not be a huge factor for you. Happy to discuss more if you have any other questions about Queen's.
  12. Yeah, there were some students working a bit more and others a little less, but I think around 70 is generally accurate. Someone else earlier in this thread mentioned that a lot of students tend to self-select into (and out of) Davies because of its reputation. I think that's a fair statement - the firm is not for everyone, both in terms of hours, how you go about getting work, types of personalities, etc. Those who are attracted to what Davies markets itself as offering, however, all seemed to really enjoy it, myself included.
  13. I did my 2L summer at Davies this year. On a normal week I would do about 8:00am - 7:30/8:00pm, plus another ~10 hours over the weekend. On busy weeks this could go up significantly. Most of the associates I worked with were pulling longer hours than that. Not sure how this compares to other firms on Bay, but that's my 2 cents on Davies specifically.
  14. I found Freedman to be great, he's a straightforward guy and a real practitioner (not just an academic) who teaches what he thinks is useful in practice. He doesn't really lecture off of readings or much case law, but more just his own notes in a pretty informal manner. If you like structured lectures with powerpoints you probably won't enjoy his teaching style. Edit: In respect of your original question, having a full course load and doing the formal recruit while maintaining good grades is definitely achievable. You may fall behind on readings for some classes, but you have almost all of November after the recruit is finished to catch up if you work a little harder. As someone else mentioned, trusts may be a better option than tax given that Freedman provides you with all the notes you need so actually doing the readings is relatively optional.
  15. There's also a difference in how firms do their tours. The utility of going on a group tour where you're one of 30 other students is much less compared to the firms that allow you to go individually and tailor who you meet to your interests. When I did tours last summer I was able to meet one on one with the student director of the firm that I ended up getting hired at -- making a good impression in that meeting likely had some small impact on that hiring decision. That said, even going on the group tours is a good way to get a preliminary feel for the firm which is useful (a) so you don't go in to OCIs completely blind, and (b) to give you some material to throw into your cover letters.
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