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About besmackin

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  1. I think it's this survey that was sent out a while back: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uqhhz4gYJw5YNT_o_p6uYGq7RYgTMeRiZJyINptTfxo/edit#gid=1615579633 This post had some summary information on the data: https://lawstudents.ca/forums/topic/63905-survey-re-ontario-salary-data-collection/?do=findComment&comment=867911
  2. I had some passing interest with environmental law in school. I recall that it was a lot of administrative law, for example, representing a corporate client in working with the Ministry of Environment to address compliance / remediation issues under the Environmental Protection Act, or working with the regulatory authorities in acquiring environmental assessments/approvals/permits for pipelines, factories and the like. You'd mostly be working in the infrastructure, energy, natural resource and real estate spheres. I think occasionally you would also touch on things like insurance or tort litigation, e.g. if there was a spill or contamination on a property, but that didn't seem very common. It’s a fairly niche field for sure. It is also very much intertwined with aboriginal law for obvious reasons. Willms & Shier (https://www.willmsshier.com) is one of the better known environmental law firms out there, but I think most big firms have an environmental law group. There are also organizations like WECL (https://www.wcel.org) that work in this field. To directly answer the original question, I don’t know that any of the schools listed by OP have a particular reputation in environmental law. My impression was that if you wanted to work in this field it was better to go to school out west because of the larger natural resources industry in BC/Alberta. If OP is very interested in the US, I recall that Vermont had a reputable environmental law program and I vaguely knew of someone who turned down offers from Canadian schools to go there (not sure what they're up to now), but I personally wouldn’t bother to spend the money on an American law school out of the T-14. Also, fwiw, I was told that the most important thing if you wanted to do "environmental law" would be to get the right summer experience at an organization like WECL, but they're very competitive.
  3. Not to say that recruitment process is perfect, but in my experience many if not most firms do actively make efforts to create a diverse summer/articling class. IMO the bigger problems often don’t materialize until later down the road. After you start working in specific practice groups, your career is basically controlled by a small number of partners (with little to no input from a professional HR team), and these partners often may not be aware of their biases. As a junior associate, you need mentors/sponsors who are willing to toss you the high value files / tasks to boost your profile and who are willing to go to bat for you when you're up for review / partnership etc. Mentorship/sponsorship are by their nature very informal and personal processes. In my experience, and having spoken to a number of friends in biglaw, it’s often challenging for a BIPOC to form that deep personal affinity with senior partners due to cultural differences etc. Without that strong mentorship, it is very difficult to advance in a firm. I found this article from a former bay st lawyer to be enlightening on the subject: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/hadiya-roderique-black-on-bay-street/article36823806/ Anyways, I don’t want to derail the thread because I do think that this is an interesting conversation to have. But I did want to expand the D&I discussion beyond the recruitment stage. I’m not trying to be too negative about the subject, because there are many successful BIPOC lawyers on bay st. However, students should understand what they’re signing up for - regardless of the controls you put in at the recruitment stage, it’s hard to change people and it’ll be an uphill battle a lot of times unfortunately. If you are a student going through the recruitment process and something about a firm makes you feel uncomfortable, whatever that something is, it’s likely not going to go away after you get hired…
  4. With you on everything else, but if I had 40k to blow on a "cool" car I probably wouldn't spend it on a Honda Accord lol
  5. I think this is a very good point. Personal finance is just that, personal, what works for someone else may not work for you. OP seems be very much focused on minimizing debt, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you want to live "comfortably" (whatever that means), that is ok too IMO as long as you're being realistic about your options. I posted about this before, but personally I doubled my rent from 1L to 2/3L by moving out on my own. I ended up significantly over $100k in debt, but it was totally worth it for me as I was so much healthier mentally and more productive living by myself. I'm a few years out now and my debt is under control. If anything, I regretted not getting myself some more creature comforts during law school (like getting a bigger monitor instead of looking at my tiny 13in screen all day). Also, after I started working (even pre-covid), I had to constantly check my phone on vacation and I get even more stressed out thinking about the work piling up on my office when I'm away, so the extra ~3k debt (out of 100k+) to take a short stress-free vacation with some friends during law school would have totally been worth it in retrospect. To be comfortable with this approach, you have to have a relatively high paying job lined up (I waited until after 1L to wait for my grades and assess my chances before pulling the trigger on my plan). You also need to be ok with not having money for kids/cars/houses anytime soon. If you want to figure out how much you can afford to spend, I would figure out the monthly payments that you're comfortable with after law school (assuming a payback period of say 5-7 years), then back calculate a cap on your total acceptable debt, and work out your monthly budget in law school + discretionary spending budget based on your cap. This way you can live relatively comfortably without feeling guilty that you're spending money out of control. Think about your own personal goals and what works for you, don't sweat how other people are spending/saving money.
  6. For any prospective K-JD types reading this, this is an absolutely terrible idea for the vast vast vast majority of people
  7. Impossible to answer this question without knowing what the other options on the table are. If you have a useless undergrad degree, then law school will be worth it. If you already are in a comfortable career in finance / public sector / tech earning 80k and you have opportunities to advance to a 6 figure salary just by showing up, I don’t think going to law school for would be worth it tbh unless you have a real passion for law. That being said, if your ambition is to top out at ~100k, there are easier ways to get there. But if your ambition is to top out at ~200k, I actually don’t know that there are much better options than law school (aside from med school obviously). MBA might be on par, but I wouldn’t say it’s better.
  8. It sounds like prestige is a major factor in your decision making process. I’m not going to trash you for that here, but you should be aware that being a lawyer is not really a prestigious line of of work for most people, and definitely not comparable to being a doctor. Your parents’ idea of a “prestigious” lawyer is probably some Bay St / Wall St / TV lawyer type, trust me there’s no prestige in being a 90-150k lawyer lol. You run the risk of setting yourself and your parents up for major disappointment if you happen strike out in the biglaw recruit like the majority of law students.
  9. One big mistake I made when applying to law school was that I basically only spoke to successful lawyers. For example, I mostly spoke to relatively senior lawyers who paid pennies to go to law school back in the 80s and 90s and then became partners. Even when I did speak to recent grads, I was mostly talking to people who had great grades and easily got jobs on Bay St etc, because that’s the kind of alumni that tend to make themselves available to you, but obviously that was not representative of the typical law school experience. That being said, even now I'm not convinced that there was much more I could have done to understand whether law school was right for me or not. Given the diversity of outcomes possible, there is just no way to know for sure whether a law degree is going to be a good outcome for a specific student, so there’s no point in second guessing yourself after the decision’s already been made. Not saying that students should jump in blindly, but there are inherent risks that no amount of research can remove.
  10. lol why does every thread that begin with someone asking about chill jobs end up being a discussion on how to become a partner on Bay St
  11. There is a tendency for people on this site to tell OPs to go into biglaw because “it opens doors” or “you may think you want to do X now, but after a stint in biglaw you’ll realize you actually want to do Y”, even when an OP has specifically said they’re interested in an area of law outside of what would normally be practiced in a biglaw firm, and even when the person offering the advice has very little actual experience outside of biglaw firms. While perhaps well-meaning, this kind of advice/commentary doesn’t really help the OP to achieve their stated goals and just reinforces the idea that everyone should want to go into biglaw. Case in point, there was an OP recently who asked a question about practicing in North Dakota with a Canadian degree, and the thread somehow immediately devolved into a discussion about which school gives you the best chance to get into NYC biglaw..
  12. I was speaking to associates looking at lateral opportunities, not students necessarily. But even for students, while lawyers may not criticize their own firm, they will speak positively about firms that treat their employees well. So if you're talking to a lawyer and they're gushing about a competitor, I would read between the lines.
  13. I know something similar happening to at least a couple of midsize firms (GTA) as well. Salary cuts were announced in March, but have not been reinstated, nor has there been any definitive commitment on when salaries will be reinstated. In the mean time, associates are billing just as much since COVID started. I know there's the thought that economic conditions will be uncertain for a while going forward, but there's little excuse for the lack of transparency, and it does seem like some firms are using this opportunity to pad the bottom lines. I for one think this is very short sighted, job market is slow right now, so not much anyone can do for now, but people will definitely remember this...
  14. I was also intrigued by the novelty of the question and apparently you can get a discount at University of North Dakota School of Law if you are a Manitoba resident. They even have a page specifically for Canadian students: https://law.und.edu/future-students/canada.html
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