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barelylegal

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barelylegal last won the day on August 18 2018

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  1. With all advice above about being respectful and reading the room - definitely try to find out what's actually going on in a courtroom before spending your time there. A few weeks ago, I was at the Estates List for a pre-trial. The courtroom we were in was booked for a bunch of chambers appointments, followed by our pre-trial at 10 - so nothing happening in open court (which wouldn't necessarily be apparent from the docket to a non-lawyer). There was one person sitting alone in one of the rows of the courtroom. Around 10, when the final chambers appointment had started, the registrar went up to that person to ask if they were there for an attendance. That person advised they were a student hoping to see some things going on in the courtroom. Unfortunately, they had waited in that room for open court to begin, only to find out that the only thing happening was a pre-trial (which is confidential), and have to leave without seeing anything. We felt bad that her time had been wasted, and could have advised her to go elsewhere if we knew that was who she was / why she was there.
  2. I mean... it's true that demonstrated interest can be helpful, but you're approaching it from a backwards perspective. It's not that you pick an extracurricular or get into a clinic, and then think about what practice area it would support. It's that you learn what you like through experience, or know what you want to do and look for opportunities to get exposure/practice. If you find a practice area you like, and tell a firm you're passionate about it, there should be some foundation for that statement to show you aren't just saying whatever you think a firm wants to hear. If you tell a firm you're dedicated to practicing tax law... how do you know that's what you want to do? Maybe you were in a tax law club. Maybe you did a tax moot. That's what people mean by extracurriculars matching your stated interests.
  3. Fixed that for you (addition in bold). Assuming you meant shooting an email, I completely agree. Lots of RA positions are filled very informally. I got one because a professor I had a close relationship with had a friend conducting some law-related research, and she recommended me for it. Reaching out to express interest should rarely, if ever, be a bad idea - it likely can't hurt, and could possibly help.
  4. 100% agree with @providence's take on these options. Also #2 is very pretty and I may look for a pair for myself.
  5. People have varying views, but here are my answers to the above: (1) There are lots of options, depending on your price point and style preferences. The Bay has a variety of brands with options in that size range, with varying prices - Calvin Klein, Tahari, Tommy Hilfiger, Kasper, Ralph Lauren - and they go on sale from time to time. There are also stores like Banana Republic or Le Chateau or RW & Co., which vary in terms of how cheap their options look, but you can find treasures occasionally. (2) The issue with black suits generally is that they can look overly formal, or like funeral wear. I, personally, like black suits - I think they look sharp and are easier for women to pull off than men, with a bright/light top to balance the darkness. I think it's generally safer to go with a skirt suit over a pantsuit if you're doing black (again, to help counter the head-to-toe black look). (3) Nude/beige heels are my favourite match with navy suits. I may also match dark/neutral red heels with navy. I don't think nude shoes with navy are un-conservative, but different firms might have different vibes. (4) That's a tough one. I wear boots to the office and change shoes on arrival, but I also have a wardrobe closet in my office that I've largely dedicated to shoe storage. Having to keep the boots with you all day is difficult. Taller black boots would probably be fine in your situation, assuming it fits with the style of the rest of the outfit. (5) It's just a style difference. Single-breasted blazers have one vertical column of buttons closing the jacket (i.e. what you'd think of as a normal suit jacket). Double-breasted blazers have two parallel columns of buttons to close the jacket, such that there's more of an overlap of fabric. One isn't really better than the other. I generally find that double-breasted blazers look cool when done up, but awkward when unbuttoned, and since I like my blazers open most of the day, I go with single-breasted. For starter suits, which you probably want to be as versatile as possible, I'd suggest going with single-breasted blazers.
  6. https://www.nalpcanada.com/ is useful for this.
  7. Those jobs are quite competitive to get. Students do get government, legal clinic and in-house positions through the student recruitment process (i.e. as summer or articling students), but I wouldn't necessarily say "a lot" do, and they're not easy to get. In terms of a job right after articling, I don't know how feasible or not that would be at a government office or legal clinic (my sense is that they tend to hire out of their student pool, but don't have the first-hand knowledge or experience to speak authoritatively), but I can say that in-house positions are rarely given to brand-new lawyers - they tend to go to lawyers who have at least a few years of practice under their belt, if not more, so they have some value to bring to the position. I note that you repeatedly refer to wanting high "hourly pay". That is very difficult to find in law. The jobs that pay the highest salaries tend to require the most hours, often leaving a much lower hourly pay than you might expect. Government offices and legal clinics, given their nature, are far from the highest-paying jobs - they can have salaries in the medium-to-low range, which is unlikely to give you the financial freedom you seem to want very early on. All that to say, if you do choose to go into law, I really think you need to manage your expectations and priorities.
  8. It's not about personal schedules. Many offices schedule training for their students and want everyone in the same training sessions, rather than having to run it multiple times. There could be numerous training sessions - IT, word processing, research, general policies/structure, etc. I don't know why you'd expect them to go to that inconvenience for an articling student, if, in your words, they're "bottom of the food chain".
  9. You will generally be asked to submit undergraduate and law school transcripts for job applications - whether for jobs in 1L, 2L, articling, and possibly beyond to an extent. But, undergrad marks are unlikely to be determinative (or to even have any material impact). Law school marks are significantly more important. That said, your undergrad transcript can be a point of discussion in interviews. We might ask people about particularly interesting sounding courses/majors/projects. We once interviewed someone with shockingly low undergrad marks, and shockingly high law school marks, and wanted to know the deal. In that sense, your undergrad transcript can have an effect on your interviews and such, but likely no direct effect on getting hired.
  10. Which branch are you interviewing with? The answer may depend on branch, but I can fairly confidently say that neither course is required before summering there.
  11. I think I've written on this before, but in my experience, it really all comes down to adding value in whatever way you can. I can list off all kinds of more specific advice. Always meet your deadlines and produce quality work. If you can't meet a deadline, address the issue early enough that a solution can be worked out (it almost always can). Ask appropriate questions - as in, don't ask questions that you could have found on your own with reasonable time/effort, don't spin your wheels looking for an answer to a question instead of asking for guidance, don't take a guess at something and go down the wrong track when you could have just had a brief meeting to check in and avoid the wasted time. Know what your assigned work, research, whatever will be used for and offer to help with the next step. Be the person who's willing to step up for an urgent file requiring late-night or weekend work. Take initiative and seek out work. Generally, just look for ways to get involved and actually care about the work. Be nice to everyone, and self-aware enough to know what you don't know. In short, though, your goal is to be useful and reliable. It sounds simple, but you'd be shocked at how foreign this stuff can be to students. Also important is making sure people know you. I don't know what kind of litigation setting you'll be in, but it's important for people to know who you are - as many as people as possible in the practice group you want to be hired into, if that's how the firm is structured, or the firm in general. The ideal is to have at least a couple of people who know you well and will champion you during hireback discussions, with everyone else at least knowing you and not having negative views. If you are useful and reliable, this will come naturally.
  12. I tend to drift from the majority view on the forum on this topic, but I think working part-time during law school, including 1L, is an excellent idea. Sure, law school is new and there'll be some kind of adjustment period, but time management is a really crucial skill and I don't think it's ever too early to hone it. When I started law school, I worked ~5-10 hours/week at a flexible campus job, and was able to balance it against classes and extracurriculars. As I continued through the years in law school, I was working up to ~15-20 hours/week across several jobs that allowed me to schedule time around my own schedule, and was able to balance it with classes and fairly intensive extracurriculars (think time-intensive clinics and moots). Those years really helped me figure out how to manage time, which was invaluable during articling and into practice.
  13. Yes, extracurriculars are important in the 2L recruit, but there aren't specific things that are effectively required in order for someone to be viewed as competitive. Think about why extracurriculars would be important at that stage. The Toronto 2L recruit takes place at the beginning of 2L. By that time, the only courses you've completed are your 1L courses, which are entirely (or nearly entirely? I can't speak for every school) standardized across 1L students. So, beyond your performance in one class over another, there isn't much to tell employers what you're interested in doing. Extracurriculars do that. Interested in criminal, corporate, IP law? Join the criminal, corporate, IP law club and actually participate. Interested in advocacy? Do a moot or clinic. Extracurriculars can show employers what your interests are, and also show that you're capable of balancing commitments beyond your coursework (so when you say in a cover letter that you're good at time management and balancing priorities, you can actually point to something that demonstrates it).
  14. 1) What? Billable hours, targets, etc. generally apply to litigation settings as well as solicitor. Even if it's not part of an official/communicated policy at your firm, billable hours are just a metric for your financial productivity and I can't imagine your firm would be uninterested in that. 2) The 1/3 formula isn't about your productivity/marketability now vs. later. The general thought is that 1/3 of your billed amount goes to you, 1/3 goes to overhead/expenses, and 1/3 is firm profit. 3) Most medium and large firms in Toronto will cover Law Society fees, but I'm not sure that's so common for smaller firms or outside the city.
  15. All of your descriptions about what you enjoy - i.e. intellectual interest in law, enjoying writing and sorting through complexities like they're puzzles - would also apply to me. I also enjoyed crim in law school, for similar reasons (the interactions of offences, defences, evidence law, felt like an interesting puzzle), but I never had the real passion or connection with the policy basis of criminal law that I felt my colleagues, who were REALLY into crim, had. So I didn't pursue it. I've found that complex commercial litigation, shareholder disputes and the like, ticks all of the boxes for me. Every case is different, all kinds of interesting legal issues come up, the facts and the law are both complex and you can really be creative in your approach. It's intellectually stimulating and fast-paced, and lots of commercial litigators have a real interest in that intellectual side. It sounds like you might benefit from some coffee meetings with lawyers who practice different areas, to get a sense of what the practice actually looks like. Feel free to message me if you want additional commercial lit perspective.
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