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barelylegal

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barelylegal last won the day on August 18 2018

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  1. Every firm is probably different, but for mine, all interview feedback requests usually get routed to the student recruitment coordinator, whether sent to them directly or to an associate (who will usually forward it). The coordinator will source feedback from all of the student's interviewers and then discuss with the student. It's really just a time thing - we're really busy and don't usually have time to talk to every student we interviewed, so it's much better to just jot a few notes down for the recruiter when a feedback request comes in and leave it to them to manage.
  2. Unfortunately I can't. My firm has a student recruitment manager who does the initial interview selections. I only get involved when I'm asked to do interviews and given the application packages of the applicants I'll be interviewing. My understanding is that it is more grades-focused than the interview stage would be, but I still don't think there would be such in-depth analysis as considering what a grade from one school would be equivalent to elsewhere. To an extent. They can help people on the cusp. If the room is torn on which candidates are preferred, you might hear things like "X had a great interview, AND their grades are excellent!" or "Z was a little awkward in the interview, but their grades are excellent and their references are all glowing". But interview performance (including any receptions, etc.) is generally paramount.
  3. Yeah, I was going to chime in with what a few more recent posts have covered - firms really don't put such detailed thought into it. If I'm interviewing a student, I'm going to see their transcript and recognize that a B+ or higher is pretty good, an A is really good, many As is particularly impressive, a C or lower isn't great but not really an issue if there's only one. I'm probably not going to think any further than that, because I'm interviewing 8 people tomorrow and 3 the day after and it's currently a Sunday and I still need to get through the rest of their application materials, and once I'm actually in the interview I have more important things to ask about. Once the interview has happened, that's going to be the primary basis of discussion, maybe an offhand comment about whether the grades are good. It's not some extensive analysis.
  4. It's the same as anything else. Take any insurance courses available, as well as more general litigation stuff that's related (for example, I recall, when in law school, that there was a trial advocacy course focused on motions advocacy that was known for being particularly good for insurance-minded students). Get a reference from the insurance professor who's known in the field, maybe an RA position. Insurance defence places are probably closer to large corporate firms in that they don't care quite as much about targeted interest in advance, but they want students to hit the ground running - they will care about litigation interest/experience and they will recognize professors in the insurance field.
  5. This is pretty much what I was thinking - I haven't personally dealt with a statement of uncontested/undisputed facts, but my understanding is that it's generally more common in the tribunal context. As to the difference, generally speaking, certain legal consequences may flow from making admissions vs. simply not disputing certain things, particularly in potential future proceedings.
  6. What did you spend your 1L and 2L summers doing?
  7. While I can't speak with certainly, frankly, I'm not sure firms would go to the trouble of reviewing medical documentation as part of an application package.
  8. I knew I had forgotten one, but couldn't remember which. Clearly blocked it from memory...
  9. In your first year, you won't be selecting courses. All 1Ls take the same core courses - usually something like contracts, torts, criminal law, public/constitutional law, legal research. After first year, you largely select your own courses. I think everyone is required to take civil procedure at some point (that was the case when I was in school, anyway). A lot of schools also require you to take at least one course that relates to advocacy - a moot, a clinic, a course on trial advocacy or mediation/ADR or something like that. Additionally, there are certain core, "black letter law" courses that most people take because they're generally useful - things like evidence, business associations, family law. Beyond that, courses are up to you. Some people have an idea what they're interested in and load up on courses, or clinics, or moots that relate to their area of interest. Some people select courses based on what topics are on the bar exam (though this generally isn't recommended). Some people don't know what they want to do, so just take a wide variety of courses. Some people know whether they prefer to be assessed through exams or papers, and select courses based on grading method. There's a lot of flexibility. Taking courses in particular areas of law is useful to help you figure out what interests you, and possibly get more in-depth knowledge in those areas for practice. However, one big consideration is demonstrating your interest to employers. If you're applying for jobs in criminal law, and you tell a firm you're passionate about criminal law, they're going to want to see something to back that up, so they know you actually mean it and aren't just saying it to get a job. This applies to a variety of firms and practice areas (though perhaps less so for large, full-service firms that have a big selection of practice areas). You can demonstrate this interest through courses, extracurriculars, all kinds of things. The courses you take in school don't govern the type of law you ultimately practice. Law school largely teaches you the core skills required to be a lawyer - any kind of lawyer. Everyone graduating law school gets the same degree - no "major" or "minor" (I'm aware some school offer specializations/streams, but I have no idea what those entail or what benefit, if any, they offer). I mean, when you're in practice, you can pick up a couple of treatises, read some cases, go to some conferences, and become an expert in a whole new area of law - law school (and practice) gives you the basic abilities to do that. For the most part, you really learn an area of law by actually doing it - taking the basics you learn in law school and springing off from there. There's no risk involved simply by working in an area you didn't "focus" on in law school; you become competent through practice.
  10. I don't think an appendix page would do you much good - sure, you say that this situation impacted your final grades, but from the perspective of an employer, how do they know that's the case? An alternate approach, which I've seen in the past and thought had a positive effect, is using reference letters to manage the issue. For the classes where you had lower marks - did you have good relationships with the professor? Participate in class, go to office hours, do well on assignments during the term? Perhaps one or more of them could write a reference letter saying they're familiar with you and your work, you participated in class and demonstrated a solid understanding of the material, but due to extenuating circumstances your final mark does not reflect your true ability or knowledge/understanding. Prospective employers may be familiar with your professors, and/or may place greater weight on a professor's expressed views of you and willingness to write a letter like that than on a bad grade earned on one bad day.
  11. I disagree with your perspective here. If someone studies law abroad with the intention of working in Canada after, then in most cases, either (a) they didn't have the grades to get into a Canadian law school, or (b) they could have gone to a Canadian law school, but made the choice to go somewhere that is widely known to create hurdles. They accepted the risk, and arguably made a questionable decision. Both circumstances give rise to, I think, a reasonable basis for skepticism. If there are truly unique considerations at play - there wasn't initially an intention to move to Canada and circumstances changed, or something required a move to another country for three years but not longer than that for some reason - those can be expressed in a cover letter, and I think would be taken seriously by an employer. Certainly, my firm has interviewed, and made offers to, articling candidates who went to law school abroad, who had unique considerations. But that's not the case for the majority. I'm also not convinced by your comment about how bad it is "to miss out on productive work from qualified candidates because of incorrect assumptions". Sure, maybe you're passing on a candidate who would have done a good job - but there are plenty of Canadian student options who are equally, if not more, likely to do a good job, without the employer hassle of figuring out how to read/assess foreign credentials.
  12. Yes, there's a stigma. While I agree with @Diplock re: first-entry vs. second-entry standards, I think the stigma largely comes from a lack of familiarity rather than a specific view that UK schools are of lesser quality. Think like an employer. You have two resumes in front of you, with similar grades/experience, but one is for a Canadian law student and one is from a UK law student. First, you look at the Canadian law student. They got an A in a class - maybe you went to that school and know the professor who teaches that course, and know how hard it is to get a high mark in it, or just know how the curve works there. They did a clinic - maybe you did the same one or a comparable one somewhere else, or have friends who did, so you know the kind of work it involves and the kind of experience a student would get out of it. They did a moot - maybe you did the same one, so you know how involved and competitive it is. Maybe they took a course that a lawyer at your firm, or a lawyer you know/respect at another firm, teaches, so you know they really learned their stuff, and maybe even have a glowing reference from that person. Maybe they spent a summer working for a professor or another lawyer/firm, and you know them, so you have a sense of what that experience meant. Then, you look at the UK law student. Their grades look good on paper, but the grading scale is different so you aren't completely sure they're as good as they look. They took courses that sound good, but you don't really know what would have been taught in them since the jurisdictions are different. They participated in a clinic or moot, but you've never heard of it so don't quite know what their experience likely would have been. You don't recognize the names of any of their prior employers, or any of their references. Which student would you feel more comfortable giving an interview to? It's not that you think the UK student is bad, and you don't have a specific negative opinion of UK schools... you just aren't familiar, so compared to a Canadian student who checks all the boxes, they're a less desirable/safe choice. This kind of thing happens all the time. I regularly conduct student interviews. If a student went to Queen's, I know about the school, the grading, the professors, the clinics, the moots. If a student went to Osgoode and worked at Parkdale, or went to U of T and worked at DLS... I didn't go to those schools, but I know people who did and I've previously interviewed many students who did those clinics, so I have an understanding of what the experience was. If a student did a moot course at one of those schools, I might know their professor and his or her standards. I have a real sense of what they offer, just from looking at their application package. The same can't always be said for a UK student. That's the stigma that needs to be overcome. It's not that UK student resumes won't be taken seriously, it's that there's a lack of familiarity that makes Canadian students much safer picks.
  13. Do you have anything else demonstrating interest/ability in litigation? Moots, clinics? A poor grade in a course isn't determinative for your ability to practice in that area (my lowest mark in law school was in the subject area most closely related to what I now practice), but you'll want other stuff in your application that would interest a litigation firm, and your application should highlight that exposure.
  14. My understanding is that this only applies in the context of graduate programs, not professional programs. If you do an undergrad history degree at a university, and then go on to do a history master's program at the same university, you'll probably be working with the same or similar faculty members, and I understand that it's better to work with a wider variety of faculty in the graduate context. The same considerations wouldn't apply to doing something like law or med school at the same university where you did your undergrad.
  15. As usual, I'm late to the party on these extended debates, but the discussion of this topic always kind of pisses me off so I'm chiming in. OP's question is a personal decision and there's no right answer that could generally be suggested for anyone. I don't know how anyone can strongly argue one side or the other in terms of general advice. I got into law school while in my third year of undergrad. I made the decision to forego my fourth year of undergrad and start law school right away. My considerations were: I could avoid a year of rent and tuition. I was enrolled in a 4-year BAH program. I wouldn't get the BAH by skipping the fourth year, but I would have enough credits to graduate with a BA (effectively, a minor rather than a major), so I would have at least some degree to list on a CV. I wasn't studying a subject that's practical or would be particularly helpful, either in law or independently. I would end up getting a one-year head start on the legal job market, in the event hiring levels started to decrease. So I went. The world didn't end. Things worked out perfectly well: I learned how to manage additional stress and additional time demands in law school. I was able to figure out what type of law interested me. I got into clinics and moots, and was hired for TA and RA positions. My degree status appeared to have no bearing on any of it. I had many interviews for 2L summer and articling jobs. While I can't say with certainty what happened in the decision-making rooms, I am aware of only a single law firm interview I had (from my summer student interviews) where my lack of a BAH (or, really, just my slightly younger age) appeared to be a roadblock to my getting the job. I ended up getting a much better job at a much better place (for me), as every other employer was primarily, if not entirely, interested in my law school performance and experiences. I understand that student hiring in my preferred city was, in fact, somewhat more difficult for the class of law students after me. I'm now working in my preferred area of law, in my preferred city, at my ideal firm, and loving what I do. I regularly participate in student hiring and have never heard any debate about whether to hire someone based on whether they completed their undergrad degree. I was able to take an extended trip abroad after articling, and continue to travel multiple times a year. I have healthy personal and social lives outside of work. In my case, in hindsight, I see no negative effect that my missed undergrad year had on my career or my personal development, and I have no regrets about what else I could have been doing in that fourth year of undergrad. To my knowledge, none of my colleagues consider me so "laser-focused" as to not want to to work with me. Sure, this probably won't be the exact outcome for every person with a choice like this to make. This is, of course, my own personal experience. But that's the point. Everyone needs to figure out their own priorities and considerations, assess their own personal growth, and make a decision based on their own individual circumstances. There's no one-size-fits-all answer to OP's question, and certainly no clear answer given the limited information provided.
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