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FineCanadianFXs last won the day on August 29 2016

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  1. FineCanadianFXs

    Suits For Men

    Whatever you want and looks good with the outfit overall. Whatever you want and looks good with the outfit overall. Whatever you want and looks good with the outfit overall. Some ties look weird with certain knots and you don't really have a choice one way or the other. There are a number of other knots, btw, it isn't a two knot world. Not sure what there is to debate
  2. FineCanadianFXs

    Career advice for 2nd year associate?

    Your mental health comes first, always. By the sounds of it, your workplace is a living hell for you. Make your exit. You should not have difficulty transitioning a bay street associate position into something else. There are jobs available. There are always jobs available. Sure, it is a competitive market. No, you may not fall into your dream job immediately--lol, nobody does--but start working on getting there now and you'll be fine if you're patient and flexible on location and income. Life is too short to waste the majority of your time on people you hate. It would be one thing if you simply hated the job itself. Or if you couldn't get along with one or a few of your coworkers. But, if you hate everyone and everything and aren't really fond of the job itself, then leave. And no, not all lawyers in private practice are toxic people who are difficult to work for. That's the wrong takeaway. Here's the right one: taking a job based on salary and passing interest is not going to make you happy. The most important detail about your prospective employer should be the people who work there. So this time you look, interview your employers as considerably as they do you and be discerning about who you wind up working for. Also, one thing to perhaps ask yourself--and only you know how worthwhile a pursuit this is given your surroundings--is whether there is any way to try and resolve your toxic workplace head on before you start exploring an escape plan. As in, could you talk to any coworkers and in what way could they help and support you? Could you directly approach the partner you work for and stand up for yourself in any way as opposed? Are there any other partners with whom you have a relationship and could discuss the matter, as opposed to an anonymous message board? If the answer to all of these is no, then ya - get to work on your resume and start making coffee dates.
  3. FineCanadianFXs

    Suits For Men

    Seconding wool as the preferred choice of fabric for your primary suit. But with the caveat that, if you're on a budget, few if anyone will notice that your suit is polyester provided that it is otherwise a decent, good-looking suit. While it is better to buy a wool suit which will (likely) last longer and be more comfortable in warm environments, I wore a polyester suit through OCIs. Nobody noticed. I got several compliments on it. I still wear polyester suits. They still get compliments. Nobody cares what fabric my suits are, unless I'm talking to someone about buying suits. In short, the material doesn't matter for OCIs. What matters is that it is a decent, conservatively coloured and patterned suit, probably navy or charcoal or another grey, and that you look and feel amazing in it. Don't spend more money if you can't afford it, or if the more expensive suit doesn't make you look and feel amazing and bolster your confidence.
  4. It depends. I shared @unsospiro's experience; I had way more free time in my articles than in law school. But as noted earlier in this thread, I had extensive extra-curriculars in Law School to the point where I had minimal free time as a student (albeit, not all my time in school was spent studying law). Anyone who articled for government, clerked, in-house'd, or did some alternative to private practice may not only have not been incentivized to ramp up efforts, but in some cases may have explicitly been told to go home at 5pm. Now, whether or not that person went home and worked is another thing. But I think it should be emphasized that articling students can have different experiences and I don't think it is correct to say it is abnormal and/or wrong for an articling student to not have killed themselves to prepare for being a junior associate.
  5. That's a huge red flag, though, no? And now you work there as a result of your voluntary decision to do so. I did. I'm a junior lawyer. I competed in this market. Communicating my hobbies and lifestyle transparently to prospective employers helped me signal to them that I was a normal human with a personal life, relationships, and a multitude of interests. The employers who reacted most positively to this helped signal to me ideal workplaces with realistic expectations and staffed with other normal human lawyers with personal lives, relationships, and a multitude of interests. I completely understand that not everyone can afford to be patient and wait for the perfect job. But certainly, despite the competitive market, I found lots of potential employers who were genuinely interested in providing a better work-life balance.
  6. Lol, well sure it isn't wrong if you love it. If you are straight up loving 70 hours a week of school work, then that's wonderful and keep it up. And so long as A pluses rain down on you, don't change a thing. In 1L I probably blew myself out trying study all-out and got average grades. As soon as I dropped the mentality that I had to read and reread everything, my grades skyrocketed. Maybe that's just my own personal experience. But here's a thought as to why it worked: things get easier when you're happy, mentally and physically healthy, and well-slept. Some insight into my law school experience, just to reiterate my earlier reply for future or current students who are being made anxious by some of these posts. I was incredibly involved in law school. I was probably way over-stretched, extracurricularly: sports teams, student government, journal editing, clubs, mentoring, academic committees, you name it. I still, believe it or not, had time to maintain hobbies, relationships, and above average grades. I have never thought of myself as particularly smart, and I a lot of the time I felt as thought I was keeping up with those who were. Still, I had oodles of spare time! As students start law school I always recommend they push themselves to see what they're capable of. But at a certain point, it is important to realize the law of diminishing returns. Not to mention the importance of keeping your self intact. Treat yo self.
  7. I found law school was a time suck too, but let's not resort to hyperbole and raise anyone's anxiety unnecessarily. I had plenty of time for 8 hours of sleep a night and hobbies about 95% of the time as a law student. As a lawyer, I still have time for both. Sure, some nights go longer than expected. And sometimes I get a little less sleep than usual or I have to choose getting takeout and going to the gym instead of cooking, going to the gym, painting, and then playing video games. If your entire life is utterly consumed by law, I think that speaks more to time management than the nature of practice. If you can't find 40 minutes a day to relax and draw, it might be time to reassess your time management skills and become realistic and efficient about how you schedule and prioritize your activities. Every lawyer I know pursues hobbies. You'll be fine to keep drawing.
  8. FineCanadianFXs

    Taking a year off after law school

    It seems the unanimous advice here is to take the year off. I agree, and my condolences. I don't think the year off will prejudice you in any meaningful way, and as @setto noted above, it would be a red flag if a firm or lawyer suggested anything otherwise. But. It may be more helpful to suggest you prepare some strategy for managing you progression into articling, since as a graduate you may not have the benefit of your school's career office. It may be in your best interests--while you are still a student--to negotiate an arrangement with your career office to keep you on its mailing list after April. If you explain your extenuating services, they may be willing (I would hope) to offer you the same or similar support in your school's recruitment program and that current students receive, despite your no longer being a student. At the very least, I would ensure you have some strategy in place to allow you to effectively defer your articling hunt for a year. In the absence of support from your school or as a compliment to it--provided you know what kind of firms/law you're interested in--it may also be prudent to develop relationships and network early while still a student and over your gap year. If employers in your preferred area visit your school, talk to them. If they don't, reach out. When you reach out, explain your situation frankly: that you're graduating, want to work at Firm X in Y Law, but that you have to take a year to care for your ailing father. You're disappointed that you won't be able to apply for articling at Firm X this year, but you'd be delighted to meet Lawyer Z for coffee to chat about their practice and seek their advice on how to best position yourself to article in Y Law next year. Something to that effect. The goal is simply to do just enough to stay on the radar of places you'd like to article. If you play it right, at best you may be able to set up your articling well in advance and rest easy over the course of the next year. At worst, you'll put yourself in a position to apply along with 3Ls, but with the benefit of name brand recognition. Good luck.
  9. FineCanadianFXs

    How to approach a firm

    If you read again, you'll see that none of what I wrote and which you quoted recommended OP be timid. Timidity is not the same as understanding your audience, trends in technology and communication, and making effective choices about who to contact, when, and how.
  10. FineCanadianFXs

    How to approach a firm

    I probably would never do this, unless I was given that person's information and it was recommended I speak to them. For example "Hi, my name is suchandsuch and I recently spoke with your close friend Mrs. Bigshotlawyer who recommended that I reach out to you..." Being able to quickly summarize, over the phone, who you are and why a complete stranger should talk to you is--IMO--an essential component because it gives the receiving party (hopefully your future employer) a reason to listen eagerly. Conversely, a cold call with no frame of reference is, I think, bad form. Unless I'm given notice otherwise, I expect all calls coming through my work line to be work-related. I think that's generally par for the course, admitting that different folks have different strokes. Anyway, this explains why even if I am concentrating heavily on work, I will typically interrupt that work to answer the phone. An email is easily ignored while a phone call is a more severe disruption. Which is why when the person on the other line can't provide that same frame of reference as above, for example "Hi, I'm suchandsuch, a student looking for work or to network or whatever and I pulled your number of your firm's website" it starts the caller off at a disadvantage, because the receiver has no reason besides altruism to listen intently. Sometimes, the receiver may even be annoyed or disappointed by the disruption. In short: I wouldn't make cold calls unless you were referred by someone known to the person you're calling. Cold emails are, however, usually fine.
  11. FineCanadianFXs

    How to approach a firm

    Seconding @providence and @erinl2 above, but I'd add that I've had good luck with associates and partners too. Which doesn't mean you should carpet bomb the whole firm with cold emails, but there isn't a rule that you have to start with the lowest rank on the ladder. Especially if there's someone even more appropriate to talk to higher up. And you might actually see faster results. Now this really depends on the firm, its size and dynamic, which you probably can't learn from a website--and that's why it isn't bad to chat up the articling student first. All this to say, there are no hard and fast rules to succeeding in penetrating the walls of your future employer. The best results I've experienced--and this has worked in both my legal and prior career--came from demonstrating a mix a enthusiasm and sincerity. As in you are really interested in the person you want to meet and really sincere about meeting them. Yeah you want a job, and yeah they will probably sniff that out of the email, but you still want to come across as eager and real. So, yes if you send a partner a generic "Hi my name is pzabby and I want to pick your brain about your career" you aren't going to hear jack-all. But I often hear back when I send a heartfelt message that translates to "Hi Mrs. Soandso. You are a superstar of bird law, you are literally the bird lawyer I want to be 10 years from now and your firm practices exclusively in the area I want: bird law. I would be over the moon to have a coffee with you and learn from you how to get from where I am now to where you are." It may not lead to a coffee with that person, but it usually leads to something. And contrary to @setto's point about withholding your application package (which I agree is generally true) I think there are times when simply attaching a resume and saying "attached is my resume for context" is helpful when you've got bird law experience written all over it and are trying to network with someone who does that. Nobody that I am aware of turned me down for a coffee because I gave them my resume. No: don't email the articling student your resume. And no, don't include a cover letter and transcripts and writing sample if you aren't applying to a job posting. But if it helps prove you're genuinely interested in what the firm and person you're reaching out to does, I think it's fine. Personally, I would read a resume if provided to me in that context. It also helps in circumstances where the lawyer you contacted is busy, and/or is absolutely not interested in talking to you or hiring you, but happens to know another lawyer practicing bird law and is looking for an articling student. In those cases, you might get a message saying "thanks for your email, I can't meet for coffee and we aren't hiring anytime soon, but let me flip this email to my friend who you might be interested in talking to." Making it easier for them to do that is fine.
  12. FineCanadianFXs

    Switching jobs

    There's no acceptable time. You have one life; time is a non-renewable resource; yada yada. Sometimes you have to make hard choices that involve burning bridges at their worst or disappointing people at their less worse. This board can't really make the calculation for you, but I'd suggest that if this is your dream job opening up, you take it. Who cares about job hopper syndrome if the place you're aiming toward is the place you wanna stay? If it isn't your dream job, however, you have to weigh how much you'll disappoint your current employers--and how much you care about disappointing your current employers--against how much you want this job. The less you want the job, the heavier the disappointment might weigh on you. That's all there is to it.
  13. FineCanadianFXs

    Do people reject in-firms from seven sister firms?

  14. FineCanadianFXs

    Suits For Men

    Love a brown suit. In my view, like any colour, the darker the easier to pull off anytime. The lighter and more pronounced the more noticeable. If I were going lighter, instead of that rusty colour, I'd do something like this instead.
  15. FineCanadianFXs

    How to research firms AND their reputations?

    Or alternatively, you could be like me: succeed in OCIs as much as possible while still winding up without a job at the end of it all. In short, putting in the maximum amount of effort without result. At the time, I felt terrible and a failure. Undoubtedly, it was the best thing that could have happened to me, considering the opportunities that opened up to me afterwards and where I am now (which is very happy and working somewhere I love). I would never be here, were I not put in the position of actually having to investigate the kinds of legal jobs that would genuinely interest me, and give me valuable experience, and then pursue those vigorously. Relax. I know it is difficult to do this during what can be a trying process. But really, relax. Do your best, taking the above advice into account; go for the job you want. But remember all along that if it doesn't work out with that job, then it wasn't meant to be which in many cases is a fantastic result! Because it rules out jobs that were probably never going to fulfill you anyway.