Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

59 Decent People

About TheGazeboEffect

  • Rank

Recent Profile Visitors

672 profile views
  1. TheGazeboEffect

    Course Selection / Waitlist

    Ya, that's how I remember it - the first week or so of classes for each term is the Add/Drop period. That's when there's movement. No one drops until they have to. If there's still waitlists then the Add/Drop period can't be over, because the end of the Add/Drop period is when courses are locked in for the term.
  2. TheGazeboEffect

    Course Selection / Waitlist

    100% wait. I remember many classes being full after bidding, but by the end of the add/drop period only like three courses were full (and one of those was corporate).
  3. TheGazeboEffect

    Ask a 1L student

    Yeah there's definitely nuance and exceptions to it (very senior partners probably have this kind of pull), and perhaps my wording was too definitive in the post above (sorry!), but I still think this would be rarer than people realize. For example, you say you were told that you got an OCI through your connection. I'm guessing that you, through family or whatever, knew a partner and they said they got you an OCI. However, the reality of the situation is likely that they reached at to the firm's recruitment coordinator and put in a good word for you - you still could easily have been not OCI'd and still had to be evaluated on your merits. Because you got the OCI they say that they "got you" the OCI, which makes it seem like they locked it in for you when in reality they did no such thing. It could have gone the other way and in that case they would've said "sorry, I put in a good word for you but no luck". In this sense it's sort of like a confirmation bias or something.
  4. TheGazeboEffect

    Ask a 1L student

    With respect (and in the interests of assuring incoming 1L students with no parents/family friends who are lawyers) I couldn't disagree more on the "connections help a ton" aspect - speaking both from my experience as a student and on the other side (at a firm). I can't think of many/any big firms that will give you an interview based on knowing a partner, and certainly none that will get you hired simply based on knowing a partner. Many, many partners have absolutely nothing to do with recruitment and don't even know the student recruiter well enough (or have enough pull in the firm) to simply say "interview Joe!". Honestly, in a perverse way connections can hurt you. With the recruitment process you just have to be charming/inoffensive for a 20 minute OCI and 2-6 hours during in-firms; with long-time connections (such as a family friend) you need to have been charming/inoffensive for the years/decades you've known them. This is not to say that a long-term connection would ever give you a bad review - that would be extreme. However, they may only give you a neutral or lukewarm review. And if the recruiter gets a neutral/lukewarm review from someone that has known you for a long time they're going to move on to try and find someone that the firm is excited to interview and/or hire. They have very little information to go on, very little time to make decisions, and literally dozens of candidates that are perfectly pleasant to be around for 20 minute spurts (the length of most interviews), so anything short of "excited" doesn't just not help you, it hurts you. For my own anecdotal evidence, I had "connections" prior to the recruitment process and I found them to be utterly useless in terms of helping me get interviews or job offers (I never asked for such a favour, but I made the calls to "ask about the firm" because that seemed like the expected thing to do). This was confirmed once I was in a firm and saw how it happens from the inside (and speaking with friends at other firms). I have no doubt that people have examples of their parent's friend being a partner and setting them up with a job, but I would suggest that (a) that would be extremely rare, and (b) often they are probably assuming the fact that they spoke with a partner meant that the partner helped them out, when in reality they did it on their own merits. One last disclaimer: these rules generally get looser as you go down in firm size. This isn't to say that meeting with partners/associates (either at networking events or through connections) isn't potentially beneficial, but it's beneficial mostly insofar as it helps you to ask questions that help you better understand what the firm is about and what the people are like. But if you're grabbing coffee with a partner/associate, you have to understand that it essentially counts as an interview - and that means you've extended that 2-6 hours of total time you need to fill with charmingness to 2.5-6.5 hours. However, I couldn't agree more that being extroverted helps those people out a lot during the process.
  5. TheGazeboEffect

    Cambridge vs UofT

    A couple of considerations that haven't been discussed much so far: Teaching style: UofT has the same teaching style as you're likely used to from undergrad (lectures + exams/essays). Cambridge has a very different style (disclaimer: I know this is true for undergrad law students, which I assume you are even though it's technically your second degree). You do have lectures, but once a week you (and 0-2 other students) write an essay on a topic and meet with your Supervisor (a Professor) to discuss your essays and the area of law. I've heard it's a lot of work (compared to just going to lectures and cramming before exams) but can also be very rewarding and interesting. Area of law and foreign qualification: do you want to be a solicitor (transactional work) or a barrister (litigation)? If litigation, do you want to do criminal, corporate-commercial, other? I ask because these considerations could be determinative of your choice, in my opinion (for example, if you want to do criminal litigation I'd strongly suggest avoiding London, where criminal barristers are struggling to survive). Qualifying in London can be quite difficult: Solicitors must do a two year trainee contract, while barristers must do a 12-18 months pupillage. Both are paid, often very well. But, it is generally harder to go from London -> Toronto, in terms of qualifying as a practicing lawyer. This is because a London lawyer coming to Toronto has to go through the NCA process which can take a long time, whereas a Toronto lawyer has a relatively easier path to becoming a London solicitor (no trainee contract required, can actually start working right away) but a more difficult path to becoming a London barrister (anywhere from 3-18 months of pupillage). However, this just takes into account qualification - I can't speak to how easy it would be for a Toronto lawyer to find a job in London or vice versa (though I know people who have gone both ways, so it's definitely doable). As for New York, my understanding is that New York will be equally accessible to you from either London or Toronto from a qualifying standpoint, as with either you'll just have to write the NY bar - but again, I can't speak to how easy it would be to find a job. I'd imagine that you will be able to get a job in any of Toronto, London, and New York from either school if you get top grades at whatever school you choose - so perhaps the best option is to choose the school you feel you'll do best at (if you already have a social network in Toronto or Cambridge, how comfortable you are living abroad, money issues). Either are great options. Personally, putting aside tuition and cost of living differences (I'm not too familiar with that), I'd probably choose Cambridge just for the fun of it.
  6. TheGazeboEffect

    Accepting a Job in a Relatively New Area of Law

    I forget what book it's in - I think maybe Richard Branson said it in his bio - but never refuse a job you want because you feel unqualified. You'll learn on-the-go. Every job requires learning on-the-go. You'll never be fully qualified. If the rule was that you can't take a job unless you feel qualified to do it, most of us wouldn't have ever been able to take a job in law... This is perhaps only somewhat related, but something interesting I read recently is the following: I don't know your gender, but I've heard this is a contributing factor to differentiation regarding promotion rates between males and females. Males are (generally) more likely believe they're sufficiently qualified for a new job (even when they're not), whereas females are (generally) more likely to believe they're not yet qualified enough to handle a new job (even though they're equally as qualified as a male that feels they are sufficiently qualified for the job). As a result of not feeling they're qualified, females are less likely to both apply for promotions and accept them. (As a caveat I recognize this is almost akin to victim-blaming, but I think it makes sense as a psychological reality caused by societal norms. And, of course, we're dealing in generalities here. I'd also suggest that this happens to males too; the uber-confident males are more likely to apply for promotions than their less confident counterparts, even when equally qualified. Perhaps this explains how so many dickheads end up in management positions...). Long story short: if you want this job over your current job then yes, I think you 100% should take it! I'd suggest that your worst case scenario is probably going back to your previous area of practice in a 6-12 months, but now with some unique knowledge and experience. That's a pretty great "worst case scenario".
  7. TheGazeboEffect

    Tips on Being a Great Summer Student

    Best advice I ever received was from this forum (forget who or what thread, sorry). The advice was that the client isn't your client. Rather, the partner/associate is your client. If you always think that way then you'll be good. And for the record, that doesn't mean you can't have fun or joke around with the partner/associate. A partner may very well have a casual relationship and joke around with certain clients (though there are still boundaries and rules not to be broken). With other clients, they may have a strictly professional relationship. It depends on the client. The same deal applies to you - there will be some partners/associates that you will have a casual relationship with (and no need to shy away from it), whereas there are others that you will have a strictly professional relationship. It depends on the partner/associate, and you'll know pretty quickly.
  8. TheGazeboEffect

    Western vs Queens when you have no interest in corporate law

    Absolutely, you have nothing to worry about at all. There are beyond ample opportunities and resources in crim/family to keep you busy at Western. For the record, Western's "corporate focus" is way overblown in my opinion (and I'm quite surprised by the anecdote of the other student at the Open House that you mentioned, particularly now that the new Dean isn't a corporate-focused person). Western only even has a corporate focus because they happened to accumulate a group of top-notch corporate professors, and (smartly, in my opinion) decided to take few steps to try and utilize that strength (for example, now you can also take corporate in 1L so that you can do more corporate-focused classes - which require corporate as a pre-req - in upper years). But the corporate professors are still a minority of the faculty. There's great professors and extra-curricular opportunities (moots, clinics, clubs, pro bono placements, etc.) in every other area of law too. In short: Western has moved to utilize a strength amongst its faculty, but that hasn't come at the expense of any other area of law. Also, as a note for students reading this forum generally (and related to Maximumbob's post above, which I wholeheartedly agree with) regarding law school course selections, I think you'll be shocked at how few elective classes (i.e. those "cool" sounding ones you read about) you'll get to take in law school. Each year you get to take approx. six classes (I know it can be more than that depending on the number of credits, how your school's system works, intensive courses, etc. but it's an approximation). All of 1L is set for you, so that's six classes down. Therefore in 2L and 3L you'll have 12 classes to choose. Approximately three will be required by your school (at Western it's admin, corporate, civ pro). Another three will be seen as generally important to anyone's practice (tax, trusts, evidence: see Maximumbob's post above. I would add public international law, but I'm sure that's controversial). Then there'll be about three that are important for your specific area of practice (for crim that might be crim pro, clinic work, sentencing). Now you have three classes left as electives - and if you go on exchange, that takes up those three. So my point is this: every school offers the essential courses for all areas of law (i.e. the ones I've listed above). And every school offers three or more elective/fun/niche courses in every area of law. So no matter what school you go to you'll have plenty of classes that you'll want to take. In fact, I am willing to bet you'll leave law school thinking "I really wish I had've taken that class too...".
  9. TheGazeboEffect

    Western vs Queens when you have no interest in corporate law

    I know you've already made your choice (congrats!) but just for readers' future reference: as a former Western corporate-focused student, I wished I was a non-corporate student at Western because there were so many cool courses and extracurriculars in other areas of law (the criminal ones always interested me the most, but also family, constitutional/public law, and international law). I actually did get involved in a fair number of those things and they were some of my favourite parts of law school (perhaps that says I've gone down the wrong career path but...that's another discussion!). Also, everyone at every law school should take corporate law (or whatever it's called at each school - as a poster above noted, it's called Business Associations at Osgoode). There's no balance sheets or anything - it's just about corporations (as a legal person) function in the world, particularly when interacting with other persons. This is something that is likely to come up in about every lawyer's practice at some point (and at the very least is something you probably should know in order to really understand a lot of the news out there).
  10. I don't think you have anything to apologize for. I actually applaud this way of thinking. The fact is that law school will be three years of your life, and arguably three years of your "prime" (I hesitate to use that word, but I you understand what I'm getting at). People get bogged down in a specific clinical opportunity, or a specific course, or a fraction of a better chance of getting a specific job in a specific area of law, or whatever. Yet once they get to law school that specific thing might not be what they want anymore - or even if it is, it's such a small part of their day-to-day and week-to-week life as to be almost meaningless. I think you're right in that the consensus on these forums is likely to be that Western and Queens are your best go-to options for what I'll call "quality of life" considerations. You can't go wrong with either. It sounds like you already have friends at Western, so perhaps that is a reason to resolve the tie-break in favour of Western. Full disclosure: I went to Western so I'm probably biased towards it over Queens. I will say this though: the three years I spent at Western were the best of my life thus far. I have nothing but great things to say about the law school, the people there, and the opportunities it opened for me both during and after law school, and I'd recommend it wholeheartedly.
  11. TheGazeboEffect

    How Much Do Curricular Streams Matter?

    The "curriculum streams" at Western offer you two things: Guidance on what courses and extracurriculars to get involved in; Access to Capstone Courses (these are practical courses you do in 3L, and to enrol you need to have satisfied certain requirements that are outlined in the curriculum streams. For example, if you do enough of the business law curriculum stream then you can do the Business Law Capstone, where the class will be divided into teams and you'll do a mock transaction, including correspondence, negotiation, and due diligence. If you do the Litigation Capstone, you'll do a mock trial, including document review, witness/expert witness prep, and arguments. Same for the international law, labour/employment, etc. curriculum streams and their respective capstone courses). So in short: you never formally enrol in them and they don't show up on your transcript (so there is no detrimental effect in that it "pigeon holes" you into a certain area of law), they're just guidance, and if you follow one or more then you'll qualify for a Capstone Course. However, as mentioned above, Western offers two "Areas of Concentration" (one in Business Law, one in Intellectual Property) and you have to enrol in those and they show up on your transcript. However, they really have little-to-no bearing on your career prospects in those areas of law - if you really like one of those areas then you can get it, but it isn't really a factor for recruiters (so long as you have some courses related to the firm's area of law, you'll be fine). Neither of these things are really relevant to you until 2L though, as your 1L courses are essentially locked in. So by that point you'll have a much better understanding of all of the above and what area of law you'll want to go for.
  12. TheGazeboEffect

    Exchange versus taking more "relevant" courses

    I highly recommend going the exchange route. The primary reason is that you say you're "very interested" in doing the exchange, and I think you should do what you're interested in (you'll probably come back for the end of 3L or beginning of articling feeling rejuvenated and happier too), but there's several other key reasons: This is perhaps your last opportunity to live abroad for the foreseeable future. That sounds extreme, but it's likely true. You've embarked on a seemingly unstoppable path: from 3L you'll do articling, then you'll want to be a first year associate, then you'll want to stay for a few years to get experience, then you may have an opportunity to pivot (but that probably won't be to somewhere abroad) or you'll get a mortgage and want to focus your last few years of associateship on making partner, then you'll be a junior partner focused on building your practice, then you'll have kids, then you'll...die? Okay that sounded grim, and there will be plenty of fun times within there that I skipped over, but the point is this: the risk vs. reward to live abroad will never be as balanced as it is now. You'll have corporate law plus two other corporate electives (based on your quote above). I agree with others above that it does help during articling to have taken related courses, but it's really not that big a deal. Here's my recommendation: figure out what corporate classes you're going to take as your electives in 3L, then pick a couple others that you think would be useful during articling. During your exchange, get summaries for those classes, perch yourself on the banks the Seine with a piping hot latte, and read the summary one evening a week (I mean, it's exchange anyways - you won't be doing much other studying/reading). If you're really keen on an area, find out what the big recent cases in that area are (they'll be in the summary) and Google to find some articles by the big firms about those cases. You'll have a familiarity with the area of law. Remember, taking a course isn't the only way to learn a subject - it's just the only way to be graded on a subject. After being out of law school for even a year you will forget a lot of what you learned in the courses (or at least I did...). You will be able to recognize where there may be issues, but you'll always have to do additional research to figure out the precise nature of that issue and how to solve it. So don't think "I will be a bad partner if I don't take enough corporate courses!". Your firm also will not care about the courses (that's not to imply they'd never care - if someone had no corporate courses at all then they may be like "WTF?"). For the record, I had approximately the same number of corporate-related courses as you will if you go on exchange (corporate + a couple electives) and it was never an issue, either for myself or for the firm.
  13. TheGazeboEffect

    Ask a 1L student

    There's a committee of students (run by the Western Law student government) that puts together a whole slate of law merch that Western Law students can purchase. However, if I recall correctly that doesn't normally happen until the spring.
  14. TheGazeboEffect

    TWU and the SCC

    Seeing as McLachlin CJC is on the panel and is retiring in two weeks, does anyone know what happens? I'm guessing that she only retires from hearing new cases on the 15th, but continues writing and/or concurring with the decisions already heard? Or does she and the rest of the bench have to crank out a decision before Dec 15th in order for her to be a part of it? Though I have not read the factums and only saw some of the livestream, I'm betting that TWU will lose (or at least that the majority of the Court thinks they should lose), but whether the Court can get there in a legally satisfying way or we end up with another Hutterian Brethren is another question. Alternatively, I think the Court decides against LSBC/LSUC purely on admin law grounds (fettering of discretion by LSBC, failure to properly consider balancing of rights by LSUC) but leaves the door open for LSBC and LSUC to simply re-do their decisions to not accredit TWU, this time in a way that conforms to admin law (assuming the Court finds the previous decisions didn't). I have to admit, I'm going to be sad when this case is over. It's one of the more interesting fact patterns I could imagine (for a constitutional law fan): law school, multiple law societies (and the politics that comes with them in terms of Benchers deliberations, voting, and referenda), perhaps indirect applicability of the Charter to a private university, directly clashing Charter rights/values (and two of the most relevant rights/values in society right now: religion vs. sexuality), and an on-point SCC precedent to boot.
  15. Go ahead and defend in September, you won't have any problem. Most (if not all) professors will be spoon-feeding you the materials for the first month. While there will be readings, you either a) will have no problem getting them done and finding 2 hours/week to prepare for your defense, or b) can put them off until later, which has the advantage of you understanding how to read the materials better (this is something you get better and better at as the year goes on). The only thing worth any marks during that time is the infamous 5% case brief (infamous because 1Ls freak out about it since it's the first assignment of law school, but everyone later laughs about how they freaked out about an assignment that had no impact on their final grade). Edit: I will add the caveat that I'm not an upper year. I've recently graduated, so there's always chance that something has changed, though I have no doubt that September of 1L is still as light a workload as you'll have in law school.