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realpseudonym last won the day on February 7

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  1. In determining whether UNB and Dal should lower their entrance requirements for Atlantic Canadians, the relevant question is whether (i) the region is actually underserved and (ii) whether that admissions policy will put more lawyers in the underserved regions. On point (i) yeah, many parts of Canada are underserved. Maybe not Halifax overall, but lots of different places are starving for either general counsel or certain types of lawyers. As I understand it, the problem is attracting and retaining lawyers in rural areas and, to some extent, retaining lawyers in the cities. The theory is basically that local candidates, are more likely to stay and work in the region. They have personal connections, emotional attachments, and for many, it is their home. Outside candidates may decide to stay, but rural practitioners I’ve talked to all seem to have a story of a student or new associate who claimed to want to settle down in Wherever Bay or Somewhere Brook and then, boom, when they got to their second year of practice and were profitable, they moved back to the city. First of all, whether a region is underserved can’t be measured by the number of articling positions available or by quoting a couple of interviews with graduates and lawyers in Canada. Is the lower admissions thing perfect? No. As you point out, there’s still a problem with getting some of those candidates licensed – those rural, small firms and solo practitioners in underserved areas often don’t have the budgetary flexibility to train new lawyers. Would that be solved by just making less Atlantic Canadian lawyers? Also, no. I think the admissions policy probably helps on balance, and that other incentives and funding would be needed to ensure that new calls and articling students end up in the underserved areas being targeted. The posts here are obviously self-serving. And that’s fine, everyone serves themselves. But I’m not going to pretend they’re good policy, just because you’d like a better shot at more schools. Atlantic schools and Halifax firms shouldn’t be a farm league to train future Toronto and Vancouver lawyers. We’re talking about schools supported by public funds in have-not provinces. Lets not pretend that this is some equality issue, where you’re being horribly discriminated against by UNB and Dal -- being from Ontario or somewhere is not really a ground for discrimination. But they’ve chosen to make their local legal markets a priority, and I really see nothing wrong with that.
  2. It wouldn’t look like anything — I wouldn’t bother placing schools into tiers for Bay Street hiring. Tiers are bad, especially for admissions candidates for these reasons. Most large Toronto firms hire from most Canadian law schools. Check their websites: all of them have alumni from schools across Canada, including Windsor, Ottawa, Dalhousie, Osgoode, U of C. To the extent that some schools are better represented on Bay St, that is a function of several factors , of which school tier (I.e., largely prestige or reputation) is only one. Geographical advantage plays a big role — networking, interviewing, doing clinics, being present at the local bar (I mean the legal bar, not the pub, although those two are kinda interchangeable), all help with hiring, and are all easier if you’re at Toronto, Osgoode, Queens, Western, etc. That’s a big reason people tell you on this forum to study where you want to practice. When I left Dal for Toronto, I left the fledgling reputation that I’d built up with local lawyers behind and that is a setback for both hiring and practice. Another factor is candidate quality. Ultimately, the firms are hiring people, not schools. Sure, U of T candidates do the best. But that’s partly because U of T has some of the toughest entrance requirements. The presumption is therefore that those students have high aptitude — that if they did well at U of T, they would’ve done well at other schools too (maybe better, since elsewhere, they would be placed on a weaker curve). The fact that some schools are doing better in Bay Street hiring isn’t necessarily caused by attendance at those schools. Rather, it results in part from a perception that the candidates are stronger, and that perception results only partially from your alma mater. It also comes from grades and other metrics. Third is self-selection. Sure, UNB, Lakehead, U of A etc place pretty poorly at large Toronto firms. But that has a lot to do with the fact that people applying and accepting at those schools aren’t planning to practice in downtown Toronto. They’re planning to practice in Edmonston, Lethbridge, St. John’s, Sault St Marie. If you go to a school without much of a formal recruit from downtown Toronto firms, the ultra numbers aren’t necessarily reflective of firms’ unwillingness to hire you. They reflect the fact that you chose to go a school where these firms don’t have a presence or history. The same goes with a school like Dal. Do we have good representation on Bay? Sure. But that’s because a reasonable number of people attend Dal, knowing they might want to work there, not because all partners think that Dal is amazing and U of A produces borderline illiterate malpractice machines. Basically, I think that you should all choose schools that make sense for you, taking into account cost, location, personal preference, etc. If your goal is to work as close to the TD Towers as humanly possible and buy lunch salads in the PATH, your choice should include an assessment of how to best get there. But hiring is more complicated than one school is in this tier and other schools are another tier.
  3. I say this with all possible respect to his partnership status and the majorness of his firm: those tiers are stupid and he sounds like a doof. So there. Take that, partner at a major firm and give it “a sniff.”
  4. I won’t get into the more theoretical questions around race, admissions, and affirmative action, as many, many others already have strong opinions on this (Source: Internet, All-the-time). The only real practical issue I see arising is, if you are a minority, whether disclosing your race will help or hurt your application (I guess if you're considering some sort of Michael Jackson-esque treatment or defrauding the adcom, that would give rise to the question too, albeit with different answers). I think that it's more likely to help. As stated by others, members of historically disadvantaged populations presumably faced barriers. The committee may view those barriers as mitigating on other deficiencies in the application, benefiting that application vis-a-vis an application with comparable stats, but without some sort of historical disadvantage. I suspect that committees may also consider whether indicated race is underrepresented, and perhaps prioritize that application on the basis that the profession and society-at-large benefits from having marginalized groups included in its ranks. Now, disclosure of the information may not help that much -- i.e., while the committee may accept that a barrier was a factor in a lower GPA or something, they may not accord it sufficient weight to overcome an otherwise weak application. As others have pointed out, race might be less of a factor for certain groups, perhaps based upon whether they are actually underrepresented in the legal profession. In any case, the fact that an applicant might not benefit from disclosure should not necessarily be a disincentive from disclosing. And to OP: I have written a long response on the assumption that you are asking a question in good faith. If you are instead a racist troll, I would invite you to PVFO (to borrow a term from the OCI threads, with an additional "v" that stands for vigorously).
  5. Can a 0L be competent? I dunno. But given OP's description of the lawyer, it doesn't sound like he/she is assuming complete professional responsibility for OP's practice of law or directly supervising OP in a meaningful way (note: this was not intended to be legal advice to OP, and should not be relied upon as legal advice). I agree. How is this an incredible opportunity? You're learning from a lawyer who, rather than finding a law student, articling student, or paralegal, is relying upon you to do his/her scut work. If you go to law school and end up wanting to do criminal defence, you'll have the opportunity to do set-date court and adjournments again before you graduate. And you can probably do it for someone who isn't "mean, disorganized, terrible at communicating, and tyrannical."
  6. I don't say this to impugn criminal defence lawyers, but it's definitely false to say that students working for solo criminal defence lawyers aren't subject to abusive environments or expected to work long hours. Obviously, experiences vary. Like all fields, there are good and bad principals in criminal defence. But to suggest that lawyers, working with little or no supervision, aren't sometimes misusing and mistreating their students is wrong. Edit: also, your focus is on the long hours that students work at large and profitable firms. I have friends who went to work at those places, and it's not like they were bamboozled. They expected to work between 50 and 80 hours a week and they do. They also make about double what I do, and are under thirty years old. Without sounding victim-blamey or something, I'm a little less sympathetic to those people. I am sympathetic to articling students who didn't choose their experience, and are having a terrible ten months. I have other friends who are working big firm hours, but without most of the compensation and without really being taught anything. That sucks. And more importantly, the focus of the Star article was about discrimination and harassment, which is different than expecting to work long hours. Behaviour that falls under those categories is very different, is unacceptable, and wouldn't be solved by hiring more bodies.
  7. "Sure our articling students are basically repositories of caffeine and organic cold-pressed sadness, but instead of leaving open an eventual partnership track for them, we've decided to admit non-lawyers into our new share-owning management structure! Problem solved!"
  8. I basically agree with everyone else so far. This sounds like a bad position: even paid employers don't ask you to audition. Also, the licensing procedures state: 9. Students who accept an offer shall immediately notify firms from whom they have an outstanding offer or with whom they have scheduled interviews. Students who have already accepted an offer shall not thereafter participate in interviews with other firms or accept offers subsequently received (https://lso.ca/becoming-licensed/lawyer-licensing-process/articling-candidates/finding-a-placement/2020-2021-articling-recruitment-procedures) I'm not sure if that specific provision is just for the formal recruit, but my understanding was that even outside the recruitment window, you are obligated to stop seeking articles, once you have accepted an offer (standard disclaimer: not a lawyer, this isn't legal advice just information, and possibly erroneous information at that, do your own due diligence, blah blah blah). I'm not sure what impact, if any, accepting this trial will have on your obligations regarding other applications. In any case, I wouldn't agree to such a conditional, ambiguous offer, when there will be other positions available until August (or whenever it is you need to start articling, without delaying your call to the Bar -- are you in Ontario?) and beyond.
  9. Keep in mind that I'm only an articling student, so I'll defer to practicing lawyers who have hired and actually know what they're talking about. But I agree with Deadpool that outside the formal recruit, demonstrated interest gets more important (although I disagree that the formal recruit is done -- there was still a formal hiring process in my 2L summer and I suspect there still is now). I've heard that being a top student without much practical experience is great at big firms -- they take on enough clients with complex files and deep pockets that they can afford to hire super smart students who write spot-on memos all day. The places I was applying to didn't seem to have that luxury. They generally seemed to want someone who could stand on their own feet. They were looking for someone with enough basic experience doing client interviews, writing letters, and working in their area of law, that they could delegate simple tasks and trust that it could be taken care of without handholding at every step of the way. Everyone wants a second year job, and if you get one between now and May/June, then great. But your ultimate goal is articling, because you need to fulfill your licencing requirements. I really don't think you need to freak out about that: a top ten percent student will get articles. But if I were you, I'd start accumulating some practical experience before graduation. It could help you secure a position. It could help you narrow down what you want to do beyond almost all the areas of litigation (working at a clinic or something is a great way to figure out whether you'll like tribunal work, crim etc or not). And, it could help you gather some basic skills that will make you more useful during articles.
  10. Without being too much of a kiss-ass, this reminds me of the mods' good work here. And it seems like a good time to thank them for doing the presumably thankless job of preventing an anonymous internet forum from degenerating into a venue for racist trolls and spammers. You guys are all excellent.
  11. I wouldn't recommend basing your school choice on your hypothetical performance, measured against the hypothetical performance of your classmates, in a still hypothetical class. Think about where you want to practice. Maybe, allowing for the possibility that you might not be interested in crim once you article, look at each school's clinical opportunities (is there a crim clinic?). Think where you'll incur the least amount of debt, in the event that you're trying to enter public prosecution service by starting on a per diem or contract basis. Also, if you're thinking about Crown work in Western Canada, maybe @Malicious Prosecutor would be willing to offer you some wisdom?
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