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Everything posted by realpseudonym

  1. I think you've already gotten good advice from a couple of different perspectives. To preserve my quickly vanishing anonymity, I won't elaborate on my own law school experiences beyond what I've probably done in other threads. However, I did strongly consider dropping out after first year (in fact, I had decided to quit for most of the summer and then had a change of heart after talking to some professors and lawyers). It's a highly personal decision. So it's little hard to advise in the abstract past what you've already gotten. If you want to chat about it with someone who stuck it out into practice, feel free to PM.
  2. That's one way to go. A consultation fee requirement would probably drive away most legal aid eligible people coming to your website, though. So I'd imagine this works best if you're only looking for cash clients.
  3. I tried spending a little money on SEO. It did generate more calls. But almost none of them turned into retained files. It was mostly people trying to get some free legal advice, vexatious litigants, people with sob stories that I can't do anything about, or matters completely outside my practice areas. Like Diplock, I get real clients predominantly from referrals and I don't anticipate that changing.
  4. “Does sarcasm ever work?”
  5. There are like a thousand Queens vs Western threads. To start:
  6. I'm not really a critic of the Ontario bar exam. The Ontario bar is what it is, and I think it's fine given that candidates also had to do well in undergrad, do well on the LSAT, pass a bunch of law exams, and complete a ten month articling placement. Admittedly, I'm more responding specifically to a poster who effectively argued elsewhere that law school admissions and law school performance should play no role in the licensing process. Which would elevate the importance of the bar exam by eliminating most other controls for competence. In that context, the exam would be completely inadequate. As it stands, I felt the Ontario bar exam was a waste of paper, but I don't have strong feelings on it either way.
  7. "Looking up a legal issue and finding an answer to the issue" is what search engines do. If you can simply look up a right answer, that’s a pretty easy legal problem which doesn’t require much of your time as a lawyer. The Ontario bar exam is multiple choice. Multiple choice questions necessarily have right or wrong answers. Its therefore dealing with the easiest possible legal problems. Difficult, substantive legal work happens where there isn't a right answer. It happens where there's ambiguity in the law, where the law doesn't obviously fit with the facts, or where the facts are being disputed. This is where lawyers need their brains. To do stuff like gather and review evidence, make judgments on the strength and relevance of each statement, document etc, review the body of evidence as a whole, situate the evidence within a legal framework, form cogent opinions on the case as a whole, and explain those things clearly and concisely to a possibly uncooperative judge or client. I'm not as anti-bar exam as some. But passing the Ontario bar exams doesn't prove that you can do any of the hard or interesting parts of legal practice and therefore isn't a very good measure of competence.
  8. I have similar anecdotes from litigation, allowing for the same caveat about sample size. Obviously, I don't want to denigrate all foreign grads' work. That would be inaccurate -- I've also seen good work from foreign grads. For example, I have an appeal where the initial application was done by a lawyer who studied in the UK. After reviewing the documentary evidence, the transcripts, and the written submissions, the work looks thorough and competent by any standard. I'm sure the same can be said for other foreign grads' work. I'll say this though. I would urge foreign grads to exercise more self-awareness in your job searches and practices than I see on lawstudents.ca. I know that you can't all get dream articling positions. The foreign grad mentioned above articled at a reputable, specialized boutique, known as a tough place to work, but which consistently produces good lawyers. She's since practiced at another reputable boutique for a number of years. I'm sure many of you would like that, and getting it is easier said than done. But man, some people here aren't doing themselves any favours if they're even a fraction as defensive as we see on this forum. Defensiveness is a huge red flag. It suggests an unwillingness to absorb criticism or admit fault. That stands opposed to the humility and openmindedness needed to admit our own ignorance, recognize that we need help, and then cultivate the mentor-mentee relationships that ultimately keep us youngins from fucking up badly and often. Likewise, if you're carrying around some nonsense attitude, such as "the system filters out applicants based on merit, and is therefore broken" you should get rid of that as fast as possible. No one good is going to want to work with you if they sense a shred of that. I'm guessing someone without good practical experience and mentorship isn't going to be good. That's should be obvious, but I can't recall reading one of these foreign grad threads where getting good was even a secondary concern. I'd be more willing to help a poster who said, "I'd eventually like to practice criminal law, didn't study Canadian crim in the UK, and want to know what I need to do to learn" than the poster who assures us that their UK training and NCA study will suffice (I don't think that was this thread, but I've definitely read it here before). Unsolicited advice from another recent grad: humility goes a long way. Or at least, that's been my experience. Many of my files come from lawyers from whom I asked for help. As in, I said "I have a file on a matter that I'm not experienced with, would you mind walking me through X or Y?" Or I reached out to shadow matters that I didn't know a lot about, but wanted to start taking on. Which I think demonstrated both an interest in the subject matter and a willingness to learn, and, in part, gave the senior lawyer enough confidence to eventually add me to their referral lists. Anyway, long tangent and general observations not directly related to OPs questions (this wasn't really directed at OP). Point is, some of the study law abroad crowd would do themselves a favour by setting aside their weird arguments about their own unseen potential, or the unfairness of the system, or whatever. At least then, I could have some confidence that you might be a UK success story, rather than the other kind I see around, who made it through the licensing process, and now get to make a living screwing up files for vulnerable clients. And why would I want to advise the latter on how to get into our profession?
  9. Agreed that for Dal students, finding a Toronto job can be harder outside the formal recruit. But the NS market is not a good fallback option for people who strike out in Toronto. NS lawyers are wary of out-of-province applicants who feel "relegated" to the local job market. It's not unusual to get questioned on why Nova Scotia, with your answers holding significant weight. I did, and I lived in Nova Scotia for a long time. The NS bar isn't interested in being the farm team for Toronto firms. So no one should count on it, if they come up empty in the Toronto OCIs.
  10. Dal is fine for this. Toronto big law firms participate in Dal's OCIs and articling recruit. You'll get ample opportunity to apply to big law there. If anything, you'd be at more of a disadvantage if you wanted to work in Toronto outside the formal recruit, as you wouldn't be on the ground here to make connections and attend interviews. Still doable though. This shouldn't be a factor. You don't need to drive to study in Halifax. Sure, Bayers Lake and Bedford are far, but you never really need to go out there. Halifax's south end is incredibly walkable. I live in Downtown Toronto, and have much longer commutes than I did while I was in Halifax. Yeah, this is correct. School reputation doesn't matter like it does in the States, where they have way more schools than the market can bear. But it matters a little, especially where one of the schools is brand new. And it's not your feelings that matter. It's your employment prospects. Having a degree from Dal will be neutral at worst. To the extent that lawyers comment on my Dal degree, it tends to be positive. A Ryerson degree will be a question mark. Maybe that's not bad, but it's not particularly helpful.
  11. If you're comfortable doing so, maybe consider reaching out to some indigenous alumni/students from the different schools and ask them about their respective law school experiences. I went to Dal and the school really touts its IB&M initiative. I think that experiences have been a little uneven there and that in my year, some of the students arguably didn't get the academic support they needed through the initiative. Could be worth reaching out to the schools and/or student groups for contacts, so that you can hear from people with actual experience.
  12. I know it's not the point of the question, but I don't think 50% is necessarily a pass on the Ontario bar exams. The LSO won't say what score is a pass.
  13. Have you people been listening to me shower? Those were PRIVATE moments of self-affirmation.
  14. I wasn't surprised by salary expectations. If there were surprises early on, it was that certain parts of the profession, particularly the law society, don't make it financially easier for articling students and new calls in lower paying roles. I'm a little frustrated that we don't have a more progressive fee system. I went into lower paying roles for ideological and personal reasons. That was my choice. I know I have to take the economic consequences of my decision. But, those licensing fees and bar material costs were significant for me, as a licensing candidate. The annual fees are a little more manageable this year. Still, larger firms with wealthy institutional clients and established lawyers could absorb slightly higher fees relatively easily. Students and new calls with legal aid and people-facing practices can't. It is what it is, but a reduction of fees for lower income students and lawyers could really smooth the transition into practice.
  15. What is happening? Did shitpost Sunday migrate here from reddit?
  16. U of T does have the Post-Graduation Debt Repayment Assistance Program (PDRAP) for people making under a certain income: https://www.law.utoronto.ca/financialaid/pdrap
  17. This makes me sad inside. I wouldn’t do this. Undergrad shouldn’t just be an audition for an admissions committee, it should be for challenging and educating yourself. That’s how I approached it. I’m glad I did. I would’ve missed out on so much intellectual and personal growth, if I’d done it your way. And in case I get accused of naïveté, I did well in undergrad and was accepted to every law school I applied at.
  18. You do. The LSO recognizes that some candidates may need to rewrite, but is firmly anti-tree.
  19. Find ways to exercise, while still complying with social distancing. Do the other things that help keep you sane: sleep well, eat properly, meditate, do things you like. Otherwise, pretty much this: There's a lot that's out of your hands right now. The only productive, healthy thing to do is to figure out what's in your control and focus on that. Otherwise, you'll drive yourself nuts. And, as shown by this site's many locked threads, that's not a useful headspace to get into.
  20. Yes. You can also do contract work, or even self-employ part-time once you're a lawyer. Neither are ideal, but it's better to be called than a licensing candidate. You have more options.
  21. Many food banks aren't stringent about means testing. The idea being that the costs of enforcement are higher than the returns from catching fraudsters, and they don't want to dissuade the needy from accessing their services by raising the administrative burdens. The programs are often run by good people who don't like to turn anyone away. I think that's right. But someone with a full time job and five figures in the bank is not their target recipient and shouldn't have gotten help. As someone who volunteered at food banks for many years, I know that lots of small donations come from people with little or nothing. We saw people on social assistance, who were still struggling to make ends meet come in with a few extra items from the store or a couple of dollars here and there. Others gave their time to sorting, packing, and distribution. They did so, because they benefited from the program and wanted to ensure that others in the community got the same amount of help. Often there's not enough nutritious food, so we usually prioritized families with kids, even though there were lots of other people who needed those items too. I can guarantee you, none of us were there to help someone fund their JD, even if that person came from a lower income background. Maybe you don't care about any of that, and fair enough. But I'd advise you not to proudly announce it to your classmates and colleagues the way you did here. Reputation is important in this profession. I'd want nothing to do with someone who (i) took from the hungry to fund their degree and (ii) either thinks it's clever to imply that Mal meant give back the food, rather than donate going forward, or is too dumb to understand that "give back" referred to donations.
  22. I've done some crim in two jurisdictions, either as a student or a lawyer. I mean, sure, some days you're slammed and wouldn't be checking this site. But you can also get downtime throughout the day, even if you have multiple matters on. You're waiting for your matter in court, waiting to see your client in cells, waiting to talk to a crown, waiting for an interview room. I'd be genuinely surprised if BC criminal lawyers were so uniformly slammed that they didn't spend anytime scrolling on their phones. Also, and I know this doesn't matter, but whatever I'll say it anyway (sorry mods). Posters sometimes come in here and toss off the "if you were real lawyers, how do you have time to post so much," and then sit back like they've landed a sick burn worthy of reddit gold. First, this is an asinine view of online engagement. My participation here isn't an indicator of how busy I am. Posting here is partly distraction. It's partly a desire to engage with the legal community in a way that's not possible without pseudo-anonymity. It's partly me looking for advice from posters I know and trust. And it's partly an attempt to pay it forward - to provide the kind of guidance that helped me when I was an applicant and law student. No one comes here purely based upon availability. The posters here are human beings and therefore have a normal range of human motivations. Second, these quippy posters are almost always sucking and blowing: seeking the collective wisdom and acceptance of this online forum, but then lashing out at not getting the respect they deserve, even if they haven't done anything to earn respect. Everyone's free to stay or go here. You aren't paying any of us to work for you. So I don't have a duty of politeness. If I'm direct, but helpful, I've learned not expect gratitude. But its still annoying to offer up my insight, where I think it can help and then get critiqued on my response. It's advice. Take it or leave it. Anyway, sorry mods. Love all of ya.
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