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Posts 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. 

    • Like 1

  2. 31 minutes ago, msk2012 said:

    The way I have my website / practice set up is that new clients can only book a consultation if they pay up front. I don't know how good my consultation to retainer rates are compared to other people's rates, but setting it up that way certainly avoid folks looking for free legal advice.

    To be clear though, I do not practice in criminal defence.

    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.

    • Like 2

  4. 1 hour ago, HelloSir80 said:

    So it seems that everyone got a little bit too sensitive as to my post and didn’t catch the Wolf of Wall Street reference. Yes law school does teach you some practical skills but I was trying to lightly point out the overly academic side and non practical aspect. Anyway carry on folks. 

    8 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

    “I was just joking jeez”.

    “Does sarcasm ever work?”

    • Like 3
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  5. 9 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

    To be fair to law societies, it's difficult to design a test that tests an ability to give a "correct" answer to a question that's ambiguous and has potentially several iterations of "correct". 

    It's more doable in class sizes of 60 to even 180 at a stretch, since a professor can read each answer to the question and judge the answet both in absolute and relative terms. You can't really do that with thousands of writers and expect to have bar results in less than months later.

    But I do agree that Ontario's really taken it too far. Quebec seems to have found a happy middle ground of testing competency without designing questions that are perfectly ambiguous. I don't know much about NY, but that seems to as well?

    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. 

    • Like 1

  6. 23 hours ago, brokendoor said:

    Looking up a legal issue and finding an answer to the issue is what lawyers do, no? 

    "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.

    • Like 1

  7. On 5/1/2020 at 11:33 AM, Ryn said:

    Anecdotally, I’ve worked on a few transactions where a lawyer on the other side was a foreign grad. I had to do a lot of work to correct their mistakes. I can’t say I’ve had the same experience with Canadian graduates. Obviously my sample size is limited as a first year associate, but these are the things I’d remember if I’m considering such a person for a job. 

    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?

    • Like 5

  8. 30 minutes ago, Trew said:

    In the event that you strike out in any formal recruit, it will be more difficult interviewing for jobs in Toronto coming from Nova Scotia during an ongoing semester. The opportunity cost for each interview is huge and you may be relegated to the surrounding Nova Scotia job market 

    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. 

    • Like 1

  9. On 4/22/2020 at 11:03 AM, rolypolyjoly said:

    - would like the door for big law to possibly be open, i know people say its not going to be the same as uoft or oz obviously but i think the door will still be open for this

    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. 

    On 4/22/2020 at 11:03 AM, rolypolyjoly said:

    - con though is i can't drive, I've grown accustomed to being able to walk to literally anything i need, halifax being spread out stresses me out 

    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.

    On 4/22/2020 at 11:03 AM, rolypolyjoly said:

    - I did my undergrad at Ryerson in a specialty arts program thats really competitive, its also really new, i started the 3 ever year so there wasn't a graduating class at that point but i didnt care. I'm kind of used to people shitting on Ryerson and it already rolls off my back because i was in love with my program and didnt give a shit which could prep me for their law school lol


    28 minutes ago, beyondsection17 said:

    The people looking down on you for going to Ryerson Law will not be 19-year old undergrad students making stupid jokes. They will be the exact people who are in a position to employ you. And they will look down on your school not because of some perceived prejudice, but because you are attending a school that is unproven, with no alumni, a bare-bones faculty, that almost certainly is admitting those students who have not achieved sufficient grades or LSAT scores to be admitted to any other law school. Ryerson Law is not the "UofT reject school". It is the "everywhere-else-in-Ontario-and-maybe-Canada reject school".

    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. 

    • Like 1

  10. 12 hours ago, DukeOfJoe said:

    Thank you for the response. It seems most individuals on this thread are suggesting that being an indigenous lawyer would create only a small advantageous position in relation to practicing private market place/Big law. Once again I appreciate the insight and this was helpful. However, for the sake of further context, if I attend Lakehead I will likely graduate with the goal of praciticing indigenous law. 

    Haha, I apologize for the typos, typing on forums at such a late hour was probably not the best idea. Regarding your question, I thought most individuals would assume that the nature of my designated status for one school would not play a significant role in my dedication to killing law school. Therefore, like every student, I have full intentions of achieving an application that is as strong as can be by the time I graduate. Futhermore, I think it is important to take into consideration a few facts regarding aboirignal status and law. (1) It seems fairly unanimious that aboriginal individuals have to fill seemingly less stringent requirements in order to be accepted into both Uni and Law school. (2) There is a million academic studies demonstrating how the combination of an unfortunate colonial history+lower levels of income+experience with stigma (among other poor socioeconomic standings), negatively affect educational oppertunities for indengious people in Canada. It is arguable that point #1 exists entirely because point #2 exists. In this case, I think many would agree that one`s indigenous race (I.E. a marginalized race) ehances their overall merit. The fact that those individuals who have poorer social standing were able to both attend and graduate from law school can be viewed as an reflection of their dedication to becoming a lawyer. Now to actually answer your question, the answer is I will not feel ashamed in the slightest if my aboriginal status enhances my overall merit/potential job oppertunities IF I feel like I have put in the necessary work and I am capable of doing a good job. 

    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. 

    • Like 1

  11. 7 minutes ago, OWH said:

    gets 50.1% on his bar exams? 

    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.


    At the same time that it sets a Licensing Examination, the Advisory Group also formally sets and approves the passing mark for that Licensing Examination. The passing mark is the same for each different version of the same Licensing Examination. The passing mark represents a single overall score for the Licensing Examination; candidates are not required to individually pass separate sections or areas of law on a Licensing Examination.

    The passing mark represents the expected performance of a minimally-competent entry-level lawyer. To ensure consistency between each sitting of the Licensing Examinations, the Advisory Groups apply this same standard to the particular set of items on each Licensing Examination. The setting of a passing mark is based on the judgment of these informed subject matter experts and is determined through rigorous consultation and dialogue.

    This approach to setting the passing mark helps to ensure that the same performance standard is applied consistently for each Licensing Examination, so that only those candidates who meet or exceed this standard will pass the Licensing Examination. Only an individual candidate’s performance compared to this standard determines whether that candidate passes the Licensing Examination; the candidate’s performance is not assessed in comparison to the performance of other candidates, by using a curve or otherwise. There is also no pre-determined rate for the proportion of candidates who will pass a Licensing Examination.




    12 hours ago, chaboywb said:

    But really, I'd go with the smaller one for portability reasons.

    14 hours ago, SneakySuspect said:

    I'm not sure those extra 3 inches will sufficiently address the problem.

    Have you people been listening to me shower? Those were PRIVATE moments of self-affirmation. 

    • Haha 2

  13. 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.  

    • Like 3

  14. 54 minutes ago, ihatesuits777 said:

    yeah then go for it. another solid tip I can give you is to look up your professor on ratemyprofessor.com and chose easy graders over interesting classes.

    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. 

    • Like 2

  15. 45 minutes ago, GoforGroia said:

    Good on you for planning your law career so early! If I were you, I’d go with law and society as a major. I would think it is the most relevant to the field/most helpful to prepare you for law school. I would imagine this major would give you a taste of what a legal career entails and introduce you to a couple different possible areas of focus. I would also think you’d have a higher chance of meeting likeminded people in this major, which is the best part of undergrad (imo). 

    cat no GIF

    46 minutes ago, GoforGroia said:

    In the end though, I’d suggest you just pick whatever you’re most interested in and what you think you’d be able to do well in! 

    adrian sieber yes GIF

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  16. 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:

    55 minutes ago, utmguy said:

    But, the advice for right now is the same as it's always been:  Do good work, and find ways to take advantage of your network.  

    As to your current articling, it can't hurt to be proactive.  Show your employer you care about their business, and see if there's anything you can do (or learn to do) to make yourself useful.  

    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. 

  17. Just now, pzabbythesecond said:

    That wasn't one of the options. I was saying those firms would be laying off students anyway, except then the students would still have to find a way to complete their articles in a ridiculously depressed labour market. It's better to be a lawyer who's professionally enabled to do lawerly things - you're more likely to get hired because you're literally more useful.

    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.  

  18. 2 hours ago, sc313 said:

    Is that at all common in Ontario, or is there a fair amount of waiting? Again, my intention is not to aggravate anyone, and it is a genuine question.

    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. 

    • Like 5
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