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Everything posted by realpseudonym

  1. 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.
  2. "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!"
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. They do require good grades. But I think that other posters are trying to impress upon you that reading ahead isn't likely to help you get good grades. You just don't have the tools to understand case law, yet. I could say I'm going to get better at hockey by going to the rink and practicing everyday. But if I don't know how to skate, don't have any equipment, and don't really understand how the game works, then my progress is going to be very minimal. You'll get the tools when you start classes in the fall. Until then, your time is really better spent doing something else (in fact, your time is arguably spent doing nothing, because at least that would be relaxing). There's no harm in reading a bunch of case law. But just know that you're not pre-empting the competition. At best, you're soothing your anxious nerves.
  8. It was a joke, George Carlin. "Criminal attorney" could refer to a lawyer who commits crimes, rather than practices criminal law. Then you shouldn't go to school in the UK. I am now directing discouragement to see someone fail/fall behind. You actually might find a way to the criminal defence bar -- nabbing some low-paid or unpaid articling position for a sole practitioner that no one else really wants to work for, and then opening your own practice. Who knows. For me, the problem is that Canadian criminal law seems pretty different than English law. Granted, I don't know anything about the latter. And presumably, concepts like the presumption of innocence are the same, as I think that we share common law roots with the English system? I don't know. But our criminal law is pretty jurisdictional. It's sourced largely in the Criminal Code. It has been shaped by the Charter, with concepts like the section 7 right to life, liberty, and security of person and the section 8 right against unreasonable search and seizure, looming large over everything else. You can learn some substantive law in practice -- I certainly will need to, as I feel like I don't know an astonishing amount of law. But you're going to be a long way behind, having never studied our specific federal statute or Constitution, and not getting even the minimal practical experience that many Canadian students interested in crim get during law school. I know that you are all about perseverance and self-belief. But honestly, it's not really you that I care about. So a foreign grad needs to declare bankruptcy and start over: that would suck for you. But if you take a chance and fail, then that's life. I'm concerned for your clients (and so too, I suspect are some of the other posters in this thread). If you get called, a lot of your clients are going to be incredibly vulnerable. They'll have addictions and mental illness. They'll be indigent. You, in your first year of practice, having no supervision, knowing nothing about the Criminal Code, knowing nothing about the Canada Evidence Act, knowing nothing about Charter, and having probably never seen the inside of a Canadian Court, are proposing to step into court and be someone's defence lawyer. That's fucking terrifying. I've thought about doing crim. I'm terrified about that, and I (a) studied all the things I listed above, (b) read criminal law all the time, (c) have (a tiny amount of) experience, and (d) am in Canada, meaning I can go watch criminal proceedings when I have time. How is it that I feel less confident in myself than you sound in yourself? Honestly, no offence, but I'm now kinda rooting against you. Like Mal said, the legal profession is not a good place to be mediocre. You shouldn't be bad at personal injury or real estate: you'll ruin people's financial futures. But criminal law is a really really bad place to be mediocre. I know you'll hate reading this and possibly hate me for writing it, but the only information I have is that your undergrad grades and LSAT were bad, and that you seem to equate perseverance and love of process with performance. That seems like a recipe for ruining your clients' freedom. Please try the Dual JD or try something else.
  9. Similar to lookingaround's post, you've been here almost as long as I have, and I've read a lot of vigorous debates over the merits of British legal education for prospective Canadian lawyers. I assume you've read some of them too and that you're going to get the same opinions here. So, in no particular order: You can get a UK degree, which does (depending) satisfy one part of the licensing requirements; It'll be expensive; It won't teach you Canadian law, which is a disadvantage when you're looking to practice Canadian law; It will be looked down on by a certain number of Canadian lawyers (for everyone's sake, let's not debate whether or not this should be the case) It means that you'll be going through the NCA, which increases expense and delay; You may struggle to find a good, well-paying articling position; and, You may struggle to find associate work. These are risks. Risk-aversion shouldn't be the only consideration and if you're really okay with the risks, then go to the UK. But these risks should be a big consideration (like really think about it: imagine that everything above goes wrong, how you will you cope with that). When you might invest a 6-figure sum and several of the remaining 50 - 70 years of your life on something, you should be pretty sure about it.
  10. Agreed. One of the smartest people I know did poorly on the LSAT. He is now an excellent journalist. Because while 22/50 on the logical reasoning sections is devastating for law school admissions, it says nothing about your personal qualities or professional abilities. You can keep re-taking if you want. But there are many many other rewarding ways to earn a living. When you get one of those jobs, it will not be a failure.
  11. Warning: some lengthy happy hour induced thoughts incoming. I also share this experience (keeping in mind I've never practiced: pats self on head). I wouldn't have continued onward without clinics and other student casework. I probably would've graduated, but I would not have articled and would not have participated in the rest of the licensing process. I'm not sure if this fits into the theory. But I think that if you really like the law, you'll really like law school. If you don't like the law, then you probably won't like law school very much. And frankly, I don't care about law for law's sake. I don't care about how we got from Law to Kapp in section 15 Charter jurisprudence. I'm not really interested in the basic proprietary and economic interests behind the law of negligence. I don't find Lord Denning decisions charming. I usually did not find class discussions interesting. I guess the above paragraph hardly sounds like a penetrating insight. But, for me, it was big when I realized that you don’t need to like law to like legal work. I immediately liked clinic work, because clinical work (and presumably, retail/individual-based private practices, like family, criminal, immigration, and some other admin-related work), is a human endeavour. I got to see the best and worst in people. One client who committed a series of violent assaults, and who has some absolutely terrifying tendencies (probably stemming from PTSD and addictions issues), tried to give me his lunch when he heard my stomach growled in cells. Another guy (convicted of a sexual assault) asked me to help give his shoes to another kid who he met in the morning transport from the youth facility (he wasn’t trying to smuggle contraband, either, I checked), because the other kid’s shoes were too small and hurt his feet. Clinics gave me my first chance to tell these people’s stories – to draw out human complexity, show that clients were more than the one-dimensional image in the disclosure package or Applicant’s notice, and discuss the law’s impact on people’s actual lives. While some of the other students struggled with the sadness of poverty and preferred the cleanness of academia, civil litigation, or commercial transactions, I suspect that there are other people like me who found law school sterile and disengaging, because, with the exception of a few decisions like R. v. Boudreault, appellate-level law has less to do with impact on the litigants’ lives than it does with the internal consistency of the jurisprudence. In the context of the undergrad vs. law school discussion, I also liked undergrad better than law school. I can’t say that observation is entirely consistent with my human experience vs. sterile academia theory above. But to my mind, the link is this: both exposed me to a range of new experiences, that have broadened my horizons. Reading all the pretentious philosophy in undergrad mostly just familiarized me with a bunch of pretentious philosophy. But a few works, like Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem or Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality, actually caused me to rethink how I judge and evaluate other people’s actions. Likewise, doing stuff like sentencing hearings made me look past my first impression of people based upon what they did, and see that people can be horrible, funny, and kind, all in pretty short order. In any case, my own experience is that clinics and undergrad broadened my horizons. Law school didn’t. That’s not to say law school had no value: aside from being a necessary condition to do clinical work, it did teach me to do focussed and objective legal analysis. That means I can actually advise and represent people without just spewing gut feelings and lay opinions. But I didn’t enjoy spending three years feeling isolated from real experiences, and I’m much happier now that I’m articling, where reading law is a means to an end for clients, not the end in itself.
  12. Without more context (for example, what are your reasons for seeking a different job), I imagine that others will agree that they also do not like screwing people and that screwing people over is a pretty terrible thing to do.
  13. It is an option. It’s a for credit clinic, so if you do a clinical semester in the summer, you get almost one semester of credits that summer and can get the rest of your third year credits in the fall. That allows you to finish in December. The other option would be to spread out your remaining credits over fall and winter semesters, allowing you more time to work, do extracurriculars, etc.
  14. I paid about $87.00 for my favourite suit -- it looks great, fits great, and has held up to several dry cleanings. But it was marked down by a lot at the Sears liquidation sale. Otherwise, I agree that for $100.00, you can expect to look like Don Cherry after an expensive divorce. In my mind, a cheap suit is closer to $200.00 - $400.00. The other issue with buying an ultra cheap suit is quality. Even if the material looks okay at first, cheap suits won't last that long. Polyester blends, fused linings, and machine stitching don't hold up that well over time. I bought another cheap suit and after a couple of trips to the dry cleaner, it's fraying and falling apart. So even if you save some money now, you might end up spending the savings on a replacement in a year or two.
  15. Also, IP. I don't associate trademark work, patent work, copyright etc with social justice. I mean, intellectual property is good and people need intellectual property lawyers, but do those lawyers really protect the vulnerable or advance a public interest cause? I'd usually think of criminal defence, family, immigration and refugee, employment, etc., when I think of social justice law. Edit: Also, while I completely agree with the "study where you want to practice" advice, prospective students should also think critically about where they want to practice. How do you know Toronto is where you want to settle? If you've never lived anywhere else, you can't know for sure that you want to settle in Toronto, rather than BC. While I don't think people should treat law school as some sort of domestic-study-abroad opportunity (law schools often afford actual study abroad opportunities), I also think that it's good to live in more than one place, before you commit to building a practice somewhere. Edit II: Given UBC's lower tuition, I don't think you'd necessarily be taking a huge risk attending school out of Ontario. In fact, I encourage anyone looking at full fare for U of T to consider their other options. Unless you're a dyed-in-the-wool commercial litigation / corporate transactions 0L, certain that by divine right of the legal gods you must attend U of T and work on Bay, I can't imagine wanting to assume 2 - 3 times the amount of debt, for ostensibly the same degree. $38,000 per year is a lot of money. $13,000 - $18,000 is less, and gets you almost exactly the same thing.
  16. Well there's .... fuck. You're right. I guess if you start making comments on what you see in other peoples' mouths and performing minor procedures on people who are unconscious, you're going to ruffle some feathers around the office.
  17. Almost like an A pass, B pass, C pass, and D pass.
  18. Yeah, but they take your left kidney as a deposit and only give it back once you've billed the number of hours that Tony Merchant claimed to docket the previous year. That's a law fact.* *Views expressed above are not factual, do not reflect the views of the lawstudents.ca community, and do not reflect this hat's best effort at humour. To the extent that Bennett Jones' defamation lawyers may read this, I have no assets, only debt, go away.
  19. I definitely don't want to start an argument in this thread, and I'm appreciative that the above posts are intended to provide positive reassurance. But honestly, if OP feels as though life has lost meaning and that death has become an attractive option, he/she should focus on seeking care at this point. The application process is stressful for everyone. It shouldn't be fatal for anyone. So if someone is really feeling this way, there's probably something else going on. I echo the advice of others and urge them to please reach out to professionals.
  20. God, I wish I was interested in PI.
  21. Mindful meditation has actually helped me a lot with this. It doesn't work for everyone, it took quite a bit of practice, and it wouldn't alleviate the actual pressures on an associate. But after using one of those meditation apps for over a year, I'm way better at being in the moment than I used to be. It's not 100% of the time, but compared to how I once was, I'm now much better at being focused on work when I'm working, and being present when I'm not working. It has reduced my underlying level of anxiety substantially (and I used to have a pretty high level of anxiety -- as in diagnosed and medicated anxiety).
  22. That's the question if OP doesn't need to get called to the bar. If OP's opportunity requires him/her to be a lawyer, then the question is (a) can you get called to the bar with an online degree from the University of Law and (b), if so, how adequate are online law programs?
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