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Everything posted by realpseudonym

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Almost like an A pass, B pass, C pass, and D pass.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. God, I wish I was interested in PI.
  15. 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).
  16. 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?
  17. I agree with all of this. Ideally, law school discussions would be respectful and reflective of a diverse range of views (although, as you note, not all of those discussions should be overtly political, as law students should be studying law, not turning classes into political science seminars). I agree that the ideal is not necessarily consistent with reality. But there are posters concerned that they can't write papers they believe in, or can't attend schools like Queens, because they feel that their views are too conservative. I believe that those fears are not really reasonable and cannot be reasonably accommodated.
  18. Short of hate speech, I agree that students should be permitted to express their views in class. Here's the thing, though: I was in law school for three years. I attended most of my classes, which means that I averaged around 15+ hours of class per week, for about 26 weeks a year, for 3 years (or 6 semesters). I was therefore in class for about 1170 hours (I could be wrong about that, I'm really bad at math). At no point during those hours, do I recall anyone preventing another person from expressing their views, because of the content of those views. In fact, there were several conservatives who were frequently vocal on free speech, social security programs, and human rights. They were permitted to speak. They were also generally well-liked. Maybe it's different elsewhere, but I never witnessed a law student being prevented from expressing their views. So unless there's a scourge of conservative oppression that I've missed, I don't think the issue is that conservatives are prevented from speaking in law school. I think the issue is that some people want to study at a school, where they are surrounded by peers who share their conservative opinions. And that's fine -- we live in a free society, where we're allowed to choose where we live, where we study, and who we associate with. What's less fine is this tendency to blame progressives for not validating and agreeing with conservative opinions. And again, maybe I'm missing something, but really all I've seen is an intellectually dishonest attempt to claim a form of persecution that is largely unsupported and contrary to the reality of most law school classes that I witnessed.
  19. I was interviewing a client and she's talking about how she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I asked her whether she had evidence with her and she unbuttoned her top two buttons, before I'm like "wait no what are you doing stop I meant medical evidence, like documents from your doctors or something, stop." Also, the "oh shit" moment when someone threatens you with physical violence.
  20. There's nothing inherently wrong with asking the law society a question. But sometimes the answer is incredibly clear, so it's not necessary. And pointing out the lack of necessity is neither arrogant nor overzealous. Must we continue to have threads locked, because we call others arrogant, when they point out that we are wrong?
  21. I've now had a couple of hearings with different Leicester grads on the other side. I suppose that could instill confidence that multiple Leicester grads have graduated, returned to Canada, got called, found employment, and have been practicing for several years. However, I will state (with the important caveat that this is a very small sample size) that I found their advocacy skills and legal analytical abilities pretty underwhelming. I mean they showed up, spoke, and had done basic document preparation. But on several occasions, they seemed blind-sided on what seemed like predictable preliminary issues (e.g., problems with notice and disclosure, resulting in evidence being tossed), didn't know / understand the relevant statutory tests, or relied on case law that either had been overturned or was not actually helpful. Maybe this falls into the category of "arrogant people here caring about law school rankings or superficial bullshit," but when multiple second and third year calls from the same university are (a) practicing in an area that is pretty unlucrative for private bar lawyers and (b) getting schooled by a know-nothing articling student, you start to wonder if there is a pattern.
  22. If you're given an exam question that says, "here is the factual description of an easement, what are the rights and responsibilities of party X related to this easement" and you answer "ALL PRIVATE PROPERTY IS SACRED, COURTS THAT GRANT OTHERS ACCESS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY ARE SJW CUCKS OMG I'M SO CONSERVATIVE," then yes, you'll get a really bad grade. If you articulately express conservative principles in discussions where conservative principles are relevant, then I seriously doubt that you will be punished for your ideology. Being conservative isn't annoying. Being relentlessly political and injecting yourself into every discussion, while your classmates are trying to learn legal reasoning and substantive law, is incredibly annoying and will only serve to distract you from the things that you're supposed to be learning.
  23. Looking for areas of debate or confusion isn't a bad idea. I started a little broader than that. I looked for a problem. For me, that often meant finding something -- an idea, a judicial decision, a legislative change, a corporate practice -- that I believed was illogical or unjust. Then I tried to narrow it down a little, by identifying what the stupid or unjust parts were. Next, I started trying to apply whatever theories / cases we'd been given in class to the problem, in order to find a solution (in my case, it was often legislative, but depending on the topic, it could be more theoretical, predictive of judicial outcomes, etc) . From this, I'd usually develop some sort of theory of my own, which I could narrow into a question. The answer to that question would generally form my thesis statement. Maybe this is just me, but I found two things made for good papers. First, I had to ensure that I asked an answerable question. Some of my papers really went off the rails, when I did things like conduct a very broad literature review, or canvass a whole bunch of different theories in my paper to ensure I got the best possible answer. The end product usually had a tonne of loose ends and wasn't very persuasive. In other cases, I've really tried to narrow in on something specific, like how tax policy instrument X will create a greater increase in labour force participation rate Y, than the legislature current approach of Z. Or how adding language for a specific minimum standards provision in regulation X would create desirable outcome A, whereas the current legislation is ambiguous and has left open the door for courts to create undesirable an undesirable reasonableness approach . In these cases, I had space to work out my reasoning, and usually ended up with good grades and end-products that I was happy with. Second, make sure that your paper is about the course material. I think that this is what the above pet project conversation is about. Pet project papers are good, because you're focusing on the relevant issues to the course, insofar as you'd be discussing issues important to the prof, who designed the course you're writing the paper for. However, I don't think that picking a prof's pet issue is the only way to ensure that you're writing a paper about the relevant course material. I just made sure that I was integrating some of the literature, theories, or cases from the syllabus/class into the core of my discussion, and that was usually fine.
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