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  1. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/authors/244030/rupert-ross "RUPERT ROSS is a retired assistant Crown Attorney for the District of Kenora, Ontario. Starting in 1985, he conducted criminal prosecutions for more than twenty remote Ojibway and Cree First Nations communities in northwestern Ontario. His first book, Dancing with a Ghost, started his exploration of aboriginal visions of existence and became a bestseller. His second book, Returning to the Teachings, was also a bestseller and examined the aboriginal preference for the “peacemaker justice” he observed during a three-year secondment with Justice Canada. Both books were shortlisted for the Gordon Montour Award for the best Canadian non-fiction book on social issues, and are presently used in universities and colleges across North America. Following his retirement, Ross was awarded the prestigious 2011 National Prosecution Award for Humanitarianism, and the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association has created an award named after him." https://uofrpress.ca/Books/F/Firewater "Drawing on his years of experience as a Crown Prosecutor in Treaty 6 territory, Harold Johnson challenges readers to change the story we tell ourselves about the drink that goes by many names—booze, hooch, spirits, sauce, and the evocative “firewater.” Confronting the harmful stereotype of the “lazy, drunken Indian,” and rejecting medical, social, and psychological explanations of the roots of alcoholism, Johnson cries out for solutions, not diagnoses, and shows how alcohol continues to kill so many. Provocative, irreverent, and keenly aware of the power of stories, Firewater calls for people to make decisions about their communities and their lives on their own terms." http://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/ps/publications/attorney_general_prosecution_function.htm "Since the 1980s, our understanding of the role of the Attorney General in the administration of criminal justice has evolved dramatically. The independence of this role has been eroded by the fact that courts and law societies have taken a more active role in scrutinizing the decisions of Attorneys General, and the public has demanded greater transparency and accountability. What has emerged is an expectation that the office of the Attorney General be protected from improper political influences and that prosecutions be conducted in accordance with fairness and respect for the law. The author argues that while the most important factor in the impartial administration of justice may be the personal character and integrity of the Attorney General, our system of checks and balances also protects the prosecutorial functions. This system involves four separate safeguards: constitutional conventions, institutional safeguards, and the roles of the law societies and the courts in supervising prosecutorial functions. Despite these safeguards, the author argues that there remain concerns regarding the proper role of the Attorney General, including the Attorney General acting as counsel, the publication of prosecutorial guidelines, the practice of giving reasons of decisions regarding whether to proceed with a prosecution and the practical costs of increased judicial scrutiny of prosecutorial functions. Finally, the author comments on the continued mistreatment of people detained before trial — that is, people who have possibly been denied certain Charter rights, and he argues that the Attorney General needs to take leadership over this issue." https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2050574 "Attorney Generals and Crown prosecutors are endowed with a constitutionally protected role and the quasi-judicial responsibility of handling criminal prosecutions on behalf of the Crown. This includes deciding whether to bring the prosecution of a charge laid by the police, to enter a stay of proceedings, to accept a guilty plea to lesser charge, and to withdraw criminal proceedings in accordance with what the public interest dictates. While the vast majority of prosecutors are careful to separate their function from that of the police, occasionally police advocacy and the high level of police commitment can lead to accepting police information without appropriate confirmation and turning to the police for guidance in the exercise of prosecutorial functions. This article argues that recent examples of significant partisan advocacy by prosecutors warrant re-considering the limits of Crown independence from the police and re-evaluating the current effectiveness of institutional accountability in Ontario." https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/inquiries/goudge/policy_research/pdf/Macfarlane_Wrongful-Convictions.pdf "In this paper, I will discuss two critical factors that have arisen in all jurisdictions: First, the existence of environmental factors or “predisposing circumstances” that foster wrongful convictions to occur in the first place, including so called “noble cause corruption,” an ends-based police and prosecutorial culture that masks misconduct as legitimate on the basis that the guilty must be brought successfully to justice. Second, I will examine “tunnel vision,” which leads justice system participants to focus prematurely on a single suspect. At the end of the paper, I will discuss lessons learned in the criminal justice system, and how they may apply to the field of forensic pathology in society’s quest to eliminate the spectre of convicting the innocent."
  2. So an articling student should never complain about their work, ever? Even where that workplace is abusive or patently unreasonable (>100 hours/week)? Top-flight logic.
  3. That’s all well and good, but when you’re taking on 100K in debt and strong law school grades are critical to securing a job (or at least make the path much smoother), mastering exams being one of the top things on one’s mind makes sense. The system needs to change, but students should be going into the system with eyes wide open about what it actually values and how to achieve that (unless there is a trust fund and law school can just be about learning for the sake of it).
  4. I don't think the methods it suggests are the be all and end all. However, focusing on the final exam from the outset and thinking about the 'right' way to read cases (i.e. what is the legal test that will ultimately be applicable to a fact pattern) are decent points. Knowing how to effectively structure an exam answer is something a lot of profs gloss over, even though they often expect a particular format.
  5. First, professional dress does not have to mean a suit. Second, not being able to wear a particular item of clothing in a profession where it is clearly not a bona fide occupational requirement means that your employer must offer your accommodation. Third, I have seen lawyers from novice to senior not wear a suit in court. Where the dress is otherwise reasonably appropriate, nobody has raised a fuss. Accommodations are readily made where robing is required, e.g. pregnant lawyers not having to wear waistcoats at SCJ/ONCA.
  6. You should probably ask the office where you were hired.
  7. Those are just their offices for court days I think. Their actual offices are in the adjoining office building and freshly renovated.
  8. I think one thing you are overlooking are the intellectual challenges that emerge from the different roles that the Crown has to simultaneously discharge. I think that one of the most fascinating components of Crown work, trial and appellate, is determining how to discharge the concurrent advocate and Minister of Justice roles. There’s also a lot of room for development in that area. It can also be interesting to engage with a diverse set of stakeholders — the police, complainant, accused, public, etc. As the Crown, you have a unique relationship with all of these parties, each with different interests. And an obligation to do right by them beyond a singular focus on conviction. On appeals, one intellectually challenging aspect is even the decision to launch a Crown appeal, which is much rarer than a defence appeal and therefore attracts a high degree of deliberation before a decision is made. And then there is Crown policy development, which can be deeply intellectual and demand complex ethical deliberation. Not to say that your point about defence work is invalid, just to say I think there can be a lot on the Crown side too in the intellectual department.
  9. To be clear, I’m referring to the comments expressed in the post below, which is what Ophelia had commented is a problematic attitude and was being responded to, in part, in the post I quoted: ”Articling is a period when you need to “man up.” Long hours? Suck it up. Lots of projects? Smile and keep hustling. Asked to do mundane tasks? Sure no problem. That’s the attitude you need to have during articling if you want to get hired back/want a solid reference. Using time off - unless it’s absolutely necessary I wouldn’t use it.“
  10. Where I work, you're not judged by the fact you take vacation time off that you contractually receive, but by the quality of your work and a reasonable level of output. I'm glad that's the attitude of my articling principal too, who happens to be a senior litigator and is no shrinking violet when it comes assessing articling students by exacting standards. The prior poster Opehila is right. The attitude of you have to "man up" and "suck it up", and that taking time off that you have received should be viewed as a risk lest it impact hire-back, is exactly the sort of attitude that contributes to a mental health crisis in law.
  11. I think the situation that you described of a student asking about work/life balance as their first question, and the earlier hypothetical of a student only asking questions about work/life balance, are both appropriately concerning. It is peculiar that in the context of a job a candidate is trying to get, their first question or only questions would be along those lines. But, equally concerning, are the ideas that: (1) A discussion or singular question about how a place of employment approaches work/life balance equates to a candidate wanting to limit their office hours in a way that would interfere with their employment responsibilities. (2) It is ignorant or arrogant, in general, to place value on stable or balanced working hours starting out in the legal profession. There is a range of legal employment available, both as an articling student and thereafter, with differences in the hours expected and worked. That consideration playing a role in determining legal employment is not necessarily indicative of ignorance or arrogance, inasmuch as reasonably different views people have about, well, work/life balance. Look, I think if a prospective articling student is going with an attitude of “I’m working 9-5, never on a weekend, and my employer needs to deal with it” that’s bunk. At the same time, I think an employer thinking the mere whiff of a student expressing consideration about how to succeed at work while scheduling appropriate personal time is a warning sign, is a problematic attitude. That should not have to be a topic that is anathema to getting a job. And I would say that challenges around mental health, actual work/life balance in the profession, and so forth exist partly as a result of an unwillingness to have, rush to judgment about, or minimization of the relevance and importance of that conversation, at all stages of legal careers.
  12. Sure. Which is why if a candidate can only ask one question, that may be not the best choice. Ultimately though, if there is a back-and-forth, or a broader interactive context, the work-life balance question or discussion coming up should not ipso facto reflect poorly on a candidate. That was the POV that some posters suggested, which I think is problematic for the reasons I canvassed. I agree that a candidate coming across exclusively concerned with limiting their work, whether through questions about work-life balance or otherwise, would not be and should not be well-received. At the same time, I think the fact an employee is proactively canvassing how a workplace conceives of or supports a balance between work and personal life, should not be viewed with automatic suspicion or negativity.
  13. Here's the thing - this thread was started to advise students about improving their applications/interview techniques. The consensus among professionals is that generally speaking, if a student is given a 17 minute OCI (or a 45 minute in firm interview) and they use that time to ask generic questions such as those directed to the firm's work-life-balance, that type of inquiry isn't going to put them above the rest of the competition. My point, again, is why it is wrong to conclude a student is not dedicated or their inquiry is “stupid” based on asking the question — both perspectives stated in this thread. There may be reasonable disagreements about the utility of the question itself in those contexts.
  14. My claim was not that students should ask the question in all interviews. Nor that the LSO only makes smart decisions. My point is that if a student does ask a question on work-life balance, to consider that inquiry as “stupid” or to negatively assess the student as a result (which effectively the OP endorsed), is the wrong response. It is legitimately a relevant topic to the practice of law. The inclusion of the subject in CPD, profession-oriented publications, and so on is evidence of that. It is not unreasonable for a prospective employee to raise it, if only to see how a prospective employer approaches the subject. It may not be what you would do, people may have different views on how to bring the subject up, but the question should not be viewed as an indication that a student is uncommitted or will not do the work.
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