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About ghoulzrulez

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  1. I definitely struggled in law school, especially in 1L. I couldn't seem to get the hang of the exam format. I started going to office hours frequently and doing as many practice exams as possible, which did help, but I still wasn't getting my grades to a level I was happy with. Recognizing my ongoing struggles with the 100% final exam format, I tried to look for alternatives. Where there were optional papers to supplement the final exam grade (sometimes making up as much as 40% - 50% of the final grade) I completed these, as I was much more confident in writing papers. I also tried to take classes where grades comprised of items other than just 100% final exams. My average in 1L sat around a B-, but I managed to improve to an A by 3L.
  2. Thank you for all the replies. I'll give them a call - worst case, they won't give me any more information and I'm in the same place I am now.
  3. I'm a junior associate, hoping to find a new position. I'm seeing a lot of posts by third-party recruiters, but tend to feel a bit uneasy applying, as I'm not familiar with this process. Any advice on applying to positions posted by recruiters? When the posting doesn't specify the particular firm hiring, is it normal to reach out to the recruiter for further details before applying? Do you use a more generalized cover letter (assuming you don't know much about the firm's culture, values, etc.)?
  4. I know a few people who did the LPP with placements outside of Toronto (not sure about Durham specifically). Check out the 'Thank You' section of Ryerson's LPP page to get an idea of some previous placement opportunities: Employers - Ryerson's Law Practice Program
  5. On a basic level, 'law' can arise from several sources: common law (law derived by custom and court decisions), contract law (what the parties agreed to in the particular circumstances), and statute (legislation that imposes various obligations and entitlements on parties). In the majority of areas of practice, you will be dealing with some combination of these various sources of law and will need to have a good grasp of all of them - which is likely the reason that no one is a "contract lawyer" per se. For example, if you practice employment and labour law in Ontario, you will become familiar with the Employment Standards Act, Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety Act, etc. which provide some basic rules governing employment relationships, many of which cannot be opted out of. You will become accustomed to preparing, reviewing, and interpreting the terms of individual employment contracts, collective agreements, restrictive covenants, policies, etc. You will also keep up to date on court decisions, which can impact how pieces of legislation are applied, how contracts and their provisions will be interpreted, what outcomes a client can expect when the employment relationship turns sour, and even who is considered an 'employee' or 'employer'.
  6. @LawSchoolJock Employment and labour law is a really diverse area of practice (as diverse as the array of people and companies who are 'employers' and 'workers'). You can work in Big Law, focusing primarily on employer-side issues and executive compensation. You can work in boutiques that focus exclusively on labour and employment law, working for unions, employers, individual employees, or some combination. You can be in-house counsel for a union or large company. You can work for legal clinics who primarily service low-income individuals or marginalized communities. Etc. Etc.
  7. I'm at a small firm (5-9 lawyers) in Ontario. The firm pays for my law society fees, insurance, and CPD. I'm not sure how comparable it would be to Western provinces, but for me, coverage for my law society fees, insurance, and CPD adds up to roughly $6000 - $6500, so certainly not an insignificant factor when negotiating a salary/compensation package.
  8. Though I don't know the exact issues you're having with other students, you may come to meet people in your upper years who you actually like (or at least can put up with). During 1L, I didn't really get along with many people in my section - they seemed cliquey, constantly talked about grades, and generally seemed like their goals in law school were very different than my own. After 1L, I thought that this what all law students were like and I wouldn't be making any real connections during my time at law school. However, in my upper years, where I was able to pick the types of courses I was interested in and got more involved with extra-curriculars closely aligned with my interests, I found that I was exposed to people who I had more in common with and who I actually got along with.
  9. I don't know exactly what you mean when you say that your grades haven't been "great" (i.e. are we talking about mostly B's or mostly C's?), so it's hard to tell the impact that they will have on your chances. But as others have said, there is still time to improve your grades and some schools only consider your last two years. Getting references (at least in my experience) became easier in later years, when there were generally smaller class sizes, seminar-type courses, and the opportunity to take more than one course with any given professor. Also, like others, I did not find that my extra-curriculars had too much of an impact on my applications. I worked throughout undergrad, but only had two or three extra-curriculars - I got in everywhere I applied, except UofT (it was a long-shot). Try to get involved in extra-curriculars that genuinely interest you or that have some value to you (other than padding your law school applications).
  10. I'm a new call and my working conditions are fairly comparable to what OP has described (as far as level of responsibility, size of firm, and type of work). I receive a base salary, a monthly bonus for meeting certain billable targets, plus a percentage of collected billings over a certain annual threshold (roughly $200,000). I like that my arrangement provides some stability, combined with the potential to increase my earnings. My boss has mentioned a few times that this type of arrangement for collected billings works for the firm because the initial chunk has to go towards overhead, whereas after a certain amount, my collected billings become pure profit for the firm.
  11. To echo what others have said, in my experience (applying for articling positions myself, and helping conduct my firm's articling recruitment process), I have found that small and medium sized firms are especially concerned with the prospect of their articling students sticking around. Taking on an articling student is an investment on any firm's part - no one wants to spend ten months training someone, only for them to immediately look elsewhere. When there's a small firm, who is likely only hiring one or two articling students in a year and doesn't have a whole host of lawyers and staff to share the "training" responsibilities, finding an articling student who will be a future associate becomes all the more important.
  12. I'm not a K-JD'er (took off one year after undergrad to work), but I'm still relatively young and in my first few months of practice. I've had experiences where clients have refused to work with me, not trusted my advice, spoken down to me, or mistaken me for a law clerk/ assistant. Some of this, I suspect, is a function of being a new call, but I do think some of this behaviour is linked to being a young female, in a profession where people historically expect to be working with an older man. I imagine that these types of experiences are even more common for young, racialized women in the profession. https://www.thespec.com/news-story/9180528--you-don-t-look-like-a-lawyer-female-lawyers-and-lawyers-of-colour-angered-by-mistaken-identity-in-court/
  13. I had a similar experience when I started articling - for the first month or two, I was getting very little work, despite repeatedly asking for things to do. I started in the summer, and a number of the lawyers told me there simply wasn't that much work going around. Still, I was concerned because: 1) I felt like I wasn't getting the experience I needed; and 2) I was expected to hit target billables. Ultimately, the problem fixed itself within a few months, and I ended up getting plenty of work. A few things I did in the meantime: enrolled in CPD programming; attended court to watch motions, trials, etc.; reviewed my firm's precedents and prepared some helpful guides for myself; and asked the lawyers to tag along on appearances or sit in on client meetings. Though this didn't solve the "billable" problem, I at least felt like I was being productive and taking advantage of learning opportunities. Definitely keep offering to take on work (from any of the lawyers and in any practice area). Keep a record of your offers to do work. That way, if you get comments that your billables aren't up to par, you can show that you've been proactive and your lack of billables isn't due to a lack of effort.
  14. I don't know that I would call what I've experienced as boredom, but I have definitely experienced feelings of aimlessness. As you've alluded to, when you're in school, there are generally structured or obvious achievements and milestones that you are working towards (making honour roll, getting into law school, passing bar exams, securing an articling position). Since finishing articling and moving into practice, I've found myself asking, "What now?". Not that there aren't things to work towards - it's just now I have to get more creative and self-reflective in determining what these goals are. In addition to thinking about long-term career objectives , I've found it helpful to set attainable, short-term objectives that I can work towards and get a sense of satisfaction from completing.
  15. Very sorry to hear you experienced something like this. Though I know a handful of individuals who have experienced issues of harassment or discrimination in the course of their legal careers (albeit less blatant or explicit), I certainly don't think its the norm. I have had a few instances, as a young female, where clients and other members of the profession have refused to work with me, not trusted my advice, spoken down to me, or mistaken me for a law clerk or assistant. As others have said, this was in no way your fault. I hope you don't let the abysmal actions of this asshole discourage you from pursuing a legal career, which I am sure you have worked very hard towards.
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