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ghoulzrulez

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About ghoulzrulez

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  1. I've had occasions where I've been talking through legal issues and had a "I think I remember there was a case where the Court held x" moment. I then look through my notes and voila, there's the case. Obviously, I'm still reading the case, noting it up to make sure it's good law, and doing further research into relevant sources, but notes can be helpful to an extent, however limited.
  2. To echo what may other posters have said, you're looking at an uphill battle. Getting a 170 on the LSAT is no easy feat. Law school is incredibly costly and time consuming. Based on your post, you will probably have to work incredibly hard in law school to secure competitive grades. And if you study abroad, you're going to have to put in an awful lot of work to find articling. You then start working long, stressful hours. Depending on your practice, you may very well be making less money than you would have if you invested a comparable amount of time and resources into another career. None of this is to say that going into law will be impossible or that you shouldn't pursue a legal career, but you should seriously consider whether it is worth the considerable time, expense, and effort. Do your motivations for pursuing law outweigh these challenges? If you're only interested in a career that is reputable and relatively well-paying, there a plenty of paths you can consider outside of law, many requiring a lot less time, schooling, and expense.
  3. The exam is divided into the same sections as the materials (with the exception of professional responsibility, which is an overarching theme that is covered in every section).
  4. As others have indicated, you need to do something during your summer months, even if you can't find a paid legal position. You may consider reaching out to clinics, given that many are underfunded and understaffed, and may be in need of some assistance. I didn't manage to find a paid law job during the summer going into 3L, so instead, I worked roughly 30 hours/week at a paid non-law position and volunteered just under 20 hours/week at a clinic. I found that this worked for me as I was getting legal experience, but still had money coming in. The clinic wasn't a formal placement. I cold-called clinics and inquired about opportunities. The supervisor of the clinic I ended up at was happy to provide a position, as they used PBSC students during the school year to provide services that they wouldn't be able to otherwise (due to budgetary constraints). The students were gone for the summer, so I took on the work of a PBSC student.
  5. For context, I am articling at a small firm (<10 lawyers) in the GTA. The salary isn't great, though it is higher than what you're referencing. I didn't have much luck negotiating my salary. Prospective articling students have limited bargaining power and I think most firms are aware of that. However, I was able to negotiate some perks that made my costs of living a lot more manageable, even with a not-so-great-salary. You may want to try asking for some benefits or allowances, such as payment of you LSO fees, a transportation allowance, a cellphone allowance, etc. This is the approach that worked for me.
  6. As far as I remember (from a few years ago), the deposit is only about $500. While it's not pocket change, I think you have to accept that that's money you aren't going to see again. On a more positive note, congrats on being accepted to two great schools.
  7. I'm articling at a firm in the GTA (outside Toronto) and am focused mainly on litigation. In my position, I would say having a car is absolutely essential, and I'm not sure that the firm would hire someone that didn't have one (or at least regular access to one). I have to attend court a few times a week in places scattered across the GTA and beyond (as far as Gravenhurst). Public transit isn't really an option, and taking ubers/cabs wouldn't be cost effective. I imagine if I told my bosses, "I can't go to court for this client, because I have no way of getting there", they wouldn't be keeping me around for very long. On the other hand, I can definitely imagine all sorts of scenarios that would let a lawyer get by without a car (such as the one above). For those who only occasionally need to use a vehicle, enrolling in a ride share program might also be an option worth considering.
  8. I've always thought it was strange that the same people who are opposed to mandatory estates and family courses (because they have no intention of practicing in those areas) often take no issue with criminal law being mandatory. Unless you're practicing in criminal law (and maybe family law), do you really need to have a good grasp of criminal law?
  9. I do see some positive aspects, but Ryerson also seems to be all over the place about what it's hoping to achieve (apart from raking in tuition $$$). For example, law students should get exposure to emerging technologies and the business elements of legal practice. This is especially important if you want your grads to set up shop or work as sole practitioners in underrepresented communities … but then why put yet another law school in Toronto? I mean, look at a map of Ontario and there is plenty of space between the province's existing schools, with a heck of a lot of communities (and potential clients) to be served. If you want to encourage more accessible legal services for small and rural communities, why not set up a law school in Barrie, Peterborough, Whitby, etc.?
  10. Based on my experiences, you are correct. I went to Osgoode and though I had a few courses that involved some group work, I generally elected to take these courses and knew of the applicable grading schemes when registering. I think I took one mandatory first year seminar that involved some group work, but that was a very minor element of the course. In other words, you can almost entirely avoid group work if you wish.
  11. The firm I'm articling with recently offered to hire me back (yay), but looking at their offer letter, I'm realizing I have very little idea as to what is "normal" as far as compensation/pay structures in small firms in the GTA (outside Toronto). I understand that these can be quite varied, but I haven't ever spoken to anyone who described a compensation structure similar to what I'm being offered. In attempt to keep this vague enough to maintain anonymity, while still detailed enough to generate discussion, I am being offered: a base of approximately $73,000 plus a monthly bonus for billable hours over certain thresholds, increasing incrementally (e.x. 120 hours = $1,300; 130 hours = $2,000; etc) plus a percentage of all collected billings over a certain annual amount (which would be hit after about 900 annual hours) Has anyone had a similar pay structure? If so, any challenges? Everyone I know seems to work for the government, in clinics, or on Bay, so I imagine their experiences are quite different.
  12. The way I see it, you have two options: You stick with your current articling position and when you're finished, you look for an associate position more closely aligned with your interests after. When applying, you can explain to the new firms that you decided during articling that you don't want to pursue a career in PI, but that you honoured your commitments and stuck with it. You can tell them what you learned during your articles and why those skills are applicable to their practice (ex. you managed strict deadlines, balanced competing priorities, interviewed clients and managed their expectations, drafted pleadings that required little revision, researched complex issues and articulated your findings in a understandable and cogent way, demonstrated professionalism in court and with opposing counsel, etc.). You may even have a positive letter of reference from your principal. or You leave your current articling position and begin searching for a new position. You have to search for a new position, because from what you've told us, you don't have other articles lined up. Most people searching for articles will attest to the fact that it's no easy task landing an interview, let alone securing a job. When and if you secure an interview with another firm, they'll probably have a lot of questions for you. Why did you leave? Nothing serious, you just decided you didn't like the practice area. What if you decide you don't like their practice area? You will probably need a better answer than quit after 4 months. Do you have a letter of reference? Probably not. Absent some serious reason for leaving (e.x. harassment or abuse by your employer, personal circumstances beyond your control, etc.) you should probably just stick out the remaining 6 months.
  13. I did not enjoy 1L. I don't blame the workload, my profs, other students, etc ... I just don't think my head was in the right place. I was in this weird position where I wasn't working hard enough (I recognize this now), but simultaneously felt like law school was the defining element of my existence. I ended up with some bad grades, which was quite disheartening (major imposter syndrome). But like most other people who have gone through 1L, I survived. I think my 1L experience really forced me to do a bit of self reflection, which was very helpful later on.
  14. Congrats! Similarly, I had bad grades in 1L and at the time grades were released, I felt sick to my stomach. Despite my concerns, I ended up securing various interviews and am now completing my articling with a firm I enjoy (paid position). So as reminder for anyone with some bad grades, it isn't the end of the world. A few tips for anyone in a similar position: Get better grades in later years - This may seem obvious, but it really is helpful if you can explain to a potential employer, "I got poor grades in first year, but as you can see, I have greatly improved since then." This can indicate several positive traits: you aren't discouraged when you face challenges, you overcome adversity, you are able to self-reflect and learn from your mistakes, etc. Use all the resources that your school makes available to you. Also, if you struggle with 100% exams, see if you can enroll in courses which incorporate alternative evaluation methods (e.x. research papers, clinics, etc.). Get experiences that will allow you to tell a convincing (and hopefully genuine) narrative - I recently participated in my firm's articling recruitment, where I did the initial screening of all applicants (narrowing 150+ to ~ 20). I can tell you, I read every applicant's cover letter. If the cover letter was notably bad, I usually didn't bother reading the rest of the application. If an applicant's cover letter was great, and after reading it I thought "This is someone I'd like to meet", that set the applicant ahead of comparable applicants and, in some cases, made me overlook poor grades (or at least care less about them). Thinking back now on my extracurricular and volunteer work in law school, there are certain experiences I had which I found incredibly fulfilling, educational, and genuinely enjoyable - these are the experiences that went on my cover letter, that I was able to enthusiastically talk about in interviews, and that helped me get a job. Do your best to network - I've never been much of a social butterfly, but I forced myself to network with other students, professionals, and academics, especially in my desired area of practice. This came in handy when it came time to look for jobs (mainly jobs outside of formal recruitments). The person I knew at firm x told me that x wasn't hiring, but they knew firm y might be looking and they were friends with an associate at y, so they set up a time for us to have coffee. I also managed to get a few very positive letters of reference this way, which I think helped me in the application process.
  15. I find it helpful to take breaks while writing (time permitting), to print out physical copies, and to read my work aloud (or use a text to speech app).
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