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providence

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Everything posted by providence

  1. They should be intertwined, not separate. Also I get the impression you may be over-selling your school because you think that will reflect well on you. I am guessing that because an interviewer felt the need to tell you her school was better. I’m not sure why school quality is even coming up in an interview. OK, I can think of one reason. If your CV and grades are really impressive, some interviewers, believe it or not, get insecure. I did have a few interviewers get defensive about my grades (my perception - perhaps I was wrong) saying stuff in an apparently aggressive manner like “I never got grades that good and I’ve done great” or “What, did you bribe all your professors?” or “You know, it doesn’t kill you to get a B.” If that happened, I saw it as my job to be a bit self-effacing, but not excessively so, and to redirect the conversation subtly to get them to talk about themselves and/or something else I could comment on that was not grade-related.
  2. “Reading” interviewers just means gauging how they’re responding to a conversation ie. did they think that story was funny? If so I’ll tell another similar one a bit later if appropriate. If they didn’t, I’ll move on to something else. Am I boring them? Am I being too informal? Am I mirroring their body language? Are they feeling comfortable around me? Are they tired and looking for something to wake them up? Your attention SHOULD be focused on the other person more than yourself, both in an interview and a date, because your success or failure depends on how much they like you or how comfortable they feel around you. Just sharing “what’s going on with you” without paying attention to the effect of that sharing is useless. I agree that CLIENTS shouldn’t try to read judges or juries because they rarely have the skills to do that properly. But that’s because it’s my job to do that for them and I am doing that prospectively in how I prep them and then in real time adjusting how I present the client on the stand/in court. But a lawyer absolutely has to be able to read people. And reading people shouldn’t be an overwhelming, time-consuming thing that is apparent and that distracts from other things. If it is, you’re doing THAT wrong. It’s just a constant awareness in the back of your mind while doing what you do. (And we all do it all the time every day, consciously or not.) OP: given the new information you shared, I wouldn’t assume a top school, a Masters or decent grades will in and of themselves get you a job. If you dropped money on your school expecting that, disabuse yourself of that belief. I’m not sure how you know you’re “not likeable”, but as I said, being likeable is mostly about being genuinely interested in the other person and being interesting yourself. Re: being sick - not sure I would mention that. I’m not a fan of making excuses. Several people will have had problems/issues/less than good circumstances in 1L. You could have deferred exams etc if it was serious enough - no point looking back now.
  3. Yes, this. Also using questions to ask a question that gets them sharing /interacting with you (which lawyers with our big egos love, and leaves us with a positive impression of you.) ie. if they ask about your clinic experience, don’t give the stock answer that it was great and you learned a lot and now you know you really want to do this work. Share an interesting anecdote of something specific you learned in the clinic (ie. this was one of mine - I said that I learned that sometimes asking no questions is more powerful than asking any - and shared brief, key is brief, story of a witness whose evidence gave me everything I needed and the decision-maker looked at me and said “Are you really going to cross-examine this witness?”) and then I would say “You must have so many great stories from trials you’ve done/presided over (if they were a judge)” or something similar. If you read the panel right and can pull it off, you can even be a bit self-deprecating. Maybe it was a risk, but a couple of times, if I really clicked with an interviewer, I would say, if asked, and which was true, that one thing I learned from mooting was go to the bathroom before starting and don’t drink too much water to control my nerves. And then I would say “I kept that in mind before coming in here.” I would ONLY do that if I was SURE it wouldn’t make people uncomfortable, or make me look ditzy. I’m sure most people who mooted were bragging about how it shows their superior litigation skills, but I figured out that a lot of litigators look at mooting as artificial and mostly useless (I disagree) and so an unexpected, practical answer was refreshing to them. And I would get back “OMG, I thought I was the only one, that happened to me in a jury trial during the judge’s opening and it was brutal..,” etc. The point is to get off stock, generic, “safe” answers to show your personality and engage in a real, honest conversation as much as you can within the bounds of still being appropriate and formal enough. Also, the stakes and the competition are much higher in law interviews than they probably were in other interviews you did. If you’ve ever interviewed for say a job as a server or a general office job, being pleasant and friendly is pretty much all you have to do. In a law interview, that should be a given and doesn’t mean an interview went well or you stand out. Most bigger law firms intentionally pick their most outgoing and people-friendly lawyers to do interviews, so they will always set you at ease and be nice. That doesn’t mean you’re killing it.
  4. I think that that is a common thing people around here do (take a fifth year to raise grades.) You may want to check with the individual schools as to how they look at that. cGPA is your cumulative GPA so yes, every grade you get in every year. And yes, we’re not trying to make you anxious, but trying to help you try harder. This is something you control so that should reduce anxiety - you’re not aiming for any particular numbers right now. You’re just applying yourself to be a good student and seeing what naturally happens when you do. This is what I ask of my children and when good work habits are your norm, you never have to feel anxious because you know you are doing your best - this is how they say they feel for the most part. Yes, you definitely should ideally have some of the standard ECs. I just wouldn’t let my schoolwork suffer at their expense. If I’m in 6 clubs and getting 3.0, I would see if narrowing it down to 2 helps my grades go up. I also wouldn’t assume that’s why you didn’t get in - being slightly above last year’s median is no guarantee of acceptance this year. But it is possible that you lost some tie-breakers with others due to a lack of ECs.
  5. I see no one answered the rest of your questions, so: 1) The #1 thing any school looks for on applications is GPA and LSAT. Different schools look at different aspects of GPA - some take your best 2 years, some your best 3, some will drop a certain number of your worst courses, some look at it all. So you’ll need to do your homework on that. Some schools seem to be moving towards prioritizing grades over LSAT. The lower your grades, the more you need a high LSAT, and the higher your grades, the lower the LSAT you can get away with. 2) Extracurriculars are secondary to grades and LSAT but can be good tie-breakers. Some schools are more “holistic” and will give some weight to them but it’s difficult to know how much because there’s no formula that they provide for that. If you have top grades and LSAT you will get in without many ECs. As the stats get lower, ECs may play more of a role, but usually not enough to completely overcome poor grades/LSAT. 3) As is often said here, the ECs that stand out are much more impressive than you may be thinking ie. everyone is in university clubs, student government, volunteering, tutoring, working abroad etc. Those are a given and won’t be looked at as special. The people standing out are going beyond that ie. competing nationally in sports, publishing books, starting successful foundations, being successful recording artists etc. 4) Re: race, gender and socioeconomic status - Canada does not have “affirmative action” in law schools other than for indigenous people. Women are well-represented in law schools so gender is not an issue. Some schools will allow you to write an essay or fill out a form declaring your race, socioeconomic status etc. You can also mention it in personal statements. Like ECs, it’s hard to know how much schools consider that. Whether or not you are “visibly” biracial, the question is whether it has posed barriers to you and how you have overcome those, and whether it influences your future career intentions.
  6. You’re in an expensive dual program. Those are for people with weaker stats and the school charges exorbitant tuition knowing the people who take the program are desperate to get in anywhere. Everyone else knows the people in the program have weak stats (but will usually try to justify being in the program by saying they want to study US law, etc.) You should have known this going in. Getting a 1L summer job in law is not the norm for most people (except apparently in Calgary, if that’s where you are) and not getting one certainly does not mean you will not get a good law job in 2L and beyond. In a dual program with average grades (so average among below-average students) your chances of a 1L job are even lower. Getting 5 interviews is already beating the odds. If finances are a concern, just do what most people do and get a well-paying non-law job. As to learning what you did “wrong” in interviews, ask your interviewers for feedback. If they’re saying it wasn’t a fit or there are lots of candidates, that’s probably true. You can interview well and still not get the job, unfortunately, just due to competition. Re: “fit” - make sure you’re really reading your interviewers. Don’t just get swept along with them being friendly and nice and you just going with the flow being nice back and thinking everything is great because they’re being friendly. Do your homework on the firm, ask relevant and interesting questions, have interesting things about yourself to talk about that are not law- or school-related, ask them about themselves. Your grades get you in the door (so they must be good enough, or sufficiently counteracted by other things in your resume) but everything else seals the deal after that.
  7. I totally agree with @realpseudonym - it is too early to worry about this. You need to develop the habits to get the best grades you can and see what those are. You say your "extra-curriculars and involvement are significant." It is a common misconception that ECs can save an application and get you into law school. They will not overcome bad grades. So you may need to cut back on these if they are interfering with your time available for schoolwork to the detriment of your grades. Then as realpseudonym says, you need to make sure you are attending class consistently, doing the readings consistently, handing work in on time, studying for tests and exams, regularly and promptly going to your professors' office hours if you don't understand something in the material, making sure you have the writing and research skills, and so on. Make sure you're selecting courses that interest and engage you and use the skills you have and not because you think they're good courses for law school (ie. don't take Philosophy just because you think it will give you a leg-up on the LSAT - take it if it genuinely interests you. Don't take political science, criminal justice or business because you think they'll be good for law school. If Physics or German or Womens' Studies speak to you more, take those.) If you start seeing that upward trend in your grades, then you can worry about the LSAT. With better grades, I don't know if you need an "exceptional" score, but you do need one that is good. While I said earlier that it doesn't "require" studying, you certainly can get practice tests and do them and there are all kinds of discussions on this site about books and prep courses that people take to increase their scores, so when the time comes, there are things you can do to maximize your score. * to add - another thing you can do is make an appointment go over the work you get back, and all your exams, with the professor. Do that even if you're satisfied with the mark you got but it wasn't perfect. Ie. if you get a test or assignment back and you have 81% and that's an A at your school, don't think "Oh, I got an A, that's good." You missed 19% worth of questions/points, which is a fair bit. Go find out why and what mistakes you made that you can avoid on the final, or in future courses. You learn more from your mistakes than from anything else, in my experience. Plus if you are looking for references from a professor for law school, that will turn the generic "this person showed up and got 81% and is a good student" to "this student was highly engaged in their learning, showed great dedication" etc.
  8. Makes sense because there is a lot of philosophy incorporated into math, and I found that math was the most helpful course I took in understanding the LSAT. The LSAT does not "require" studying. You can do well on it without studying. Some people can improve their scores by familiarization with the test and repetition, but it is not necessary to do well, unlike a test in substantive material where, no matter how smart you are, you still need to learn and review it.
  9. I'm glad it worked out for you ☺️ I have a similar situation to you, having grown up in adverse circumstances with family members caught up in addictions, the justice system etc. I definitely have never gotten into the gory details of that in interviews: a) because I wouldn't want to break down and start crying in an interview, which is what happens if I think about it too much, and b) because I wouldn't want a potential employer knowing that much about me personally - it would make me feel too vulnerable and self-conscious if I actually got the job. I would be more general ie. "I had a difficult upbringing and experienced poverty so I understand some of the systemic issues that bring people through these doors, and having been fortunate enough to receive a legal education, I want to give back to the people who are where I once was." That's not being dishonest or evasive but it's not telling them you used to get evicted three times every school year and went to food banks on a regular basis and your dad used crack, etc. Good luck! Sounds like your heart is in the right place and good for you for persevering and giving back.
  10. It's definitely a balancing act. If you're going into the less lucrative areas of law, you certainly want to save money and minimize debt. I think that should be your first consideration. However, it is also true that, now that employers in those less lucrative areas know that the schools offer clinics and intensives, they do expect to see students take them as a demonstration of their interest in those areas, so I agree that they may offer an advantage. I am sure every school has at least some relevant clinics/courses etc, and as long as you take those, I don't know that all employers will hold it against you that someone at another school had more available to them.
  11. Clinic experience is much more useful in practice than most courses, in my opinion.
  12. I’m not addressing my comments to any school in particular. I was just responding to the idea that we shouldn’t protect privileged law students from their own mistakes and my point was that their mistakes often become the public’s problem. Which I agree is ultimately the law society’s problem.
  13. But there is a need to protect the public that law students will eventually serve.
  14. It sounds to me like you’re ready to go solo 🙂
  15. In my experience, they were substantive in terms of questions about relevant rulings and also asked a lot about social issues, your comfort level with people with mental illness, addictions etc. There were also a lot of “what would you do?” questions to test your judgment. And then just questions about your undergrad, electives, extra-curriculars etc.
  16. Re: 1 - I have heard of any of those (split gets smaller in your favour with higher billings, you get to keep a bigger percentage of files you find, etc.) Depends on your boss and their expenses etc. 2: Depends. Rent, phones, photocopier, fax, office supplies, insurance/license fees, property insurance, etc. 2k/month for office expenses seems low to me but it depends on office size and location. 3: I would not do those types of things on a non-billable basis for someone else’s office. I would only do it for myself if I were a sole. For a boss, only if they reasonably compensate me.
  17. Here's some actual facts and logic for those interested http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180514-do-long-prison-sentences-deter-crime https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/ffcts-prsn-sntncs-rcdvsm/index-en.aspx#exe There is a contrary study or two saying that longer sentences cut crime but that is essentially, by the researchers' own admission, because the most chronic offenders are locked up for longer and physically can't offend https://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/jul/07/longer-prison-sentences-cut-crime
  18. Their job is to be the minister of justice, not to care about winning or losing or to impose their ideology. "I seek longer sentences because shorter ones don't rehabilitate people" is not a legal/justice principle and in fact the literature suggests that most sentences don't rehabilitate most people, period. Crowns should at least be familiar with the resources that are or are not available before they advocate to consign people to a jail sentence. We know that once a person goes to jail once they get caught in the cycle of going in and out of jail again and again. The cost-effective and crime-reductive approach would be to really minimize jail and reserve it only for those cases where nothing else works. I think most people in jail, whether my clients or people known personally to me, do not belong there and there is little to no benefit to them being there. They can be held accountable by other means and our system needs to get more creative about looking at their options. No, this isn't something within the control of the Crown, but it doesn't mean they have to throw their hands up and seek jail just because the person is a repeat offender. These are my core beliefs that drive me to do my job and I did not come to them lightly, so I am very comfortable saying that that is absolutely worthy of me as a a lawyer. I have lots of friends who are Crowns who I think do their job honourably. Their job is necessary for the system and I understand that. The ones who are honourable in my view do try to exercise restraint in the sentences they seek and see my clients as human beings and not just "criminals."
  19. Actually, we don't. We criminalize certain crimes when committed by people who are easy targets for the system. The priests, nuns and teachers who physically and sexually abused kids in residential schools, or in "coloured childrens' homes" for black kids, some of whom are still alive, didn't get criminalized. They got sued and truth and reconciliation agreements/settlements were made. But the kids they abused and their descendants, totally broken by what was done to them, get criminalized when they act out due to their trauma-fuelled addictions.
  20. There are actually not enough resources to help people. There are not enough rehab beds for those who want them, for example. It's the opposite, actually. Many of the people getting sentenced have not gotten any breaks in life, hence why they are where they are.
  21. I wouldn't say so. I don't believe in what ifs. Maybe the person is a solid B student with or without kids. Lots of people getting As don't study any more than anyone else and lots of people studying excessively don't get As. Plenty of people without kids don't have As. To add to the wisdom of Diplock that you summarized, all of which I agree with, my philosophy is that in the end, you compete primarily with yourself. It's smart to be mindful of the people around you to make sure you're keeping up, but at the same time, there will always be people ahead of you and there is no point being intimidated by them, so learn from them, and as to the people behind you, pay no mind to them and don't fall into the trap of feeling superior to them or inflating your own abilities because of where they are. YOU are always supposed to be striving to be better and to reach your maximum potential. If that potential includes kids, then that's something you have to accept and contend with (or any other factor that may appear to be a disadvantage.) As I said, do not give yourself excuses before you even start.
  22. That's a cop out, though. You said you seek longer sentences because short ones aren't enough to rehabilitate people. If longer sentences don't either, then all you are doing is warehousing/institutionalizing people and costing the system more money. That's not doing the best you, or any of us, can.
  23. I never really talked to any lawyers until well into law school, but when I was planning to go into medicine, I talked to several medical students, residents and doctors. I didn't know the first thing about the practice of medicine, but it was helpful just in seeing the different kinds of people that were doctors and that there were role models for me. It was good to hear people be honest about the challenges, about the difference between myth / hype and reality, and the different paths possible, from family medicine to specialties to surgery to research. I think what is important is to ask them about themselves and mostly listen, and not try to act like you know anything about their profession or try to show off your knowledge - only talk about yourself if asked. I do sometimes have 0Ls call me and want to chat, and I will usually make time for them (they'll often get free lunch or coffee or drinks out of it.) I don't see the purpose of the conversation to talk about the job hunt as it is way too early for that. But we do talk about what I do, what it's like, what kind of choices they will have, tips for surviving law school etc. And they know where I am if questions arise later in their law journeys. I don't mind having those chats as long as I have the time and the student is respectful.
  24. Getting picked for a moot isn’t based on grades, but how good you are on your feet and how well you speak. The best litigators aren’t always the best academics. In my experience, some profs did look at grades for RA jobs, but they also considered engagement in class, interest/experience with the subject matter etc. They like the students who regularly attend class and office hours, e-mail them with questions, etc. PS: I didn’t think you’re trying to trick employers into thinking you’re better than you are, but that you’re anxious about doing as well as you can.
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