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ZedsDead

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  1. I hope this thread can get back on track because I think it can provide some really useful information for people coming from different backgrounds/situations. The handful of people I know currently attending law school have accrued debt in some form and I'd wager that most (obviously not all) of students graduate with debt in some capacity, even if that means being lucky enough to have tuition covered, as daily living expenses can really add up, especially if you live in Toronto or Vancouver for example. Having said that, I do think it is possible to graduate debt free but it would require working a few years out of undergrad and stashing away as much as possible (and any help one can get, whether from family or scholarships will accelerate that). I'm lucky enough to have a pretty sweet government gig where I've been able to save up quite a bit of money to help cover tuition when I (hopefully) attend. Graduating debt-free is one of my ultimate goals even though it is still far fetched. As another poster mentioned earlier, I also like to take vacations, have fun nights out and occasionally splurge on something nice. I wouldn't want to penny pinch because law school should also be a fun experience and living frugally for long periods of time can really wear on a person. Just be cognizant of your situation and be financially responsible because that will pay huge dividends one day. IMO finding a balance is the key, but I also totally understand why many students chose to live as frugally as possible because law school is a huge expense and can leave one in the hole if you have zero savings, leftover undergrad debt and zero help from a spouse or family. I think this topic highlights, as some have pointed out, that it is beginning to make some sense for those from or wanting to work in Ontario, to decide to attend school out of province to save on costs. Tuition alone in Ontario is bonkers and the cheap cost of living and tuition in the prairie cities/provinces will really help students come out ahead financially, even if it means having to travel for interviews/events and dealing with the overall pain of finding work in another province. I'm really curious to see if there will become an overall shift of people in that situation migrating to school elsewhere and focusing exclusively on trying to get back to Ontario.
  2. I've heard good things about their MPM program. Definitely something to consider (along with other schools) if I am certain I will go the Master's route. Still need to be 100% sure before I commit though.
  3. OP, you're situation sounds eerily similar to mine. I can't necessarily offer you advice since I'm in the same boat pretty much, but just my thoughts over the last while. Throughout university, I was pretty dead set on heading to law school. I worked my ass off for the sole purpose of getting good enough grades to make me competitive. My thesis professor and family convinced me to take a year or two off after I graduated to maybe work a bit, save some money then decide whether law is really still something I want to do. I got a job working at a firm (as a corporate paralegal which was not something I applied for, I was just offered the position with zero training because the firm was desperate) and seeing the articling students dead tired half the time and busting their asses off for mediocre pay made me do a complete 180 on law school. I left my job at that law firm because I had never gone to college; never obtained a paralegal diploma and was offered zero training. On top of it, the lawyer I worked under treated me like shit, which made me almost dead sure that law wasn't for me. It's been about a year and a half since I graduated university and about a year since I left that firm. I'm currently working an unfulfilling government job right now, which made me realize that I will have to obtain more education if I'd like to get ahead. Now that the dust has settled from my shitty law firm experience I realize that it wasn't the work that turned me off, I was just put in a bad situation. I'm pretty torn on whether I should obtain a Master's in Public Policy or go to law school. On one hand, getting a MPP/MPA would be cheaper, less time consuming and you'd have a pretty good work life balance with respectable pay if you got a good job. On the other hand, an MPP/MPA is a bit more of an unknown and is a more niche area then compared to law. Whereas, for me, law school is an area which will open more doors, lead to higher pay (dependent on many factors) and be a bit more "rewarding", however the lifestyle scares the shit out of me. Ericontario is right in that not all good, high paying government jobs are not necessarily 9-5, many times you'll also be hustling for 10 plus hours a day. As well, a degree in MPP/MPA doesnt necessarily mean you'll be heading into the public sector; a lot of private sector corporations target policy graduates and you can bet that a new grad has to hustle in that environment. The only thing I know is that I want to settle in Ottawa. For that sole reason, it almost makes it obvious to go get the MPP/MPA degree since, as whonknows said, the legal market in Ottawa is pretty shit right now and has been for awhile. Anyway, not to hijack your thread, but just know that there are others in a similar boat who share the same concerns and would like similar advice haha.
  4. Regarding what was originally asked by OP. I recently worked at a law firm (not as an articling student nor lawyer, I haven't gone to LS yet) and I left with a relatively poor impression. I was working at a large full service firm and while I found the files and work the lawyers did interesting, I got spooked by the amount of hours they worked. Sure, they got compensated very well for the hours they put in, but it genuinely seemed as though they spent the majority of their time at the office. The articling students, who were friendly, were honest about how gruelling the articling experience has been and how they cannot wait for it to be over. One of them, while didn't explicitly tell me they regretted going to LS, made it seem as though they had some serious doubts. I had my goals set on LS ever since I finished first year of university. I got my shit together, got fantastic grades, graduated with the intent of taking some time off to save money. I've been contemplating for a little while now whether I stay the course with my original plan or just dump it and move on. As much as I've been researching on different careers, potentially pursuing a Master's etc. there's still something telling me to not give up on going to LS. I'm not sure whether its because it has been my goal for so long, or because it may turn out I love it, but I'm pretty torn right now on what to do. I like the fact that there's a host of different practice areas of law, and I know that it does get easier with time, however witnessing first hand some of the negatives of law was a major turnoff. And yet here I am still browsing these forums and contemplating going to law school. I know the answer on whether one has regretted going to LS is pretty subjective, but if anyone cares to comment on what I've posted I'd appreciate it.
  5. I appreciate the advice @Diplock and @erinl2. You both basically reconfirmed most of my suspicions and while I know having legal work experience is definitely not necessary prior to law school, it's something I would (if the opportunity came up) love to do but then again my usefulness to any firm would be very limited as you both said. My year off is more about just gaining work experience and generally taking a break from everything rather than trying to put a dent into any law school debt I would accrue. I know unless I landed a sweet oil rigging job back during the boom where I'd earn $100,000 off the bat that I will have little means to actually pay off school from the get go. As you said Diplock, it's more about just wanting time off then having some unrealistic financial plan in trying to limit any debt; having work experience is something I think would help me be productive and if I can earn a bit while I do whatever that is would be sweet to.
  6. I recently finished university with an honours degree in law. I plan on taking a year off to work, save money, study and just generally unwind. I would love to be able to get some experience working as a legal assistant/researcher or whatever in a firm: small or large, for the experience and the opportunity to obtain knowledge as to some of the general day-to-day inner workings that goes on in a firm. I see the odd position of what I'm looking for go up once in awhile, however most law related jobs I see is for paralegals and lawyers (understandably so). What I'm wondering is whether working in a firm as a fresh university graduate a feasible undertaking, or am I wasting my time looking? Is it common or should I focus my efforts on something else in order to save money and build up my resume? As well, how do I go about looking for a firm job with little experience in the field? Do I cold call/email firms I could see myself at, or just be patient and send resumes only to firms that may be advertising? Thanks for any and all advice.
  7. Yeah honestly it is worth paying a little more and living in Ottawa then it is in Gatineau. The commutes will be rough and it'll take its toll after awhile.
  8. Seems Ontario law schools are upping the price of a legal education like crazy compared to other schools in different provinces. It's getting to the point where I genuinely believe a lot of students are beginning to reconsider whether it is worth applying to law schools at all. I know this is a growing trend in Canada, however it's slowly starting to look like that for those students who want to live and work in Ontario, it may make some financial sense to go to school elsewhere in Canada and try to come back after school (unless you have the luxury of living at home). Yeah the extra legwork sucks, back and forth flights suck, but those negatives are beginning to trump paying the crazy tuition prices seen at Osgoode and others.
  9. Just go through the interview process and I personally would not mention that you are on the wait list at uOttawa; it can be tough obtaining an interview with the feds and its something to definitely take advantage of. With that being said, if you do get the position do not write off going to law school. You'll never know whether you end up loving, hating or feel pretty meh about the job (assuming you got it) and maybe you could work a couple of years to save money to mitigate the financial cost of LS. Plus, I know how motivated you've been in getting into a school, don't let a long and lengthy application process hinder your plans. Worst comes to worst, bump that LSAT and your a lock in.
  10. Just thought I'd add another opinion to the whole 'Calgary v Edmonton' debate since I'm familiar with both cities. People try really hard to differentiate the two to the point where it becomes redundant, however they are way more alike then what people try to tell themselves. Both are similarly sized, generally similar climate and are only 3 hours away from each other by car. Of course there's some notable differences: Calgary is definitely more white collar and Edmonton more blue collar; Calgary is aesthetically more attractive simply because its a much newer city then Edmonton etc. Edmonton is a bit more a of diverse city in terms of neighbourhoods, jobs etc. You want typical boring suburbia? Sherwood Park it is. You want an area with urban, prairie grit? Old Strathcona is good for that. Calgary has those elements too, but they are more scarce and generally more expensive. Also, while the pay is higher in Calgary for law, it seems (I'm not a law school student yet so take what I say with a grain of salt) the market is less competitive in Edmonton. I do think the mountains being close to Calgary is a plus, even if one doesn't visit them much they are still pleasing to see from the city. Saying that, Jasper is a 3 hours drive from Edmonton so its not like you have to trek 2 days to go see them. Both have their plusses and negatives. West Edmonton Mall is pretty cool. Roads in Edmonton are fucking bad though. The major transformation in downtown Edmonton is pretty cool, however the road closures and construction gets annoying. The stampede in Calgary is really unique. The overinflated ego evident in many Calgarians gets stupid annoying though, almost to Vancouver and Toronto levels. As mentioned, Calgary is definitely more aesthetically pleasing and has a nicer downtown, however Edmonton has more character in its neighbourhoods and surrounding areas. Cost of living is slightly lower in Edmonton, however pay is generally a bit lower in Edmonton. All this to say, both are good cities overall that are more similar then different. Boring? Kinda, but both have unique quirks making them at least somewhat interesting.
  11. I really appreciate the detailed response and the unique perspective. I really hope to look back one day and think to myself that taking a year (or more) will have been a good thing. I think that throughout my time in university I was just being stubborn about wanting to get a head start on my potential law career and not waste time, however that was pretty naive thinking of me and I think its time now to look ahead and nail down a job, save money, study for the LSAT and squeeze some travelling in and use that experience to my advantage one day.
  12. Good to see everyone so far has been happy with their decision!
  13. I'll be graduating undegrad in April with the full intention of applying to law schools in the next cycle. I initially planned on participating in the current cycle, however after pissing away last summer on studying for the LSAT (too many excuses on my part) and being kinda pissed at myself, I'm at the point now where I think taking a gap year can be of great benefit if done right. Just looking at what people plan on doing, or have previously done, in their time between undegrad and law school. Did you work? Travel? Study for the LSAT + work? Any advice on what I should look into/can do? I know a lot can change, maybe I land a sweet gig somewhere and will want to stay for more than a year (or something along that line). However, at this moment in time, I still fully intend on going to law school because it's been my intention for a few years now and I've got the grades and motivation to do it. I'm still looking for work (job market is kind of rough) however I hope to make the most out of my time not being in school and do things I enjoy and hopefully get a job so I can save money to decrease my debt load when I go back to school eventually. Just looking for general advice or hear some stories because I'm thinking it can make for some good conversation.
  14. If you really do feel like you crashed and burned the Sept LSAT, cancel then write the Dec one. If that one isn't up to your standards, consider applying the next cycle. Just my two cents.
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