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Uriel

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Uriel last won the day on October 15

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  1. They're wrong, lying and trying to intimidate you. Source: Poli Sci was one of my majors and now I see these people's grades. First, love the handle. Second, just going to add that this seems right to me. The most useful course I ever took from a legal perspective was probably symbolic logic in the Philosophy department. Also, as a (predominant) English major that went on to grad studies, I can tell you that I was absolute flaming trash at legal writing for my first semester. That being said, because I spent all that time learning to write, I had the skills to analyse and adapt my own writing style and did so effectively, basically getting top grades in every essay class for the rest of law school. (Topped out at B/B+ for exams, though.) And after another bumpy year or two of learning to write in the "real world", partners from other offices around the world send me written advocacy work on the perception, rightly or wrongly, that they're getting the gold standard. So, Point Three is true, but... English majors, represent.
  2. I only have teeny tiny experience with the criminal justice system, but in the dozen or so times I've been up against a Crown it's been very obvious that they know almost nothing about most of their files and are winging it all day, every day. It's extremely impressive, a completely different universe of practice to mine, the complete polar opposite of the way I litigate, and I don't know how they do it. So certainly don't feel bad if you're falling behind; I don't think it's possible to get ahead in the way you're used to doing with schoolwork. It's impossible to watch a Crown for half an hour and not understand the institutional time pressure they're under. No one is expecting you to be moot-level poised in your daily practice. That's not what being a Crown looks like.
  3. I've definitely had cases I'd be willing to settle for most of an Orange Julius.
  4. I haven't seen any threads or PMs about Morgans this year, which I assume means no one got a call so it's safe to discuss.
  5. My overall advice for Candidate C is that you will never know if you're Candidate C. My friend thought she was Candidate C and was bummed all year that despite the fact that she was witty and gorgeous and popular she must be the worst interview candidate ever --- until she met a recruiter that was stunned that she wasn't taken anywhere. She was right below the line for us, and apparently right below the line for lots of other firms too, one of which agreed to take her on for articles. Now, if you really are Candidate C and interviewing really is a struggle for you, your path forward is likely to be practice-specific. I'd have very different advice for Candidate C that secretly has a passion for criminal law versus tax or civil litigation. Three completely different pieces of advice. Wear something that looks good. If you're wearing a wool tie that goes well with kind of a winter-weight suit, then you're fine. If what your friend is trying to say is that your tie looks cheap, then I (a) wouldn't worry about it too much because most firms understand that you're a student and your resources are limited; and (b) would go ahead and replace it if it's just as easy for you to do so. Again, doesn't have to be silk (although it's hard to find a good one that's not), and even silk isn't necessarily expensive. That all being said, I'm sure there are firms and interviewers out there that do take a more patrician view of the candidacy process and actually might shake their heads at a cheap tie. Then just query whether you would really want to work at a firm for rich people only. You can't, that's why they're treated as signals. That being said, I'll repeat my oft-repeated advice to really give those "second-tier" firms a careful look, too. Assuming your goal is partnership, you have to remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. If you think you can get an offer at Morgans, but it's going to involve faking that you know how to play polo and hiring a fashion consultant and basically never acting like yourself, that's not going to be sustainable. Congratulations! You were an associate at Morgans for ten minutes and now you're looking through the ORs for literally anything else that will cover your minimum student loan payment. All of a sudden that (ugh) also pretty highly ranked national firm is looking pretty good. My current firm was my #7 pick at OCIs, #3 going into in-firms, and if I was being honest with myself, it was pretty clearly my #1 by the end of Monday. I really liked it there. A "better" firm (according to some rigged magazine rankings) was pursuing me at the in-firm stage and I made the tough choice to go to the place where I felt more comfortable. Best decision I ever made. Now all my friends that went to that firm are working in-house somewhere after bailing as junior associates, and I'm still happily rolling into work every day. Just keep your preferences flexible. Try to see past the law-school concept of "prestige" as if it was a tangible thing, and keep your long-term success in mind. If your "favourite" firms are really competitive and you're spending all your time and effort trying to get them to bite, and there's an "enthusiastic" "second-tier" firm full of people you actually like, my humble advice is that you probably have your priorities crossed. Unpopular opinion, maybe, but this seventh-year associate salary is kinda nice and you should try it. [stares directly into camera]
  6. Hey gang, I'm just starting to get a few PMs about callback rate. Why did my friend get an in-firm and not me? I've said this in a few other places, but just to compress it down, this is not a merits test. I regularly throw extremely good candidates' resumes in the trash because I know we have a less than 30% chance of landing them -- not because we're not competitive, but because there's just too much competition. You buy a few lottery tickets like that every year, but you can't fill your entire draft pool with them, or you'll end up scrambling for leftovers on Call Day. Candidates you love that no one else seems to want are worth their weight in gold. Every year there's three or four students where we're shaking our heads wondering how on earth there wasn't a feeding frenzy over these kids, and how lucky we were that we only had to fend off one firm to lock them down. So, right. It's not a strict merits test, and I know that's counterintuitive after all the merits tests you've just been through. But we have certain things we're looking for due to our firm's specific business model and growth strategy. It's a lot like a fantasy baseball draft -- yes, you're a better hitter but we need to draft a second baseman and we can't afford for this one to come off the board. (Yes, there is a board. Yes, it is colour-coded. Yes, your name is on it.) So even though the GPA might be higher, odds are we do not need a sixth Indochino-clad straight white BComm with a vague interest in securities law -- especially not when we can use that slot to try a high-upside candidate with an interest in real estate law that can speak Farsi that everyone else seems to have missed. It would be ludicrous if all, what, 25 firms all targeted the same 25 "top" students and ignored the rest. We'd all have 90% of our student spots empty. We're all looking for our "fits" and we all have different needs. On that note, I want to address something that should be obvious but very often is not at this time of year. If your friend has a higher OCI-to-in-firm conversion rate than you, that might not mean anything. Let's say each firm interviews 15 people per day and offers in-firms to the top 6. Four candidates rank as follows: CANDIDATE "A": 1st, 7th, 8th, 2nd, 8th, 7th, 8th (2/7) CANDIDATE "B": 6th, 9th, 10th, 6th, 12th, 10th, 11th, 6th, 9th, 6th (4/10) CANDIDATE "C": 14th, 15th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 15th (0/7) CANDIDATE "D": 5th, 6th, 7th, 6th, 6th, 7th, 8th (4/7) Now, I'm going to get a bunch of PMs from Candidate "A" expressing her deep concern that she's done so much more poorly than her friends Candidates "B" and "D". One got more in-firms and has a better shot and the other has a much higher success rate. So the process of introspection begins: what am I doing wrong, should I have prepared more like "D" prepared, am I ever going to do well in this process when it's skewed towards candidates like "B"? Meanwhile, "A" is actually most likely to land a job, and probably the best interviewer of the bunch. At least she's virtually indistinguishable from "D". The number of in-firms you get isn't enough data to establish whether or not you're interviewing well. Just be glad if you've got an in-firm. It means that there's a firm out there that has seen your resume and thinks it's well above their academic and business standards, and the scouts they sent out to test your emotional intelligence and social skills came away impressed enough that they think you stand a real chance of being a partner at that firm one day. Even one in-firm is a real damn accomplishment that says a lot about you as a package. They're expensive and time-consuming and there's endless competition for them: we don't hand them out lightly. If you have two and your friend has five, you're both doing great. End of line.
  7. Imagine how you would feel if, after an interview that you felt was only kind of OK, I said, "don't bother sending me a thank-you note". We can't ask you not to send them, it sounds like you're being rejected -- even if you're already a lock.
  8. The hiring market is cyclical. Why would anyone be hiring now, right before OCIs, at the beginning of the articling period and at the end of the fiscal year? It's extremely hard not to freak out, but I have at least a dozen friends that sweated after not being hired back all the way through the fall. I'm sorry to say you might be in that situation for a bit because people generally are. Then the new year hits, new budgets get released, new students don't work out or move jobs, new work begins and disaffected associates jump ship after being upset by their compensation memos... in my anecdotal experience, the cool jobs start coming up after December. It extremely sucks to have to wait, and that there's this period of free-floating anxiety. But some of the happiest friends I have with the most unique jobs picked theirs up after being in a complete state of should-I-join-this-Lionel-Hutz-strip-mall-practice panic all the way through October and November.
  9. Ban thank-you notes. It's impossible to send a response that doesn't send a signal, even though there's no signal to send until the Committee meets. And it's double-impossible not to send a signal when the thank-you note is personalized, which they're encouraged to be. Ban them all day long. All of us on both sides would rather just get some sleep, but instead we're all wordsmithing for absolutely no purpose at 1:30 AM.
  10. Hey all, Sorry for the non sequitur here, but I just got a PM asking me what the most common "mistakes" I see in interviews are, and thought I might share with the group. I think I've said all this before, but it's probably scattered across a decade-plus of assorted replies. It won't surprise you to hear that I can't remember any specific "mistakes", though students have certainly mistook who was in what practice group or whether we have a certain program in place or not --- those are so minor that they'll have no impact on your interview. The "mistakes", I would say, have more to do with failing the emotional intelligence assessment we're trying to give you in these in-house interviews. So if I were to give a Coles' Notes version, I'd say the most common "mistakes" are: Giving perfect, robotic answers that do the CDO-approved "thing" of always tying back to your resume when we are in fact trying to figure out if you will be fun to work with, and whether clients will like spending time with you and grow to develop trust in you as a responsive, genuine advisor Allowing the nerves to get the best of you, rather than recognizing that once you're in the in-firm process it's basically a personality-driven crapshoot and there really isn't too much you can do to prepare for a glorified emotional-intelligence assessment Reading the room badly -- making assumptions about politics or politically incorrect statements. We're a heterogeneous bunch. One hardcore securities regulator might be one step away from encouraging a violent overthrow of capitalism, and the other securities regulator -- her junior in the next office over -- might be a Rebel Media-reading Conservative activist. Both are great and friendly lawyers, so don't assume you can make a Trudeau or Scheer joke that will land Mixing up real Bay Street with fictional Wall Street. We are about 75% upper middle class nerds and 25% middle class nerds. The culture here is not the bro-ey, alpha-male, misogynist, cutthroat, take-no-prisoners environment you see on TV. We're a bunch of nerds under a lot of stress. Some of us are lucky enough to be working at the firms where women and people of colour are running the show and really starting to do things differently. In addition to being dedicated professionals, lots of us are goofball suburban moms and dads. Making sexist or racist cracks is a one-way ticket to the elevator bay. Gaming the system when you don't know the system. Demanding to see someone that you think is vital to getting hired, when you don't have a clue. Our former Managing Partner was not at all involved in the hiring process and basically never chimed in about students, so while we tried to show we liked someone by setting them up with the dude in charge, it didn't actually move the needle for them at all. So the students keening and angling to try to weasel their way into that room weren't doing themselves any favours. By the same token, they can't seem to get away from me fast enough because I'm not a partner and I'm not on the student committee --- but I get asked to do a dozen in-firms every year because I write the longest and most detailed reports, so my voice (I'm told) actually goes a bit of a way. I love telling the story of the candidate we had that actually cut her interview short with a junior partner because she wanted to rush off to the recruiter to lock in her preference for our firm. That junior partner? Head of the student committee, and incoming member of the firm executive. Yipes. Don't try to cheat a system you don't understand. Show up for the interviews and impress your interviewers.
  11. Uriel

    OCI Questions

    If you indicate you have an interest in an industry that isn't in our top six by deal volume, you'll be cut immediately and we'll tell all the other firms not to hire you either because you said such a dumb thing, and at the conclave they will all nod and we will continue to discuss what a dumb thing it is you said while we slurp our ramen in our black cloaks. When these questions occur to you, just try to put yourself in our position. Well, Newfoundland is obviously smart and everyone likes her, we're hiring a ton of people this year and there wasn't a single bad review. She's not sure if she wants to do litigation or corporate, so we'll rotate her through both, and... oh. She, uh, is interested in the forestry industry. Do we have any forestry clients? No? Oh well. Better hire a worse candidate then. Her passion for the forestry industry will just be a cloud over her performance for years to come. She'll be prepping a motion for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, and we'll just see her stewing in the corner, teeth clenched, eyes fixed in the middle distance, just thinking... what the f*#$& does this have to do with forestry?! She'll make partner, but all those millions of dollars and deep personal relationships built up over the years won't put a dent in the ongoing flight risk created by her all-consuming passion for the forestry sector. C'mon dude, you want to be a lawyer, everyone changes interests at least twice between 2L and first-year associate practice. Talk about whatever. The only way you can go too far is if you pigeonhole yourself like, "I want to be an IP litigator or IP lawyer." "Huh! Well, we have a bit of a practice there --- would you be interested in any other fields as well, get your feet wet?" "Honestly, no --- IP is my passion and it's what I went to law school for." Now that might actually hurt you if that department or industry group is weak. But just showing an interest is not an issue at all. I talked about expropriation law at some point, of all things.
  12. Uriel

    OCI Questions

    The people interviewing you at OCIs have no idea what we're going to be hiring for two and a half years out. What we do know is that we're going to be hiring basically an entire high school class full of law students that are all going to change their minds about their career path two or three times over the course of articling. So when we get students saying they have no idea what they want to do and they want to try everything, that's fine with us. Honestly if I'm asking you if you're thinking litigation or commercial it's just because I want to know what you'll be interested in hearing about and who you might like to meet. I'm not mentally fitting you into a department. I have no power to do that.
  13. Yeah, as a rule of thumb you're only going to bill 2/3 of the hours you spend in the office. Bathroom breaks, non-billable work, catching up with colleagues, grabbing lunch, checking the status of the complete global meltdown on Twitter... Also, I can only speak for my firm but ethical billing is a very serious thing here. We can't just flip on the timer and flip it off at the end of the day. Partners really feel the duty to their clients to keep costs down and fair, especially in litigation files. So I'll usually have 1800-2000 billable hours and 400-500 non-billable hours, generally working from 9:45 in the morning to 7:00 or 8:00 at night. (Though now with two kids I break off at six, put the kids to bed and wrap up later in the evening or over the weekend.) If I was at a firm where I could keep the clock running from the minute I showed up to the minute I left, I'd be in that 2400-2500 range.
  14. Right. Also, to clarify, I mean to say odds at the same level of effort. At 2000 billable hours a year in NYC you're surviving but in Toronto you're on the fast track.
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