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Ottawakiwi

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  1. no need for French at uOttawa. Everything is in English, and the school has a lot of choices. There are some options for bilingual courses, and there is an option of taking some courses in French. The students from out of town seem surprised by the mere presence of French in the environment, even though they are not required to have any
  2. Federal government hiring processes are rigid. If the posting says 5 years of policy experience, you will not be interviewed without 5 years of policy experience. Sure, a JD is a good preparation for government, but it is only one of many good degrees for government. Furthermore, in some human resources areas, a law degree is not considered a graduate degree, so you may be screened out of jobs specifically requiring one (unless you also have another graduate degree). Many job competitions say that they will consider a graduate degree or equivalent, or combination of education and experience. In those cases, you would need to make your case in your cover letter to be considered as equal. This is no cake walk. The recruitment of policy leaders program DOES recognize law degrees along with graduate degrees. This is an excellent way to enter the federal public service as it gives a number of placements and training opportunities. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-service-commission/jobs/services/recruitment/graduates/recruitment-policy-leaders/what-look-for.html
  3. YY Chen is a very good prof. Took both my IL and 2L Con Law with him. Immigrants and health are favourite topics of his, so this will likely be a good course.
  4. It is my experience in management at the federal level that non-lawyers NEVER give legal advice. Senior management is careful about this, and the lawyers from the Dept of Justice watch for this. If you are in a policy or research position, or even an executive with a law degree (whether you are called or not), you can be very knowledgable about the law, but when a formal legal opinion is required, it goes to a lawyer in an LA position. Even the general discussion about the legal opinion will defer to the lawyer in the LA position - everyone else (including the person with the law degree, called or not) is on a pretty much equal footing in the discussion. A person with a law degree would likely have better questions, but then again, a lot of the folks who have backgrounds in public admin, economics, history, and even the trades (like former police or correctional officers, former inspectors) etc., have some specific and insightful questions. Law is a very good degree for the public service, and would prepare you well, but it only gets preference in LA positions. You will find that some competitions for non-LA jobs will mention law as one of a number of backgrounds, e.g., a job as a senior food inspector or tax collector might say "a degree in law, or experience in law enforcement is prefered ." People with a degree in law from Carleton (law and legal studies, not a law school), for example, would also be considered then.
  5. Management in government would be quite aware that someone was not a lawyer. Even those who are lawyers, but who are working in non-lawyer positions are not permitted to give legal advice. In my policy management experience, I had two Canadian lawyers work for me, one person with an LLB but not called to the bar, and one lawyer with a foreign LLB who was not yet called in Canada (doing the studies and preparing at the time). The actual lawyers in government lawyer positions are highly aware of the difference, and senior management is careful to take its legal advice ONLY from the lawyers assigned to them. The legal training and experience was respected and valued (this was working in regulatory policy and enforcement in two federal departments), but not used for legal advice. One of those policy analysts used the job in policy as a stepping stone to get into government LA positions. Two left government and the other continues to work as a well-respected regulatory policy manager with no plans to be called to the bar.
  6. You're right re the teamwork. The challenge is to get yourself in the door to get on the team, then get yourself close enough to someone senior who can mentor you while doing this. Law is one of a number of great backgrounds for policy managers, but you would be surprised at how many great policy leaders have only a BA (e.g., Janice Charette, who was the Clerk, and is now an ambassador). In policy shops, you will find people with BAs, LLBs, PhDs, MScs all working shoulder to shoulder. One of the best ways to get into the federal government and show that you can do it is to try one of the recruitment programs for new grads or policy leaders - these can be excellent combinations of work and training, and can fast track you by bringing your work to the attention of senior management. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-service-commission/jobs/services/recruitment/graduates.html
  7. Well, considering that you picked the second part of the sentence out of context to make your point, it would appear you might be one of those people who would not be able to master policy work.
  8. Cabinet submissions are written by senior policy staff, usually at the executive -1 level, and with the executive team breathing down the writer's neck. Of course, a person who graduated from law school COULD write one, but cab docs are not just about learning a template. You are expected to have mastered the policy issue and the political dynamics around it before you are trusted with a cabinet document, and you have to be good at consultations and diplomacy, and learning the process (sort of like civil procedure, but inside government). This is not work given to a new grad. You would normally work for a bit, gain the confidence of your management, then help a senior person do a few cab docs, show that you are capable, and eventually get to hold the pen. If you are really good at these, you can rise far, but you do generally have to prove yourself a few times as the stakes are high. If doing this work interests you, have a look at the courses at the Institute on Governance. If you have shown any promise in doing cab docs, this is where your manager will send you. https://iog.ca
  9. As a former policy manager in the federal government, I have had several lawyers and several people with LLBs work for me in general social policy, but also in legislative and regulatory affairs. The law degree is an asset, though you will likely find it is considered roughly equivalent to a master's degree in this area. You will also need to show that you can master a range of considerations (not just the legal ones) so you can produce policy opinions and advice in which the law is only one of a number of considerations (lawyers have a reputation for getting stuck on details in policy areas).
  10. I would get rid of the car, and take advantage of the bus pass that is included in your tuition. Live near campus, or on one of the express bus routes. Rent a car regularly (or use Virtue Car) so you can have the freedom without the expenses and hassles of car ownership.
  11. The weighting of the courses and the weird arrangement of DR, LR and Property sometimes makes it feel like part of the test of 1L is keeping track of the courses, their scheduling, and the assignments. The January term is great because it allows the school to bring in experts in certain topics, and you get a blitz of information. It is a similar approach to that of some professional graduate courses that give a blitz of one course in executive MBAs. Not everyone's cup of tea, though.
  12. Many of the faculty know about the dreadful teaching by this instructor because many of the students have told them.
  13. I concur. One of the worst teachers I have every had the misfortune to experience - truly awful and incapable of sharing her impressive knowledge of the topic. What makes things worse is that she is also the most rude and disrespectful person I have ever seen teach. Why she is still teaching is a mystery. The administration knows about her abusive behaviour toward students, yet has not dealt with her. This is a course that could be integrated into the small class, or taught by legal librarians. Most of it could be taught online.
  14. If you don't get in this time, consider upping your other activities as well
  15. Speaking French is always an advantage in Ottawa, but you don't need it for the English Common Law program. There are a few bilingual electives which are obviously only available for bilingual students, though. Otherwise, the law school is a little bubble of uni-lingualism in an otherwise bilingual world. If you're interested in working in the federal government, you can get hired into entry level professional jobs as a unilingual anglophone. You cannot be promoted to jobs supervising others in the National Capital Region unless you speak both official languages. Many firms would consider French an asset, but its absence doesn't seem to be a deal breaker. If you're interested in becoming a judge, building up your French now is a good idea, though. You can take French language courses at no extra change at Ottawa U: https://olbi.uottawa.ca/ESL-FLS The federal government offers a very generous bursary for students to go learn the other official language in immersion in the summer: http://www.myexplore.ca/en/page/?bursary
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