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About Ghalm

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  1. Rumour has it that Bennett Jones potentially raised 1st year salaries to 130k? Any sense whether i) this is true and ii) if other firms will follow?
  2. i actually tend to like these kinds of posts; people should be able to celebrate their achievements publicly if they wish - and getting a summer job through OCI is a big achievement to many people. Also many of these posts are pretty dang inspiring and cute. i think as others have said we should continue to work towards dethroning these jobs from their pedestals within the law student community so it does not sting so bad if you strike out. Now that i think about it, i have seen lots of posts were lawyers and others comment on striking out during OCI and how they still had solid experiences afterwards..
  3. I am a recent UofT law grad. Arguably, UofT's only benefit is a higher chance of landing a big law bay st. job (not sure if this benefit is worth 50k in debt though). If you are looking to work for the government, and there is a way to pursue that goal saving 50k, save. the. 50k.
  4. completely anecdotal, but i heard from a reliable source that at one firm a UOttawa student applied, it showed their application was received on the via portal, but the firm never got the application - i'd say worth it to email the firms that did not PFO similar to what was shared above... i am also surprised to hear about your 0 OCI results. It is unlikely your cover letter was a hunk of trash if your grades are strong (suggests you can write well enough to beat the curve -> implies you can write a decent cover letter)
  5. This forum is super useful. Many of its posts recent and old have been very helpful to read, especially for those (like me) who have zero lawyers/professionals in their family/network to hear advice/thoughts/musings from. Moreover, its nice to come somewhere where Canadian issues legal and otherwise are discussed (given so much American content out there). It is moderated very well too and kept to a high standard of quality. Not toxic at all. I agree some posters, frequent or otherwise, can be IMO unkind (not necessarily wrong, but IMO unkind). I appreciate those posters who are direct and kind. I think this type of poster describes the majority here. Thank you to those who advise directly and honestly and take care to not come across as mean - it is very much appreciated. But then again life has a full range of personality types that one has to learn to navigate with a thick skin, so I guess also thanks to the direct and IMO unkind ones who are implicitly teaching that life skill lol!
  6. I recently graduated from UT. Black folks are seriously underrepresented at the school. Though, the Black Students Association seemed like a close inter-year group. If you have not already, perhaps reaching out to them to chat about their experiences may help! If you'd like, I can provide you with some names/linkedIns of Black UT grads/current students that you may wish to reach out too. In terms of corp/sec experience... I was/am also interested. I think both schools have all-star faculty with the caveat that one of UT's all star corp/sec profs is now a federal minister so likely inaccessible during your time at the school. Though, another one of the faculty's corp/sec profs who was once a dean is now back as faculty so perhaps more accessible. I say this in case you want to like build relations with these profs/research for them. UT recently opened an investor protection clinic like Osgoode too and has an M/A litigation externship + working w/ start ups externship + board governance externship that all may fit with your interests. In terms of career, while both schools seem to place the same # of students on bay st. during OCIs (where many firms with good corp/sec practices hire). Though, UT has a higher percentage of student hires since we have a smaller student population. I was told by some recruiters that students are compared between their peers from the same school during the OCI phase of the recruitment process - so, by virtue of there being less UT students, you presumably have less competitors at that stage to win an in-firm. This is anecdotal information and may not apply to how all firms approach the OCI process, but potential food for thought. I am sure UT like Osgoode have a bunch of events and speakers coming in re: corp and securities law; the only thing I'd think as a UofT advantage is the fact that the school is close to the financial district - potentially easier for you to attend firm events/meet with lawyers from firms to network etc. when such things are possible. No safety issues re: UT campus that I recall. Moreover, if you live closer to UT it may be an important factor since its much easier to live closer to your school for participating in activities/attending class/choosing classes with unpreferable times (when such things will matter post-pandemic). Also, congrats on your acceptances! Both schools are awesome!
  7. Using the figure of the "scorned rejected minority" to essentially dismiss the discourse around diversity and inclusion in the legal profession as nothing more than a couple of upset visible minorities who want their rejections validated fails to take into account the fact that ~many~ of the contributors to the discourse on the diversity and inclusion problem are i) successful candidates and ii) successful lawyers. I use the term "successful" as referring to those people who obtained the job/advanced through the ranks/and occupy a position that would be regarded as successful. Many of these individuals point out varied instances/phenomena of exclusion/discrimination (at all levels, not just recruitment) that they and their peers have encountered and are seeking to remedy the conditions that allow for such instances to occur and reoccur. I have had discussions with students of colour who have been successful, associates of colour, as well as partners of colour. All of these kinds of people have acknowledged the sentiments and realities identified in this thread (and elsewhere). I'd also note that the perspectives of the rejected people of colour are not of any less value either. They are one group within the discourse that share their experiences that deserve to be heard and considered much like the "successful" ppl of colour who share their experiences as well.
  8. Fair but based on anecdotes I have heard from peers not in big law, these types of comments questions or topics can come up and have come up in all kinds of contexts. And based on the LSO report linked before, discriminatory experiences faced by BIPOC happen all across the profession not just in big law. It’s a fair point that big law is not the be all end all, but id be cautious to accidentally imply that outside of big law it’s all roses and rainbows on this topic. We may hear more about big law when we discuss this topic because of their structured presence in the life of law students as you’ve identified. Moreover, sources like UV accumulate experiences over years from big law recruits and make them available. Further, big law firms tend to interview a ton of students so there is more common experiences to share and or discuss among peers, so a law student hears more about it. But based on my limited sample size of the handful of anecdotes I’ve heard from smaller firms and soles interviewing my peers, the commentary questioning and topics of convo can get just as bad if not worse. Based on the report linked prior, all kinds of BIPOC licensees have noted that they’ve experienced discrimination and or exclusion and I doubt that’s just big law licensees responding.
  9. When I read this perspective, a few things come to mind. First, I can’t help but think that BIPOC candidates are quite tolerant of insensitivity. BIPOC candidates have had to navigate the exclusionary and/or discriminatory questions, topics, and comments and will continue to have to do so. Often, the BIPOC candidate navigates this aspect of the process well enough to be successful, or to not otherwise lose out on a job based on a poor response to such a question, topic, or comment. If the BIPOC candidate then reflects on their experience and critiques various aspects that they thought were exclusionary, I’m not sure that that means we can call that person unable to handle the insensitive realities of life. Rather, I’d say that person is quite capable of doing so, but rather wants to do away with those particular insensitive aspects for the betterment of the profession. I’d think no social group should be subject to additional hurdles of insensitivity just by virtue of their social identity. Let the elements of life that hit people relatively equally (if such elements even exist) enhance potential legal professional’s tolerance to insensitivity. Another thing that’s comes to mind is that when we are talking about those people who are “triggered” by, for example, controversial subjects in school, there seems to be two types of such people. The first are those who are so negatively impacted by the subject matter that they shut down or otherwise experience a traumatic response that impedes their ability to engage with the course content. Then there are those who tend to advocate for a change in the curriculum on the basis that it can trigger such traumatic responses in people who have enough internal pain to experience such a response. Sometimes the same people who experience the traumatic response are the advocates. This latter group honestly seems like the most capable of dealing with the insensitivities of life. They can identify problematic things, advance a passionate argument as to why it ought to be changed, and push the powers that be to make the change. That doesn’t sound like someone incapable of dealing with the wild things that clients or witnesses may say in court - it sounds like someone that can acutely understand the unjust reality of something and advance a position they believe in for its remedy. When it comes to those people who legit have a serious traumatic response that impedes their ability to engage with, say, a given topic taught in school (like Indigenous experience with Canadian law, a topic that I once heard a similar discussion about concerning whether it was “too triggering to be taught in its current form”), then my first question is to ask why is that the response? What was the trauma that allowed for such a response? I’d ask myself maybe the way the experience of Indigenous folks with the law is taught isn’t doing a good enough job at being aware of the reality that some students’ families and ancestors and communities have been messed up so badly by Canada that a specific kind of way of teaching a topic may trigger a seriously impeding response. I don’t know... if that’s the case, and I am an educator, I’d default to listening to how I can maybe change the pedagogy of my course rather than dismiss those people as simply too sensitive for the realities of life. Sounds like to me they’re so well versed in the unjust realities of life it’d be awful to subject them to some more just to further toughen them up? Moreover, I’m not convinced that these same people would be incapable of handling insensitivities they may see as legal professionals... after all, they’ve dealt with enough insensitivity or injustice to get them to the point of potentially experiencing a traumatic response to particularly triggering events. I’d say these people are probably quite capable of dealing with a bad word said in court or in a meeting.
  10. I agree with your point on kindness and care. That is really what is being asked of people - to be more kind, more caring, to think more about the level of inclusiveness in the conversations that are had throughout the networking/recruitment process. Sometimes the way people react is to immediately critique/push back on the examples of exclusion BIPOC share. Sure, you may think there is nothing wrong with critiquing/pushing back on someone who shares a personal example of exclusion - but I'd say that that is another potentially exhausting burden placed on BIPOC... the fact that when they express an experience of exclusion, they also have to expend the energy to defend the experience to however many, typically non-BIPOC ppl, who want to somehow object in whole or in part.
  11. Thanks for this. Just on this point - in addition to the important question of the level of representation in various fields of law, what is the actual experience of BIPOC licensees in the various fields of law? Do they face discrimination? What kinds of discrimination? How does that manifest? What are its impacts? What about access to various parts of the profession? Are, as one BIPOC Ontario bencher noted in an interview I remember, BIPOC licensees disproportionately represented in, for example, sole practice (nothing wrong with sole practice, but I think we can say that is the toughest kind of practice to run esp. when you are just starting out since all responsibility is on your shoulders; also, my source for this, as i mentioned, is an interview i remember, so will look into this some more to provide a better source but its worth asking about disproportionate representation across various fields)? The report I linked earlier seems to have a number of recommendations that address the varied concerns that the LSO heard wrt BIPOC experiences (varied as they are) in the legal profession in ON.
  12. I think this is the most important perspective here on this issue. Thanks for sharing. Many times questions/topics seem innocuous, but its the cumulative effect of hearing said questions repeatedly and in many contexts that make them negatively impactful. I agree, as you imply, that there are certain accents that are coded as inferior due to cultural representations across various mediums vs. other accents. The Queen's accent, for example, is coded differently in our culture than my dad's heavy middle eastern accent. So, I think your perspective requires us, who are potential askers of such a question, to think about how someone with an accent other than the Queen's accent, and other than other accents that have not been culturally coded as inferior, who is repeatedly asked about their accent - and, at times, asked follow ups that appear to be more intrusive - may feel when they are asked about their accent in a professional recruitment/networking context when they occupy a position of lesser power (i.e. as a candidate).
  13. Excellent point. I agree that that is a major issue, but as you imply, not something that renders the discussion about diversity/inclusion at the recruitment stage any less important! I also wonder about equity, diversity, inclusion issues prior to law school... I am curious about the challenges BIPOC, taking into account class and other factors, face when trying to get into law school. While it can be said law school classes have a sizeable minority of students who are not white, these students tend to be of upper class backgrounds, and moreover certain social groups are woefully underrepresented. I get the sense BIPOC students from certain class backgrounds do not have the same opportunities and supports that lend for a relatively easy path to law school.
  14. True, but I am not so sure how I feel about advice that places the burden only on the BIPOC candidates to internally suck it up and pump up the confidence levels to overcome potential challenge whether that be questions about drinking, topics one cannot relate to, topics that are not accessible to them... Why are BIPOC burdened with the task of sucking it up and pumping up the confidence more so than non-BIPOC candidates? Of course every candidate has to be confident, and be able to maneuver various kinds of social situations, but is there perhaps an additional expectation/requirement of confidence/ability to maneuver placed on BIPOC candidates because they are more likely to encounter challenges as compared to their non-BIPOC peers? Not my experience really. Going through networking events and recruitment events since law school to where I am now (articling), "serious" topics are often talked about. Politics definitely come up (e.g. Fed. Liberals, Ford, Wynne, the merits of different policies of different governments). Current events definitely come up (e.g. SCOTUS, Indigenous protest to pipelines, BLM). Other weighty topics come up (e.g. private vs. public school for your kids, development of the city/condo boom, veganism, cultural appropriation). All the examples I note are what I remember being brought up at various events. I have not had religion come up, though. My sense is that lawyers tend to be up to date on these kinds of topics, and lawyers tend to have opinions on these kinds of things too. Perhaps one can even say that lawyers find it fun to discuss these topics.
  15. This is a good idea. It is great to see a post trying to think through this issue and trying to think about how to contribute to solutions. My sense is that recruiters at big law firms tend to accept the existence of the "diversity problem" you seem to be identifying at the student recruitment level. The ongoing question seems to be what is the best way to overcome the challenge and to what extent will a given firm support a certain set of approaches over others. In terms of what I can share: I begin by noting that race/gender/class/sexuality often work together to shape a person's experience, so, sure, not every experience I mention or people mention can be clearly and directly linked to race alone as a feature of one's identity, but may also be linked to class. I note that in Toronto at least, and perhaps other locales in Canada, the data I have encountered seems to make clear that BIPOC are more likely to be from lower socio-economic class. With that said, here are some things that come to mind from my law school/big law experience to date: i) feeling like I have to exaggerate about the number and nature of the trips I have taken to contribute to a conversation about travel and/or respond to a question about travel. Moreover, on this point, there are some "white" travel destinations that are more likely to connect with the lawyer(s) you are speaking to over other destinations that are less frequented by white people (for e.g. 'i have been to [insert western European country]' 'omg me too' vs. 'I visited Iran' 'Oh...']; ii) some sports over others are brought up more frequently in conversation (e.g. hockey/golf) over other sports. It can be potentially said that hockey/golf are more familiar to white students than non-white. iii) the topic of "the cottage"... lmao the BIPOC death zone of all topics (source: my experience, my BIPOC peers experiences, and a viral tweet that read "Hey are you going to the cottage this weekend? No, i am BIPOC". This one is always fun since it seems to come up all the time. Lawyers chat about their cottage, students with cottages respond in kind, students without cottages or cottage experience have nothing to add; iv) alcohol can be a big barrier for non-drinking BIPOC... try being a non-drinker who is in a group conversation or group social where the topic of conversation is alcohol - i am a confident person, i also do not drink, i have shit all to say about wines/spirits/beers when the whole damn team is chatting for hours on end about a given alcoholic drink type (or the entire event is a wine tasting or cocktail making activity) - its not just about the internal question of am i being judged in those contexts, its about not being able to contribute and being excluded. Sure, the non-drinker could just choose not to attend, but also sure the non-drinker can lose a chance to be social and build their profile/relationships aka drinkers can have such opportunities more available to them; v) I have also had white lawyers practically ignore me and focus all the attention on my white peers in various group social interactions. I used to think it was always a coincidence until it happened so many times during law school events + big law context that I realized it can't just be a coincidence; vi) also there is something to be said with just walking into a room and barely seeing anyone that looks like you/walking into interview after interview without seeing anyone that looks like you/working somewhere with very few people who look like you... I do not know what it is about this that shapes the experience of BIPOC, but I can count the # of BIPOC associates/partners in my department of interest at my firm of interest on one hand and it isn't a small department. Firm-wide, there are certainly not very many BIPOC lawyers, maybe 10-15% at best. The higher you go in the ranks the less of them there are. All of my examples are related to conversations. I guess that makes sense since at the student level so much of your career-building is in the context of the conversations you have, whether they be at networking events or in interviews. A conversation leaves an impression on people. The conversations you have shape your reputation. Conversations can make or break your chances somewhere. Conversations, in short, are important and can carry a lot of power vis-a-vis building one's career, so good on this poster for creating space to reflect on how we can refine our conversations to be more inclusive. I remember how at one firm, McMillan, the in-firm interview process was almost entirely behavioural questions. That felt very refreshing and it left a lasting positive impression on me. I remember bringing this up during my interview. The lawyer told me it was intentional, they did not want to rely on casual conversation alone to determine an applicant's suitability and knew that it can disfavour diverse candidates. On the broader point of diversity in the legal profession, I wonder about the kinds of challenges that BIPOC (taking into account class/gender/sexuality) may encounter in different pockets of the legal profession. I am not well versed on the available analyses out there, but this report by the LSOntario seems to suggest that a proportion of BIPOC licensees from all walks of the profession encounter challenges as a result of their social identities http://lawsocietyontario.azureedge.net/media/lso/media/legacy/pdf/w/working-together-for-change-strategies-to-address-issues-of-systemic-racism-in-the-legal-professions-final-report.pdf.
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