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adVenture

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adVenture last won the day on July 18

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  1. I went to law school with a university friend 1-year ahead of me, right out of undergrad. I think that was unusual, I don't remember anyone of my colleagues who knew each other before law school. We ended up drifting apart, but he gave me a few summaries and introduced me to a couple of people. I ended up making most of my friends in a 1L facebook group for law students and at a soup kitchen I volunteered at, where about 1/3 of the volunteers were other law students. You'll end up making different friends throughout law school and at the firms/government departments you work at during the summers. I'm also an introvert who also has some difficulty making new friends, although I've known my closest friends for about 15-years, and I was able to make a few good friends. You'll be able to do the same by virtue of group projects and study groups, even if you aren't big on socializing at bars, etc.
  2. I entered law school directly from undergraduate school and I look around 18-21 (I'm 27). I've never had an issue in the legal profession. Outside of it, most of the time people don't think I'm a lawyer until I've talked for a few minutes. I've never taken it personal because I've always looked young. I also don't subscribe to the culture of self-importance that some legal professions seem to have. Also, for what it's worth, most regular people I've met volunteering or at social events don't actually like lawyers, so I have no issue with being mistaken for someone else.
  3. The market for first year associates in Toronto is brutal. I almost moved to Alberta instead. One reason I did not accept a first year associate position in Alberta is because my area of law varies relatively substantially from province to province. Besides that, the biggest problem I faced interviewing in Alberta was just how impractical it was. Phone and video-conference interviews are less than ideal. I did not have the opportunity to network with people the same way as I did in Ontario, where I could just bite the bullet and drive 3-6 hours to get where I needed to be on a tank of gas, instead of on a plane. Just some food for thought.
  4. When I was articling in a small town in southwestern Ontario, population 55,000, there would occasionally be really slow periods for me when my department did not have a really pressing litigation file on hand. My articling principal would be busy with other work, and there wouldn't be an opportunity for me to ask for more work for a couple of days. During these times I would review forms and precedents, do some general reading to prepare myself for upcoming files, and would ask law clerks whether I could help them with their work. If I still had a few active or recently completed files, I would take extra time to write a more comprehensive memo and chuck it into a database that my department was building for general legal opinions. At first I would really stress out, but eventually you do enough 60-hour weeks that you accept a couple of 25-hour weeks is fine, and a normal part of the business cycle (and helpful for staying sane). This was in the legal department of a municipal corporation, so the structure is a little different than a firm, but I think the point is the same. You might consider trying to bring in your own clients, even just on a casual basis, from social spaces you participate in, which in a small town would likely be a church.
  5. You can get a list of interview questions that MAG offices ask candidates from career centres at law schools.You should ask your old law school for a list of those interview questions. In my experience, for criminal offices, MAG interview questions tend be completely substantive and involve questions about every aspect of being a Crown, with an emphasis on ethics. For civil and administrative offices, MAG interview questions tend to be slightly less substantive because the areas of law tend to be more narrow and not always taught in law school. The structure of both tends to include things like writing a memo on a case, substantive interview questions, and possibly a more formal oral presentation. In sum, you should expect that you need to study your materials as if you were studying for a formal law school exam. Edit: Different MAG offices have completely different interview procedures and can involve anywhere from 1-3 lawyers focusing on different areas of law (evidence, procedure, offences, or constitutional) with different interview styles. For example, I remember an interview of mine at the Brantford office being relatively informal in front of just one crown answering substantive questions. In contrast, an interview at the Peterborough office involved a case summary, oral presentation, and substantive interview questions in front of 3 lawyers.
  6. I don't agree with this. Literally the opposite happened to me, where my 1L grade in legal research was a C+, but my 3L grade in a legal research course I proposed to, and did with a professor was an A+. It opened a lot of doors for me that would have otherwise been closed because legal research is what you do a lot of as a junior lawyer. It also gave me a meaningful reference from someone very established in their field with a lot of respect (municipal law) -- this came up all the time and to this day I still keep in touch with this professor as a mini mentor. I would just worry about keeping busy; showing improvement; and demonstrating an interest, rather than overemphasizing the importance of clinical experience. I happened to also volunteer at PBSC and PBO during 2L and 3L, and none of my interviewers/employers ever seemed to care all that much about that experience. Edit: I'd also like to reiterate that most 3Ls who haven't secured articles in the summer of 2L, which was about 30% at my law school, usually find a great position somewhere else. This happened to a number of my colleagues. It's a very long recruitment process; just stay positive.
  7. This just happened to me in firm with a niche practice area (municipal/land development/condominium). I just checked the going rates for the firms in the area using the ZSA chart, and some of the salary spreadsheets on this site to figure out a baseline. But, it might be worth figuring out what your area of law tends to pay in general if the practice area is really niche or in high demand. For example, I ended up getting about 30% more than the going rate because the municipal sector is really hot right now, and I wasn't a superstar candidate.
  8. I wrote it like a short cover letter, i.e., I said I was interested in what you do, here are my grades, here is my experience, and if you are hiring please let me know, I will send you a full application. I wasn't comfortable enough to network over informal coffee meetings and etc., so I never did what other posters might recommend, which is just doing interviews over coffee or something similar. For what it's worth, my formal writing is much better than my verbal communication, so just do what works for you. And yeah, I made it really clear I wanted a job, like everyone else, and did not beat around the bush.
  9. I think the best you can do right now is do your best to keep your grades up or improve them, while trying to get experience in the area of law you want to practice in during 3L. For example, I too washed out of OCIs and the articling recruitment, and I wanted to get into municipal and land development law, so some of the things I did in my last year was do part-time clinic work advocating for rooming house reform, worked a part-time job in a corporation that did some municipal work, and volunteered at a food bank. I also took two municipal law courses, the second being a directed research project, and did my best to get A's in those courses. This helped me get my articling position and my first year associate position. As mentioned by other posters, a lot of firms and government departments will continue to advertise rolling positions throughout 3L. If you have a bias against working in smaller practice groups, now is your time to get over it, because size is not everything. You should apply to those positions, while researching different firms you can contact for informational interviews, and frankly ask them to hire you. Apart from this, I think demonstrating a practice area interest is very important because once you do that, firms might be less worried that you are a flight-risk, and that you are just willing to do what it takes to get the job you want. I had the most success just emailing full-service firms (20-40 lawyers) located in medium-sized cities, often because they do not always take regular articling students, and if they do, only one or two. I'm pretty sure I made the exact same type of post you did when I struck out, so what you are going through is normal. If you want PM me and we can talk more; this forum really helped me get my two jobs. Good luck!
  10. During my part-time 3L job that I had in the legal department of a corporation, two of my colleagues were recent calls that had respectively studied at an Australian and English law schools; one of them also obtained a masters of law in the United States. Both had substantial difficulties finding employment outside of going solo and "consulting," and both were paid at about the same pay band -- that is, grossly underpaid.
  11. Without wading into the underlying debate, I just wanted to specifically respond to this comment because I couldn't have said it better. Although I'm only a 2019 call, so I don't want to derail this, I just managed to secure a better than expected associate position in a niche area of law in a small practice group with colleagues who seem to just be all around great people. And from the ground running I will be making way more than my grandparents ever did, who both worked in a factory for 50+ years while raising me as a kid, and now experience real health problems from how hard they had to work in less than ideal conditions, with never having anything like a financial cushion (one of my grandparents was an orphan, the other the oldest of 12). When I get them simple gifts, like craft coffee beans or other things they like, I literally have to rip off the label and say it bought it on sale or they will not use it because it is "too good for them." I really wish life could be more fair, but it isn't, and so I'm just thankful for what I have and trying to be a more open-hearted person in the process.
  12. For municipalities and other public sector organizations I interviewed at for articles, there were generally around 35-50 applicants for a single position, and anywhere from 4-8 people were interviewed for the position.
  13. I'm in the same boat as you @TheLegalSeagull. Over the last month I've cold emailed around 15 firms with a blurb that introduces to them who I am and inquires whether they would be interested in hiring me. About 3 firms rejected me, 5 didn't respond, 7 firms asked for a full application, and I was offered formal interviews with the other 5, which are ongoing . They are all 30-200 lawyer firms, so I don't know if this would work for even smaller shops. I've had the most success with applying to firms that either didn't have many junior associates in the relevant practice area, but had an active practice there (I searched Westlaw to check), or firms that posted job advertisements in areas of law I don't practice, and where I just mention I know you are hiring X, but would you consider Y? One thing I would do is always try to provide them with a writing sample, so they know I have good research/writing skills, which came up in every interview as a positive. But, to attempt to answer your question, I never asked for an informational interview like you referenced, and instead just asked for a regular interview. I see how you are trying to show you are interested in their firm by requesting that, and trying to show that you really want to go private (I get asked that at every interview so far), but i think now we can just rely on our previous work experience to demonstrate our interest. Like when you think about it, I don't know other professions where it is common to offer to meet someone from an organization you intend to interview at before the interview to get to know them, so I've never thought to do that. This is all just my opinion; I'm open to being corrected by someone more knowledgable.
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