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adVenture

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  1. One of my follow-up questions would be how much detail should I provide to questions like what makes you interested in working here? The real answer is that I grew up in difficult socio-economic circumstances and that most of my family, including all of my immediate family, has suffered terrible substance abuse and other issued related to poverty (homelessness, orphaned, etc). My assumption is that its all too personal to disclose, but I don't want to be dishonest/evasive ether, and this is a different context than the usual firm/public sector interviews I've done. Thanks for the help during the weekend break. @providence I remember you advising me to do CLC before I started my current articles 9-months ago, and -- full disclosure - I have to say you were right then.
  2. Hi all, I'm finishing my articles in a couple of months and I am beginning to interview with different public and private sector organizations. I have an interview with a community legal clinic in around a week (I'd really like the job) and was wondering if anyone had any insight into how those interviews are structured? At my existing employer I do similar practice areas, i.e., administrative law, labour-employment, benefits, and civil litigation -- but, I was wondering if the interview will likely be substantive? I want to know if I should brush up on areas I don't normally do, as right now I work for an institutional client (municipality). I've talked it over with a friend who works in a different practice area at legal aid and, as a starting point, she told me to expect a substantive interview. The main practice areas are landlord-tenant, employment, and miscellaneous civil litigation (social assistance, police law, etc). Thanks!
  3. I got an articling position in late June 2018 with a municipality; there are great firms/in-house departments hiring until August. In my opinion, don't start articling for free yet. Widen your search and don't give up.
  4. I've had this conversation with my articling principal a couple of times after dealing with incredibly aggressive labor and personal injury lawyers. The majority of his practice has been solicitor-based and unlike lawyers with a litigation-based practice he does not need to be assertive, dominant, or adversarial. The same is true for me, although, I do a significant amount of litigation. My opinion is that those qualities are not an advantage when you are working in a more collaborative workplace (think some parts of the public sector) and can instead be a hindrance. I would suggest that you consider applying to in-house legal departments in the public sector and in departments where most of the work will not be litigation and will involve things more like drafting legislation and providing legal opinions to internal clients. To me, your problem seems to be with the culture of your previous firm and not with the law generally, so, in my view, I think you should now target your search for the type of law-related workplaces you would actually like to work at. To give you the idea of some of my days, sometimes I will spend an entire day in my office with the door closed and just write part of a factum. Some days I will be in meetings and in-court and will be talking to anyone who wants to listen. Different articling principals have different philosophies, so I would chock up your experiences to date as the example of the fact that different lawyers do law differently depending on the context.
  5. Some background. I've been articling at a rural municipality in southern Ontario for 6-months and enjoy the kind of legal work I do here, e.g., tort, municipal, and labor-employment law. I also like the supportive culture. The issue is that there is no prospect of hire back because the city council has not and very likely will not approve additional funding for a new junior level position (nor do i think the municipality really requires it). My articling principal has offered to pay for me to attend a conference in Toronto that is coming up in the next week. This is very helpful because the cost is around $400.00. One of the primary reasons I am going is because I want to try and network with lawyers attending the conference, to see whether there is any interest in hiring a junior lawyer somewhere in this niche area of practice. My articling principal agrees that this is a good idea. Does anyone have any suggestions on some do's and don'ts? Although I'm comfortable with talking to people in normal life, I don't have any experience networking. I don't want to go to the conference with the wrong idea either, i.e., maybe treating this as an opportunity to network is wrong? Any help is appreciated, thanks.
  6. I was in the same boat as you, that is -- I flunked out of OCIs and structured articling recruitments and had to go the route of applying for articles in Toronto/GTA during my 3rd year. Some very good firms and government agencies were accepting applications all the way until mid August, e.g. Ministry of Finance, AGCO, OLG, and Weirfoulds (I believe), along with other mid-sized firms, insurance defence boutiques, and municipalities. I would just keep a more open mind and be prepared to practice in the public sector; I found a lot of firms, besides some notable exceptions, started to try and hire articling students at fire-sale salaries, which I found wasn't really the case with the public sector (I ended up accepting a position in-house with a municipality and love my job, despite my past dislike for public servants, who -- it turns out -- are just normal people who can accept that a "job is just a job"). Probably the best advice I got from a law professor I was and remain close with is that everything comes out of the wash and all but the worst candidates will eventually sort themselves out. I would keep in mind if I was you, however, that the average articling salary in Ontario is around $50,000, although the Toronto average should be higher given the cost of living -- so don't turn your nose up at good positions because you feel like you are destined to do corporate law a la Bay Street. Send me a PM if you have any other questions; I had a lot of sleepless nights that probably could have been avoided if I hadn't been so embarrassed in not securing an articling position sooner when, it turns out, that's not so unusual.
  7. I have a tattoo on the upper part of my chest plate, which is visible if I unbutton the top button of a dress shirt, or if I don't wear an undershirt. I've never had any issues, but I cover up around half the time.
  8. Just another perspective from another new articling student... OP I would recommend that you have some face-to-face talks with some law students or lawyers that skew a little younger to get a better idea whether being a lawyer is fun or not, and any other seemingly (not) "trivial" quality of life questions that come to mind. A lot of law students that I know, including myself, were completely blind-sided by what practicing law actually entails, i.e., what lawyers even do when it all comes down to it. I'll use myself as an example. I'm articling in-house in a rural municipality. I didn't even know the job I'm doing existed until halfway through law school, because it's not a common position in Ontario and I wasn't really taught all that much in law school about municipal law. I'll even add that I didn't even know that 50% of my time would be doing labour and employment law in a municipal context until I started my job and realized, surprise, that's most of the legal department's work because who else is going to deal with those types of issues ... not external counsel. The other thing to keep in mind is that there is an articling crisis and it's really difficult to get a job unless you have the whole package: strong student, good with people, impressive qualifications, etc. Like it took me about 16 months of straight looking to get the articling position I'm working at right now. You should have an easier time than me because I'm an introvert and you probably know how to network already, but don't expect to walk into law school and stand out like you did in your undegrad program. It's a whole different ball game, and you need to be ready to struggle a little more than you are used to. Anyways if you have any specific questions just PM me.
  9. I'm a 2018 graduate who will be articling in the public sector for the 2018-2019 articling term after searching for articles right up until mid-June. My convocation happened at around that time. It was the best reality check anyone could have asked for because I was able to count that around 1/3 of my cohort got some kind of academic distinction. Knowing that a B+ average is nothing special helped me get over my academic superiority complex, let me take my lumps, and work on other parts of my application. But I'm just speaking for myself. Edit: The point being that my future articling principal presumably believes that I will be a good articling student despite getting a couple C+s.
  10. To provide the OP with a student perspective, I got accepted into UOttawa with a cGPA of 3.60, L2 of 3.93, and LSAT of 159. In no uncertain terms getting into law school was not the hard part; adjusting to the workload of law school while taking personal responsibility for finding a real, professional job was the hard part. Although I can appreciate your position, law school is not a panacea for our personal faults. A recent expression I heard for the first time a few days ago is especially relevant: when people suffer hardship, people don't rise to the occasion, they fall to their training. It's important to ask yourself whether you've sufficiently trained yourself to be ready for law school. Many applicants are not fresh out of their undergraduate degree and instead work for a few years in a related field, i.e., administration. A more extended pathway would have benefited me personally in law school because I did not have the maturity to smoothly transition, and unlike undergraduate studies, law school is much more academically unforgiving than at least the humanities and social sciences. I personally share your (impressive and unreasonable) level of self-belief, but like you, I also needed a reality check, which this board was helpful in providing me with. Although (like many other students) I have been able to eventually secure an articling position, and a position that I really like, it came with a lot of unexpected hardship that I had to shoulder myself. Although I imagine buckling under pressure has some pedagogical value, the financial implications of law school are also much more severe than most undergraduate degrees... I don't know if you have been responsible for personally paying for your schooling, but working in criminal defence will not allow you to easily pay back your loans either (the salaries are quite low, even if you have a position locked-in, it will probably be close to minimum wage). So it's important to ask yourself whether law school is even worth it right now, and whether it wouldn't be better getting another professional position, perhaps with the government, to give yourself some extra time and money to prepare for another round of applications. I know all about the fears of disappointing family -- but they raised you, so they should be aware that you aren't perfect... Edit: As well, if your decide that criminal defence is not for you, other employers will often look at your undergraduate transcripts. So, those grades will continue to be material. In that sense especially, providence is right: we have to live with the decisions we made in our undergraduate studies for a while after graduating still.
  11. @Deadpool Thanks for the reality check -- I agree that I was very foolish. I am impulsive and a poor planner and I've always taken for granted that no one, except very few students in law school, are uniquely qualified and therefore a shoe-in for their first-choice practice area. I don't think I've been the most realistic person and this job search has been a good reality check. @artsydork A brief overview of my law-related volunteer/intern placements. First, 1L summer I interned with in-house counsel for a telecom and helped his outside counsel with some real estate transactions. Second, most of 2L, I shadowed a lawyer with a criminal defence and child protection practice. Third, in 3L summer I volunteered with Pro Bono Ontario doing basic clinic work, 75% of which was helping people with small claims court issues, i.e., unpaid credit cards, non-RTA tenancies, etc. Right now, I'm volunteering with Pro Bono Canada doing affordable housing-related advocacy. But besides all of the above, I'm fresh out of undergrad and have negligible work experience. I don't know if I've failed to sell myself or what, but -- again -- even with all of the above internships, I've gotten 66% interest from Crown and have never been approached by a full-service firm in corporate, commercial, real estate, and etc. So, besides my grades, which can always be improved, I'm trying to figure out the missing piece. To be honest, I still don't understand what MAG, for example, has seen in me that full-service firms have not. @providence Thanks for the continued input. I agree with everything you're saying. For example, I'm trying to get a research position with a retired municipal/planning lawyer -- but, the issue is that I'm trying to figure out quick fixes for this January's hiring cycle (quick fixes which might not exist). Thanks for continuing to give advice everyone. I don't mean to be too negative or anything because at the end of the day I'm very privileged, but I guess processing through everything has been harder than I thought. Oh well, back to cover letters :D.
  12. Hi @providence -- thanks for the detailed response. I'm going to first attempt your first, second, and third points. I considered LAO positions and never applied to them. I can't be more honest than to state I have a deeply held belief that while I believe defence counsel do important work, I do not have the personal capacity to defend the guilty and would be unable to discharge my duty to prospective clients because its just who I am. I have tried to make up for that inability by continuing to volunteer, even though I recognize it will do me no career-related favours, because I enjoy volunteering and believe it does some good. As to your fourth and fifth points. I became interested in real estate, planning, and municipal law through learning about the POA and by-prosecutions. While I don't think its extremely exciting, I think its interesting enough to do long-term. And I did not take the aforementioned job, which would have involved 20% by-law prosecutions and 80% planning research, because it was located in a city 7-hours away from my mom. But the regret is that no job is worse than a unionized job that, as far as I can remember, would have paid close to MAG and would have strictly been between 8:30-4:30 Monday to Fridays -- where I could still visit from my mom from time to time. The focus is still on return to Toronto. And I think my issue has been showing firms that I've had a change of heart .. so you are correct there. But that's some of the advice I was looking for :D. I'm just trying to get a better feel for how much interest out there that there still is for articling students this late in the game. I always thought only "bad" students didn't get articling positions this late in the game, so this this experience has just been an ego hit, but I've learnt from it some far I think. @timeisticking Do you have any recommendations on when cold-calling would be appropriate? I am in my last week of exams right now and don't think I can make the time now -- should I wait until January? Thanks for the good wishes.
  13. Thanks for the responses so far. @thegoodlaw I haven't seen many positions open up in December, so I've been getting worried. But it's good news that there will be another wave from January to March. Compared to OCIs and summer articling positions -- do you know how many are still up for grabs? @Mountebank I have reached out to the municipality again and they said they filled the position.
  14. Could anyone answer a few questions about how to search for articling positions during the final year of law school? A little background on me. I went into law school having no general idea into what area I would practice, except with the general idea that I would try out criminal law because I had taken a few criminology courses, volunteered with at-risk communities, and and felt that I would have good fit. I became an average student in law school, although I am now sitting at an exact B+ average right now, but my first year marks were significantly worse. I have continued to volunteer throughout law school in food banks and with pro bono organizations. Sometime during last summer and during the interview process for articles I realized I did not what have it takes to be a Crown attorney. I interviewed with about 12 Crown offices and it became obvious that I couldn't do the work because I just didn't have the fit/personality. And for personal reasons I did not want to become a defence lawyer -- even though I shadowed one for 6-months and I am friends with couple; it's just not a job I can do because I grew up in a high-crime neighbourhood where the effects of crime were worse than poor police practices, etc. I've been have serious difficulties getting interviews with firms in civil-related areas of practice, i.e., real estate, municipal law, or general corporate. Although I've had around 18 articling interviews to date, none have been with non-government employers (if that's even possible). An added issue is that I want to relocate back to Toronto to spend time with family -- my mother has had cancer for a couple years now and although she's is now in remission, over the past few months she's had serious heart issues as well. (When it rains it pours) I received an offer article with a municipality doing by-law prosecutions and general planning law matters early on in the summer, which I turned done for the aforementioned reason, but I've begun to thoroughly regret that decision. Does anyone have any insight into how to get one's foot in the door in this area of the law? I'm starting an internship with an in-house counsel next semester, but I'm worried its too little too late. As well, I've been having a friend going to bat for me for one position with a real estate firm in Toronto, but who knows what will come of that chance. When do last-year articling positions really start to open up? At this point, I'm open to most positions besides the one where you have to work for free, and I know I could put in the work to make it worth hiring me. Thanks everyone, any feed back is appreciated.
  15. Applied to around 50 places, mostly MAG-related, 12 interviews, 1 offer (declined), and waiting on two more responses. Getting pretty nervous about where I'm going to end up ...
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