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Everything posted by BlockedQuebecois

  1. I don’t consider all of those employers to be big law jobs. A good number of those positions don’t pay anywhere close to going rate on the street. Normally I lump all the OCI jobs together, but when talking finances it’s important to distinguish between big law positions and OCI positions more broadly
  2. It doesn’t matter. Failing to calculate it this way leads to double counting of income earned as a result of getting a law degree.
  3. Median income for someone with a Bachelor's degree between the ages of 25 and 64 in Ontario was $70,832 in 2015 (and close to $90,000 for men). So while there is a ceiling, it's not like it's all that low. I'm not meaning to imply that going to law school is a poor financial choice. I think, generally speaking, you'll earn more having gone to law school than not, over the course of your career. I simply think people don't pause to consider whether they would still be happy to have attended law school if they're in the bottom quartile of their class and legal practice. Would they still want to attend law school if they knew that they only took home an additional $10,000 over the course of their first ten years of practice, after accounting for debt? Would they still want to attend law school if they knew they would be grinding away at undesirable jobs for years, earning only $20,000 more than if they took that cushy job with a 9-5 schedule and six weeks paid vacation? Is there perhaps a different degree or career path they would prefer, knowing those things? There's no right answer here, and again, it's not just financial. There are people who would rather make $40,000 a year practicing law than $80,000 working as a teacher. But I really do think prospective students need to sit down and ask whether they would still enjoy the field if they finish in the bottom quartile of the class and deal with all the things that come with that. Particularly if they're Bay Street or bust, since your odds of getting a big law job are often lower than your odds of finishing in the bottom quartile.
  4. The opportunity cost of debt has two dimensions. The first dimension is simply the interest you pay on it. The second dimension is foregone earnings on the money you pay towards the loan. In the example I provided, monthly payment is approximately $1000/month for ten years. If you didn’t have that debt, that would be money that could be earning you returns. So to figure out foregone earnings, we calculate the compound interest on an investment starting with $16,071 (the investment account established during the three years of working instead of law school) with monthly deposits of $1000. That yields an account balance of roughly $202,000, from which we subtract the $100,000 principal of the loan and the initial $16,071 (to avoid double counting).
  5. Essentially every field has a strong upwards trend in salary. In 2018, average income for Ontarians aged 24-30 was $44,900, while average income for Ontarians aged 45-54 was $66,800. There are 10 year calls making less than six figures. There are also a lot of lawyers who earn right around that six figure mark. The last time I looked at the Crown Counsel CBA in Ontario, there were a lot of lawyers grouped around the 100k figure, I think there are a lot of people who would be better off having not gone to law school ten years out. A quick, simplified case study: Assume someone leaves law school with $100,000 in debt. Assume that person could have taken home $50,000/year in lieu of attending law school and invested 10% of that each year with a 7% return. At the end of law school, foregone savings would be $16,071. Assume the debt is at 3.5%, and they pay it off over ten years. Now, here's where the opportunity cost seriously kicks in – the cost of that debt is both the interest you pay (roughly $18,000) and the foregone compound interest. Assuming you would have invested that money monthly into the same account as your foregone savings, the total cost of that debt would be $86,600. Thus, someone who chooses to go to law school needs to earn $302,671 (the cost of the debt + foregone savings + the $100,000 cost of attending law school) more than their non-law-school counterpart over those ten years. That means they'll need to earn roughly $30,000 more per year. $30,000 per year is no problem if you do well in law school (and are interested in the "right" jobs). But if you struggle in law school, take minimum wage articles (roughly $30,000/year), then work for a few years in the $40-70,000 range, you're going to have a tough time averaging more than $30,000 more per year than your fictional alter ego. At the end of the day, it's a personal decision. I just think that people really should spend some time considering what possible outcomes they have coming out of law school. You should evaluate how sound your decision is if you're at the top of your class, working two summers and landing well-paid articles. You should evaluate what happens if you're an average student, working one summer and landing lower-paid articles. And you should evaluate what happens if you're a below average student, working for free during your summers and finding minimum wage articles. ETA: for clarity, I also don’t think it’s just about money. Evaluate how happy you’ll be based on all the reasonable foreseeable factors – job satisfaction, work life balance, etc.
  6. Back on topic, I actually do think that people in Canada, particularly in Ontario, should give more thought to going to law school than many do. But I agree that OP's questions are based on faulty premises. If you're good at law school or good at legal practice, law school tends to be a good investment. The top of the market pays quite well. And even if you don't do well enough in law school to get the high-end jobs, its a profession that lends itself well to entrepreneurship and will allow you to earn a good income if you're able to successfully run a practice. But for a lot of people, law school really isn't a good investment. There's a clear bimodal salary distribution coming out of law school, and I'm of the opinion that the main reason it isn't as discussed as it is in the American context isn't that it doesn't exist, but rather that the gap is smaller due to lower big law salaries (and that's changing). A lot of people struggle out of law school. They find it hard to get a job. When they get a job, it isn't well paying. They earn less or similar to what they could have earned had they entered the workforce when they went to law school. If they went to an Ontario law school and used credit to pay for it, they're paying off a six-figure loan with a mid-five-figure salary. That's stressful. The economics of the profession often force those people into small practices, sometimes making them small business owners when they'd really rather be an employee. So while it's all well and good to plan to be in the 90th percentile of law school or legal practice (and pro-tip, you probably won't be), it's worth asking what you would do if you were guaranteed to be in the 25th percentile. Would you still go to law school, or would you pursue another profession? A lot of things will go into that equation: what are your other options, do you want to run a business or would you rather be an employee, what kind of environment do you want to work in, what type of work-life balance are you hoping to achieve, etc? So OP, I think you're asking the right overarching question, but you're going about it the wrong way. Don't stress out about the horror stories you hear out of the American legal market. But do give some serious thought to whether you'd want to attend law school if you were guaranteed to be a mediocre student, and further if you were guaranteed to be a mediocre lawyer.
  7. Oh, got it. I thought you were saying something really stupid, instead you were just submitting your entry for Uninteresting Observations Monthly. My bad.
  8. Sorry, for clarity, you think planning to be in the 90th percentile of your field is "not naive or really that optimistic"?
  9. Queens calculates your best two using your last ten courses? What? OP, just email Queens and ask. It’s not clear whether full course load means eight or 10 courses, and what they do if your best two years don’t conform with their course load requirement.
  10. I think you’re looking at this from a procedural point of view, whereas the critics are looking at it from a substantive point of view. Procedurally, you’re right. There’s little evidence that the justice system failed to work effectively. But to the extent that one of the substantive purposes of the justice system is the prevention of crime and protection of victims, I think it’s fairly obvious that the system failed. That failure may have been unavoidable, but it’s still a failure. And it’s worth calling it a failure. Otherwise we risk looking at substantive failures of the justice system and saying that everything worked properly procedurally, so there’s no problem. Procedurally sound miscarriages of justice can still be miscarriages of justice.
  11. In fairness, not murdering people is... not newsworthy. I don’t murder people every day. Nobody is writing G&M articles titled “BQ doesn’t murder someone, holds personal record of not murdering people since 1987” Viciously murdering your (ex)girlfriend and prior domestic violence victim of choice before trying to kill yourself is newsworthy, and should be reported on. It should be reported on better than it was, but this is CP24 we’re talking about.
  12. If we all point it out it will be funnier Lol @ @lawyer1987
  13. See, I could point out all the situations where a watch is quite useful and more discreet, but this feels like a lesson that will be better learned when you get reprimanded for taking your phone out in a courtroom or during a meeting
  14. I think getting a watch is a good idea, if not as a student then definitely as you move into practice. There are times when pulling out your smartphone to check the time is just wholly inappropriate, such as in meetings (internal or with clients) or in some court settings (really all court settings, as a student). It’s nice to have a covert way to check the time in those contexts.
  15. If you ask any healthcare professional who works in hospitals they’ll likely be able to provide quite a satisfactory explanation of the systemic factors that lead to healthcare failures. And the healthcare professionals I know do get asked about the failures of the healthcare system, all the time. I used to get asked about that kind of thing all the time when I worked in healthcare. Now that I’m in law school I get asked about legal issues in the news all the time. Sometimes I have answers, sometimes I don’t. It strikes me as... odd... to argue that it’s wrong to ask criminal lawyers about failures of the justice system. If you want to say there’s insufficient information, or that the answers are complicated, that’s one thing. But to suggest it’s wrong to ask an SME about their area of expertise is weird.
  16. Cars are just like watches. People who care about them will notice them. People who don’t, won’t, unless it stands out (for good or bad reasons). Circumstances will change that – if you work in the suburbs with reserved parking, you’ll probably know the cars of the three other people in your office. If you work in a big tower downtown, you’re more likely to know who has a nice watch than who drives which BMW in the 1,000 spot parkade at FCP.
  17. When you apply to the FCC/FCA, you provide a writing sample. They allow you to provide a sample in both official languages to support your claim of bilingualism. Assuming you do that, nothing else is necessary to signal bilingualism. Besides, isn’t UNB’s program entirely in English, with the French law school over at Moncton?
  18. My ranking is as follows: 1. SimpsonWigle LAW 2. Scarfone Hawkins 3. Agro Zaffiro 4. Ross & McBride 5. Camporese Sullivan Di Gregorio 6. George Street Law Group 7. Sullivan Festeryga I think two of my rankings will be contentious, so here is my explanation: Ross & McBride over Camporese et al. I get the criticism, because Camporese is a fun name, both to read and to speak aloud. But ampersands are under appreciated, particularly on business cards. A nice, bold, serif ampersand is pleasing both visually and to the touch. George Street Law Group over Sullivan Festeryga. This was a hard one for me, because George Street Law Group is such a boring name, but Festeryga was hard to spell. What ultimately tipped the scales for me was the realization that if you’re hungover, you have a much better chance at making it into the office if the name of the office also tells you where it’s located. Would I prefer it was George St. x Bay St. Law Group? Yes. But George Street is only six blocks long, so I’m confident you’ll find the office even without the cross street. This ranking is based entirely off of how fun each of the names was, and in no way reflects any qualitative assessment of the firm’s legal practices. If you want to know something useful, you should probably talk to utm.
  19. Okay but if OP wants a collegiate environment, that’s gotta be stikes right?
  20. I have a dream that one day, someone will post here that didn’t do well in law school, struggled in the transition to practice, and posted coherently about the topic. Because there really is value to that. The fact that career outcomes for below average law students are not great is one that doesn’t get raised enough, and the fact that career outcomes for below average students at some schools are better than at other schools is similarly underrepresented. But for whatever reason, the people in the position to talk about those issues so often swing as far as @Umpalumpa has, arguing essentially* that law school is a racket and it’s a “disconcerting” “stat” that some unknown number of students take below market value articles. And thus people who actually have a perspective that’s worth expressing end up coming off as conspiracy theorists, everyone has to jump on them because they’re spreading obviously incorrect information, and the end result is a perspective that’s worth considering ends up being suppressed. All of which is to say, in a rather long winded way, that if you strip out all of the advice and words that Umpalumpa used and instead focus solely on the perspective, it’s useful to OP. When considering law schools, you should take into account both what the best students can achieve and what the average and below average students can achieve. Your ideal law school should have both a high ceiling and a high floor, and the law schools @PerisoreusCanadensis pointed to (UBC, U of T, Osgoode, and McGill) satisfy those criteria. After that, you’re going to want to look at other factors, including cost and location, to make your final decision.
  21. Just to quickly lay out some facts, both McGill and UBC have big law placement rates that rival U of Ts, and all of those schools plus Osgoode have articling rates that are essentially 100%. I think there is a lot wrong with the advice @Umpalumpa provided, but I take it from their post history that they’re a disillusioned new call. While I disagree with much of their post, I think it’s useful for applicants to see the outlook from people who struggled to chart their course out of law school and into the profession. It’s just important for readers to keep in mind that perspective when considering the experiences recounted.
  22. They’ve simply decided to take different courses. Osgoode almost certainly could have in person classes, but they’ve decided not to for the fall semester, likely because they don’t want to have students forced to relocate to Toronto on such short notice.
  23. Nobody knows what is going to happen. It’s not extremely unlikely that low case numbers will continue. It’s entirely possible – South Korea got a handle on it and has avoided a second wave, even while other countries that are ahead of us on the curve experience one (see Japan). You’re speaking with far too much confidence. Your assumption is a reasonable one, but it’s far from the only reasonable possibility.
  24. I think it’s fairly unlikely you’re going to have anyone go on record here explaining their firm culture. This is a question that’s usually better posed to students in your network who summered at the firm.
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