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ZappBranniganAgain

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  1. I don't conflate wealth with success. I said that success and intelligence are synonymous, and I mean that. I don't mean "be smart and be king of the world!". When I say "success", I mean the definition that I gave: "I think of success as setting a goal and accomplishing it". I don't believe that "privilege" exists because your ability to succeed by setting a goal, making smart moves, and accomplishing that goal is viable in any circumstance. A child born blind in a refugee camp will likely not end up rich, but that does not mean they cannot be successful. They can set a goal of escaping the refugee camp and obtaining a better life. If that is their goal and they achieve it, then they are smart and successful. I guess when I say "smart" I really mean "effective". Smart people are effective, effective people accomplish their goals, accomplishing your goals makes you successful, therefore smart people are successful. I guess the baseline reason I don't like the word "privilege" is because it assumes: a) being rich and white is a great thing, so if you're born into that then everything is wonderful, when that might not be the case; and b) it robs people who work hard of their accomplishments because of where they came from. It's a nebulous concept that does not really capture the strengths and weaknesses of different origins. My father was born dirt poor and had a grade 4 education, but he succeeded by setting goals and doing what needed to be done to accomplish them. He is a harder worker and an all around better person than me, even though I was born in better circumstances than he came from. Which one of us is privileged? This is accurate, but only so far as being born into a certain situation leads to certain choices, which might be made or not. Being born rich might be nice if your ideal is to be highly educated, but it might hamper you by causing you to be spoiled or lazy. I think the problem with the whole privilege movement is that it is based on false assumptions: being rich, white, Canadian, American, whatever, is irrelevant to being an effective person. It has nothing to do with what really matters: being a hard-working, smart (i.e. effective) person, who accomplishes their goals. And morally, those goals should be to benefit others. This is why, again, Diplock's image of the blind child in the refugee camp is not necessarily lacking in privilege. If her goal is to assist refugees, then she has been born in a perfect place. It's also possible to be what you call "privileged" and yet suffer terribly. You can be all the things that I ahve described and still have a very hard life, but that doesn't mean you're not successful. Edit: But I should clarify that if the child's goal is to be a surgeon, then yes they are basically doomed to fail at that goal due to where they were born, their personal attributes, etc. So I guess you could call that being "unprivileged" I don't believe that my philosophy is any of the things that you have described. It is logical, it is just not directly associated with what is typically termed "success". So maybe my problem is I'm just shoehorning my ideas of what makes a worthwhile life into this discussion of success and it just doesn't fit... Because I'm not saying that your metaphorical refugee child doesn't have it bad. They do. It's just that I believe they can still be successful and that a sense of them being "unprivileged" does an injustice to the tenacity of humanity.
  2. No, I do not. What you are born into is meaningless. It is a way to excuse yourself for what you do. Everyone has choices in life, and those choices are determined by your circumstances, but the choices you make are up to you. Success and intelligence are synonymous. Even people who are in high positions that we think of as "dumb" are actually very intelligent if they have attained that position and held on to it. People who inherit something, but are dumb, will lose it. Always. But as I said, time and chance happen to all so there's nothing stopping anybody from getting hit by a bus. And once you said "white male" I determined I needed to sign off. All I'll say is that life is a lot more complicated than the academic, neo-marxist, ultra-liberal mentality. It feels nice to rest in the bubble, but it's a comfortable illusion. You may or may not come to this conclusion eventually. Have a good day.
  3. You do. It is implicit in your assumption that a large assortment of professionals do not "fit the mold" of being successful/intelligent. Even being a "shoddy" doctor is still a level of accomplishment that most people could never dare to achieve. You belittle it because you assume that you are better than them, could do the job better, etc. And maybe you could. Maybe you are a genius. I have no idea. But you should realize that this assumption lurks in the back of your skepticism of others: you are assuming they have certain characteristics based on your view of yourself. It is by far the single most valued trait a person can have in our society. That's not to say that's morally right, but I don't think your statement is valid on its face. Unless what you are trying to say is "people have value regardless of intelligence", in which case that is morally true (although not generally reflected in society). I know that this is the trendy university view at the moment. I spent as much time hearing about it as you did, and I still disagree with it. People succeed because they work hard and exercise their cunning to maneuver themselves into successful positions. You can be born wealthy and be a lazy sack of flab, or shoot yourself in the face because life is just too hard, or you can use your resources and accomplish things. You can be born poor and succeed despite the odds, or you can fail. Time and chance happen to all, rich and poor. At this point, I think our views simply diverge, so I won't say too much about it. I think you base success more on being passionate and pursuing a dream, whereas I think of success as setting a goal and accomplishing it. Neither is really wrong, just different. I don't really see "mastering an art" as a success unless you're trying to accomplish a specific effect, but that's just me. Now that I've written all this, I do want to say that I'm not trying to be malicious or rude. I'm mostly just responding because this is actually interesting to me, so I hope you're not offended. Even when I say that you think of yourself as intelligent, I am saying that with the view that I do the same thing, so I don't mean to insult you. I do think you were being a little rude earlier, but I'm not trying to "flame" you or anything.
  4. You only talk like this because you think of yourself as intelligent. You compare others to your own subjective standard of intelligence - which is inherently based on self-perception - and deem them unworthy. We all do this. That's why people who (rightly or wrongly) think of themselves as unintelligent tend to treat others as more intelligent than themselves. You consider yourself to be a genius so you assume others are less intelligent than you, regardless of profession. Objectively speaking, lawyers, doctors, accountants, politicians,and business executives are some of the most highly educated groups in Canada. There is no real debate about this. In terms of intelligence, as whoknows commented, the debate is subjective and futile. So, you half-win: I withdraw my description of lawyers as one of the most intelligent groups in Canada in the interests of remaining objective. And thank you very much for condescending to be "kind" to me.
  5. Doctors, accountants, politicians, business executives... They all describe themselves that way because that's what they are.
  6. A law student saying that they are "average" is really a very ridiculous sentiment in and of itself. It's equivalent to saying "I am in the middle of this group of some of the most highly educated, highly successful people in the country". Only lawyers would be disappointed by being described in such a fashion.
  7. Sorry, I meant a Canadian government, not government in general. Although your point definitely stands, since private prisons in the US have been shown to create a variety of perverse incentives.
  8. But it's such fun to make unqualified statements about things you know nothing about! 60% of people know that.
  9. I don't know what it's like in other provinces, but in BC the main services that duty counsel can provide in criminal proceedings are to explain charges and procedures, appear in the bail hearing, and appear for a guilty plea. I wonder if even this sort of system funnels accused who don't qualify for legal aid towards a guilty plea, since that's the option that allows them to receive legal assistance. I have no idea if any Canadian government would actually consciously implement policies that increase conviction rates/guilty pleas, though. It's just a thought that occurred to me.
  10. I've noticed a few threads in the last couple of months that have discussed the practice of family law and the problems that practitioners face. The general consensus, both here and - I think - in the profession seems to be that family law is kind of a mess. Difficult clients (an understatement), endless litigation, lack of access to justice, poor treatment of children, and many other problems make family law a morass. As a result, lawyers tend to not want to enter the area, and many who are practicing in the area tend to leave it after a while. Moreover, people's concerns and legitimate issues often go unresolved. Family disputes are, obviously, anything but new. What is new is the type of litigation we have now, where partners split up and descend into an interminable legal conflict with the court as the battleground and - at least in my experience - their children as the first casualties. The individuals themselves often spend a fortune until lawyers are abandoned and they attempt to self-rep. Rather than resolving issues, the litigation seems to generate new issues. Once we have an order for summer parenting time, what day does Timmy come home? Should there be a police attendance at the drop off since last time the dad punched the mom in the face? Should there be an order that Timmy can't be allowed to sleep with the dog because of his allergies? The main problems that I've experienced are: 1. Impossible, irrational clients and opposing parties. These people are not operating on a logical basis the way a businessperson suing over breach of contract might be. In many ways, they don't want a legal solution. Rather, they want someone to fix their lives, which no lawyer or judge can ever do. They also want to use the court as a way to exert control over other people in their lives, which the court naturally resists. 2. The litigation never ends. Even after years of applications and a full trial, then it's time to appeal. I've inherited clients that have been litigating for over a decade, and to be totally frank, there were no rational issues that I could see. They were litigating over a relationship that no one but them could see, cloaked in half-legal claims. 3. The kids get the shaft. The idea of modern family law statutes with regards to children is to find the "best interests of the child". You hear this phrase over and over, and to be sure that definitely should be the goal. The problem is that, in an adversarial system, both parents always say that they know what is in their kids' "best interests", even when they clearly don't. I don't think that the adversarial court system really finds the best interests of the child, just which parent can more compellingly prove their version of that concept. 4. This will sound mean, but I'll say it anyway: self-reps. I know why people self-rep and I definitely am not criticizing them for it. What I am saying is that their presence is disruptive and inefficient compared to (most) lawyers. Having them in the courtroom alone results in time wasted explaining the distinction between "custody" and "guardianship", or why their affidavit was rejected, or other issues that eat up time for no real benefit. That's not the self-rep's fault, but it is a problem for the system. I'm not trying to complain about family law practice. I guess I just wish that there was a better way to make an efficient but fair judgement on the basic issues of child support, spousal support, asset division, and who gets what time with the child. I'm not a sentimental person, but even I get kind of sad when I think about all the broken families that pass through my office or my colleagues' offices and wonder if there was something I, or we as lawyers, should have done or not done to make things better. Perhaps family law should be taken out of the adversarial system and forced into a summary arbitration system. People submit affidavits and financial statements, a judgement is made, and that's the end of it. That doesn't allow people to explain the fine print of their relationship, but maybe that's a good thing? I suppose I just think that the way the court perceives litigation (competitive, antagonistic) works for resolving lots of disputes, but is antithetical to the cohesive unit we think of as a "family". It's more like "not-a-family-for-much-longer" law. And to be sure, lots of people divorce or split up without getting involved in the courts at all. So maybe family law is turning into a forum for high-conflict people, who will never compromise, to air their grievances, and if it's not helping them then maybe it just doesn't need to exist in its current form. I've heard the justification that family law is meant to prevent people from taking matters into their own hands and deter family violence, but in my (limited) experience, family law does nothing of the kind. High-conflict people are high-conflict, and if they're going to drive over to the house and smash the windows, there's nothing except a police takedown that will stop them. I don't want to seem like I am being arrogant here. I am not a senior family law practitioner. I do not make any claim to have a profound knowledge of family law. This post is purely based on my own experiences and discussions with other (more experienced) family lawyers. Thoughts? Do you think the family law system can be improved or is it as good as it's going to get? What would you change about it?
  11. I can't speak for OP, but there is a whole group of people who go from K-12, to undergrad, to law school, and finally into practice without ever quitting a job. They might only work summer jobs that end at the beginning of September during undergrad. They summer and article at one firm, get called and continue at the same firm. For those people, transitioning to another firm might be the first time they have ever quit a job. I have no idea if this applies to OP. I'm just commenting that there are certain people who are highly educated but not used to the workplace.
  12. Well, when I quit at my last firm I was walking on eggshells since I knew there was a possibility that my boss would blow up at me. Fortunately I had already secured a different job so I didn't need the reference, but I was still worried. I basically waited until he was in a relatively friendly mood, told I him that I had enjoyed working with him (questionably true), but that I wanted to pursue a different practice area (which was true). I was very polite and - I think this is key - I really emphasized that it wasn't about him or the firm, it was just about me wanting to change the area that I practiced in. I tried to keep it neutral to avoid offending him. I thanked him for the experience and the time he had taken to work with me (both of which were helpful, if kinda unpleasant). Again, very polite and very complimentary to him. I specifically said that I didn't want there to be any hard feelings, which I didn't It worked and he was as content as he ever was. I don't know if that will work for you, but maybe that will give you something to work off of. N.B. I realize this might come off as kind of manipulative, which maybe it was, but in fairness I was trying to exit a difficult firm without damaging my career. I did not outright lie, I just told the pleasant parts of the truth 😁
  13. Just out of curiosity, do you think this trend contributes to a higher conviction rate in criminal cases? I was trying (not terribly hard) to find some numbers on the conviction rate in Canada but the only thing I could find was a 2015 Juristat article that found an average conviction rate of 64% in criminal cases in Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2015001/article/14226-eng.htm#a9 There's also a breakdown of the result by charge and decision which I thought I was interesting (I'm boring, I know) https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2015001/article/14226/tbl/tbl05-eng.htm I wonder if lowering legal aid actually causes an increase in convictions, thus allowing a government to connect "high conviction rate" with "justice being served" in the eyes of the voters, even if the opposite might be true. It certainly prevents accused from forcibly advancing their rights, since - if we're being totally honest - most accused aren't spending their free time cruising canlii for Charter caselaw. Anywhoo, just musing.
  14. I'm honestly shocked that anyone would even think this. I'm not a crown, but I do know that the pressure is immense. They are constantly assigned to difficult cases that need to be prosecuted, but are filled with knots of complexity or complete ambiguity. They have to deal directly with victims who demand a conviction at all costs, regardless of whether the accused is guilty or not. The public expects a "tough on crime stance" no matter what and sees reasonable doubt as the collapse of civilization. Their workload can be immense. Some of these things are common to lawyers in general (difficult cases, long hours), but that doesn't make it any easier and the unique institutional setting of crown work makes it a pressure cooker. I tend to empathize more with the defence in myself, but I still have a lot of respect for what the crowns have to go through on their end.
  15. I had met someone who worked for them previously and heard that the head lawyer and his two main associates were extremely difficult and indifferent to their juniors. The firm had a high turnover rate. Once i got there, it turned out to be even worse than I had heard. I don't want to go into the details too much in order to avoid identifying the firm, but there was some serious misrepresentation and negligence going on that has recently come to the attention of the law society. I was glad to get out.
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