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About Livinginamerica

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  1. I'm not necessarily claiming that the culture is the only reason for the differentials, per se, rather that it is a merely contributing factor. Of course, the financials also play a (probably larger) role. I can't speak definitively as to loss rates from first to second year associates in the US, but my understanding from colleagues is that it is very unusual to be fired as a first year associate in US biglaw, and such a firing is normally a sign of bad financials on the part of the firm as opposed to underperformance on the part of the associate. In the end, I am merely saying that associates pressuring firms for increased transparency regarding financials and employment practices would not be a bad thing in Canada, and a greater degree of oppenness as opposed to deference might allow associates in Bay Street firms to gain more leverage in order to improve their lot. I definitely think the Canadian legal profession can be a bit too deferential in general at times, and this too often comes at the expense of those young people and new calls who are at the bottom of totem pole.
  2. Honestly, this culture of deference towards the Bay Street firms in Canada is crazy when one compares this attitude to the kind of aggressive law firm gossip on Above the Law and Top Law Schools. Whilst that culture is not always an unambiguous positive, it has lead to great gains for biglaw associates in the US with regards to salary and bonus transparency, hireback transparency (every firm is now scared not to hire back 100% of its summers for first year positions, which is really not the case in Canada, where many articling students are not hired back), and behavioral, cultural, and career advancement transparency. I really believe this is a big part of the reason why Bay Street firms feel empowered to pay Canadian associates less than US firms. Until associates start standing up and realizing these firms are not your friends, but are businesses and employers who are engaged in a quid pro quo relationship with you, the situation of Canadian associates will not improve drastically. These firms will just as easily fire you, not hire you back, or work your socks off, and yet you all are scared to say anything mean about them. There's sometimes too much deference in Canada. To OP, although I can't speak to your question directly being in the US, know that I think your question is a perfectly valid one that ought to be answered. You may have better luck speaking to trusted colleagues on a one on one basis.
  3. Also worth noting that if you don't think you will do well on the LSAT, and Mcgill is your dream school, you might have an incentive to not take the test, as Mcgill requires you to disclose your LSAT score regardless of what it is, and a bad LSAT score may keep you from being accepted to Mcgill. I have a number of friends who declined to write the LSAT because they felt they had strong enough applications to get in without it, and Mcgill was their first choice, so they did not want to take the unnecessary risk of writing the test and getting a bad score. Mcgill has accepted you now, it might not accept you after the LSAT if it is bad.
  4. Speaking as someone who currently attends H, an LSAT score in the 170s will put you in the mix, with a score above 175 making you a lock, and below 170 making it very unlikely. Between 170-175 or so, to varying degrees, other factors, including interview performance and ECs, will play more of a role.
  5. I disagree, my philosophy is the more tests the better (why settle for less studying and a lower score when you could study more and do better?). I personally did around 40 tests. That being said, the Indian LSAT is hugely different from the North American variant, as it is primarily intended for individuals graduating from secondary school (as India still has the British LLB system where law is an undergraduate degree). The test is also meant to speak to the cultural experience of that country more than the North American tests. In any case, the Indian LSATs are pretty meaningless and probably a waste of time for you, because of how different they are. I'd say to stick with the North American LSATs, even if it means writing some tests twice.
  6. Interesting, I think you are right that firms are often relying on other indicators out of HYS. In particular, I have noted that pre-law school experience often plays a big role for the more competitive jobs and niches. I have definitely heard of people with good grades underperforming at HLS EIP, whereas people with weaker grades can sometimes sweep the board. The looser grading system does make things a lot more unpredictable (although there are firms that continue to be very grade conscious out of HYS, and that provide a safety net for the less sociable top students because they offer primarily on grades, not to mention DC, which is very grades conscious, so good grades do still get you some things.)
  7. Coming from HLS, where there is, probably about 95% of the time, a two grade system, this being Honors and Pass, with a few students at the top of the class getting a Dean's Scholar Prize, and there being a discretionary Low Pass outside the curve for abominably bad performances (rarely used), I would say that the system does work somewhat well to contain law student stress. There is much less to distinguish students at HLS from each other, and, from my understanding, YLS is even more liberal in this regard, since they do not even grade the First Semester of 1L courses (although they otherwise use our system, except without the DS mark). There has been some feeling that, particularly at YLS, the lack of fine grading differentials has led to worsened instances of nepotism on the part of American firms. This does seem to be more of a problem at YLS than HLS from my feeling, however. The competition for grades is generally much less at HLS because pretty much 100% of the class is able to get biglaw jobs. I'm not sure its about the grading scale, so much as it is about the guaranteed outcomes at the end. If U of T was able to place every student who wanted to go Bay Street at a Bay Street firm, you can bet that the stress at the school will go down. That is the not the reality, and I think the U of T admin confused what the cause of reduced HYS stress was. The reduced stress comes from guaranteed outcomes, not the grading system, IMO. That being said, there are certainly still ways to distinguish yourself as a student at HLS, in ways that firms will notice, and which will overcome poorer social backgrounds. It is widely recognized that if you score all Hs in your 1L classes, you are in the top 5 to 10% of students in the class. Although there are less people gunning for good grades at HYS than at U of T (largely because some people just sit back, knowing that they are guaranteed a high salary at the end of law school), for those who are pursuing opportunities where grades matter, there is the room to distinguish yourself at HLS. Overall, U of T implementing the grading system was foolish, and could lead to unintended outcomes, because U of T is not HYS (as I have stressed repeatedly here, much to the consternation of many). Because law firms still need to select out of U of T in ways they don't out of HYS, and because not everyone can get a high paying job out of that school, there are probably risks akin to what Providence is stating.
  8. U of T certainly wouldn't be the same in America, but in Canada, certainly, I have met a number of people who seem impressed by U of T and Mcgill Law. Again, I think most lawyers just aren't interested in shooting the shit with taxi drivers and security guards, but that doesn't mean they aren't interested in the profession or don't think it has status. It's quite possible your just not really engaging these people in conversation. And I think that's coming back to my earlier point re: perspective. If the only people you talk to as a lawyer are doctors and bankers, then yeah, being a lawyer isn't much to those people. But if you actually are open to talking to blue collar folks, you'll discover a whole different world of perceptions of these professions (providence is generally correct, though, in that lawyer and doctor tend to get lumped together by your average joe, but both are seen as prestigious and impressive). I really don't think this is a factor that should encourage people to make any major decisions, but I do think it is a real thing nonetheless.
  9. I dunno, I think it depends a lot on age, because people in their early-mid 20s still seem really impressed by shit like school name and professional prestige. Not that I think it should matter, but I think these preoccupations with professional prestige and school prestige go down naturally with age as people become more preoccupied with personal and family life (people around 35 and up don't seem to give a shit about where I come from, more about what I can do). Different kinds of people exist as well, meaning both experiences narrated here could be equally true. But to answer your questions, yes, I've had lengthy conversations with bartenders, taxi drivers, etc. about my work in its broad generalities. I generally am pretty open to having such conversations though, and the practice area I am getting into is also pretty far from corporate solicitor work, meaning it might be of more interest to folks.
  10. Oh trust me, you'd be amazed at some of the privilege which law students, and lawyers generally, have. It's one of the shittiest things about our profession, but it seems as if people will always find something to moan about. Once they hit those big firms, they still don't stop moaning about hours and pay. A lot of it has to do with your perspective on life. If people can complain about the opportunities they have at Harvard (and believe me, they do), people will complain about anything. I think a lot of times people come from wealthy backgrounds and lack perspective as to how poorer people are forced to live, and the struggles that they face on a day to day basis. I honestly do think that every lawyer could often do with a bit more gratefulness for their station in life.
  11. I think the main thing I would add here is that Harvard offers something called the Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP) which would mean that you would never pay full American debt if you took a job in Canada, either in the public interest or the private sector, because those jobs would invariably fall well below the standard American biglaw salary, and therefore be eligible for Harvard's program of loan forgiveness. Harvard (and Yale) are unique in North America in essentially offering programs to guarantee you against bankruptcy, regardless of what job you take on. This was a big part of the reason I went to Harvard, and something that I would highlight for those making the decision. I am generally a very risk averse person, but for me, Harvard was actually the LESS risky option than a Canadian, because I had the downside protection of loan forgiveness if I got a low paying job. Canadian schools did not offer that same guarantee, meaning that I would still be on the hook for the full amount if something went wrong in the job search. As for the benefits of Harvard for working in Vancouver, I can;t really say apart from that I doubt that a Vancouver firm isn;t going to at least give a Harvard kid a look, as long as that kid showed sincere interest in working for the firm and had a justifiable reason to be in Vancouver (their main concern would likely be that said student would be a flight risk). I have known Harvard alumni who have landed across Canada in various firms, though I would note that most had ties to the city they eventually worked in beforehand.
  12. Are you a US citizen? This is going to be much easier to do if you are. Otherwise, the main challenge is going to be having these firms successfully complete a work visa application for you. It's likely they don't tend to hire international students often, and therefore may not be as comfortable with immigration hurdles as larger firms, which do hire such students more regularly.
  13. I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment, and this is why I turned down the easy road of solicitor work out of my law school to push for a more niche field that I know I truly love. That being said, by pushing for this field, I had a much tougher time than my peers who pushed for solicitor work, since there is just much more work from that field, at least out of my school in the US. Then again, I'm not the having family/kids sort of person, but nonetheless, I am someone who cannot function without loving and being passionate about my work every day. For something that's worthwhile, I am, of course, willing to work more. Even a 40 hour work week of dreariness would be too much for me. I can certainly respect someone who genuinely enjoys solicitor work, and I know a few, but there are definitely too many people who go in with an apathetic, work a day mentality. It's an even more sad commentary on our generation and society than anything else. I feel passion counted for more back in the day. Now our generation is, as you say, way too indebted that we have been infused with an apathetic, cynical, and mercenary mentality. Plus, if you wanted a 40 hour week, with decent income, in a job that you don't care about, why not just become an accountant or something? It's sad because these are the types of people who always complain about their job sucking.
  14. Are you a US citizen firstly? If not, US DA is out of the question. To answer your question, Mcgill hands down. Detroit Mercy is a TTTT in America and not well regarded, with nearly 50% straight up unemployment last time I checked. For American prestige, Mcgill is the hands down choice.
  15. I'm somewhere in between both of you, as I think it did help me to aim to do things that improved my resume in undergrad, whereas other people just partied and slacked around. That being said, the best ECs that I ended up doing were the ones that were spontaneous and unplanned. I kind of agree with what you say, plan to do something interesting in your undergrad, but also have a degree of spontaneity about it.
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