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Everything posted by Livinginamerica

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. I will say this. I am someone who is really close with my parents, and I certainly discussed law school applications with them, but at this age, ie, your early to mid 20s, your parents should not be running your law school application process, you should. My parents were not telling me where to apply, or posting on forums for me, and frankly that is inappropriate at this age or stage of your life. Really think about what some of the life skills competencies of a 22 year old person ought to be. At the end of the day, this is your (or your child's) decision, and you (or they) need to be in control. It is much healthier for them in the long run.
  15. This is good advice. The range of firms Canadians are applying to is very limited, and these firms are often the most grade selective. Canadian students determined to be in NYC should seek out firms with practice areas where they have relevant experience, less selective firms with demand, etc.
  16. Much as it surprises me that people turn down HYS for U of T, it also surprises me that people would turn down Mcgill for U of T (barring the usual caveats of personal reasons and whatnot). Nonetheless, I know multiple people who have done either (and even both).
  17. I actually think this is a very valuable discussion for Canadian students interested in hitting NYC from a Canadian school. The traditional wisdom has always been that U of T is the best bet for those students, but I actually think there is a decent argument that Mcgill may be the better option for such folks. Mcgill has traditional relationships with the Ivy League in America, a large US undergrad population, and significant US law school population, brings a unique skillset to the law firms (in that it provides a bilingual and bijuridical expertise), and is a known quantity in America. I certainly get the feeling that there are many NY firms that would dig deep into the Mcgill class for the right candidate, I honestly feel the question is more of interest than it is of U of T being better than Mcgill for this purpose.
  18. I should also note that I am going into a practice area where the bilingual and bijuridical nature of the Mcgill degree may be viewed as particularly valuable, so this would also skew my impression a little.
  19. Fair enough, I'm basing most of what I am saying on various chatter that I have picked up on during the process. It does seem that some NY firms would hire more Mcgill grads if given the opportunity, but it's often difficult to tell how much this kind of chatter and discussion actually translates into the process itself. I would also note that I have noticed that a lot of Mcgill grads have had a great deal of success in NY recruiting post clerkship, usually after a COA or SCC clerkship, which can be valued by the firms down here.
  20. It actually wouldn't surprise me if the inverse was true, though. Mcgill is very highly regarded down here, and their grads are viewed as often bringing unique skillsets. I feel the main reason why more U of T grads are hired in NY than Mcgill grads is a question of interest, as most Mcgill grads are more interested in staying in Canada than going to NY, whereas the inverse is often true at U of T. I have always felt Mcgill is the better regarded school here though, it's viewed as very much akin to the T14 schools (due to traditional relations with the Ivy League), whereas U of T is viewed as slightly outside that bracket. Overall, the idea of NY firms digging deeper into Mcgill wouldn't surprise me, Americans just have more experience with Mcgill generally.
  21. No question, I certainly acknowledge that the socio-economic, and, in many cases, racial sorting mechanism in America is at the law school admissions stage. There has been research done suggesting that HLS's student body is disproportionately and shockingly wealthy (in terms of family background) compared to the average American family. The poor minorities in the US are too often forced to go to worse law schools. This is because the LSAT can also be a barometer of privilege. I would not have been able to score in the 170s of the LSAT if I did not have the privilege of having my parents support me financially for a summer, such that I did not have to work and could devote myself full time to purchasing a thousand dollars worth of LSAT materials, and studying them rigorously. The single parent, the working poor, the underprivileged minority, don't have this ability to study for the test in the same way, or even afford its materials. And so they will be shut out of biglaw in the US in the same way as they might be in Canada, because they were forced to go to a lower ranked law school that biglaw won't even look at. But for those of us who are minorities and maybe aren't economically privileged, getting into HYS can be a way of beating a system that is rigged against us, by getting into a school that allows us access to elite opportunities. You can't beat the system in the same way in Canada. But I absolutely acknowledge that race and class plays into law school admissions standards, because it plays into LSAT scores. These poor minorities will then often graduate from scam law schools unemployed or underemployed, unable to feed their families or make a decent living for themselves (there was actually a case of student loans being withdrawn from students at Charlotte Law School, which meant that the school had to set up a food bank to ensure students could continue to pay for basic necessities). This is not the case in Canada, where one can still make a sustainable living from a smaller legal practice, or opening one's own firm. We should remember, always, that the success of HYS and T14 students is built off the backs of a system that is still fundamentally oppressive to the vast majority of American law school students. I think someone said on this forum previously, the American system is the one where the winners win bigger because the losers lose harder. The top 1-5% of American law school admits benefit from the shitty system which is given to the 95-99% of American law school students who don't go to the T14. In that sense Canada can be more equitable, because at least the talented kid from Windsor still has a chance of making Bay Street. The talented kid from Cooley would have his application tossed in NYC.
  22. Providence's first point regarding fit would also be my own point regarding it. I'm sorry @maximumbob, but your comment shows a shocking lack of awareness regarding implicit racial and class bias. What you might think is simply fitting in or an innocuous idea of "we would like to work with this person" is replete with class and racial implications. My hockey example was only being used to illustrate the point that a poor, minority person simply does not have, because they cannot have, the same life experiences as an upper middle class white male. Therefore, when that upper middle class white male looks for who will "fit" in his firm, he is going to find he shares little in common with the downtrodden minority, who did not have the money, or the integration needed to enjoy the same things, and have the same experiences as he did. That you might be blind to this and are involved in the hiring process for Canadian firms, to me, kind of illustrates my point regarding implicit bias. To Providence's other point, you're quite right that the kind of public interest people shoot for out of Harvard is often quite different than the kind of public interest normally seen out of a Canadian school, in that the public interest careers are usually unicorn public interest fellowships, often with a strong international bent. This is particularly true for public interest minded Canadians. It is notable, however, that there are many practice areas at HYS that seem almost completely neglected among the student body. For example, in the nearly two years I have been here, I have not heard of a single HLS educated family lawyer (apart from maybe the legal aid context, which occasionally might handle family issues). There are definitely a few folks who go into community legal services and indigent criminal defence each year, but these are invariably American citizens. For Canadians wanting to do that kind of work, it can often be very difficult to return to your community in Canada with an HYS degree, and be taken seriously for community based public interest work. I can definitely see those employers preferring someone with more local clinical experience in the legal aid/family/criminal realm over a kid coming in from HYS, whose devotion to the cause may be doubted for obvious reasons, and who has not been exposed to Canadian legal issues or statutory law in the same way. So, I think for public interest careers, there are definitely tradeoffs between HYS and staying in Canada. If you want international public interest, or maybe something like the ACLU or appellate level public interest work, HYS remains the better choice I think. If you want more community level public interest, such as legal aid/family/non white collar criminal defence, I would recommend a cheap Canadian school (hopefully someone who can get into HYS is able to get full or near full scholarship offers from a Canadian school, I know I certainly did)
  23. Don't Canadian firms hire a great deal based on "fit"? To me, that is often sugarcoating prejudicial hiring, whether we like it or not. I have also had experience interacting with Canadian and American firm lawyers, and the Canadians always seemed a little more "fratty" and country-clubbish than the Americans did (not that the Americans are much better, but strivery and gunnerish seemed more apposite for them). Forcing people to talk about sport and hockey in interviews seems very elitist as well. Do you know how expensive it is to buy hockey equipment, and how many poor kids are kept from that experience due to familial wealth? And to then ask that same poor kid about his experiences with hockey? If your going to prefer the kid who played (or plays) hockey recreationally to one who doesn't, at least recognise the class and racial implications of that preference.
  24. Providence, I have the utmost respect for you and what you have accomplished, but you have said yourself here, and in other places, that you made the decision to attend U of T law over Harvard/Yale law for very personal/relationship reasons that had little to do with the merits of the two schools, and more to do with your particular familial needs. Are you really saying that others should use your experience to make a decision between these two schools? I understand if your point is merely that everyone has their own struggles and issues going on in life, and so we shouldn't judge anyone who may make one choice or another. But to make those circumstances broadly applicable seems unwise and inapposite to me.
  25. I don't actually necessarily disagree with this point. I have always said, and continue to acknowledge, that the unhappiest Canadians at Harvard Law are the ones who wanted to pursue non-white collar criminal defence, family law, legal aid, and other such community oriented legal ventures. They have often said the same thing, actually, that they wish they were in Canada building the relevant networks, as opposed to here at Harvard, and, in a sense, being driven into biglaw (or maybe large scale NGO/public interest work, often with an international bent). If your goal is to really work to make a difference in your local community (which is a commendable ambition) you are always better placed to make that difference by being in that local community. But that being said, if I had had the wherewithal, capability, and desire to pursue that kind of public interest legal work, I would certainly have never picked the highest tuition law school in Canada to pursue it. I would picked a place like Mcgill, Ottawa, UBC, Queens, etc. where I knew I would not be saddled with such debt as to prevent me pursuing those aspirations.
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