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Everything posted by Iheartcats

  1. I use a chromebook and use google drive for my notes and my assignments. It involves a bit of formatting work when you switch it to word to hand in, but I find drive easier to use.
  2. My Tips for 1L 1) You probably don't need the foundations text 2) Use your prof's outline to make your CAN, most follow it very closely. Do this ahead of time. 3) prepare your notes for each class ahead of time (as much as is possible). Use your readings, other CANs, the internet to fill any gaps. Pick your preference on digital or handwritten. I prefered digital for ease of re-formatting. 4) Listen in class, rather than furiously take notes. Just add to yours where you misunderstood, or to fill in gaps 5) if you fall behind on readings, don't try to catch up. Find a few case summaries and CANs and compare these to get your own snapshot if what you missed. 6) try not to fall behind on readings 7) you don't have to rely totally on reading the case excerpts assigned to you, you can use case summaries available online (google the style of cause - you'll learn what that is). However, if you do this, pay attention in class, because the rule you find online may not be what the prof wanted you to cover. Many cases have several major takeaways. pro-tip: the course outline topic will usually give a hint to what the takeaway should be. 8 ) Check for your texbooks on Quicklaw and Westlaw before you buy them. The school gives you FULL access to these sites, and I found my crim text there after I had bought it. so sad. 9) If you buy used texts, they may be missing some cases and the page numbering may be different. You can find some cases online, plus the library will have your class text on reserve. Plus you'll make friends. 10) make friends. Your law friends will be a saving grace and a valuable resource 11) Keep in touch with your old friends. Also a saving grace and a valuable resource. 12) Don't stress. Law school is not real life. There is a lot of work, yes, but no one's life is depending on you getting all of your readings done. 13) If you're feeling stressed, don't talk to other 1Ls about it. talk to upper years and non-laws, or profs, or student services. 14) if your mental health is truly suffering, do not wait to use the MANY resources offered by the school. Support is there for you to use. 15) steel yourself for midterm grades. The profs will help steel you for this too. Some do the curve calculation and letter grade, some just give your raw score. You will likely not score anywhere near the range you are used to scoring. Most midterms are fully or partially failsafe -meaning the score you get may not count or may be weighted less if you do better on the final. Use the score you get as a self assessment, and adjust your study plan accordingly. 16) Use your profs. These are the best minds in the business. You are paying a fortune to learn from them, and most are incredibly willing to help you understand. That said, these are the best minds in the business. Don't waste their time, have actual questions ready. 17) Don't join all the clubs. Pick one or two that really speak to you and stick with those. You will want to sign up for a loooooot of things, but don't. Don't feel bad about joining no clubs also. 18) Use your calendar/daytimer - almost every day has scheduled events to attend (not mandatory). Its really easy to double book. 19) Use your mentor, there will be several mentoring options provided. Some people got CANs, some got jobs, some just got a connection in the legal community. 20) There is an odd amount of pressure put on finding a job very early on in Law school. If you find one in 1L , cool. If you don't, seriously, don't worry. There is time.
  3. same. also in a network based profession it seems ill-advised to offend everyone you interact with...
  4. I go to U of A, but I know other universities offer similar programming for upper year students
  5. your 1L classes are full year classes! some times do change in the second term though
  6. Certainly not the best way to set yourself up for law school (which IS challenging), but I guess we each walk our own path.
  7. Independent research for credit, internships, legal services for credit etc. I think a several schools offer some non-class credit options after first year. First year is all in-class though and a bit of a grind. My commute was by car, with me driving, so I wasn't able to do much during it. Any electronic readings I had I would play through my car using text-to-speech. It was somewhat difficult to pay attention to the robot voice at first, but I got used to it eventually. Sometimes I would have to skim the material again later, but most times the audio alone was enough to get what I needed. That said, I was pretty limited by what I could access electronically. If you are commuting by transit, you would be able to use the time to read as well.
  8. If you hate business though, you're less likely to perform well. My undergrad is Commerce, but I really love the strategy of business and finance. Some people get way more out of delving into philosophical research, or studying biochemistry, or immersing themselves in a world of code. If you have to spend years learning a topic, it should a topic that you both enjoy and that you can perform well in. Logically, a person is more likely to do well at something they enjoy doing.
  9. It may help to recognize that many Indigenous people do not have a connection with their culture or community due to genocidal events like residential schools, the sixties scoop, or just denial of heritage due to rampant racism. Try to find out if this applies to your situation, and if it does, and you are interested in reconnecting with your culture, explain this and how you plan to reconnect in your application where applicable. I agree with @flyingfish that there is no time like the present to begin making connections, your entire career will be heavily influenced by the connections you make, so learning to forge relationships early will help.
  10. I'm not sure about how or whether it changes employer perspectives or ability to get a job. I know there is one firm local to me where 4 out of 5 of the lawyers went to Bond, so I think looking places where foreign educated lawyers work might help.
  11. This is what I did to land my 1L summer & article. I cold-emailed because I am a chicken about calling, but same idea. I got meetings with 7 firms and formally applied to 1. I have run into every person I met with since I started my summer as well, and I think the connections I made with them are positive ones despite my not choosing to apply. Get in touch with your local CBA branch and Law Society as well. Make sure you go to events they host, and work the room a bit. Reach out to anyone you were close with in law school who works somewhere you are interested in, they may be able to meet with you to talk about their firm, or even put you in touch with someone in the firm.
  12. U of A offers an NCA accreditation program, and as a result I met several NCA candidates looking for articles last year. I know of about 10 who got an article in the type of firm and in the area they were looking, but it seems that everyone who did get jobs were the ones who made it out to every networking event the school hosted. I did not ask about grades of those who got hired, but a couple who didn't get jobs yet volunteered that it was likely because of their grades. Of the NCA's I know of who did get articles, every one of them got their law degree in the UK. To be fair, I think most of the 22 NCA students last year got their degree in the UK though. I think the major things that are a disadvantage to foreign educated people outside of the stigma, is the lack of local network in the legal community, and the fact that they are competing against people who may have summered already. It sounds like you may have a network in the legal community already, I would suggest reaching out to some of these people. If you graduated at the top of your class, that will also help. A lot of the stigma on foreign education is the difference in admissions. Its known as a track for people who really want to practice law, but who don't have the stats to be admitted to a Canadian school. Personally, I am not a fan of this perspective, because I don't believe that grades are the best measure of someones ability to perform in their career, but it is what it is. With your grades and professional experience, you should be able to land something that interests you. Good luck!
  13. Yeah this is a great point, I was thinking from the perspective of the small firm who might be reluctant to invest time and capital and billable hours in someone who won't stick around, where the larger firms frequently take on more students than they will hire back after. Bigger picture, there are many more hurdles to sole practitioner success than simply getting the article and getting called.
  14. I am only summering, so I still have to go back to school next year, but law is my second career and I know I will prefer working. I loooooooooove school. I love the class discussions, and the fellow intellectuals, and the whole student community vibe. But to me, school is not real life. Assessments can be so subjective and (in my opinion) are not necessarily the best way to evaluate a person's skill in a given area. This is easily seen once you look at people working out in the real world, and realize its not that easy to figure out who got good grades in school and who didn't. Not that I have a better way to do large group evaluations, I am just saying its not real life. I definitely do not get the same fulfillment out of success in school that I get out of success at work. There's just not a lot of meaning or purpose behind knowing you got an A relative to the rest of your classmates. I really enjoy learning, but I have yet to work a job where I knew everything there is to know. Plus I find I learn much more quickly by applying knowledge practically than I do by reading theory and cases (this also explains my preference for research papers). I expect law will be a lifelong learning curve, and I am greatly looking forward to it. I love the way that work can pull you in multiple directions, and how high priority things can pop up at any time that pull you away from what you are working on. When you can resolve something or find a solution (or even make a smidge of progress on something really complex), it is highly rewarding. Plus, you get paid - but plenty of people get 'paid' in school as well through scholarships, awards and bursaries too - especially as they get into masters and doctorate level programs, so getting paid isn't always a major determining factor.
  15. I disagree with this, I think its better to research the places you are are applying to and find something specific about that firm that interests you (cases they've worked, charities they are involved in, events they host, etc.). This is especially true when your application sets you apart from other applicants in a potentially negative way. If a person in OPs shoes can directly tie their own skills to the exact things a firm does or stands for their application instantly becomes more compelling. Doing this requires significant time and effort, and would not be easily transferred across 100s of applications in a short time frame. I also agree that a month is too soon to stress about not finding success in your shoes. Your network is going to be your best friend in your situation, and you should utilize it. Start connecting with people you went to school with, try and arrange coffee meetings with firms to chat about your interest in getting back into the legal field, contact the bar and law society and see of you can attend some of their events. If you get a meeting, treat it like an interview even if they say they aren't hiring, be prepared with knowledge about their firm and the person you meet with where possible, and be prepared to talk about why you waited to pursue a legal career. I think a lot of lawyers in firms may struggle to understand your path - ie. why you went to law school and then didn't pursue law. They may assume you did so because you couldn't find a job. You'll want to negate that idea if you can. Follow up with every person you meet to thank them for their time and if the meeting went well, tell them so (with reasons you think so). You can also express an interest in working for them, and include your resume and customized cover letter. When you say "train the competition" do you mean you plan to article and then go out on your own? If so, I would consider pursuing larger and midsize firms (which may be even more challenging since thats where the recent grads tend to flock). Articling students are a big investment for small firms to take on, and they are less inclined to take on that investment for someone who isn't planning to stick around and earn them back their invested time and money. Personally, I think it would be a good idea to spend your first few years after call in a state of continued learning from more experienced practitioners, but I know of lawyers who struck out on their own early in their careers who have made it work. Lastly, it may be an option to offer to article for no/low salary and cover your own PLTC costs if the goal is simply to get called. This should be a last resort, because I think even articling students deserve fair compensation, but its an option.
  16. I think you're overthinking it. Take what you want to, which should be based on what you're interested in learning.
  17. At U of A my grades for the fall term in my final year were requested and factored in, my grades for the winter term were not.
  18. tl;dr - give lots of notice if your role is difficult to transition I was in an upper management position at the place I worked before law school. I had worked there for 10 years and my undergrad was from Athabasca University, so my employer was going to be my best bet for a glowing reference letter for scholarships, bursaries and admissions. For that, and for courtesy reasons, it seemed there was no way around involving my employer in the process right from the time I made the firm decision to apply. I took my boss for lunch in July before I applied and told him very informally about my plans to pursue law school and what I felt the timeline for that might look like, getting his feedback in the process on who he felt could take on parts of my job and where we may need to hire new people. At this point I had not yet applied, had not written the LSAT, and still had 12 classes left to finish my bachelors degree. A couple of days after the informal lunch I presented my boss with a transition plan that included formal notice for a reduction in hours commencing in October that would allow me a) to not be always available as a crutch for the people I was transitioning my work to and b) 6 months to finish the 12 classes and 8 weeks to prep for the last LSAT of the cycle. The original plan had me finishing up work completely on May 1, but this later got extended to May 30 to ensure that everything was rolled over successfully. I also offered to work on a contract basis over the summer if there were issues after I left, and ended up doing about 30 hours of consult work between between leaving work and starting school. I understand that not everyone can put all their eggs in one basket like that before they've got an acceptance, but my fallback plan if I didn't get into law on the first try was to apply into the MBA program (later application date + greater chance at acceptance) and then apply into the joint MBA/JD program the following year. Either way I was leaving to go back to school. Point is - I don't regret giving a lot of notice at all, and I get the impression that it strengthened both my boss's and my various successors' opinions of me. At no point did I feel like there was a risk they would cut me early. In fact, I know they will use me if I go into corporate/commercial, I know several people from there are waiting to bring their legal work from various practice areas over to me, and if I hadn't landed a summer job at a law firm I could've gone back there in an audit/consulting capacity all summer. As to your concerns about them putting things off, this was common where I worked as well, which is why I laid out the transition plan for them. I would highly recommend doing this and getting actively involved in your own exit.
  19. Congrats on your acceptance! I wouldn't worry too much about choosing a path of law at this point in time, but if you are interested in a specific area, certainly seek out people in practice and try to make contact. They may be willing to meet with you and talk about a possible path to the area you want to be.
  20. Are you taking the courses standalone or as part of a degree program?
  21. um, that's not how it happened on suits.... Jokes aside, you're getting great advice here. Another suggestion I would make is to approach firms that don't participate in the recruits. Make sure you look into the firm, and find something about any place you apply that you are legitimately interested in. Trust me when I say you don't want to work somewhere that you have no interest in. Being conversational has always served me well, and if you can get good conversation flowing, you will see what firms mean when they refer to 'fit'. I interviewed one place where once we got chatting, every second sentence was a sports metaphor or a reference to an athlete (most of which I later had to google). Sports are really low on my list of things to work into every single conversation, hence, bad fit - for me AND the firm. Anecdotally, I got my current 1L summer (and my subsequent offer to article) by arranging coffee or lunch meetings with firms I was interested in, and then sending applications AFTER we had met if I felt it was a good fit. I met with whoever was available and interested at a firm, from current students, to office manager, to associate, to partners. I brought a customized resume and cover letter with me to each meeting in case anyone ever asked, but none did, so I just sent my application along with my thank you note if I was interested in working there.
  22. I am a single parent of two children, and was offered part time by the school but chose to do full time. My experience also involved a 2 hour commute each way, and this had more impact on my ability to get work done than my parenting obligations did. Overall, it was a ton of work, but I think it was worth it and I had a good experience despite it being a difficult year. I did strictly school from 9-3 (whether I had class or not), and played whatever readings I could through my car during the 4 hours of commuting. Sometimes I would do more work after my kids had gone to bed, but other times I was dog tired and netflixed instead. I called it balance. My grades turned out fine, and I didn't feel overly disadvantaged by my obligations outside of school. I am headed into second year now, and have elected to earn some of my credits through programming that is not a scheduled class. Very much looking forward to less commuting and more studying next year.
  23. A good place to start is with any professors that you liked, or whose class you did well in. Send them an email expressing your interest in continuing education, tell them what you liked about them/their class, and ask if they would be interested in writing a reference. Let them know you would be happy to meet for a coffee to chat, or to send them more information about who you are. To make connections in your community, and specifically in the Metis community, reach out to the local chapter of the Metis Nation in your area. Tell them that you want to reconnect your family to its lost heritage, ask if there are any events or meetings coming up that you could attend or assist with. There is some understanding out there of the people who denied their heritage, or lost status through "enfranchisement", or who were raised away from their own culture, all as a result of colonialism and racial bias. I am always surprised to see the requirement of demonstrating a cultural connection because I think it ignores a huge chunk of the Indigenous community who weren't afforded a cultural connection. I am often nervous to reach out to new people or groups, so I usually start with an email to make it easier on myself! Reach out the way that is easiest for you. Good luck!
  24. Good luck getting it when parking opens though. Better chance once the waitlist opens!
  25. The topic this past year was a Brooklyn 99 themed Mr. Big operation! The prof for LRW loves memes and has a great sense of humor. Take the course seriously though, it will give you valuable skills for summer positions and articling if you plan to seek those.
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