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MinesAndMinerals

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  1. Be very careful here. People in my cohort got dinged for academic misconduct for doing exactly this.
  2. Recently I’ve been pondering why I enjoy my job so much. I came across an article in The Atlantic today about job satisfaction and one passage really resonated with me: ”In the quest for the professional marshmallow, I think we should seek work that is a balance of enjoyable and meaningful. At the nexus of enjoyable and meaningful is interesting. Interest is considered by many neuroscientists to be a positive primary emotion, processed in the limbic system of the brain. Something that truly interests you is intensely pleasurable; it also must have meaning in order to hold your interest. Thus, “Is this work deeply interesting to me?” is a helpful litmus test of whether a job could be or could lead to your marshmallow.” I think I find my work deeply interesting. I do a lot of regulatory work, and I find the rules, the issues they engage, and how it all works together very intellectually satisfying. I acknowledge most people would rather watch paint dry, but my point is that I derive some satisfaction from the work itself, in addition to the pay, administrative support etc. (and the fact that most people find what I find interesting to be incredibly dull is a not a bug, but rather a feature in terms of job security).
  3. This is a good post. I also contemplated dropping out the first week, and I also ended up being on the Dean’s List throughout. The basic principles you learn in 1L are mostly simple concepts (with some exceptions, looking at you rule against perpetuities). A contract requires an offer, acceptance and consideration, Charter violations can be justified if demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society, you must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour, and so on. What is more challenging, however, is understanding how to write law exams—that is, breaking down these broad statements into discrete elements, each of which has been interpreted in some line of cases that your professor has assigned, and applying the law to novel fact patterns. In 1L, the hardest part, by far, was the volume of reading. You don’t really know what is relevant, most of the cases involves secondary issues that you don’t understand nor are material to your course (but you don’t know that!), and you don’t know really know what your professor wants you to learn. Once you figure out what to ignore and what to know cold, it gets a lot easier. I also think, above and beyond actual coursework, that stress—and the ability to cope with stress—plays a factor in the difficulty of law school. I was fortunate to get a job during 1L, and I swear the less stressed I was about doing well the better I did. I may be totally out to lunch, but I think the combined effect of the volume of work, competing against the curve, finding articles, student debt and so on, and the ability of the student to adequately manage these stressors, has a material effect on performance. I personally found that I would often fall behind a bit on my reading and then get stressed about having missed something, and my mental health and school performance improved when I learned to accept that it’s ok to not have read every possible thing. In other words, I did better by doing less. By the end of law school, I was basically fucking off until the last three weeks before exams.
  4. GCs are the firm’s lawyer. There is no “track” to become one and many times the GC is drawn from the partner ranks. These are senior management positions and the likelihood of getting one is so slim that there’s no point in thinking about becoming one until you have a few decades of practice under your belt.
  5. On your first point, I think the effects of COVID/OPEC+ price war will likely be minor with respect to oil sands projects since these have long-term investment horizons. More concerning is what may happen to oil field services companies. Conventional (ie non oil sands) operators will likely weather the storm, but how many of the smaller well services and similar companies will survive is worrisome. Regarding share of production, the key variable over the long term is access to tidewater. We have to sell our oil at a discount and can’t meaningfully supply Asian LNG demand. So yes, I can see that happening. Nevertheless, there doesn’t seem to be any abatement of US appetite for Canadian oil, even with the increased Bakken/Permian production over the last decade. We’ve steadily increased exports year over year since 2010.
  6. I live in Calgary and this why Calgarians are dumb. It was, emphatically, more bumping pre-2014. But the Alberta economy remains relatively strong today (well, maybe pre-COVID, I don’t have a crystal ball as to what six months from now may look like). For some reason in Alberta “not having $100/bbl oil and massive yearly profits” = “the sky is falling and Alberta is is rapidly declining”. I think this attitude is well represented by Jason Kenney, a petulant child who needs to be the victim, despite Alberta’s relatively strong economic footing. Alberta still has the highest GDP per capita because oil and gas still generates a huge amount of economic activity, even at $25-30/bbl prices. And none of my clients, all very well-informed in O&G economics, are “still trying to wring every last dollar out of the oil industry when it seems to be in a secular decline.” Global demand for oil and gas is not evaporating in the short to mid-term. As much as I wish personally that we could wave a wand and rapidly decarbonize, it’s still a very low probability scenario. The general paradigm that Calgary operates in is “there will be demand for fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, therefore producing Alberta oil is rational as the demand will otherwise be met, and in some cases met by producers in jurisdictions with lax environmental and human rights protections”. I think this worldview is defensible and tend to agree, but can see how those who balance competing values differently could come to a different conclusion. Over a longer time period, yes Alberta needs to wean itself of the fossil fuel teat, but I’m not certain that having an economy dependent on a constant influx of capital and high real estates prices is preferable. I love Vancouver and know BC has other industries, my point is only that it’s unclear to me that Alberta is uniquely vulnerable to shifting macroeconomic trends (eg global fossil fuel demand). As to lawyers, Calgary is still a good legal market since the activity that O&G is generating trickles down to lawyers. The E&P, midstream and downstream sectors are all highly regulated and involve overlapping contractual relationships in a specialized legal environment. A well staffed oil and gas practice requires environmental, project finance, administrative law, M&A, infrastructure, power/cogeneration, tax, derivatives and competition experts. It’s also a fairly litigious industry as well.
  7. This is still true, although Blakes is there too.
  8. I agree with this. Having a few years of practice under your belt may also explain why there’s not really a stigma against British UK grads who are UK-qualified.
  9. I can think of 3 people at my firm (large) who have non-Oxbridge UK law degrees. All of them, however, are British (or from a former colony) and qualified as a barrister/solicitor in the UK before moving to Canada. I think two lateraled from our London office. But your right that big firms don’t really hire Canadian students who went abroad as a plan b. I think is true generally for non-Canadian law degrees: we have Australian, South African, American and Nigerian-educated lawyers whose lives brought them to Canada for some reason or another (usually their spouse). I’ve seen it argued here that the stigma is in part a result of a preference for lawyers trained in Canadian law, but I think that’s overly generous. I think the stigma is mostly a result of Canadian applicants with a foreign law school on their resumé signalling to employers that they could not get into a Canadian law school.
  10. I’m very, very partial to eBay. I’ve never paid more than $12 for $80+ retail ties. But what do I know, I’m a clown with short pants.
  11. I vaguely remember a discussion about Wilt Chamberlain during a philosophy class. While it’s not unjust for gifted athletes to receive wild sums of money since free people willingly pay money to see their talents on display, a lot of luck and random chance goes into being born 7’1” or with Michael Phelps physiology.
  12. It’s counterintuitive, but I found that the less I cared, the better I did. I actually did worst in the classes I thought I was interested in. I did best in classes that required any sort of writing and classes that it was easy to discern what would be examinable (eg for admin, I knew I would need to know Baker and Dunsmuir cold since there was very likely going to be a question on procedural fairness and a question on standard of review. Similarly, it was obvious from the business associations syllabus that there would be a question on director/officer duties. I also made sure re such questions to always take the leading SCC case and know that cold. I would skim the historical development of the doctrine but definitely wasn’t taking notes on any case that wasn’t good law.) I think stressing over trying to do every last reading and attending every single class is more detrimental than not doing every last reading or attending every single class. Find the balance that works for you and work smart. Realistically, law school mainly tests your ability to write law school exams, so focus on what’s examinable. Figure out what area of law you want to practice in and find a way to demonstrate your interest in that area. Your grades aren’t that bad and you have two more years to improve.
  13. I did quite well in university multivariable calculus and got a C in my high school pottery course. Respectfully, this question is dumb and schools for the most part don’t parse your GPA. I think (could be wrong) U of T is the only school that explicitly considers your particular undergrad program. Anecdotally I know of many very high-achieving law students who came from programs/schools that, judging from the tone of your post, you would denigrate.
  14. You may think that. But you’re wrong.
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