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Diplock last won the day on January 12

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  1. In addition to the above, the only real trap in a degree such as yours is that many students imagine because it sounds law-related it somehow gives them an advantage when applying to law school. It doesn't. What will get you into law school (or not) is your grades and your LSAT. So in terms of choosing a program, my only advice is to pick a program where you are fully engaged and capable of doing well. Whether is has law-related-anything in the title, or not, is completely irrelevant to later admissions to law school.
  2. Depending on exactly what the OP is talking about, in terms of how their employer is structured, there may be little to no pathway to partnership. I know the small/medium description is hard to pin down there. But in my practice area, it's almost normal there's no reasonable way to aspire to partnership in an existing practice, unless (a) something really unusual happens, and the existing owner(s) just do something exceptional for you, or else (b) in a very few larger and more structured shops. So I don't come to these discussions with the same assumption that in any particular job a lawyer can aspire to partnership. Realistically, if you stay where you are, senior associate is often the most that's available.
  3. What is it you'd be looking to do, if not what you're doing already somewhere else? Part of helping you reason through a decision to leave, or not leave, has got to involve discussing what you hope to leave for, and whether your goals and expectations are reasonable.
  4. I don't know if it's helpful to dig any further into where you came across the term, but I've used "JD and a pulse" before to describe what employers don't want. That is, no one is hiring an articling student just to be minimally qualified and sit behind a desk. That's the difference between law and, say, cooking at a not-fancy restaurant. If you want someone to flip burgers, then anyone who'll reliably show up to flip burgers and not cause any other issues is basically your ideal employee. You don't need someone especially enthusiastic about the job beyond that. Law is...well, just different. Now you're already following the most important advice I give from that point on. Don't look for just any job. Don't apply to anyone at all who is hiring an articling student. And that's simply because for jobs that are otherwise unrelated to your background and interests, you simply aren't a competitive applicant at all. Narrow your search to appropriate jobs related rationally to your interests. And you've done that already, so, good. As for why some places simply aren't interested in a student - I think you'd be amazed how much it doesn't relate to fear of competition. It really comes down to whether someone is in the market for help or they aren't. A practice - particularly a smaller practice - has whatever amount of work coming in that it has. You can't just hire someone and turn the tap on a little stronger. It doesn't work that way. If I don't have work to keep someone else occupied, hiring a student will be a waste of time and money for me, and mostly boring for them. That said, knowing this is good information. Because when someone says "not in the market" you shouldn't hear "what are you crazy, I'd never hire a student" you should hear "it doesn't make sense for me right now." That could, theoretically, change. Sometimes people just get busier all of a sudden. Someone gets sick, big file comes in, etc. Tell them you're very interested and if anything does change to please keep you in mind. That could pay off if you're lucky. Mainly, keep doing what you're doing and make sure everyone you know is aware of what you're looking for. Sometimes contacts come in strange and unexpected ways. But also, learn more about the profession generally. You can do some of that just on this site, and you're doing it already. That way, you'll avoid seeming strange and clueless when you talk with lawyers.
  5. Okay, there are a LOT of strange misconceptions in your post above, but let's focus on this one. I don't know where you heard about employers that will hire anyone at all, but you didn't hear it from anyone credible here. There are law SCHOOLS that will admit anyone with a cheque book and a pulse (pulse somewhat optional) but man, just engage your brain for a moment. In school, you pay them money. It isn't surprising you can always find someone to take your money. In a job, they pay you money (at least generally - some places try to find articling students for free) and I don't know where you got the impression there are employers who'll pay money to anyone at all just for showing up, but they don't exist. As for the rest, you've summarized your issues reasonably, so I won't repeat them. You're right that you aren't a strong candidate and you'll need to do whatever you can do to get called and licensed to practice law. Note, it isn't the difference between doing something "quick and easy" and holding out for a great job. It's the difference between finding any gig to satisfy your licensing requirements - which will NOT be easy - and not getting called at all. Now again, I don't want to dissect all your strange beliefs, but the idea that wills and estates is somehow the top of the marketplace and only happens in prestigious firms...umm, no. Maybe if all you did is google the topic and read the first few pages you'd get that impression. The good news is, small and sole practices do wills, estates, real estate, etc. And that seems to be what you want to do - in the sense that's what you want your practice to be in the future. That's actually good. You want to learn from someone who is working as a lawyer in a similar way to how you would work as a lawyer. Because...well, do I really need to explain the rest? Yes, look for jobs with sole practitioners and small firms that do what you want to do. And for the love of God, try to get a better handle on the realities of the legal marketplace (employment-wise and generally) because when you do get an interview you don't want to sound strange and clueless. The way you work as a lawyer is by finding an employer who's willing to employ you as an articling student. Which is really a basic way of saying that you can't get a job until someone gives you a job. The one thing you aren't allowed to do until you get that far is set up your own practice, which in my opinion is a sound restriction on new graduates. So find someone willing to give you that chance, get called, and go from there. Worrying about anything else right now is a distraction.
  6. I don't come here as much as I used to right now, and this is a pretty mean shot to just fire and run, but I'm going to do it anyway. This quoted comment is from the dumb-ass, blindly optimistic perspective that we keep needing to shoot down on this site, and if we don't kill it on a regular basis it eventually takes root and starts to grow again, like some kind of monster weed. See, I don't know if the OP will ultimately get into law school or not. But I do know, based on his post alone, that's he's applied in the past, that he doesn't believe his LSAT is going to improve, and that he obviously isn't in law school yet. So to take a situation where someone clearly has NOT been admitted into law school, assume that nothing has improved, and to say "dude, you're such a great applicant, you're SURE to get in!" only proves utter delusion on the part of the person making that comment. And do I need to get into the roots of that delusion again? People who are long past law school, or at least in themselves, tend to have a somewhat realistic perspective on the whole mess. We're not perfect, but at least we don't have skin in the game any longer. All the other applicants...you're all motivated to tell one another what you want to believe yourselves. It's easy. Don't worry. A not-terrible GPA and a reasonably decent LSAT guarantee you a spot. You know what? You're not doing yourselves or each other any favors. Blind cheerleading isn't helpful. Anyway, that's all. The OP asked a reasonable question, and he's getting some decent advice. I have no problem with his attitude or perspective at all. People should let him grapple with reality, whatever it may be, rather than encouraging him to believe he's somehow immune to it.
  7. As a long-term aspiration, fine. As an immediate-term expectation of what you imagine a career in law will look like, any time soon after graduation, it's very unrealistic. I can't swear it's impossible. In specific individual cases, surprising things happen sometimes. But it would be a gross miscalculation to imagine you have any way to arrange things in this way if you intend to practice law - or, realistically, most professions.
  8. The major problem that you have right now is that you're trying to hold onto a dream of "geographic flexibility" as you say, and it's a myth. It's like trying to become a doctor while not giving up on your dream of doing stand up comedy. No one would say it's impossible to pursue both medicine and stand up comedy. But trying to make decisions about where and how to build a medical career in order to maximize your ability to also break into stand up is...well, nuts. And that's what you're trying to do. Here's the basic reality. As soon as you start to build any kind of career in law either in Canada or in the U.S., you are only increasing the cost you'll pay to uproot your career and try to start again somewhere else. Is it impossible? No, of course not. But the variables at play and the unknowns are so massive that trying to plan around it is crazy. Go to law school where you intend to practice law. If something happens to your life in the future and you want or need to move to another country and jurisdiction, you'll cross that bridge when you get to it. But geographic flexibility is a myth. Law is one of the most geographically localized professions that there is. Other professions are regulated locally, but a dentist gets licensed to practice somewhere new and teeth are teeth everywhere. The value of that dentist's abilities, to a new employer or practice, stays consistent. The law itself changes, as do the networks and client bases that are so fundamental to our work. Bottom line. You'll twist yourself into knots trying to keep all options open and probably undercut yourself in the process. Pick a path, right now, and commit to it. If something changes in the future, deal with it then.
  9. Yeah. I don't want to pile on and you haven't approached this issue in an unreasonable way - just in a way that makes me think we don't have enough information. It may not have occurred to you before, but you don't actually have to spend much time at all around your fellow law students. Go to class, learn what you're there to learn, and leave. People do that all the time for a variety of reasons. A fair percentage of the class are genuine adults who have real lives and other responsibilities. Some have kids. They aren't hanging around with their classmates in any context at all other than in actual class, and you don't need to either. Put it this way. I'm not telling you "you need to learn to work with others," which you don't want to hear. I'm telling you "you need to learn that you don't have to work with these other people hardly at all." Some kind of rare group assignment, maybe. But that's it. As you seem to have gathered already, the actual experience of practicing law is very different from the experience of being in law school. Some people love school and hate actual practice, btw. Not adding that for any reason save to illustrate how different they are. If you really dislike being around the other people there, just don't be. Problem (mostly) solved.
  10. I am going to give you, right now, literally the only criterion whatsoever that you need to consider. If you believe you want to practice criminal law, or any similar area of law that serves real people on the front lines, frequently for legal aid rates or otherwise in the same system. This applies even if you want to be a Crown or similar, because ultimately the compensation is based around the field as a whole. And this advice is, in fact, all about the money. Criminal law is not well-compensated. You can do well, in the end, but virtually no one starts there. And law school is very expensive. The biggest barrier you will face to practicing criminal law, or any other area of law with similar factors involved, is simply that you will graduate with a lot of debt and feel pressure to immediately make money to service that debt and to justify your investment in this profession. And that pressure, which can be immense, is by far the single greatest factor that drives students away from areas of interest such as criminal law. So, there's only one thing you should based your decision-making on, at this point. Do whatever will minimize your debt. Stay close to home and live there if you can. Or attend whatever Canadian law school is cheapest after you factor in eligibility for whatever financial aid and scholarships you may qualify for. Do whatever is cheapest. Seriously. Because the law school you attend - no matter which one - isn't what will frustrate your ambitions. It's the money you spend on law school that will. If you happen to be wealthy and money is not a concern for you, feel free to disregard this advice and move onto other factors. We can discuss. But unless that's true, minimizing debt is all that should mater right now. And that's the real reason not to go to "business-focused" schools like U of T, Osgoode, etc. Their tuition is inflating to an unconscionable degree, based largely on the view that their graduates are supposed to go into large firms and practices that base their pay on Bay Street rates. But for anyone else, who wants to do something else that pays less (often far less, to start) it can become a terrible trap. Seriously. I'm not kidding, and I know very well what I'm talking about. Unless you're rich, this is the only thing to care about right now.
  11. Okay, so either you or your friend seems to believe that these schools are going to read your crappy application, explaining why your sub-par GPA and mediocre LSAT score aren't really representative of your true abilities, and that they should focus instead on the great work you did as third vice-president in charge of photocopying of your Pre-Law Club as a reason to admit you to law school. And you believe that this should happen, and has to happen, in order to be "fair" to you, before that school will admit the stellar applicant with a near perfect GPA, strong LSAT, and who may or may not have any affiliation with their own Pre-Law Club, but which I promise you the school doesn't actually care about. Whichever one of you believes this is an idiot. You're welcome.
  12. Okay, look. The reason the constructive advice is drying up is because there are people you can help, and people you can't help, and I've become convinced the OP is the later kind. I suspect I'm not the only one. All the same, I'm going to offer the only useful and targeted thing I can think of to say. If you are determined to tough it out and finish your articles where you are, then that decision is made. Focus on that - which you aren't doing right now. Every post you make about your workplace is half about the things you are actually dealing with personally and half about everything that's wrong with society, the legal profession, the law society, etc. Now I want to be clear. I am NOT trying to argue with your beliefs here. I could argue with your beliefs here and I don't entirely share them, but that isn't my point. And despite my concern that you're incapable of taking advice from someone who doesn't validate you entirely, I want you to seriously hear what I'm about to say. REGARDLESS of whether you are right about what's wrong with society, the legal profession, the law society, etc. you are obviously NOT in a position to do anything about any of those things right now. You're barely keeping your own shit together day-to-day. Obviously you aren't going to effect macro-level social change at the same time you're trying not to cry in the shower every morning before you go to work. I'm not advising you to give up on your beliefs or to change how you feel. I'm advising you to put a pin in all of that stuff while you focus on what you can and must personally deal with - which is getting through the remaining time you have at this particular job. I don't actually have advice beyond that. I know it feels like I'm stopping halfway, but the advice you've received about how to cope with your specific workplace concerns is as good as anything I can think of. I just really, really, REALLY need to recommend you stop diverting your attention from the immediate problem so that you can be indigent about what you perceive to be the wider causes. It's not going to help, and it's not doing you any good. Note, btw, this is the same advice I'd give almost any client and the same advice which you, if you're paying any attention at all, will realize that you must often give clients yourself. Clients come to us with problems. Often they feel that their problems are caused by deep and vast problems with "the system" - whatever the system may be. This ranges through huge territories of law and I suspect applies everywhere - everything from "the police are biased against me and it isn't fair they are allowed to do X in the first place" to "it isn't fair that the municipal zoning authority has the power to stop me from doing what I want to do." If you have even an ounce of common sense, you MUST realize that when a client has been charged with a crime, that isn't your cue to challenge the fundamental rules of what police are and are not allowed to do in the course of their investigations. And when a client wants to renovate their home, you don't try to quash the authority of the municipal zoning authority to even exercise oversight. You just...you don't do that. Once in a rare while there's a case which prompts you to address some fundamental governing issue. Even then, you're usually probing at the fundamentals in a narrow way. Nothing you've said here, or generally, causes me to believe you are in any such rare situation. You simply aren't going to convince the Law Society of Ontario that they need to directly regulate the tone of voice with which you are addressed at work. It's not going to happen. So that complaint that you have - however fair or unfair it may be - is totally extraneous to finding you any kind of practical solutions. You're killing off your time and remaining mental energy by agonizing over it. Anyway, beyond that, listen to the other good advice you've received. And good luck.
  13. This is a drive-by public service announcement, but relevant: @OP - There are actually a lot of people on this site who are practicing lawyers, either in business-related areas of law or otherwise, and who really know what they are talking about. On a quick skim, several replies in this discussion come from practicing lawyers. There aren't the executives of your undergraduate pre-law club who think they know stuff, because a lawyer gave them a card once and because the previous executives of the pre-law club (who are still "applying" to law school, long after graduation) told them last year. These are practicing lawyers who know what they hell they are talking about. Stop talking and listen to them. @Everyone else - People who come here and immediately doubt the truth of what they hear are annoying as hell, but remember they don't actually know who's here. It's not like we hang a sign out that says "yes, we call this lawstudents.ca but 47% of all posts are from practicing lawyers." Applying the same assumptions here that safely apply to most of the Internet, it's reasonable to assume there would be a far higher incidence of bullshit here than is, in fact, the case. Try to remember that people who just arrived here don't know that. Discussions like this annoy the hell out of everyone. I was initially reading just for the trainwreck. But sometimes the people already here help contribute to the trainwreck, by not helping newbies get oriented. No one likes the guy who showed up asking questions but quickly turns into the guy who already had all the answers and just wants to correct the people who tried to help him. But if you confuse this place with most of the pre-law bullshit out there, that could have been the appropriate response. So maybe a bit of cooling off all around is appropriate. Take care everyone.
  14. This is right. If your grades are great already, and you're set for the LSAT, feel free to continue musing about whether you want a career in personal injury or some other kind of law. If you don't have the grades and LSAT, no volunteer gig is going to make the difference, and you'll end up having no kind of career in law at all.
  15. Yes, people have gone to Bond. Start by searching for the topic on this site, read a selection of the many threads you'll find, and go from there.
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