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Diplock

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Diplock last won the day on October 20

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  1. A few things have been on my mind, but I haven't had time to follow up for a few days. First, welcome back Komodo! I've got a strange sense of time on this forum, and I know who I know. It somehow didn't occur to me that you'd been gone for so long, and I'm glad you're back, though sad it's something like this that got you posting again. Second, I'll make the general observation that I know I was on the edge with what I posted first, but I also knew it would be fine. I mean, I was essentially offering a version of "are you really sure you experienced what you thought you experienced?" in reply to a concern about bias and discrimination. That's the kind of thing that can easily cause offence and lead to arguments. One of the reasons it didn't is because there's already a level of respect and room for dialogue between Komodo and myself. I factored that in before posting. But it's something to keep in mind both when offering opinions and when soliciting opinions. These discussions are so sensitive that they are best have with people who can confide in one another honestly. And while that's not always possible, it is preferable. Third, and finally, the best advice defaults to "trust your instincts." No one else is really there when something happens. Sure, it's human nature to wonder "hey, did I really just see what I thought I saw?" But usually the answer is yes. Beyond that, I don't know what the heck to say. Sexism sucks.
  2. I don't know what to say. I certainly won't dispute that sexism and gender assumptions could easily have played a role here. But unless and until you ask, outright, you don't have the smoking gun. I mean, I'm genuinely not trying to say that gender bias isn't real. But there are still alternative explanations. One example springs immediately to mind, in that the partners at your firm might have concluded quite some time ago that your colleague wasn't on partner track where she was, for whatever reason. And at that point it's human nature to assume she's not partner material anywhere. That's the crappy thing about bias and discrimination. Okay, it's one of the crappy things about bias and discrimination. It's rarely overt. You don't often have the smoking gun. So you're left wondering. Ask someone you trust at the firm what they think. Have the candid conversation, if you can. I don't know what else to suggest.
  3. Diplock

    Transitioning After Articling in Criminal Law

    If you were in Ontario, or even wanted to eventually work in Ontario, I'd recommend joining the CLA (Criminal Lawyers' Association) here, as a lot of valuable connections are made through the CLA. If you're not in Ontario I have less useful suggestions, except to say that the criminal defence bar is small no matter where you are (if it's small in Toronto, it's small everywhere) and it's extremely important to make those connections and to get yourself known. Criminal defence is a tribe, and often a very collegial one. Although individual defence lawyers are sometimes very unusual people, they will generally want to help a student if they can. So talk to people - get to know them. And when you have a decent relationship, it's entirely reasonable to discuss the fact that you're concerned about finding an associate job, etc. They may have leads and suggestions. One thing I always, alway emphasize when speaking with young and would-be defence lawyers is that when you use the term "firm" you are probably creating a false idea in your own mind of what the marketplace looks like. It's true, any time more than one lawyer is running a practice together, it's a "firm." But using the term conjures the idea of a large and well-organized practice. There are a few criminal defence firms that look like that. All of them would be boutiques in the common language of law firms. All of them would be small boutiques with maybe one or two odd exceptions, which are large enough to qualify as large boutiques, but still boutiques. A very large percentage of the total criminal defence marketplace is sole practitioners, maybe with one or two associates. These also are not the bad lawyers - mark my words. Alan Gold practices as a sole, as one example. If anything, the larger practices gravitate to more legal aid work while the lawyers with individual brand recognition have small incentive to organize that way. I could write an essay about why, but let's keep this simple. Do not imagine that when you are looking at job prospects down the road, you are talking about your hope of landing in some kind of well-organized business, with job postings and an HR department. You're talking about your hope that you'll meet and impress someone enough that when they find themselves with more work than they know how to handle, they'll think "hey, I know a young defence lawyer who'd probably be willing to work for not a ton of money." And that's the industry. In the long run, you aren't looking to be an associate at all. You're looking at employing yourself. Because being someone's associate (with very rare exceptions) is not a career path, and virtually no firm (even the large boutiques) have anything approaching an organized path to partnership. Note, also, that even if you don't find full-time work as someone's associate, self-employment as a fresh call is an option, if you do it the right way. Again, because of the industry, many lawyers who can't afford or don't have a full-time associate still need work done sometimes. So if you have good relationships here and there, you can be technically self-employed but still have some work available from other lawyers while you establish some of your own clients. This is a complex topic, but if it makes you feel any better, it isn't really a question of if you'll have a job in this field when you're done. It's more a question of how much you'll need to struggle in the early days. But for anyone who's willing to pay their dues, and willing to work at it - it's actually one of the easiest fields to stay in. Hope that helps.
  4. Be prepared for the fact that the judge will try to drive a settlement if it's at all possible. Might be good or bad for you, depending. But it's at least something to prepare your client for. And it does serve a good purpose.
  5. You know, it's possible to have a debate in good faith and to make the mistake of assuming that any discussion about rights is somehow as simplistic as "rights" vs. "no rights." I mean, not everyone is familiar enough with the idea of rights to appreciate that there's always a question of how far rights do or do not extend, and that it isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. But quite honestly, it's impossible to make that mistake in good faith if you attended law school.
  6. But this is exactly my point. You can see the problem on the other side of the spectrum but not the mirror problem that you inhabit. Just a page ago, you simultaneously acknowledged that certain viewpoints were entirely within mainstream political discourse but at the same time insisted they are intolerable. So how are you not, in different words, saying exactly the same thing? That you consider your views (in this case liberal as opposed to conservative) to be under attack from all sides - including from what most people who do not inhabit the extreme on either side consider the relative centre? See, to you, when any conservative says they are under attack, you consider that to be insane - because from your perspective 80-90% of the total spectrum is conservative. An extreme conservative also views your sense of oppression as insane, since they perceive 80-90% of the total spectrum as liberal. To me, you are both equally ridiculous - so convinced of your own definitions that you can confidently state that what's accepted in the mainstream is simply wrong. In other words, you are rejecting the rights of the people around you to participate in establishing norms, and you prefer to believe that only you and like-minded people are entitled to do that. It's fine to have opinions - even strong opinions. It's when you stop accepting that the people around you are equally entitled to a voice in the sort of society they want - that's when you become intolerable to be around. And rightly so.
  7. For whatever it's worth, you and Dexter would be exhibits "A" and "B" (in no particular order) in my illustration of how extreme views from both sides of the spectrum imagine that they are treated unfairly, by looking to the centre and perceiving it as liberal (if they themselves are strongly conservative) or as conservative (if they themselves are strongly liberal). Jordon Peterson isn't a neo-nazi. He isn't outside the overton window. I don't happen to agree with much of what he says, but defining anyone who agrees with him as outside the range of acceptable discourse only demonstrates that you have a skewed idea of exactly where the range of acceptable discourse is located.
  8. Legal practice has a lot of people with strong opinions. Some of those strong opinions are more-or-less in the mainstream, others aren't. The difference between those whose strong opinions cause them problems and those who don't is not the relative location on the political spectrum. It's whether or not they can recognize that their opinions aren't relevant the very large majority of the time, and almost never in legal practice. Almost universally, lawyers who do not understand the above also fail to recognize why their opinions are causing problems for themselves, for their clients, for their colleagues, and for the environments in which they work. Liberals with strong liberal views cause problems, start arguments, and insist that if they were expressing more conservative views it wouldn't have the same effect. Conservatives do the same, only citing the relative treatment of liberals. My personal explanation for this strange attitude, where folks from both sides feel simultaneously that their views are not received fairly, is that to strong conservatives relatively centrist views (which it is true, are not frequently challenged) seem liberal, and to liberals relatively centrist views seem conservative. Which has both sides screaming bloody murder that the world isn't fair to their own dissenting views. But really, the problem that both have isn't a lack of fairness. It's that they don't realize, and can't accept, that no one else wants to hear it. If you think your wife should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, and you find a wife who also wants to live that life, then no one will stop you from going to work every day and coming home to your own Leave It To Beaver fantasy in the evening. The only thing you need to learn is to shut the hell up about it while you are doing your job, and in other professional settings.
  9. It isn't the subject, exactly, that's the problem. It's entirely something you could bring up on a social occasion among colleagues. It's just that imagining your personal life belongs on Youtube at all - that's the failure in judgment. Everything you do that could make you unpalatable to clients is potentially a problem. It's not what your colleagues care about that you really need to worry about. It's what they know or believe that any sizable percentage of clients might care about. Law isn't quite politics, but it's also a visible profession where your public image matters. The more you aspire to in the profession - bigger firms, bigger files, bigger clients - the more it's going to matter. Some hobbies are more acceptable than others, obviously. If you have a public profile devoted to golf or sailing, that's likely fine. If you want to moonlight as a commentator on super nerdy video games, it's going to affect the way clients may perceive you. Right, wrong, or otherwise - that's the profession.
  10. "Quit spending time on here and focus on not failing at X" is pretty good advice for all purposes. I should take it more often than I do.
  11. Diplock

    Would BigLaw firms care if...

    This is so gonna get locked before I have a chance to reply properly. 😥
  12. Diplock

    Automation Questions

    I won't claim I've read all the articles, but skimming the titles only puts them into the category of what I was saying before. It's buzz. And it's confusing the tool with the real work of a lawyer. If something automated actually killed thousands of parking tickets I guess that's real "law" in a way, but I can't believe it's more sophisticated than automating something simple that you can't pay a human being enough to care about doing for what it's worth. Again, there's a difference between automation and AI. I seriously don't think anyone has tried to grapple with my point about drafting. Do you realize how many people used to be employed simply to copy documents by hand? No one seriously imagines that word processing and photocopying killed a whole swath of the profession simply because students and junior lawyers don't sit all day copying contracts in longhand. The real work of this profession is creative and analytical. And that's before we even talk about the actual advocacy and human interaction. The day computers can do that, they can do damn near anything. EDIT: I've now read about the ticket-fighting "robot lawyer" and it's actually no more sophisticated than the SimpleTax program I used until recently. That is, it's a nice little choose-your-own adventure program, with the appropriate rules filled in, but to pretend it's AI is just absurd. It's no more AI than a DIY will kit.
  13. Diplock

    Automation Questions

    Of all the questions that seem to appear in a cycle on this board, this one confuses me the most. It reliably gets brought up ever 4-6 months, and I just ... don't get it. I know where students are getting their stupid ideas about Suits. I know where they hear about the "Seven Sisters." I understand where other concerns and misconceptions and obsessions get planted. This one, I just don't know where it comes from. Are students being told in undergrad that they should try to automation-proof their careers? Look. Every once in a while someone makes some noise about supposedly creating an algorithm to somehow "do" law, but I've yet to see anything that can do it in a meaningful way. Sure there are time-saving tools. Every profession has time-saving tools. But there's still a human using those tools at every meaningful juncture. Worrying that the tools will somehow supplant the human lawyer is just inane, in my view. Even tallying the grunt work it eliminates and imagining that represents a shrinkage in the field is misguided. That's like looking at the legal profession in the 1700's and observing how much of the profession was employed in rote copying and saying "look how many jobs word processing has eliminated!" The OP's question at least established a reasonable comparison group. I won't swear that AI will never replace real, thinking humans. But come the day AI can replace lawyers, it'll pretty much have replaced everything else too. And by then we'll either spend all our time goofing off, or be turned into human batteries after losing the war.
  14. You know, I understand when this question comes up in context of a single course on exchange over a summer or something. But you're literally asking "can I lie to avoid telling them exactly what they want to know, because I'd rather they didn't know it?" Yes, you need to tell them the truth. It may not be the problem you think it is. But lying about it is a bad idea.
  15. Diplock

    Prospects at a Big Firm/Bay St after OCIs/In-Firms

    Agree with all of the above. And seriously, OP. Just because you hear something you don't want to hear, that isn't a good reason to ignore it. That includes advice here, and even the results of the OCI process. I'm speaking as someone who did OCIs and looking back, in hindsight, I thank God the people who interviewed me had the insight and experience to realize I didn't belong at their firms. Right now would be a very good time to stop saying the things you are supposed to say, hoping to convince yourself that you want whatever it's convenient to want. Seriously, stop. Ask yourself what you really want. And ask the people here about that, if you need to know more. This really might be the best thing that's ever happened to you.
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