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Diplock

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Diplock last won the day on April 23

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  1. To a degree, everyone has their own style and prompting anyone to adopt a style that isn't natural for them at all isn't helpful. I feel like the OP and I are extremely different in this regard, and so my advice here is of limited use. All the same, here's the best general advice I haven't seen yet. When you have the option of taking a chance or not taking a chance, you should take the chance. In other words, default to saying or doing things you aren't sure if you should say or do, rather than play it safe. When a job is yours to lose, that's when you play it safe. When you're one of 20 candidates for a few positions, there is absolutely no benefit to being average in that field. If you are a bland, average candidate in five different interviews, you'll get five polite rejections. If you're a memorable, risk-taking candidate in five interviews, you may say or do something dumb in several of those and take yourself out of contention. But you only need one offer. Sometimes the chance will pay off, and you're the applicant they remember for the right reasons. Look at it this way. The idea of "selling yourself" is so utterly fake. You can keep yourself up at night trying to figure out what the fuck that's supposed to be. Books on salesmanship and stuff try to teach it, like if only a customer likes you then maybe they'll buy your company's products instead of the next company's products. To a degree there's truth to it. But it's mucky and I find a lot of it is fake. Any rational person buys the better product, even if the sales rep is less fun to be around. But here's the thing. In law, you are also the product. You are auditioning not just to sell the firm's legal services, but to be a part of the firm's legal product. The people interviewing you aren't thinking "do we like this person" they are thinking "will our clients like this person - trust them - feel good about them?" That's what matters. Whatever the hell it is you do to make people trust you, in real life, that's what you want to bring to interviews. Think of any time in your life people have been relied on you. And if that hasn't happened before, start looking at clinics and other opportunities to create that interaction. Because that's what law is. You're the person with the answers, or the person who'll get the answers, and get them right. You don't need to be the most popular kid in the class to create that vibe. A confident nerd can lean into that same vibe. So can a quiet, bookish type. If you believe you're the right person to be doing the work, and that trusting you is the smart thing to do, you'll be able to sell it. The way you do it, from that point, is secondary. Anyway, good luck.
  2. The idea that schools want "splitters" more one year than another, or that they wax and wane in style like the relative value of a nimble but undersized defenceman, is just wrong. This year isn't going to be different than last year, or next year. If GPA is a problem for you, do everything you can to fix your grades, rather than banking all your hope on an exceptional LSAT and scouring around for outlier examples that suggest it may, just possibly, be enough. Seriously, I'm not out to piss on anyone's hopes. But at all stages, do what you can to produce the best results you can manage. Any time you are concentrating on examples that are based on figuring out exactly how little may be barely enough to get in, you simply aren't approaching the challenge from the right perspective. Good luck.
  3. I can't argue with that answer, at least speaking personally. The mods may or may not disagree. But fair warning. Many, many people have looked at legal services and the legal community in general, in the past, and said "it's just information - and there's so much money that goes into it - surely we can make an app for that!" And I can't think of a single money-making app that's succeeded. Maybe there's something I can't bring to mind. I suppose one of the very first apps was simply moving precedents and research databases online. Those make money. But outside of that, I can't think of anything new in the last couple of decades. Anyway, good luck.
  4. Okay, first off, there's only one law school in Toronto, and one that likes to pretend it's in Toronto. Not that there's anything wrong with the law school of the Northern GTA hinterlands otherwise, but considering the law school that's actually in Toronto is the one with all the dual masters programs (as far as I'm aware) I'll assume you're at U of T. And seriously, while we caution against breaking anonimity too far, here, there's nothing wrong with identifying yourself by school and year. You're still one of a couple hundred students at least. Although much of what you just wrote may alter some assumptions made earlier, I still think you need to consider much of what I wrote - though alongside all commonsense efforts to improve yourself, also. If an employer interviews 20 strong candidates for several positions (which is not at all unusual) why do you imagine you must be doing something wrong if you're not hired? I mean, sure, if you have things to work on in your own estimation, then work on those things. But don't simply assume that the other 19 candidates aren't just as impressive as you are. So when your feedback is "sorry, strong competition" that's very likely the truth. Absolutely do not stress about how your school is perceived by possible employers or by anyone else. You can't control that. At best a school's reputation is an aggregate of the marketplace. That doesn't mean an individual employer might not have their own ideas. And either way, a school's reputation alone - bad or good - doesn't define you as a candidate. No one is going to give you a job because of where you attend school, or withhold it either. In fact to the degree that it matters, I expect it matters much more at the stage of deciding to interview you, or not. Once you're past that stage it's pretty trivial. I don't have significant interviewing advice to add, beyond trying to realign your perceptions of how this all works. But I will say stop trying to "read" your interviewers at all. I give the same advice to my clients, all the time. This isn't meant to be some highly artificial psychological test. They just want to know what's going on with you. Talk to them. Trying to "read" them is like trying to read a first date. If you're focusing your attention on that, you're doing it wrong. Just do your best to introduce yourself. Hope that helps.
  5. The only thing I'd add to what Providence is saying, above, is this. You may have developed a habit, to this point in your life, of imagining that any time you don't get something you've really tried to get that it somehow comes down to you. And that is, quite frankly, a habit based in extreme arrogance that you're simply going to have to break. Although it's true that you're probably a weaker applicant in law school terms (see Providence's points, above) I'm sure you've generally found throughout your academic career so far that you are usually one of the smartest, most accomplished people in the room. Which would mean, quite genuinely, that opportunities are yours to lose. That just isn't true anymore. When you are interviewing for 1L jobs (which are extremely competitive, for reasons noted already) it's absolutely the case that the hiring committees probably end up with a list of 12 people they wouldn't mind hiring for two available jobs. So it isn't a question of what you've done "wrong" at all. It's just that someone else was better. There's nothing at all wrong with adopting strategies to improve on whatever you perceive your weaknesses to be. You should do that. But you should also do it in the right headspace. Because the further you progress in what is, undeniably, a very competitive profession, the more true it becomes. You can't simply expect that you're the smartest person in the room anymore. You can't assume that your natural talents put you in control of every outcome. Keep doing your best and good things will eventually follow. But not all the time, and not always within your control at all. Anyway, good luck.
  6. Frankly, I distrust the OP's motives also. But what it comes down to is this. LS.ca is a very imperfect place to get career advice. Like anything on the Internet, there's a lot of bullshit right alongside the legitimate and important advice. But I genuinely believe it's as good as you're going to get in this environment. It should be taken as part of a healthy diet of also listening to your friends and existing networks, using the CDO in your law school for whatever it's good for (and they do, admittedly, at least a few things well), and taking all the ordinary steps one would take in any career. It's not perfect. But nothing is. And anyone who imagines there's some kind of paint-by-numbers approach that's going to help everyone with their career goals is just blind to the reality. So yeah. I don't know if the OP is hoping to monetize some kind of online yourlawcareer.ca or what. But I don't believe it's possible. I see value in career coaching in the right situations - and by that I mean live, one-on-one career coaching that deals with the exact particular issues of the individual at hand. And there are professionals who do that. But short of that, I don't believe you're going to get anything better than this, in terms of advice on the Internet. Anyway, good luck.
  7. I don't get the sense that the OP is terribly engaged in this discussion, but just to add some perspective from reality, the basic rule of thumb in larger firms is 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. This means that 1/3 of the revenue generated by an associate goes into paying that associate, 1/3 goes to paying for everything that supports the associate's work, and 1/3 goes into profit for the firm. Although I do not have any sense this is a hard rule, it at least introduces some reality into this discussion. So, first concept. It costs a lot of money to run a law firm. If you think you should be pocketing anything near the full amount billed for your services, then you can set yourself up as a sole any time you want. Start paying for your own rent, for your own assistant to answer the phones, for your own website and business cards, and start paying someone to fix those things every time something goes wrong, and you'll quickly see why you don't pocket every dollar that's billed as "your" time. I start to get really aggravated on this topic because there's an unstated set of very privileged and very obnoxious assumptions that go into any suggestion that a lawyer's billings even exclusively reflect that lawyer's work product at all. Do you imagine that the admin assistant supporting "your" work is on the same arrangement? That they collect a percentage for "their" billable time? Of course not - their services are almost never billed for at all. Their work is accounted for within your work. The idea that "your" billings are exclusively yours at all is a fallacy - and a pretty damn arrogant one at that. Second concept. Your employers aren't running a charity, and the idea captured in Steve's point above that their target goal in employing you is based somehow around the point where they risk losing money is also incredibly far off the mark. No one - no one - hires an associate lawyer to work on files at their firm with the goal of breaking even on their work or of making some trivial profit. Get used to the idea that a meaningful slice of your billings are going to be accounted as profits to the firm and will go into your employers' pockets. If you don't like that, see advice above. Find your own clients, bring in your own book of business, set up your own practice, and keep 100% of whatever's left after expenses. Although see point one, that 100% of what's left after expenses is still a lot less than you may believe. A firm brings in business based on the trust established by the partners and the quality of their work over a long stretch of time. They take care (one would hope) in hiring and supervising associates. All of this has value, which they absolutely do leverage into making a profit off of your work. And again, I get really kind of aggressive any time I detect a hint of "that's not fair!" in any new associate. We're all part of a capitalist, market-driven economy where we are all already "winners" by comparison to most of the workforce. Capitalism is based, all around us, on the idea that the folks providing the capital are entitled to a share (often a big share!) of the productive labour of the people they employ. If this offends you, then look into communism as an alternative. If you think that you alone should be above this reality, then get the hell over yourself! The reason I am writing all of this is that you are certainly entitled to seek the best employment terms you can bargain for (again - free market!) and you should do so. But you won't be doing yourself any favors if in the course of negotiations you only demonstrate that you are completely ignorant of reality. Working backwards from what you expect to make also isn't a productive tactic. "I figure I'm worth $100,000 a year as a first year associate" (which, btw, is top dollar at a major firm, and not likely to be what anyone is making at a smaller shop) is not the place to start. If you want to know what a 40% split translates to in reality, you should be asking questions like "what rate would you be billing me out at" and "how much work can you guarantee you'll supply me with" and "what is your policy on write-downs" (write-downs are where you do the work, but the firm feels they cannot bill the full hours you are accounting for to the client). Then at least you'll come across like you know what the hell you are talking about, whatever else may come of it. Anyway, I could write more. But that's a starting point into these discussions, at least.
  8. Here is the start of the discussion that set everyone off. And this is also the bit from KK that convinced me they really know what they are talking about. I don't believe providence practices in Ontario. I could be wrong. But the reference to OCI is what sealed it. Anyone who wants to talk about rehabilitation in the system as it exists needs to know a lot more than is coming to this discussion right now. We can all talk about rehabilitation in theory. We can all talk about the system we wish we had. With what's quoted above, KK demonstrated he at least understands how the system that's currently in place functions in practice. And even a lot of Crowns don't have this figure out. It's absolutely true. Shorter jail sentences do sweet fuck all in terms of rehabilitation. They aren't long enough for anyone to be considered for treatment jails like OCI. You need around 9-10 months at minimum to stand a chance of getting in there - more like 12 months to be realistic. In a couple of months you won't even have access to treatment programs in jail. You won't so much as get into one of those crappy once-a-week programs that get cancelled half the time due to lockdowns. And don't get be started on how defence counsel are complicit in making the system even worse than it has to be. So many defence counsel are content to have their clients serve shorter sentences as "dead time" and then get credit for time served. They ignore the fact that whatever programs do exist are almost never available on remand side. A sentence of at least six months (note - six months after credit for dead time) will at least trigger a parole proceeding, which is often some motivation for clients to start thinking about significant plans for rehabilitation. It's not everything but it's better than nothing. Less than this and a short jail sentence ... well, the first one might teach a person something based entirely on deterrence. I believe deterrence can work. But if it didn't work the first time it isn't likely to work the second or the third or the forth time. If jail is going to do anything at that point, it does need to be long enough to make something more tangible available. I see it from the other side, but KK isn't wrong, even here. A string of short sentences may end up being what an offender ends up with, but no one thinks this is a good thing. Any client would be far better off if they came packaged together in a single longer sentence rather than strung along with a month here, two months there.
  9. In no particular order: - You're not a "mature student." You are, what, a year or two older than the students around you? The idea that is somehow a meaningful difference is only possible when you are very young - like the way a 10 year-old will get angry if you forget to point out that he's ten-and-a-half. Whatever else is going on in your life, stop thinking of yourself as a mature student. - If you are asking if law schools will penalize you for getting bad grades, the answer is yes. What else do you imagine they base their admissions on? If you are asking if it's possible to turn in much better performance for the next several years and then get admitted anyway, the answer is also yes. But yeah, your grades are going to matter. - The advice you need to follow, for now, is to find something you want to do and that you're good at doing and then do it very well. Get good grades. Law school will still be there in several years. What you need to do right now is concentrate on the program you're actually pursuing. Good luck.
  10. I'm going to defend KK here. Though seriously, I'm glad you didn't add another "K." This, quoted above, and other comments here, are not fair criticism. Crowns have a job to do. And that job doesn't involve imposing their personal morality, or their personal agendas, or their personal ideas of what they law should be by leveraging the power of their office to do so. If a Crown ever did that to the detriment of my client, I'd be screaming my head off. It doesn't become more right if a Crown does the same thing to serve an agenda I happen to agree with. And for those who may read this without the perspective of actual practice, of the many, many reasons why this is true, if individual Crowns felt free to make up their own rules we'd have grossly asymmetrical justice, arbitrariness would be institutionalized, and the entire power of the state which at least ostensibly rests in the hands of our elected officials and the senior bureaucrats they appoint would be usurped by every per diem who steps into court for the day. That's simply wrong. Crowns should use proper discretion within the guidelines that they have. Failing to use discretion within those guidelines is wrong. But these calls to do radical, completely improper things just to serve an agenda that happens to sound good is just flatly not the way a lawfully governed society should function. Police don't pick and choose the laws they care to enforce. Crowns don't prosecute that way, either. And please, spare me all the "what about" arguments that come to mind. I can think of many times the system fails also. That doesn't mean I believe everyone should just chuck the rulebook out the window and do whatever they hell they personally feel like doing. The power of the state comes from the consent and decision-making democracy of the governed. Anyone who thinks trusted public servants should ignore the directions they receive in that system owes us an explanation of what they plan on replacing our democracy with, and who the hell is going to be calling the shots once we all start ignoring the results of our elections and the laws established by our governments. There are good and honourable Crowns doing everything they can within a system they acknowledge as imperfect. Everything I see suggests KK is one of them. I can't know for sure, but so far he (she?) hasn't said a damn thing I disagree with. And defence-friendly people here seem to be tarring KK completely for no other reason than because he's chosen to do a job which comes with certain obligations. That isn't worthy of us, as lawyers. The Toronto Sun reading public can be that simplistic if they want to be. Our side good, your side bad! But speaking as a guy who is usually on the "bad" side of that gross over-simplification, I don't like seeing it done to anyone. Crowns don't deserve that any more than anyone else does. I represent a lot of guys in jail. I believe they all deserve justice, and the best representation I can offer. I also believe many of them belong in jail. Anyone who thinks that isn't required, sometimes, just isn't paying attention.
  11. I'm not trying to use the word "trick" in a negative light. I'm trying to draw attention to the fallacy of logic at the heart of an exercise where students worry about how they best "look" to employers, and somehow avoid the obvious realization that agonizing over how something looks is implicitly the opposite of addressing how something is. I skipped past concerns about opportunities in law school. Frankly, there are more than enough to go around - at least that's been my experience. You really are over-thinking things to a ridiculous degree if this is a primarily consideration in your decision-making. Law school is three years of your life. After that, you are entering into a legal profession where you can't wall yourself off from competition with anyone. And it's absurd to try. I'm paraphrasing something I said elsewhere (and where I probably said it better) but in this profession feeling innately superior or innately inferior to any other colleague is a gross mistake. You'll find yourself out in the legal marketplace where some junior lawyer you've never heard of knows something that you don't know, and the feeling you have nothing to learn from them will only make you worse. You'll also have situations where you find yourself litigating opposite someone who went to a "better" school than you did, and who has 30 years more experience. And if you can't stand your ground against that other lawyer, you don't belong in the courtroom. You can't be worried about how well you'll compete against any cohort of law students. It only gets much, much more real from this point forward.
  12. This conversation got derailed in several different directions. Here is the only answer you really need. What you are asking, basically, is whether or not you're better at an objectively "easier" school, where you hope to look better in contrast to the students around you. Applicants often ask the opposite question also, based in the view that it's better to be average from a school like U of T and try to coast on the school's reputation, rather than trying to be above average at a less impressive school. Both of these questions miss the basic and obvious point that however good a student you turn out to be, you are going to be exactly that good (not better, and not worse) wherever you end up. And both of these questions are based on trying to create the illusion that you are better than you really are, and hoping to trick future employers on that basis. We could have an elaborate conversation here about how employers view U of T vs. (random example) Ottawa, or how they view the Windsor Dual program vs. Lakehead. But it hasn't escaped anyone's notice that different law schools admit different cohorts of students and create different levels of competition as a result. I won't pretend all employers get it "right" or even that there is a "right" answer. Is a student in the top quartile of the class at Western the equivalent to a student who's just moderately above average at Osgoode? Who the hell knows? Employers try to figure it out. So do applicants, sometimes. But here's the catch. In order to use game theory appropriately, you need to be operating under better information than the people around you. In order to game out whether it's better to go to a "harder" school and appear more average, or to an "easier" school and do better against the class, you have to know more than employers do about what's really going on. Because they are trying to figure it out too. Which is the better candidate? And how completely divorced-from-reality-arrogant do you have to be, as a know-nothing applicant to law school, to imagine that you are going to operate on better information than the law firms that interview candidates every year in order to make that decision? Remember, you are not a better or a worse student no matter what you do. You're just trying to fool them into thinking you're better than you are. How the hell do you propose to do that, when you know nothing and they know quite a lot about the legal market? So the answer is, don't even try. Don't try to game your way through this. If there even is a "right" choice, your odds of making the right decision are no better than a coin toss. Do whatever you want to do based on whatever other criteria make sense to you. And do as well in law school as you can, obviously. Because that's all you can control.
  13. Umm... I suppose you can describe it that way if you want to. I mean, there's always a question of how far back in the causal chain you care to go. But I think the point is that these are bad law schools because they admit very poor students. We're talking about law school applicants with GPAs that demonstrate very little other than they handed in most things they were supposed to hand in while in school, and LSATs that almost anyone here would beat on their first cold attempt. If the employment prospects are poor, for a cohort of students who were very weak applicants in the first place, you could pin it on the quality of education they received if you care to. But I really do think it's more realistic to say that weak material going in equals weak graduates coming out.
  14. I share concerns with everyone regarding even your recent grades. I mean, you deserve significant congratulations for discovering that school can be something positive. But essentially you've gone from being a student just barely avoiding failing to being a student stringing along with what's sometimes called a "gentleman's B." In other words, you're showing up and doing what's required, which you probably weren't in the past. That's progress. You deserve to know that the distance between almost-failing and a "gentelman's B" is far shorter than the distance between a "gentleman's B" and the near-straight-A students that generally compete for law school. The distance between showing up and doing what's required, and doing it with full commitment and passion and inspiration is huge. This dovetails into my next point. At your age, with your background and profile, it is possible you could still gain admission to law school? Yes, it's possible. There may still be an intermediary step or two, but it's possible. The problem is, you're asking if it's going to be easy. I'm sorry, but you are. You aren't asking the question in the form of "I've finally decided this is what I want to do, and I'm going to do whatever it takes so tell me what that requires." You're asking the question in the form of "should I even bother?" Anyone who can ask that isn't talking about a burning passion. They're talking about something they think would be kinda nice, but is also a disposable aspiration. At your age, you can't pretend you suddenly realized there are academic goals and professions for which you need more than a solid-B average. Even to this point, nothing in your background suggests you've been pushing yourself like this in the past, or that you have any intention of doing so in the future. That's fine. No one is saying that you should. You're like the badly overweight guy right now, asking if he can still get to the point of running a qualifying marathon. Except he doesn't even want to. He just wants to be healthy, and feel good about himself. So maybe concentrate on that goal. You can have a good career from this point. You can also potentially attend law school, if you really decide that it's worth orienting your entire life around that goal and changing everything about how you've approached school in the past and even how you're approaching it right now. But if you're asking "should I even bother" my strong sense is that you don't want to do that. So don't.
  15. You want people here to tell you which of these two great options is the greatest. That isn't going to happen, because your premise is flawed. You've bought into the propaganda from schools that explicitly cater to applicants who can't get in anywhere else. And quite honestly, if you believe what they are selling you deserve to be fooled. Is there really no part of your brain that clicks in when you realize that these "great" schools are admitting students who couldn't possibly gain admission to law school anywhere in Canada? We can, if you like, have a conversation about which of these bad options is less bad. And about the risks and benefits of attention law school in Australia with the hope of coming back to Canada to practice law. But there's no point having that conversation at all if you just want to feed your need to believe this is a great plan and your just spoiled for options. The students I know who have gone this route and succeeded - and there are a few - have done so with their eyes open. The ones who start where you seem to be, right now, don't end well.
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