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Diplock

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Diplock last won the day on August 29

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  1. Not sure of the exact context of this question. If you're actually looking for help getting through the NCA process, then I suppose some kind of association of NCA candidates (not that I'm sure there is one) would be helpful to you. Though perhaps one of the reasons it may not exist is that I've always understood the process is relatively straight-forward. If you're looking to gain exposure to the Canadian legal community - which is probably far more important at this point - I'd recommend against looking for a specifically NCA-oriented group at all and instead join mainstream legal organizations relating to your practice area. For example, for any student looking to pursue criminal law, the Criminal Lawyers' Association is a no-brainer. It's also either extremely cheap or free for articling candidates. Anyway, something to consider. Whatever your interests are, in terms of practice area(s), there's generally one or more associations built around it.
  2. Based on OP's previous history, he or she graduated in April of this year, and has been articling for at most several months. So while I'm sure we all appreciate someone's insight about what it means to "really and deeply understand what it is like to be a lawyer" but honestly, I'd expect anyone writing something this strongly worded to at least admit they are not themselves yet a lawyer. Beyond that, what's the shocking revelation at the end of all this urgency? That the profession is demanding and involves a lot of work? I mean, thanks for that information. I don't think I can even engage with the idea that would-be law students should summer at a law firm prior to law school, or the ridiculous idea that even if that were somehow an option, the "work" performed by a 0L student would give meaningful insight into the profession of law. Like many things on this site, the dumbass jumping off point for this discussion does not necessarily mean there's no discussion to have. There are valid concerns about the workload and demands that go into this profession, as well as the degree to which many students (like the OP) march themselves into positions for which they may be very badly suited. So I don't want it to seem like I'm dismissing the topic out of hand simply because I'm dismissing the OP's claims to new or meaningful insight. I guess what it comes down to is this. I'm sorry the OP is struggling. I actually don't like to see that happen to anyone. And there are fair warnings and discussions to be had about the legal profession. But those are two totally separate discussions. @OP - Listen. If you're in a bad situation and you need help and advice, you should ask for it. But for fuck's sake, do it with some humility. Right now, you're basically saying that you paid no fucking attention to what anyone was telling you about the legal profession up until basically now, and rather than learn that you should pay attention to what others are telling you the lesson you've learned is that you are now suddenly an authority. That's just arrogant and stupid and worst of all it's perpetuating the problems that put you where you are to begin with. Start by acknowledging everything you don't know and ask for help. @Everyone Else - Pay attention to issues in the profession and get good information as you make decisions. But "good information" means avoiding listening to obviously interested parties with their own agendas, especially when they are talking in relative ignorance. Don't listen to irrational boosters of the legal profession (esp. from law schools themselves) but also don't listen to people looking to validate their own misery, such as the OP right now. If you have questions, just ask.
  3. I only have two pieces of generic advice on this topic. Though I'll also agree that if any judge were to have a "tell" of some sort, it would be specific to that judge anyway and there's no sense deriving a general rule from it. First, looking for signs a judge is leaning your way is a waste of time and energy. You make your best arguments, play the "game" out as it were, and find out at the end what the score looks like. Worrying about it in the middle is a distraction. Second, while it's still a bad idea to worry about who's winning in some global sense, it's worthwhile sometimes to get a read on how a particular argument or point is going down. That's useful - gives you an idea of where you need to concentrate or rebut. But the useful piece of advice I have here is that most people (including myself) are really bad at reading an audience while talking. It's a form of multi-tasking to concentrate simultaneously on what you're trying to say and also on gauging reaction to it. So if you can, try to get anyone else available to give you an impression of how the judge is responding to your arguments. Students are helpful for this purpose, a colleague who happens to be in court, even the client. Hope that helps.
  4. Just for everyone else who may be reading this, and may be thinking "what the hell is this, even" here's a link. Because I didn't know what it is. It's completely new for 2020. https://bfl.law.utoronto.ca/law-bsap Now I'm not going to presume to tell anyone what to write, for around a half dozen good reasons. But as general advice about persuasive writing and advocacy (in this case, self-advocacy) I'd urge you not to focus on what you imagine they are "expecting to hear." If you believe there are good reasons why you should be considered as a black applicant to law school, and why you want to be considered as a black applicant to law school - which is, I suppose, somehow meaningfully different from being an applicant to law school who just happens to be black - then write about those reasons. Note, if it isn't obvious, this is an application path that's available to black students but certainly not required. So presumably you have at least some starting point to work from, based in whatever reasons led you to choose this process rather than the standard one. Anyway, good luck.
  5. Well, I do take the point above - which is that an employer who is less formal about their hiring might be willing to be more flexible. But that said, if i imagine a less formal employer who might be looking for a student, I don't believe they would specify "2L" in the first place. Bottom line, there are very few summer positions for law students in the first place, outside of large and organized firms. When the large and organized firms advertise for 2L students, they know what they are doing and that's what they are looking to hire. For anything outside of that, the same assumptions do not apply. But you won't find much of that in the first place. As an aside, to the OP. While it's nice you appreciate you'll want to "back up" your aspirations to be treated like a special case with good grades, be aware that the 2L recruit takes place on a schedule before grades from that year are even available. That's exactly why students who are in 2L are nevertheless counting exclusively on their 1L grades to get noticed, and in 1L you'd be counting on...nothing other than your own assertion that you plan on getting good grades. So there's another reason this doesn't really work. Anyway, good luck.
  6. Just to clarify, I don't believe you've offended anyone at all in this discussion. Certainly not me. Some of these issues are frustrating in that they go to the misconceptions we deal with constantly, as lawyers, but that doesn't mean you yourself have given offence here. For the sake of your own clarify of purpose, I would urge you to consider that working as a lawyer and working in policy are very, very different career paths. So it's fine to hold out with a certain idea of "maybe one day" if you want to do something else eventually. But it's not something you realistically plan at this stage in your career. If your immediate term goal is to become a lawyer and practice law, go to school to do that. The future will come eventually, and will no doubt be shaped by many different experiences between then and now. Honestly, if you need a little bit of sugar to make the legal education go down more easily, I entirely understand. I'm the same way. So if some kind of critical social theory makes you happy, that's fine. Just keep this in mind. No matter how much you read and understand about the over-policing of black and Aboriginal persons before the Court (to use just one example) no amount of critical systemic analysis is ever going to help you actually assist a black or Aboriginal client who is before the Court. For that you need black letter law. So whenever you're tempted to just binge on the sugar content of the stuff that interests you more - remember what you'll need to assist a real client one day. Anyway, good luck.
  7. Yeah. And I know how it seems like we're saying different things, but I agree with you completely. I try to keep this simple and at the level (as best I can guess) of the person asking the question. So when I get someone here - or really any would-be applicant anywhere - asking about how to use the law to reform the whole system rather than reinforce the system by working within it...my go-to answer is that you don't do that by practicing law. You do that by working in politics, or in the streets as a protestor if you don't believe even our political system can function properly. Being lawyer isn't about reforming the law. It's about using the law as best you can on behalf of the client you have. But that's only half of the truth. The other half of the truth is that practicing lawyers change the regularly. But almost all of the time we're changing it in very narrow, very specific ways. The average student in law school - nevermind a wannabe student - wouldn't even have sufficient perspective to appreciate most of the examples I'd use. And that's because changes that are big enough for a layperson to understand and appreciate are the exception. That's the once-in-a-career crusade that overturns Canada's prostitution laws and gets into all the newspapers. But that is not at all normal. The sort of change we're talking about right now (and where BBCB and I agree) is more along the lines of getting the court to adopt a slightly more expansive interpretation of part four in a five part test for...whatever. Which could be incredibly important to the client you have, and might even be followed with great interest by a few hundred other lawyers who appreciate what that means. But that's all. If you want to discuss how the entire legal system could operate differently, don't become a lawyer. Do something else. Legal academia is one answer, sure, but there are others. Legal practice is and remains a wonderful vehicle to effect change. Truly so. But you need to approach it with some humility, appreciate that you are one ant working on a big anthill, and if you move a few grains closer to the top then that's your achievement and it does matter. But it isn't going to look like what you see on television. And just to take one final jab. I've faced the accusation before that I'm somehow "enforcing the status quo" by working within the system. That accusation is generally leveled at me by people whose work product basically consists of writing stuff and arguing with other people who write stuff. And then they all congratulate themselves for this important contribution to society, and feel morally superior to everyone else who are compromising themselves so badly by functioning within corrupt and inequitable systems. But I got a badly disadvantaged foster kid out of jail today. And you wrote an article about how terrible it is that she was ever in jail in the first place. So, you know. Shut the fuck up.
  8. Yeah, just to provide the glue that no one else has quite said yet, but is there between the lines of every post before mine, let me add this. Your question has some merit and sense to it if your interests are, in fact, academic. Though at that point, the real question you should be asking is "where can I find a law school that will best prepare me for a career in legal academia rather than in legal practice." Probably U of T or McGill, but I'll let more knowledgeable types (ProfReader?) weigh in on that. Also, search the forum on that topic. It's been asked before. If, however, you want to practice law as a lawyer, then you need to learn how to "effect change within the bounds of existing power relations" because that's what lawyering is. Anyway, start by clarifying your goal here.
  9. This is 100% true. And I struggle with this topic because I know there are foreign study success stories, and it isn't fair to prevent those stories being told here when they are true, but I also know this is a topic where students are incredibly eager to delude themselves and to believe what they want to believe. I also believe it's a topic that invites and involves a fair amount of outright lying, although I cannot prove it. So, just to address and dispel things that I know are outright untrue, here. Applying as a graduate from a foreign law school is not interesting, not remotely "unique" (seriously - look up the word and stop torturing it), and not an attractive feature to any future employer. In the limited amount of hiring I've done, I would say at least 1/3 of all applications I've seen were NCA candidates. Not to say those got interviews or anything, but in terms of total CVs received - yeah, that high. I suspect enough NCA candidates end up applying literally everywhere that their numbers become inflated relative to the size of the cohort. But to imagine any employer will look at your foreign degree and think "hmm, that's interesting and unusual" when their trashcan is full of other students who went to the same place is just an outright lie. Also, this "birthplace of the common law" is a stupid-ass and embarrassing marketing line used by UK schools and should not be repeated outside of that context. It has no logical connection to anything. That's like bragging about how you played basketball for a Canadian university and therefore learned at the birthplace of the sport, when trying to compare yourself favorably to someone playing college ball in the US. It's such a nonsense argument that it undermines the impression left by anyone who repeats it like they think they've said something meaningful. To actually answer the OP, it sounds like you started from a perspective of some knowledge and rationality on this topic. When I was in U of T law I knew one transfer student from Bond, who came after first year. Though note, I think she was their top student, to put it in context. But once she transferred, she was a 2L like any other at U of T. Transferring comes with some issues and dislocations, but if you transfer after first year I don't think a transfer from a foreign school and a transfer from a different domestic school are particularly different. The real issue is just how hard it might be to pull that off. I do agree with the goal though. If you have no choice but to start at a foreign school, you should transfer back if you possibly can. Though remain alert to the fact that you may not be able to, and what that would mean going forward. People will do what they have to do. But I have very little patience for lies and delusion. I especially have very little patience for when they are used as fig leaves to avoid confronting privilege. Pretending that a large firm is impressed by your UK degree from a school that admits almost exclusively Canadian law school rejects as foreign applicants, or that anyone thinks it matters where Carbolic Smoke Ball was decided is just ridiculous. The fact is, the money required to fund law school in a foreign country implies all kinds of other existing privilege. It isn't a 1:1 correlation, but it tracks. And that privilege, more than anything, is what's going to help you score a job afterwards. The worst outcome of not recognizing this is that privileged foreign graduates who want to pretend daddy's money and friends had nothing to do with their success end up comforting would-be NCA students who don't have those same advantages, and who take on hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt on a hope and a dream. Anyway, rant off. And good luck.
  10. There are some ways to answer the question "what school is best for X?" It's absolutely true that there isn't a huge difference most of the time regardless, but one school might have an applicable clinic, another closer to major marketplaces, etc. It's not a totally impossible question. The bigger issue is this. Criminal and corporate law are diametrically opposed to one another in almost every major way. That is to say, imagine something that's true of one area of law and less true of another. It's hard to imagine a bigger split. What's the reason, exactly, you've asked about these two specific areas - other than "as seen on tv?"
  11. You know what, I do have one meaningful piece of advice. Due to many sorts of client interactions, I am very conscious of how easy it is for clients to imagine there's all kinds of backroom shit going on in criminal law. By this, I mean insane levels of illicit cooperation between defence, the Crown, the court, etc. Just yesterday I spoke to a client who genuinely believes his lawyer cut a deal against his interests with both the Crown and with the court itself in order to benefit another client. That sort of belief is very unhealthy for any client. I could go on at length, but it's just unhealthy to believe things like that. The inherent closeness of everyone in a smaller community surely allows even more potential than usual to contribute to impressions like this. I'd just caution against giving anyone reason to believe stuff like this happens. However obvious it may be to us the system doesn't work this way, it isn't as obvious to accused persons, complainants, etc. that this is true.
  12. I was cited in the initial question here, and thanks for the props. But honestly, I've never worked as a Crown or in a small community. So my insight is of very limited value here. Good luck, however. Every time I go to smaller places, I invariably wonder why the hell I didn't make the move myself a long time ago.
  13. Competitive cheerleading, if male. Greco-Roman wrestling, if female. Law schools are really leaning towards applicants willing to buck against gender stereotypes right now. Always better to start sooner rather than later. And don't believe anyone who claims this isn't true. Too many people are trying to hide the truth and preserve their advantages.
  14. I'd have more enthusiasm to engage in this discussion if it wasn't started by such an idiot. Then again, at least some of the satisfaction I gain from posting comes from correcting idiocy, so I can't really understand why I'm having trouble rousing enthusiasm for this one. Many here are familiar with my theses on class politics. I do believe that we get an unrepresentative sampling of all possible law school students/applicants etc. because there's some truth to the fact that anonymous advice on the Internet is a second-best option to advice from real people. I don't accept the idiotic suggestion we're somehow less authoritative than other anonymous sources of advice on the Internet just because General Idiot says so, but I do acknowledge this isn't a place you come if your parents are lawyers, or know a lot of lawyers. It's a place that you find because you don't have better sources of advice. And in some cases where you stick around because you realize that despite having found other sources of advice, what you get here is shockingly good. But that's not where it starts. Here's a story. I remember when I was in undergrad and contemplating law school I actually wrote an email to some lawyer who had a column in, I believe, The Metro (that subway rag) and it was on employment law or maybe real estate or something. I asked his advice only because I had his email and I literally couldn't think of who else to ask. Now honestly, if I tried harder I could have found better people to network towards. But that's how far removed I was from legitimate sources of advice. He didn't answer, btw. I've reflected on that many times since, when I get tired questions from people by PM that I think I'd rather not bother with. But complete silence is a message of its own, and one I'd rather not send. I do believe this forum mainly serves students who wouldn't get decent advice otherwise. And yes, does it far better than whatever other alternatives might exist on the Internet. Could it be a subreddit instead? Well, with the same people, sure. But it's the community that makes it good, not the posting format. The crap people bring from elsewhere sometimes (not that I go looking for it myself) constantly amazes me. Citing some American source about how to hire an applications consultant to dress up your personal statement with heartwarming stories of the adversity you've overcome in life when the housekeeper you were much closer with than your own parents was hospitalized with cancer and someone else who didn't know how to prepare your eggs properly was making your breakfasts all through your exams. I mean seriously. I don't need General Idiot telling me what else is on the Internet. I know this community is that much better, which is a big part of why I come back. That, and knowing that the people who come here for advice are the ones who really need it - not the one's who'd ask dad's golfing buddies first. Now, the easiest and laziest smackdown in the world. Dude. Everything you've posted here has been completely fucking nuts, and based in gross misunderstandings about how the law and the legal marketplace works. And rather than be grateful that complete strangers are taking their time to try to help you, and actually listen to what they have to say, you've responded at every turn by doubling down on your stupidity and insisting you already know everything there is to know. Now you come back with this idiocy, presuming to tell me that I'm wasting my time here. Well with you, I obviously AM wasting my time. Although you've pulled the "useful idiot" move here really well, by asking an interesting question intended purely as troll bait. I acknowledge that other than being a useful idiot you're a waste of my time and keystrokes. But other people aren't. And honestly, the basis of your questions and criticism really do fall within the Dunning-Kruger Effect where you can't understand why anyone would find this forum useful simply because you are too stupid yourself to find use in it. You just lack the insight and ability to tell good advice from bad because to you they both seem the same. And yeah, I type one hell of a lot more than 40 WPM also. Just fyi.
  15. Well, thanks for that! This goes back a long way in my life, and isn't really directly relevant to this conversation, but I remember once as a young teenager I actually called the police because I saw (or believed I saw) some older kids with marijuana. I actually thought that's what you're supposed to do. My mind always goes back to that any time I'm confronted with over-the-top ethical training in law (or otherwise) that basically implies that as soon as anyone has a concern regarding any conduct by a fellow member of the profession, they are supposed to report everything to the law police and trust the authorities to take it from there. Real life is simply more nuanced than that.
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