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Diplock

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Diplock last won the day on May 29

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  1. Your personal statement is a two-fold test, meant to confirm that you can use the English language in a way that isn't embarrassing, and that you can discuss a relatively straight-forward topic without becoming ridiculous. You don't need to be Oliver Twist, in either style or substance. If you try, you'll almost certainly achieve a negative result. There may be the odd applicant to law school who really did escape war-torn Syria in the trunk of a car, or who has the narrative style to pull off some exceptional piece of writing. Everyone else is just a reasonably accomplished undergrad who wants to study law. And that's all you need to be. Seriously. Stop over-thinking this. Just tell them why you want to go to law school.
  2. I don't understand the BC system. Listen to the lawyers in BC who are advising you, here. I just wanted to add that while I sympathize with your situation, please bear in mind that the answers you are getting here are based on accepting, at face value, your initial description of what's happening. And if I'm about to offend you with what follows, then I apologize in advance. But almost invariably, when I get a client talking about their fucked-up situation, and start asking relevant questions, their own first description of how everyone else is wrong and unreasonable and how they are innocent victims of everyone else's misdeeds gets more complicated. Not to say they are necessarily wrong. But it's generally more complicated than it first appears. Which brings me around to the same general advice. Get proper counsel from the Law Society. They'll ask you appropriate questions, get a proper grasp on your situation, and advise you from there. This forum is good for a lot of things, but your situation has gone well beyond that. Anyone's advice right now, based only on what you can and choose to share on the Internet, is flawed and limited despite the best of intentions.
  3. That's my understanding also. May be different once you actually take a job placement. But there's definitely no obligation to the LPP program itself, in a professional sense. Not like articling. It was suggested above this might be the case, but I'm almost 100% sure it's not. And really, this just reinforces the basic point. The stigma will never go away as long as the LPP program is, defacto, the solution for people who can't find articles. Notwithstanding the few cases who may just find it more convenient, that will always be what it is, for the vast majority. Anyone who can still find articles is best advised to do so. And even the LPP is designed to let them go smoothly, if they get that chance.
  4. You didn't even look for articles?!? Because it was took much work and no one would offer you a guarantee? Holy hell. Look. It's possible to go through the LPP system and come out on the other side okay, but you've got to be willing to hustle. You've got to want it. And by the sounds of things, you can't even be bothered to an ordinary degree, much less an extraordinary degree. Articles are a job. You apply to them, you get interviews, you may or may not get hired afterwards. That's the employment market, for everyone who isn't rich or guaranteed a spot in the family business where Uncle Larry won't fire you no matter how much you suck. Everyone else puts in the effort, without any guarantee of outcomes, and accepts that's life. Without being any harsher than I've already been, you need to get your priorities straightened out. Because there won't be a job waiting for you on the other side of this, no matter how you go about it. What you do is stop sitting on your ass, and hustle. Because I guarantee most of your competition is doing so, and no one wants to hire the guy (or gal) who can't be bothered doing shit on their own, because it seems like too much effort.
  5. Although there's no harm in applying early, the best advice I can offer is to realize that it's simply unrealistic to imagine that soles and very small firms are going to hired nearly a year in advance. Yes, large firms that reliably hire a cohort of a dozen attaching students every year are going to hire well in advance. Their needs are predictable. A sole who may or may not want one student just isn't looking at June 2020 right now. So, bottom line, if this is what you're looking for, it's good you know that now. But mostly what you're going to do right now is wait. And yes, that means you'll be waiting through OCIs as your more business-minded friends all apply to large firms. That's just the way it is.
  6. For the same reason that you're not going to be a douche about the situation and throw a tantrum in the office. Because in this profession, we often do things simply because we're professionals, and there's a right and a wrong way to go about it. Over time, being one of the professionals that goes it right will pay off, and will even become habit-forming. For now, at least, you're still an articling student and they are presumably invested in teaching you properly - not because you'll be their employee for life, but simply because they agreed to do so. Take advantage of it while you can.
  7. So what you're saying is, basically, that two very small entrepreneurs said something vague to you that sounded like a guarantee of lifelong employment, and rather than question your understanding of that unbelievable situation, you chose to leave it alone and believe what you wanted to believe? It sounds to me that you are working in an environment very similar to my own practice area. So believe me, I'm not disparaging that sort of legal practice. But we're not talking about "big law" here. We're talking about the complete opposite. What was your alternative exactly? Did you pass up a job on Bay street to go work for Smith & Co., General Practitioners? What sort of alternative job in any similar legal practice do you imagine would end up guaranteeing you work? Look, I don't want to beat you when you are down. But if you want to recover properly, and learn the lessons you need to learn, you need to look in the mirror and realize that you were being hopelessly, impossibly naive about the realities of the legal market. I don't believe anyone was "unfair" to you in any real way. But I know from experience that it's impossible to be "fair" to someone who insists on deceiving themselves. And that's what you were doing. That's really what you're still doing. Working as a lawyer is entrepreneurial. It isn't a union job where you sign on with one employer and stay there until you retire on your defined benefits pension plan. You should have figured that out years ago. But better late than never. Figure it out now, and move on. Because unless you do have a job waiting for you at a major firm, somewhere (and realistically even then - though in other ways) you'll find that employment in this field comes with many rewards, but stable and long-term guarantees of employment is rarely one of them. In all events, good luck.
  8. You've asked several questions here which are not the same question, though you may feel they are. When did they finalize the move? I have no idea. I don't know nearly enough to imagine even having an answer to that, and neither do you. You I have given you more notice? I can't possibly know that without knowing all of what was going on. So, unknowable. Were you treated fairly? Yes. They gave you an articling position, and you have completed that position. No one promised you any more than that, and regardless of whatever else is happening, you got everything you were promised. To the questions you haven't asked, it's May 31 and you imagined that somehow you had a sorta promise to stay employed where you are, even though you explicitly asked about it and no one confirmed anything at all like hireback. If anyone fooled you, you fooled yourself. Based on that description of this practice, I'm sure you were told when you took the job that nothing at all was guaranteed going forward, and they likely could not or would not hire you back. So really, you had ample warning. Stow away your sense of grievance and move on. It won't help you going forward. Try to stay on good terms with everyone concerned, because that's all you can still control that will do you any good in the future. Good luck.
  9. Your grades are not an indication that you should not practice law. But I would encourage you to articulate, right now if you can, exactly where and what kind of law you wish to practice. Because I (and others) will be able to give you more intelligent feedback after you've done that. And if you can't describe what you want your career to look like, over and above just "practicing law" then we might have a real problem. But maybe you can, so let's try that first. I always get concerned when people immediately talk about 1L OCIs because the sort of employer that participates in 1L OCIs at all is only a part of the total marketplace. If you genuinely want to practice law in a large, business-oriented firm then we can talk about that. In that conversation, your grades are going to be a problem, so maybe students who've been through that and who practice in that kind of environment can talk about it. That wouldn't be me. But there are also quite a number of employers out there for whom it's far more important to have clear background and interest in their area of practice than it is to come with the best possible grades. Which is why it dismays me when someone posts something like this, tosses in an off-hand reference to OCIs, and then asks what they should do next. Let me put it another way. Next to grades, the absolute most important thing in the employment market is to be able to explain what you want to do, and why, and to show some evidence that your interest in that area of practice is genuine. So what's your situation, there?
  10. This is really just a catch-all term to describe a situation where someone is doing a lot of work for a particular firm but isn't employed by them full-time. Remember, it's a description for public consumption, not an explanation of how the financial relationship works. Any situation where you can imagine someone doing a of work for one employer falls generally under this heading. The finances could work in a variety of ways.
  11. I don't want to get into the specific details of the situation under discussion, but I want to make a general point about how students so often misread the employment market, and this is a great example of how that happens. Applying for a job is not the same as applying for admission to a program at school. It's not the same as applying for an award. It's not the same as applying for accommodation for the LSAT, or from some office at your school. In all of those other cases and examples, the people considering you for admission, awards, accommodation, etc. are all concerned about being fair and objective. In all of those cases, the process matters, and everyone agrees it matters. This is not to say that bias and subjectivity are entirely eliminated. It happens, sometimes, and it's unavoidable. But the process is at least designed to avoid it and everyone agrees that's the way it should be. An employer doesn't care about any of that. They just need to get the job done. At a large employer you may have at least some cushioning from the immediate realities of the workplace if a decision is being made in a formal HR process. But even there, they're aware of the realities. At a smaller employer, it's completely in your face at all times. Speaking as an employer, if I'm looking at a candidate who has a sympathetic situation at home, I'm not thinking "what a shame they couldn't show their full potential in school" I'm thinking "how often is this going to fuck me in the future if I hire this person?" Now you can all yell and scream that I'm a terrible person for thinking this. But I have very few people to rely on. And everything my employee isn't getting done is one more problem for me, personally, to solve. And I don't imagine there's a single employer out there who is saintly enough to just ignore that factor and to hire the more "deserving" candidate, even though there's a fair chance the more deserving candidate is going to make their own personal and professional lives suck over an extended period of time. If you can't understand what I just wrote, or you think it's somehow wrong, it's because you're still thinking like a kid. You imagine the world owes you things, and it doesn't. I'm going to hire someone who will help me do my job and make me money. I'm not a social agency. I may feel personal sympathy for certain factors in your life. And I'm not saying I'm going to turf an existing employee the second they have health or family problems. But you think I'm going to willingly create that situation for myself if I don't have to? You're insane. I don't have a perfect answer for how to navigate the marketplace if you are dealing with factors like that. But if you at least maintain the appropriate attitude towards what's really going on, you'll do a better job of sounding reasonable, mature, and realistic about it. You never, ever, ever want to sound like "here's why I haven't been able to perform, so please take this into account when evaluating my poor performance." You want to sound like "here's everything I am doing and will continue to do to ensure that my personal issues aren't stopping me from getting the job done, and done well." It isn't a perfect answer. There is no perfect answer. But at least you won't sound like a kid who thinks that the coach has to play every player on the team just to be fair - even the ones who suck. The real world just isn't like that.
  12. Okay, first off, you simply don't "estimate your value as a student" at all. Trying to do that will confuse your entire attitude towards your relationship in this context. Anyone hiring an articling student wants them for some reason or other. It isn't entirely charity. But in some contexts the main "value" of a student is simply the opportunity to recruit capable future associates at an early stage. In other contexts the student may be performing productive, potentially valuable work for the employer. In still others, the main value of a student is the enjoyment of teaching someone. Trying to pin it down to some kind of economic formula is absolutely counter-productive. To the OP's actual question, no one is going to tell you that you should accept a position for less than you deserve to be paid. And note that in this context I'm using "deserve to be paid" as a description of what you believe yourself to be worth (which is an attitude we're all entitled to - divorced from any calculation of what we earn for our employer) and certainly not for less than minimum wage. But that said, your later comments reveal a strikingly weak bargaining position. You want to ask for more but you're afraid to lose the offer you have ... which really means that you are willing and able to work for what they've offered if you have to, right? This is bargaining 101. The only way to bargain from a position of strength is if you're willing to walk away. If you aren't ... well, find a way to ask for more if you can. But you might as well put your cards on the table as you do it. Because it's the end of May already and if you're still looking for articles your potential future employer isn't stupid. They know you're desperate for anything and even unpaid positions have a slew of applicants right now. I'm not saying that's good. I'm just saying that's what is. Also be aware that the economics of the situation may or may not even allow the potential employer to pay more. Do not approach any conversation like you know the first thing about the financial realities of running a legal practice. You just don't. Approach it from your own, subjective perspective. As in "I really want to work here, but I need to eat too - can you help me out at all?" And be prepared for all possible replies to that request. Know in advance what you're willing to stay for, and what you're willing to walk away from. Good luck.
  13. I may well have over-reacted. If so, I apologize. I think I just read deeply into your sense that somehow Harvard and UPenn could be viewed as comparable in Canada, and the only way that could make sense to me is if somehow any strong American degree got "full" marks. Otherwise, I mean, Harvard is still Harvard. Anyway. Cheers.
  14. Yeah, we needed another round of this, like, immediately. Here's the short version. Others are going to weigh in. None of us are definitively "right." No one can be definitely "right" on this topic, because if you're asking about how the employment market will receive something, it's inevitably not a single answer but rather the combined attitudes of all possible employers. So everyone is right to some degree, in that some slice of the labour market probably agrees with all of us. How that averages out, in practice, is anyone's guess. Leaving aside difficulties in qualification and putting yourself out of step with local hiring timelines and networking, a degree from a "top" U.S. school is not likely to be a real disadvantage at any Canadian employer who knows what they are looking at. If you confine yourself to major firms with an organized recruiting effort, it's probably a wash (again, leaving aside other related issues). But you haven't specified areas of possible interest so taking the widest lens on where you may be applying in the future, I'll warn that smaller shops are much more eclectic and some may not even know that Penn is a good school. As to your second question. It's actually the complete opposite of your first question. In your first question, you are basically asking "do Canadian employers know enough about American law schools to know a good school when they see one? In your second question, you are asking "are Canadian employers so clueless that they don't understand the difference between the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard?" I doubt there's a single Canadian employer that doesn't recognize Harvard. I can't say the same thing about Penn. 'Nuff said. This is a dumb question. In summary, if you end up attending a genuinely competitive American law school (as in a genuinely competitive one - not just something near the lower end of T1) it probably won't hurt you. If you're hoping to gain some advantage by coming back to Canada with a degree from a moderately impressive American school and figuring that Canadians will be so impressed they'll conflate everything together and confuse it with Harvard - yeah, that's not happening. Look at the entry stats to T14 schools. Look at the entry stats at U of T, UBC, Osgoode, etc. A lot of the entering class at competitive Canadian schools could have gotten in to T14 schools. A significant number would have been competitive at T6 or even HYS. I'm sorry if I bristle at questions which implicitly imagine that maybe some inherit Canadian inferiority complex is going to work to your advantage in hiring, but it won't. Go to a good enough, recognized-enough American school, and you're get appropriate credit for it from Canadian employers who know enough to recognize what it is, and isn't. Just don't hope for extra credit. Good luck.
  15. I've wanted to answer this question sooner, but I have two predominant reactions. First, I realize that it's been a long time since I met many new people outside of a context that's at least semi-professional. I don't find myself standing around house parties anymore, drinking a beer in a circle of people I've just met, going "so, what is it you do?" Maybe ten years ago I could have cited a string of experiences relating to how people respond to my profession. But not anymore. I actually find myself digging for examples of how anyone new has responded to my job in a long time. My second reaction is, I actually met two new people on the weekend (friends of my wife's family) and most of the time I spent talking with this guy who runs an arts organization. Interesting guy. In some very tangential way what he does and what I do could intersect at some point, and we exchanged cards. It really wasn't a thing at all that I practice law, or that I'm in criminal defence. Although he sat on an interesting jury lately, and without going into specifics (which he can't do) we had an interesting chat about that experience. I guess what I'm saying it, for good or for ill, at some point your social environment narrows a bit and you self-select into relationships with people for whom your job just isn't a big deal. It's useful to simply be a lawyer at times - in politics, in certain professional settings, etc. Half of that is also just having any professional job and being a middle-aged dude in a suit. I don't know if there's a good lesson out of this. It's a very important exercise to remain conscious of how other people respond to you, how you respond to others, etc. Perception and privilege are huge factors at play, here. It's not like saying "I'm a lawyer" is a thing that occurs without context. When I say that, the most common reaction (based on dress, deportment, environment, etc.) is "oh, yeah." But try saying that as a young woman of colour. You'll get a different reaction. And since we aren't going to somehow eliminate bias, privilege, etc. any time soon, the next best option is at least remaining aware of how it all plays out. But yeah, it's a thing for a while. It's weird to think "this is who I am now, and it's how people see me." Then one day, you wake up and it's just normal because that's who you are. Like any life change - getting older, having kids, finding yourself in some unexpected position of authority - it's odd until it isn't. Though I'll admit, I still have moments when I think "I can't believe they let me do this stuff - if only they really knew me." But I've come around to the view that everyone has those moments too, or should. The Pope, the Secretary-General of the UN, our Prime Minister - I truly hope and believe they all have moments when they think "I can't believe they're letting me do this!" I'm sure Trump doesn't have that level of self-reflection. He probably thinks it makes sense that he's President. But that's a whole other issue.
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