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Everything posted by Diplock

  1. There are relatively few criminal lawyers who have anything approaching a client base of almost exclusively private (or cash) clients. Of those few, they employ not a lot of associates. I would imagine the few associates who work in these practices are relatively well-paid by the standards of criminal defence - which is to say in the same range as other, non-Bay associates at a similar year of call. Maybe around $60-80k in their first year, with predictable raises from there. If you actually have a job at such a place, could yourself lucky and keep it for a while, if you can. If you don't, then your question is incredibly premature, presumptuous, and self-deceptive. AD is giving you the best answer available, about the practice area as a whole. You're likely to be self-employed, if you stay in criminal defence for any length of time at all. You want to be self-employed as your goal, for anything past the immediate short-term. Asking about the area of practice any other way isn't only a waste of everyone's time, it also draws attention to the fact that you don't "get it" in any meaningful way. And that's not a good look for a young lawyer. So when you ask the wrong question, and people direct you back to the questions you should be asking instead, you probably want to take the correction and adjust.
  2. I knew this topic would go nowhere good as soon as I called out what I called out, but before I go any further let me point out something that providence has, probably unintentionally, managed to obscure. I have no idea what perspective the OP was asking his or her question from. Providence seems to have concluded preemptively that it's from the perspective of lightly disguised racism - basically a disgruntled white applicant saying "am I getting screwed by visible minorities getting in before me?" I read the question as being equally consistent with someone who is themself a visible minority, with on-the-line stats and not yet admitted anywhere (and note, I know for sure the OP has on-the-line stats and is not yet admitted anywhere) angsting about whether this or that might push them over the edge. Again, I repeat that I truly and genuinely have no idea which it is. I lean towards the later interpretation, but I don't know for sure. And I don't want to know. Because if I knew it was the former, I'd have not bothered saying anything at all - not because what I say is any less true in either scenario, but because I'd rather not get intentionally involved when someone starts a thread with racist intent. But the ambiguity is helpful here, because it exposes the stupidity I'm trying to put my finger on, now. No one, no one and certainly not me, is saying that every form of affirmative corrective behavior is somehow evidence of "brown privilege." I find it utterly hilarious that you can lead with one sentence, complaining that I know what you are thinking (and then spend a page confirming that I was exactly right, btw) and then in the very next paragraph tell me that you know the OP was positing "brown privilege" when I still believe they are themselves a visible minority just trying to gauge their odds of admission at this point. Leaving all that aside though, it's not the divergent philosophy that's driving me crazy - it's just the bloody illogic! The OP asked a straight-up question. And your reply is not "yes, this happens" or "no, this doesn't happen." It's "how dare you even ask if this happens because asking if it happens is racist" followed shortly by "well, yes, it happens, but here's why it happens and even though I'm telling you now that it happens I also need to lecture you on why we're never ever supposed to admit that it happens because that's racist." And you seriously think this makes sense? If the OP asked "are there any scholarships for law students coming from a racialized background?" would you have had the same reaction? That's a factual question - the answer is either "yes" or "no." The question of whether admissions standards are eased to any degree for racialized applicants is also a "yes" or "no" question. In both scenarios, the reasons why there are both scholarships (at least a few) and potentially at least some consideration at admissions (I honestly don't even know at most schools - I don't anyone does for sure) is the same. Of course it speaks to historical disadvantage. Of course it is corrective, and not some form of global, "brown privilege." And of course all the other stuff you may choose to lecture me on next. All that aside, asking a factual question is not by itself offensive. And your drummed up indignation is ridiculous. I have absolutely no problem with "affirmative action" in various forms, though the name itself has gotten a bad rap of late, which is why I put it in quotations. I do have a problem with any program or policy, however, that suggests we're going to do things one way and then call anyone racist who wants to know how or why things work that way. Any policy, any policy, that can't be defended rationally and honestly is a problem, by definition. And again, for absolute clarity, I'm not saying the policy is the problem here. I'm saying your belief that it can't even be talked about honestly is the problem. Right. Now you can all go back to proving the existence of historical privilege (which the OP never questioned or denied, and which I certainly never questioned or denied) and acting as though by lecturing us all on that topic you've somehow proved something. But all you've really proved is that you can't see a simple question for what it was. Final note. I still think the OP's question is stupid, because I think that agonizing over every little marginal thing that may or may not affect your application is stupid. But there's plenty of stupidity on this site that isn't racist. And this was just part of the great sea of it.
  3. Yes, you're right. It's impossible to seek this information without using language that is likely to offend people - certainly likely to offend you - and so sooner than ask the question at all and risk speaking in these terms, it's better to pretend information is simply non-existent and/or unknowable. Because that's obviously better. You know, I think the OP's question is stupid. But I think responses of this nature are even more stupid. Of course every kind of decision-making is shrouded in uncertainty, and comparisons are necessarily imperfect. But if someone wants to know if being a visible minority is or is not an advantage of any sort in application to law school, it's not inherently an invalid question. And it shouldn't need to be couched in three paragraphs of context ("of course I know that any perceived consideration given to visible minorities is not really reflective of lower admissions standards but only a necessary and still insufficient correction for the disadvantages they have faced in the course of ...." etc. etc. etc.) And baiting someone into speaking in ever-more racially charged terms (which is what you were trying to do) just so you can spring an ultimate "gotcha!" at the end is not helpful. Let me expose just how ridiculous and slanted your inquiry really is. Does white privilege exist? If yes, what is it being compared with? And if you are suggesting there are white people, anywhere, who owe some of what they have to this privilege, how would you know if they obtained any particular benefit due to their race? Something either exists or it doesn't. People who want to deny the existence of white privilege generally try to make the whole thing so difficult to talk about that everyone gives up, so they can go back to pretending it doesn't exist and hasn't affected anything at all. I'm honestly kinda surprised to see you deploying exactly the same tactic from the other side.
  4. Note. Above post should say "do something else." It's too late to edit, but that typo might actually mislead.
  5. The only important thing you need to know is that there is no "good" undergrad program for law school. There is no "bad" undergrad program for law school. There's only doing well in your program, whatever it is, getting good grades and then doing well on your LSAT. If you insist on choosing a program where the majority of the students imagine they are heading to law school, the major thing wrong with that choice is that you'll be around many students who are delusion and/or miserable. This is because, quite simply, only about the top quartile (very rough estimate) of any program stand a realistic chance of going to law school. So it's not that a legal studies program is better or worse. It's just that 3/4 of your class needs to either not understand this reality and imagine that their "awesome ECs" are somehow going to get them in (aka delusional) or else they do understand they are screwed and feel like the system failed them (aka miserable). No law school cares about some kind of bullshit coop in undergrad. If this is is really what you want to do, then do it, and out-perform most of your class as you would need to in any program. If it isn't what you want to do, do something less. Your legal career is not going to start in undergrad, either way.
  6. At the most generous interpretation, I think what he's saying is that writing a story about the exploitation of others, and then making money by doing so, is exploitative. Of course that's also stupid. Much of the work I do (and get paid for, by Legal Aid mainly) is for clients in very bad circumstances. If you adopt the view that getting paid to assist people who are badly off - exploited, in pain, desperate, vulnerable, etc. - then all kinds of stupidity ensues. Doctors treating the hardest patients around are transformed from heroes into bloodsuckers by that logic. At the front line, this "logic" is deployed more often than you'd imagine. Legal aid is justified routinely by arguing that if lawyers really cared about the work, they wouldn't mind doing it for next to nothing. Often, private clients in bad circumstances seem to expect that their hardship should entitle them to my time regardless of whether they compensate me adequately, or even at all. Even well-off clients, who believe that their problems are the result of ill-fortune, seem to think that it's my job to somehow offset that ill-fortune by giving them a break. But yeah, that sort of thinking isn't worthy of a legal professional. When I get into a car accident, and I take my car to a mechanic, that mechanic gets paid. It doesn't matter if it was my fault or the other guy's fault. The mechanic doesn't care. He's just a guy doing a job and he needs to earn a living. Which is exactly what I tell my clients who seem to think that it's different, somehow, with lawyers. It also isn't different with journalists.
  7. I don't have much experience to share about practice in firm environments, but just wanted to share something. In contrast to the above, I did not read the OP's post with the immediate conclusion that the poster was female. And honestly, I'm not even sure why. Maybe it's because the OP deployed the term "parental" leave, rather than "maternal" which MP moved to instead. Maybe it's that automatic assumptions about who takes leave and who doesn't are falling away just enough to leave room for ambiguity. Maybe it's just that the entirely irrational starting assumption that every poster is male counter-balanced a bit. But I genuinely didn't assume female, and there's still nothing there to convince me it must be the case. I agree it's probably true, especially in hindsight. But it's not automatic. Just sayin.
  8. You know, this isn't the right place to bring this up exactly, and I apologize if I'm derailing the OP's question. But there's a subtle issue we rarely acknowledge around here. If someone says "I'm interested in this area of legal policy as an academic and/or intellectual topic" then it's valid to go anywhere, really, that offers academics and researchers who are doing that kind of work. I'll leave that ambition alone, because it's reasonable and properly considered. But when someone says "I'm interested in this area of legal practice" it just has to be acknowledged - some of these things are not really areas of legal practice at all. I can barely imagine what it would look like to practice health law, and most of what I'm imagining is actually personal injury, which I doubt is what the OP means. I can't imagine anyone practicing something that can rationally be described as "immigrant health law." I can imagine someone working in a government position looking at policies, but that's not at all the same thing. This comes up time and again. Lawyers represent clients, and either litigate on their behalf or do solicitor-type work on their behalf. They don't write laws, or change laws (except in the form of precedent-setting arguments on behalf of specific clients, see previous) or advocate for what they believe the law should be. Anyone who imagines they are going to pursue their area of interest as an actual area of practice has to stop thinking about the laws they like or dislike and start thinking about the clients they hope to represent. Actual clients, with money to retain legal counsel (or public funding to pay for it), and issues that can be pursued through the legal system as it exists - that's what you need to picture. And if you can't figure out who could possibly hire you, or what a case would look like in your stated area of interest, then you aren't talking about being a lawyer at all. You want to be a bureaucrat, or a politician, or a policy wonk of some description. Which is fine. And maybe law school can even help you get to those goals. But you won't be working as a lawyer. Anyway, good luck.
  9. What people normally mean by "strong ECs" is "weak grades and/or LSAT." I've known students who had ECs that would make the average applicant cry out of frustration, if they knew that's what the competition looked like. But those aren't the students talking about their "strong ECs" at all. The students who talk up their ECs were the Presidents of their "pre-law" clubs. The ones who are on the Boards of national NFPs, who wrote books, were published in scholarly journals as undergrads, who compete internationally as athletes...they don't say anything at all. And generally they ALSO have strong grades and LSATs.
  10. All law schools offer clinical opportunities. Although there may be cases where I'd suggest that someone might choose A over B for a particular clinic, I'm really having trouble imagining what you expect you'll be doing in a legal capacity that relates to global health. And because I can't even imagine what that legal work looks like in practice, I certainly can't recommend any school that has any clinical opportunities related to it. So based on that alone, I don't recommend this should factor into your decision-making.
  11. I think we've beaten up on IrishStew enough. God knows I made a few premature and somewhat ignorant assertions before I knew what I was talking about, too. Anyone who's willing to take a step back and self-correct is fine in my books. Also, missed in the clamor, above, was the OP accepting the recommendation that she would need to figure out some of her own priorities. That's also a good sign. I think when people here are interested in getting feedback and then absorbing it we should encourage that, rather than enjoy the next pile-on for its own sake. In that spirit, here are a couple of thoughts this discussion has generated. The OP genuinely does have more experience, already, in self-employment than many law students and even lawyers. The experiences she is describing as a translator are not terribly unlike self-employment in law, but with one huge caveat. People don't tend to have tutoring or translation emergencies. You schedule a client, you do your job, then you do something else. Law is very rarely like that. There may be fields of law that are more conducive to that sort of practice (wills and estates comes to mind) but there aren't many. So here's the bottom line. If you're thinking about self-employment in law, it can come with a reasonably good income (please forget about $100/hour in your own pocket, on any kind of reliable basis) and it can come with reasonable flexibility. Certainly one of the great advantages of sole practice is that you're not going to get fired and no one is going to involuntarily retire you. If you can do the job at all (that is, attract clients and get work in the door) you'll be employed as long as you're capable of working and you want to. The real problem is what the OP described as "sense of achievement." Here's the most fundamental clash within the OP's ambitions and IrishStew's riff off them. By definition, the more important the work is that you do, the less you can turn it off when you don't want to do it anymore. I see no way around this problem - at least not in a service profession. I suppose a theorist or a philosopher can work to their own pace and do important work. But when your work is directly important to other people, you just can't turn off the clock and expect them to leave you alone until you're ready to work some more - at least not if you intend to keep your clients happy at all. You can sort of try to control how much overall work you take on. But I'm speaking for experience here, that is really really really hard to do. You're always going to worried about not having enough. You're always going to take the next client that calls you, because you don't want to say no. And the next thing you know, you're working so much you can't even remember what a real weekend feels like. That's if you're lucky. The opposite problem is possible too - you simply don't have clients anymore because they decided they'd rather stick with lawyers who take their phone calls when they call. I made my peace with this problem a long time ago. When a client gets arrested at 2am and I get called by the police to talk with the guy, I answer the phone. I like having the important job. I like knowing what I do matters. But I have accepted that it can't only matter on my schedule. That's unrealistic. Sometimes I envy people who have more "lifestyle-oriented" jobs. Looks nice, at a distance. But it isn't for me. And there aren't many of those jobs in law - even fewer of them self-employed in law. Maybe a few are possible - like I said, look at wills and estates. But this is where you are most likely going to need to pick your compromise, over and above issues regarding income. Hope that helps.
  12. Although your statements quoted above are not factually inaccurate, maybe you should leave it to people actually practicing law to discuss what the reality is like. Your candy-coated ideas about putting up a website, waiting for people to call you, and then quoting them whatever amount of money you feel like charging them are frankly a bit offensive. You might as well tell someone to sit at a keyboard all day, write whatever they feel like writing, and then tell a publisher what they want to be paid for it. And then voila! Instant self-employment as an author, and at a good income! Seriously. There's a time and a place for would-be applicants to law school to chat with one another, here. But you don't know what you're talking about, right now.
  13. I can't think of a single lawyer I know who makes $100+/hour for whatever hours they feel like working, and then stop working when they are done. I join the opinions above. Your expecting regarding a legal career are unrealistic. Is it possible to earn a high income? Yes. Is it possible to have a more dynamic career than you currently have? Yes. Is it possible to forge a career that would give you good prospects to continue after a stint at parenthood? Yes. And all are potentially possible in law. But all at the same time? Not a chance in hell.
  14. This is your second post asking essentially the very same thing. By definition, any school you can get into, with your uncompetitive grades and LSAT, will be a school that admits students who don't have competitive grades and LSAT scores. If you're waiting to be told that there's some super-secret school you should apply to, that takes the students no one else wants but is nevertheless really well regarded and it's going to set you up for a great career ... yeah, that isn't going to happen. It doesn't exist. Right now, you're asking an entirely typical question and sharing nothing at all special about your situation. So there's no way for the answers you receive to be special in any way. If we knew more about you, it's at least possible there might be some more specific advice to offer, about what might be the best of bad options based on some unusual feature in your situation. But the basic framework of your situation isn't going to change. Look up any of the many, many, many discussions started by and about would-be Canadian law students who can't get into Canadian law schools and the options they face in considering foreign legal education. That information hasn't changed, and it applies to you the same way it applies to all of them. Good luck.
  15. I don't know if it was an off-the-cuff addition when you wrote about your sister's "deep depression" but assuming this is at all accurate, your approach to this situation is entirely wrong. I'm sorry, but it is. Put it this way. If you were concerned that your sister was falling into a deep depression because she couldn't find a boyfriend, would you be on a dating site right now, trying to solve this problem for her? Or would you be focused (as you should be) on your sister's precarious mental health rather than the thing that triggered her precarious mental health? Stressors and hurdles in law and legal practice are pretty much never-ending. After finding articles comes the stage where a job very likely doesn't live up to one's dreams, and you're working really punishing hours for a lawyer or a firm that may not appear to appreciate or value your work. Or you're working on a file (to use an immigration-related example) where your client is likely to be deported and he's telling you his life isn't worth living if that happens and he's going to kill himself, and yet there's nothing you can do to prevent it from happening. Or it's simply that you article, don't get hired back, and you're in the same situation - unemployed. This isn't going to stop for your sister. Right now, she's experiencing an ordinary sort of problem. If it's seriously impacting her mental health, then that's the problem - not the challenge she's immediately experiencing right now. You aren't in a position to solve your sister's career for her. It's nice you want to try, but you aren't reasonably equipped to do that. Get your sister support with her depression and with her mental health. That's how you help.
  16. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, this information pertains to what you can (and cannot) do as a U of T graduate. The OP's original question is how (and if) one could transfer after first year in Canada into an American law school. And while there may be a certain attractive logic to the idea that rules for transfer should be similar to rules for writing the local bar with a foreign degree, there is absolutely no guarantee this will turn out to be true in practice.
  17. Neither of you are doing yourselves any favors, in this pissing contest. If you really think you've made some kind of point here, you might want to think about what it is. Do you really believe that you are more able to practice law than the next guy, because while he may be good at logical reasoning you somehow have a better character? Even if true, you need to check your assumptions. This goes to a point I'm making about what you'll face in the employment market. Despite what you may believe, really really really wanting to be a lawyer is not a job qualification. Even perseverance, on its own, is not a valuable asset in an employee. If you work twice as hard as the next person, but the task comes easily to them and not at all for you, and they get it done to the required standard while you do not, no one is ever going to care that you worked twice as hard. Law is not a profession that rewards effort on its own. Only results matter, in the end. That's true whether you work for someone else or whether you work for your own clients.
  18. There isn't much left to say that hasn't been said already. I won't harp on the LSAT. Frankly, I think folks who are focusing on that at this stage are misplacing their attention. If you've spent two years on this and have written it six times, let's call 149 your best score and focus on what happens next. You aren't likely to get into any Canadian law school. "Impossible" is a strong word, but it's unlikely. You're right to imagine the Windosr dual is your best hope. If you somehow squeak in there, I'd jump at it. Otherwise, if you are forced to consider foreign law schools, then go ahead and consider them. Where you lose me is on your insistence that attending a foreign law school is just "another way" to become a lawyer. I could slather on the analogies here, but the bottom line is that in your focus to just get over the hurdle you're currently facing, you aren't seeing what happens next. You attend a foreign law school, your write the NCA exams (which are time and effort and expense, but aren't what's going to stop you) and then ... what? Unless you can convince someone to hire you as an articling student and then as an associate, or unless you can actually employ yourself (a separate topic, which we can approach if you like) then you aren't a lawyer in any meaningful sense. You're just someone who went to law school. So if you're going to focus on the foreign route, at least look at the real problem. What do you imagine you offer to any Canadian employer as a possible candidate, over and above your apparent unwillingness to ever say "die?" Which, btw, is not nothing as a qualification, but it's still not a lot by itself. What sort of career do you imagine you're going to have, other than "being" a lawyer and figuring it out from there? You will get into a foreign law school. Just like the foreign students spilling into our undergraduate programs. And remember, in the UK law school is a first-entry undergraduate program. How hard do you think it really is to get into U of T as a foreign undergrad applicant? Promise to pay their outrageous foreign tuition, and you'll have a spot. It's what comes after that you need to worry about. And if you want meaningful advice, that's what you should be focused on at this point, before you commit to this path.
  19. I have a theory that students have, at most, one really good and formative educational experience in their lives. Some students peak in high school. Some have great experiences in undergrad. Some really find themselves in law school. I actually share your experience entirely. Things came together for me spectacularly in undergrad, for reasons very specific to my own life and which wouldn't be relevant to anyone else. But after that, law school was just something I had to get through in order to do what I wanted to from then on. I didn't hate it. But I didn't love it either. And yes, the clinics, hands-on experiences, etc. are what saved it for me. Note, the theory above isn't really a firmly held opinion so much as a pet rule-of-thumb. I'm sure there are exceptions. But I guess my point is this. If we're thinking in terms of "stages of life" and how well you manage during each one, there are things you'll really love and there are things which, much as I hate to admit it, sometimes you just need to get through. Not that I encourage anyone to suffer in misery. But if what you're feeling isn't so much misery as it is "I don't think I want to do this for the rest of my life" then it's reasonable to take heart that the next stage can and should be different. Of course you have to take agency in making it different also. But I don't really believe that legal practice is some kind of extension of law school. To me, the two are very different indeed.
  20. I'm not quite as virulent on this topic as I once was, but I would strongly urge the OP (and anyone else presuming to advise the OP - especially those without a history in this profession) to remember that the articling relationship is not an ordinary job. This is true both in terms of the articling candidate's rights and obligations, and the employer's rights and obligations. I took a glance at the OP's history. They graduated in April of last year and only found articles recently. Not long ago they were looking for anything at all, I'm sure. And while a PI firm offering low pay isn't ideal (I can't even fault them for the commute - that's on you for applying there) they at least were willing to pick up a student in the off season and it's still paid. It could be a lot worse. And so far I'm seeing nothing that goes to any dissatisfaction in the actual articling relationship - no issues with supervision, learning experience, etc. My biggest concern is this. Does your new proposed employer know that you are already doing articles elsewhere? If no, you have a problem, and you should probably come clean with them. Because lying your way through this profession is a bad, bad idea. If yes, you may have an even bigger problem. And that's simply because it is almost inconceivably bad form to hire an articling student who is already employed. That isn't to say it can't be done with appropriate caution. But I can barely imagine another firm saying "this person has articles elsewhere, but we'll just offer them a job and see what they do." My point being, if that's what they are doing you probably don't want to work there anyway. It's a little like hooking up with the guy who's cheating on his wife and his existing mistress to be with you. You gotta ask yourself - even if you end up with him, what do you expect in the future? I won't say you need to stay where you are right now. But talk with them honestly about it. A month ago you would have killed for articles anywhere. Maybe this isn't the best time to immediately burn the only bridge anyone has extended to you.
  21. I respect a range of opinions on this subject, but whatever anyone tends to think, it's important to be aware that the articling relationship is a special thing, and it implies obligations on both sides that go beyond ordinary employment. Talking about bailing on articles two weeks in is just different from leaving a new associate position two weeks in. They just aren't the same thing.
  22. Let's start with this. Law school is not a career, and it's not an alternative to the working life you have at present. It's three years of interlude between now and some other career, which is as yet undefined. Can you describe, at all, what you would like your career as a lawyer to look like? Do you have any idea what you would want to do, other than "be" a lawyer? if you're able to answer that question, it will provide a lot more context to the answers you'll receive.
  23. You know, this isn't meant as a poke at this particular poster. But it occurs to me, one of the central problems associated with these "I just thought about law school" posts is this. So many students seem to think that law school is something you consider when you are failing at your current academic path. In fact, law school is something you consider when you're succeeding, and want to take it in a new direction. @OP - Even if you choose to believe you can easiy \et grades in the 80-90% range just by applying more than minimal effort, your major problem is that you don't like what you're learning. It takes extraordinary focus (on a level I don't have myself, btw) to intensely focus on something you don't even like for years, just to achieve some goal that come at the end of it. Please, consider pursuing something you like. Whether or not law school comes after, it's by far the better option.
  24. I'd be cautious about believing claims from someone currently in the program. All they know is what they've been told or subtly led to believe by the school itself. Show me someone this actually worked for and I'll pay attention. Until that happens, I'm more inclined to believe that your friend is in for a nasty surprise when he actually applies to the NCA.
  25. I would agree that if you somehow transform yourself into an entirely different student, your present situation is not beyond recovery. But I would really add three major cautions: 1. Grades matter in every field, if for no other reason than because knowledge and competency matters in every field. Whoever you are listening to that's promising otherwise is a fool. Do you really think anyone wants an incompetent engineer building their bridge? You are telling yourself it doesn't matter in the real world. Well, how well did that work between high school and university? If it was so easy do learn what you need and do what you need when it really matters, you'd be doing it already. 2. No debating club, model UN, or pre-law society is going to make up for weak grades and LSAT. You'll find many students involved with these activities who somehow think that becoming President of the model UN will get them into law school. You won't find any students in law school for whom that actually worked out. 3. As an extension of the above - start working hard, now, not based on any guarantee but because you bloody well should. The idea that being lazy and not achieving much is your default, until and unless someone promises you that X amount of hard work will get you Y (and then only doing X and no more) ... that's not a formula for success in life. There are no guarantees, but there are also no shortcuts. Just do what you have to do. Get the grades, get the LSAT, and come back and ask where you stand then. Good luck.
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