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Diplock

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Everything posted by Diplock

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. I hate to say it, but there were significant stretches of time, in the past, where I would genuinely have looked at an entire profession that I was no part of and had not yet even begun to qualify to join, and presume to argue strenuously that I knew what was best. I believe this arrogance comes from being one of the smartest people in the room for too many years, and getting the sense that your own ideas, based on a thimblefull of knowledge or experience, might actually be better than anyone else's. I am so fucking glad that attitude got smacked out of me once I entered the legal profession. I was such a shithead.
  6. Can anyone actually summarize (a) what this argument is even about, at this point, and (b) how this discussion serves any rational purpose? As typically happens, there's one person railing against the supposed unfairness of attitudes towards foreign law schools. In this case, that person apparently has multiple offers to Canadian law schools. My advise to Lyaiey is pretty darn easy. Go to a Canadian law school. Because trust me, you're not going to get far in interviews, when you're trying to find a job, protesting that you could have gone to a Canadian law school. I've read applications from NCA students that come with cover pages trying to explain to me how they are now just as good as Canadian graduates and why/how they are now eligible to article. I don't fault them for the effort. They don't really have any choice at this stage. But the overall effect is still sad. Independent of providing good information to Lyaiey (and anyone else who happens to be reading this) I don't know what the point of arguing over this even is. This site excels at conveying information. Sometimes the information will be hard to pin down definitively because it's subjective. Just how much of an issue will it be to go to a moderately reputable foreign law school? Opinions as to the severity of this problem will differ. But we all agree it's some kind of a problem and an utterly avoidable one. So the advice that follows is easy and obvious. Outside of providing accurate information, arguing here (or anywhere else, on the Internet) is just masturbation with a keyboard. The stigma exists. Even if you convince me that it shouldn't exist, it still does. These conversations are about as useful as the frequent discussions I have with clients where instead of hearing about how to navigate the legal problems they are experiencing, they really just want me to tell them about how it's totally wrong the problem exists in the first place. And I have no interest in these conversations. They serve no purpose and contribute to nothing at all. And just one final time, for anyone who happens to care. As someone who actually practices law in an area where foreign NCA graduates tend to gravitate (they gravitate to any kind of sole practice, really) I can easily see the difference. It isn't a universal rule that foreign graduates turn into bad lawyers, if they end up practicing law at all. But it's a strong enough trend that it's readily apparent to almost anyone who looks at it. This is my lived, professional experience. Can you imagine how much weight I give to the opinion of some would-be law applicant who wants to argue I've got it wrong?
  7. Yeah, I don't believe we actually disagree about anything. I didn't say it reflects poorly on Pakistanis that they have a negative view of lawyers. I said it reflects poorly on the country. The people who live there are just having a rational reaction to the environment in which they find themselves.
  8. It's generally the case across South Asia - though Pakistan is the country I hear cited most often for this attitude. I could have guessed. It's actually quite refreshing to hear from people who don't imagine that law is automatically some prestigious calling. Cuts down on the unearned arrogance and expectations of would-be law students. Although from the other side, it doesn't reflect too well on the countries that disparage law as a vocation.
  9. Can we just agree that however you care to describe the work that you do (and that I do also, let's recall) it isn't what the OP wants to do, and his primarily concern right now isn't learning about how cool criminal defence is.
  10. It's absolutely true that criminal law involves a lot of constitutional litigation - based around specific sections of the Charter and fairly narrow other issues. Some practitioners and firms never take on these cases or quite frankly don't know how to do them properly. Some shine at it. But it's also true this generally isn't what anyone means who isn't already practicing criminal law when they say "constitutional litigation" in a sentence. What someone tends to mean is that they hope to litigate broadly and generally across Canada's foundational body of law, and argue about how it should be changed or interpreted and applied differently. And quite frankly, for good reason, there are very few lawyers doing this. That's simply because there aren't many clients or situations where the cost of such litigation can be supported, and in cases where it does happen they obviously want the best. Note that it isn't uncommon for the larger firms to take on files such as this pro bono either, to give junior lawyers in the firm an opportunity to litigate. I was discussing one such situation with a colleague yesterday. The main point I'm making is, it's fine to be interested in the constitution. And it's fine to want to litigate. But I'd advise anyone who wants a job and isn't some kind of natural superstar to try to broaden their interest outside of only messing with the operating code of our nation. Otherwise, you're like the average student in med school who insists you are only interested in neurosurgery. Anyway, good luck.
  11. Without being snide, it really boils down to this. Unless I'm drastically missing something here, you are asking about foreign law schools exactly because you fear you won't gain admission to any Canadian programs. And then you are saying "but what if I go to a program that's hard to get into?" By definition you are asking about programs that are accepting Canadian applicants that aren't getting into any domestic law schools. By definition they have weaker admissions standards. How in the world are you going to find a program that accepts students who don't get in anywhere in Canada, but still has strong admission standards? I believe the source of this double-think is that students applying to these programs prefer to believe that rather than applying lower standards, these schools are just ... I don't know, fairer, broader-minded, more imaginative ... than law schools in Canada? As in "I didn't get into a school with lower standards - I just got into a school more willing to see the real me!" Well, you can believe that if it makes you feel better. But fundamentally, when you try to tell me that at a job interview, all I hear is "I believe that I know better than the Deans, Faculty, and Admissions Committees at all Canadian law schools what a good law student should look like." And in reply to that attitude I think "I prefer to hire someone who is confident, but not someone who is arrogant to the point of self-delusion." The choice to attend a foreign law school, if you have exhausted other options, is complex. It's not necessarily a bad decision. But one final time. If you honestly hope that most Canadian employers are going to be bamboozled by the school's name and imagine that you went to LSE for some reason other than a lack of domestic options, it's not likely to happen. And once it's agreed that an employer is going to look at your application and think "couldn't get into any law school in Canada" they aren't likely to follow that thought with "good thing they got into a law school where they do a better job of selecting strong applicants than all us stupid Canadians!" And yes, for the record. It's harder to get into Windsor law school than it is to get into any of U of T's supposedly "prestigious" undergraduate programs. Any law school in Canada requires at least a moderately strong LSAT and a GPA that reflects a record of achievement for multiple years of undergraduate study. No one in the real world imagines that's easier than collecting strong grades for a couple of years in high school.
  12. Also, to restate the most obvious but often over-looked point, people often ask "how is X regarded" and they imagine there's a single, coherent answer which somehow takes in the whole legal market and averages all impressions into a single overall truth. And that's so clearly false. Every answer you get here, and elsewhere, represents some slice of the marketplace. So we can speak in terms of broad trends with at least some truth, but anything more specific than that in unavoidably flawed.
  13. Yes, there's still a stigma. Even at well-regarded UK schools, law is still a first entry undergraduate program. So the stigma both exists and makes sense. Put it this way. Do you imagine it's harder to get into a "prestigious" undergraduate program at U of T or law school at Windsor? And there's your answer. There's a reason these schools are taking in applicants who can't get into Canadian law schools. You can go or not go, and base your decision on whatever factors you choose. But hoping that no one else notices or understands what's going on is not a good strategy.
  14. Anyone who can describe Canada as having four "main" political parties is either exceptionally fair-minded or else is working for the Greens. Not that I mind. Just sayin. Agree with Hegdis and others, above. If you have the grades and the LSAT, don't stress about competing with some imagined threshold of acceptable "other stuff." The importance of this other stuff is generally exaggerated by students who don't have the grades and LSAT. I mean, make reasonable mention of the things you are doing, but don't tie yourself in knots trying to inflate it or make it sound like it's somehow the equivalent of some other applicant's four years in student government. No one cares. Present yourself as you are (including the work while in school) and leave it at that. FYI. Working as a lifeguard is actually quite similar to a lot of the work done in legal practice in one specific way. It gets repetitive and boring a lot of the time, I'm sure, and is utterly unnecessary the vast majority of the time. Until it suddenly does matter, and then it matters one hell of a lot. Which is exactly why you need to do it right all the time. Feel free to build on that. Good luck.
  15. Yeah. I don't consider parents to be stakeholders in the legal community either. Whatever the heck that even means. The idea that the parent of a grown professional wants or needs to be involved in their professional life still is frankly terrifying to me. If I had even the slightest idea that my doctor, or dentist, or accountant, or anyone else I rely upon still needed job coaching from a parent with no comprehension of those various jobs, I'd run like hell. And I still don't have any idea if we're talking about some real student who is on the verge of professional practice or some teen who'd be mortified their mother/father is on this site at all. Also, if you're a visual learner, I don't know what the hell you want me to do - draw a diagram? You still make no sense, whether in words or in pictographs. If you were a client, I'd still tell you the truth rather than what you want to believe. And the truth is, the only way to support your child in pursuing a profession is to do all the common sense things any parent would do on a very general level, and otherwise stay the hell out of the way. The fact that you're looking for some other answer is what's bothering you - and I don't lie to my clients just to make them feel good. Anyway, good luck with whatever. But seriously, on the chance you actually read this. I'm not saying "stay out" to offend you. I'm saying it because it's the same advice I'd give to a friend who was unreasonably involved in their kids' lives. Just because you don't like hearing it doesn't make it bad or insincere advice.
  16. I'm ... confused. I don't know if it's your inability to explain what's going on properly, or if you're frankly just trying to solicit information from a variety of perspectives which do not all reflect reality. So, first off, if your child is a "relatively new call" then they are already a lawyer. I don't know how you've managed to use exactly the same word in a later question, but if they are "called" you are not going to be invited to the "bar call" at this point - obviously - because it's already happened. So at this point, you should probably pick your question. Are you asking about a kid who is a lawyer already, or one that is hoping to become a lawyer? Second off, how do you get from there to asking about resources to point younger students at a legal career? I mean, even if you're asking about different kids at this point, if you've already got one kid who is a lawyer, then that's the person who answers all the questions from other kids going forward, right? I don't know if you're badly confused or just making some of this stuff up at this stage. But if you want reasonable information, it's really best to be direct and honest about what you're asking and where you're asking it from. To your more general questions. The best way for a parent to support a child who is actually practicing law is to let their adult, professional child sort their own life out and to stay the hell out of it. The idea of helicopter-parenting over someone who is actually practicing law at this stage is terrifying. Ask your son or daughter how things are going, express interest, and otherwise stay out of it. The way you encourage a younger student towards a career in law ... well, lying on the Internet isn't a great way to start. So mainly I'd just suggest that you accept your level of comprehension in this area is minimal, and if they actually want questions answered or to learn more based on the truth of their real situation (whatever it may be) the best thing would be to point them at this site and let them ask their own questions. If they can't be bothered doing that on their own, then their level of engagement with the legal profession is so non-existent that pushing them towards it more, only to satisfy your own ambitions, is negligent parenting. Good luck.
  17. Are the bottom 5-10% of each graduating class "often" able to secure articles? Well, maybe. I suppose that depends on what you define as "often" and to a degree what you define as "articles." If you're willing to settle for unpaid work for some sole practitioner who basically just has you do scut work for 10 months for the ultimate honour of calling yourself an unemployed lawyer at the end of it all rather than an unemployed law graduate, then I'd say almost anyone can secure articles. But like many students, you are asking the wrong question out of short-sightedness. Articling isn't the end game. Yes, it's a necessary hurdle to become licensed to practice law at all. But as I often point out, I really don't understand what's so great about simply being a lawyer if you have no career as one, as compared with not being a lawyer at all. So I assume what you'r really trying to ask is - can a student in the bottom 5-10% of a graduating class still land on their feet? The answer is still yes. See Lookingaround's answer, above. But success at this point often depends on other intangible skills - especially entrepreneurial skills. Self-employment is often a good option once you clear the hurdle of articles, which almost anyone can do if they are willing to endure crappy enough conditions. But you certainly can't expect any kind of decent employment as an associate, if you're living on the margins of employibility at all. So expect to be making your own opportunities if you want them. Frankly, though, I don't know why anyone would even want to ask this question prior to starting law school. If you really don't believe you can out-perform even 1 in 10 of the students around you, what the hell are you doing in law school? I understand that someone has to come last. But please, let me paraphrase this question for you. Are you seriously asking, if you end up being one of the least competent people to ever graduate from law school, will you still be guaranteed the opportunity practice law and determine if someone ever sees their children again, or is compensated for their injuries after a devastating accident, or is sent back to some war-torn hellhole rather than allowed to stay in Canada? No. I'm sorry, but no. If you are fucking bad at this, no one is going to offer you a guarantee that you get to do it anyway and fuck up other people's lives. No more than the worst fucking student to graduate from medical school this year is guaranteed an opportunity to remove my fucking gall bladder when I get sick. As a profession, generally, law has very good employment prospects. Any reasonably capable graduate can and will do well. But it still requires minimum levels of skill and ability and achievement, yes. And thank God it does.
  18. There's nothing wrong with this question. It's just that the only possible answer is likely to be very simple and very obvious. Take related courses, apply to related jobs. That said, if someone asked me how to become a criminal defence lawyer, I would have some more specific pieces of advice, and I've offered that advice elsewhere. So who the hell knows? Maybe there is some kind of related conference, professional organization, etc. that the OP could attend, join, etc. So yeah. I don't have much else to add. But it's a legit question.
  19. The hostility I feel towards this question is that it utterly ignores and intentionally trivializes the actual complexity of the profession I practice. There is a reason that only undergrad wannabes get hard over this stupid line of inquiry. There is a reason that when wannabes insist on asking this question anyway, the only support they receive is from other wannabes, who then go on to theorize about how every practicing lawyer must somehow be a bitter failure - which of course is the only possible explanation for why we won't give them the super secret but oh-so-simple one-line answer about which rock to look under to find all the $$$$. There is a reason why virtually every lawyer out there thinks this is a stupid-ass question to ask, when it is devoid of other context, and even if they wouldn't explain it quite the same way I'm about to, the same basic instinct drives us all to reject it. Money is a common motivation. I'm not responding by hating on the idea that people want to make money. I want to make money too. I don't want to make it so badly that it overrides all my other priorities entirely, but I do like money. Which brings me around to this most essential observation. If you think you're somehow being original by trying to strategize your way into a well-paid job, you just aren't. Most people are trying to do the same thing, with varying degrees of devotion to the goal of making money. If there was a single, simple answer for how best to do it, do you really think it would be hard to find? If it was as simple as saying "take intellectual property in law school - apply to intellectual property firms - make profit" we'd have 80% of the professional practicing intellectual property law, 20% of the professional trying to apply for non-existent positions with the UN where they get to litigate the abuse of human rights in jurisdictions where they aren't qualified to practice law, and there wouldn't be a single fucking lawyer in the country ready and willing to close your real estate transaction. Is that at all what the marketplace looks like, in reality? Someone wrote earlier that the more nuanced question of "how" is a far, far better question. And that's true. I can, and I have, written advice at great length about how to succeed in sole practice in areas of law similar to what I practice. But it is absolutely not, and never could be as simple as saying "practice X area of law." Anyone who thinks that question isn't stupid is insulting me, and the profession of law. Because what I do to succeed as a professional is so much more complicated than that. And any snot-nosed kid who doesn't understand that should at least be smart enough to shut the hell up and learn something when I take the time to correct them - rather than replying with some version of "I'm so much smarter than you! You just don't want to tell me the secret 'cause ur a LOZER!" Just to give you all some idea of how complex this question really is. Earlier Levin made a joke in reply to the point that being excellent at anything is the best path to success, and he (she?) asked if that applies even to excellent Legal Aid lawyers. Providence replied with the stock answer that you learn your craft on Legal Aid files and then make money doing the same thing for cash clients. But take a look at Ted Royle's practice. Ted's primary client base are legal aid files. Ted himself is a highly accomplished lawyer and I'm sure he commands good private retainers. But he employs a lot of early year calls as associates, serves a lot of legal aid cases, and I'm sure this forms the bulk of what must be a very good income. It's been done before, and Royle's office isn't the only example of this business model. But my point is, he learned how to serve legal aid files, built out a practice that serves a lot of them well (at least well enough to keep them coming back), and that is what he does. There are examples of the same model in every area of law. You think the people running Axess Law aren't doing well? Sure you can make fun of the law office in the Walmart. No one aspires to be the associate sitting there making whatever they earn. But the people actually running this operation? That's a different story. Success in this profession is not about picking an area of practice based on some impossible-to-imagine averaging of the incomes of all lawyers practicing in that area of law. It absolutely is about entrepreneurship, and about capitalizing on your natural gifts and aptitudes and inclinations (whatever they may be) and yes, it's about being good and ideally great at whatever it is you choose to do. If you choose not to believe me, that's fine. But for the record, I'm not remotely bitter with my success, to date. Actually I'm doing far, far better than I ever expected. And it's based on following the advice outlined above.
  20. Okay, first off, judges make less than 450k. In fact the Prime Minister makes less than that. Second, what in the world makes you think that the income of a private lawyer is "maxed out" in any sense? I acknowledge there may be a practical limitation to the marketplace at some point. But legal practice is a private industry. Any particular lawyer's income is limited only by what that lawyer can manage to earn. Seriously. People have weird ideas about this stuff.
  21. Seriously? Because a judge's salary, relative to a successful lawyer's, just isn't that high. You know, I'm really trying not to be snide here, but the surprise over this relatively common-place fact gets straight to the heart of the reason the original question here is frankly dumb, and why everyone who is trying to talk around this question rather than answering it "directly" (as though that were even possible) is actually providing the most important information. Students at a certain stage in their professional careers (which is to say, at the very beginning of them) have this strange delusion that "success" moves only along one vector. That is to say, respect in the profession, the importance of one's work, the prominence of one's career, the amount of money that one makes - these things all move in lockstep. And that is so completely not true. It just isn't. You can all get back to arguing whether there is or isn't a single meaningful answer to "what kind of law should I do if I want to make the most money?" But truthfully, the best answer to this question is that you're asking the wrong question. Define, as best you can, what success in your career looks like to you. And then ask how you can get close to that sort of job. You may or may not get a perfect answer, but you'll at least hear something useful.
  22. I love it when the students who haven't even started law school yet manage to agree with one another that everyone else on this site doesn't know what we're talking about.
  23. I'm sorry, but you're actually just repeating the fallacy of the original question. Let me be clearer. The answer to which area(s) compensate better on average, and which area(s) compensate best at the top, are different. So quite frankly, if you intend to use this information to guide you in any way, you need to answer this question first. Do you aim at being an average lawyer, or a good one?
  24. You're free to do whatever works for you, obviously, but to me this is the kind of thinking that has law students and early call lawyers relying on substances, developing eating disorders and generally just falling psychologically to shit. You cannot, you cannot, you cannot subject every decision you make, every day, to some kind of obsessive "will this help me get a job one day!" analysis. You just can't. For the love of God, join a club or don't join a club based on whether or not you're interested in participating in that club. Volunteer or don't volunteer for some rep position based on the same reasoning. Should you do some things in law school, over and above memorizing your textbooks? Yes, of course you should - but that's because I would expect anyone who wants to actually practice law would find that interest comes naturally. If it doesn't, you should be trying to figure out if you're in the right field at all, or perhaps angling towards legal academia (at which point presumably you've become more interested in RA positions, publishing, law journals, etc.). Stop thinking of this as an artificial process. Do the things that naturally interest you and your natural interest rather than the accumulated weight of bullet points on your CV is what will lead to some opportunity down the road. I'm further down the road than most on this forum, at this point, and trust me, it doesn't change. By that I mean, part of the justification used by anxiety-prone law applicants, law students, early call lawyers etc. is some version of "just for now" thinking. As in "just for now" I'm going to put aside the things that actually matter to me, and concentrate on doing all the things that I figure are going to help me get to X. And then when I get to X, I'll have all the time and leeway and money I need to really be myself and get back to what matters. Except X never comes. It never, ever, ever comes. There's always a new goalpost, always a new justification, always a new "just for now" objective, and at some point you wonder how the fuck your life turned into something you don't even recognize anymore. Be who you are. Concentrate on what you actually care about. Pursue the goals that genuinely matter to you, for the right reasons, right now. Because if you don't do it now, you never will. And believe it or not, all of the most accomplished people I know followed this advice, whether consciously or otherwise. Meanwhile, all of the people giving you this advice based in "the job market is tight, everything is competitive, do anything and everything you can to look better, don't waste your time on trivialities..." those people are themselves just trying to hang on by their fingernails, and the advice they are giving you comes in large part from their own anxiety. So why the heck are you listening to them? Anyway. Good luck everyone - whatever you do.
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