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Everything posted by AnonLaw

  1. I did the PLTC in 2014 and am a principal now so: * It is usually mornings only and it was frustrating at the time because I was articling in an exburb and had to do a very long commute. Covid has solved this short term at the expense of not really getting any chance to get to know your classmates. * What other people have described is more or less accurate. It's basically eight weeks plus exams, etc. * You DO get feedback but only if you pursue it and, I believe, only really if you fail something. I failed the interview but got the adjudicated pass. My student, who failed some assessments, got fairly detailed feedback. * The PLTC is, in fact, very useful (other than the interview) since in many cases articled students don't learn stuff from their bosses and even if you want to only do family law and are already in a family law firm, a promise to hire you back is, in many cases, more of a musing than an actual promise. Lawyers can be quite mercenary.
  2. If you want to spend some spare time doing a side business that's not very hard. Like if you really love cheese you could make cheese and wholesale it to fancy shops. Or beer. Or sell collectibles online, or do craft shows or farmers' markets, etc. You probably can't do a full time job in parallel with being a lawyer. maybe a full time job in parallel with being a part time lawyer but a lot of tools for lawyers that you'll want to have cost the same regardless of hours worked (PC Law, lease, etc) so your overhead might not be that much lower.
  3. You might have to hustle to get an articling job. Try small firms. Keep your expectations low for articling pay. Get your license. Once you get your license find a firm that pays on a percentage and after a couple years you'll be earning better than downtown with far, far better working conditions.
  4. The most difficult thing about becoming a lawyer is getting an articling job. So no, you shouldn't quit. Get called and then move on if you don't like it there. Most of what you describe sounds to me like "small firm practice", where it's frequently a volume practice. Humungous Law can have lawyers with 2-3 clients billing crazy dollars. Middle class people have very tight budgets and the only way to service them is to have oodles of clients. I did not docket my time as a student and was not expected to. The lawyer is probably building your salary into his overhead. Don't do anything that would sour your relationship with him. No reports about alleged "cheating" on CPD, or of being overworked and undersupported, etc. Leave on good terms and there's a good chance the lawyer will send you all of the "junior files" that come in that he doesn't want to do.
  5. U of T also has a high percentage of people getting jobs through the OCIs because there's a lot of well-connected people for whom the OCIs are a formality. For OCIs focus on quality over quantity. You'll exhaust yourself if you focus on quantity. I didn't get a job through the OCIs so I can't really give any useful advice on how to get a job through the OCIs. As for mental health, drinking lots of coffee is par for the course for professionals but if you are at a point where you get withdrawal symptoms (headaches, etc) then best to drink less of it and avoid those energy drinks (sugar and caffiene are how they actually keep you awake). Law School itself is not so grueling that you should be skipping sleep. Perhaps you should sleep more? Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other legal stimulants as well. Eat a decent breakfast if you need energy early in the day. Bring some soda or whatever if you have trouble staying awake in class. As of when I was at U of T, the counselling was only for emergencies and, generally, she was not the kind of counsellor who is, essentially, somebody you can talk to, because she knows that you are seeing her a maximum of six times. You might want to look into whether there's free or low cost options with either the city or the law society or if the free student healthcare covers some mental health care. If you have clinical depression or anxiety meds can and do help and you don't need them forever. Certain kinds of stress (such as "finding a in law school job stress") can really screw things up. Especially when people go around saying "everybody who wants a job gets one through the OCIs" at U of T, when that is definitely not the case for those who are not well-connected.
  6. The exam software was slightly better on Macs as of 2013. Mac Microsoft Office still has menus if you're like me and grew up with them. And Macs are less susceptible to malware but definitely not immune. But Mac computers have a lot of compatibility problems for things like games. Blizzard releases Mac versions but Mac gaming feels like its kind of stalled compared to when they initially went Intel. Also after Steve Jobs died the company hasn't really focused on their computers and it generally feels like they aren't as good as they were before. If you can live without menus then get a windows laptop. Basically if your laptop is going to be your main computer get a windows laptop. I do not at all agree that macs are easy to repair. Apple doesn't really board-level repairs. They replace any time there is an issue. Apple charges a huge premium on out of warranty replacements and makes it hard for private repairers to fix things even if all it is is a bad capacitor. Applecare is a good extended warranty program but a lot of macbooks have design flaws that tend to crop up eventually, though Macs do often last longer than low-end Windows PCs. A windows PC with the same price point as a macbook is often a better machine. If you were not on a budget I'd recommend a high end surface instead of a Macbook. That being said I'm still using the macbook I had in law school having graduated in 2013, but the machine is definitely showing its age and I bought a desktop PC later for gaming.
  7. Usually no problem, though the "don't sue me" type comments get old fast.
  8. You will do fine. If you get asked at all just say you had trouble settling in. I wouldn't tell an employer that you had some mental health issues because its none of their business and would invariably work its way into office cooler chat. I can tell you as somebody who worked like a madman in 1L and got Bs and As... grades definitely do not guarantee you a job through the OCIs or even the 2L articling recruit. The various law faculties really do a disservice to students by focusing so hard on the OCIs and articling recruit. I eventually found a job and I'm doing fine now.
  9. Actually I agree with another poster on this thread - the cliques are the worst. Friendships get "settled" by a month or two into 1L and then its almost like high school. Totally different from undergrad when I made friends all throughout. Also since the law faculty is separated you have to work to meet students from other faculties. The only time I met non-law students was a part of the magic the gathering club that met at OISE in Toronto every week.
  10. One more "best" is that many classes offer term papers or exams. The term papers are super long (like, 20-25 pages) so I always did the exams. But you get a choice, which is often better than in undergrad.
  11. Best: Lots of free time. After 1L you can really control your schedule. Things can get interesting. You're treated like an adult so no attendance is taken if you don't need to go to the lectures. Lots of interesting things going on at the faculty. The profs are usually pretty friendly and know their stuff. Lots of opportunities to socialize. Once you get used to 1L and the fact that you're going to be a B student even if you were an A student in undergrad that's all chill. Lots of opportunities, which you should take, to meet practicing lawyers. Worst: All aspects of the OCIs, the articling recruit and the tuition fees. Also you have to put work in to get into any course that teaches advocacy skills. Often enough seats are not available for trial advocacy, moots and clinical programs. Get into those early. If you have any interest in litigation you are going to really want to have as much of those on your resume as possible, not least because you need the experience.
  12. Man I don't have any fun judge stories other than "I saw Justice so-and-so on the street!" Opposing counsel was high on cocaine in court once. He lost.
  13. I played D&D with a club at U of T Law so there's people out there who are into it. But I'm out West now.
  14. You might want to think about running a solicitor practice. Solicitor work would be things like wills, conveyancing, contracts, separation agreements, uncontested divorces that don't require attending court, corporate matters including filing annual reports, and so on. You might be able to find a firm that is OK with less than full time, because if you're about to be called you probably don't know how to do a lot of the above. You can also do this kind of work from a home office, or from one of those office sharing spaces. BUT, you need a fax machine so you'll want to look into e-fax services. The hours are VERY regular. You will never have to worry about an urgent chambers application that you have to scramble to find childcare to attend. The money can be worse than litigation but does not need to be. You need to be super careful about details, though. Don't want to disown the wrong son or convey the wrong house or something. Alternatively if you love litigation you might be able to do it if you are meticulous with hours. As in, take the road of less billables but no chance of vanishing from your child's life for a month or two because of back to back trials. Don't be like most solicitors and spend long evenings prepping. Just keep a light enough schedule that you can be home at 5 AND be prepared. Or just go back to law after the kids are in school. You'll still have your license and your JD. Perhaps best not to hang out your own shingle if your youngest is in grade 1 in 2028 though.
  15. Send me a resume and I'll see what I can do. No promises, etc. I'm a BC lawyer. Not really in a hiring capacity. If you are from India knowing one of the major languages of India is a pretty big asset for hiring. My firm deals with a lot of Chinese clients and it is crazy hard to find a lawyer who speaks either Cantonese or Mandarin.
  16. I know three female lawyers with had little kids who have told me what they've done. I can tell you what they did: 1. Government lawyer. She took mat leave and then didn't work much overtime. Dad was available but also working full time (he was local, she commuted). Seemed to work out for them even with three kids under 5. 2. Private sector. Worked until around 4 then took work home. 3. Private sector. Boss tried to claw back some of her earnings while she was on mat leave. After threatening to sue he backed off, but was part of a larger exodus of lawyers from that firm a few years later. Note that many lawyers are not employees. They are often on a fee split and so earn commission income instead of a wage. Lawyers are (usually) not subject to employment standards but are subject to human rights codes (I think). So they can't fire you just for getting pregnant. If you are just coming into law having worked low level jobs I think you will find that firms value associates a LOT more than minimum-wage retail. If they are smart they will be supportive (thought perhaps might not pay anything more than they have to). If they aren't, make the HRT complaint. Any lawyer worth their salt knows not to scare away talent and that it would be illegal to so do anyway. So I know it might be a bit nerve-wracking but once you're past that dangerous time where women often miscarry or the pregnant doesn't take (3 months?) tell them you're pregnant.
  17. It's worth it to make the pitch but be prepared for the matter to primarily be about how many witnesses, how long your case will be, what kind of documentary production do you need, and so on. I've very rarely seen small claims matters settle at the settlement conference if it is between individuals. A bank or credit card company is more willing to take a cheque for half. A guy who lent his brother $20,000 would choke on an offer of $10,000. So it depends who the clients are. Paradoxically small claims matters are harder if you are outside of downtown because the middle class guys who lent their brother $20,000 don't go downtown while institutional clients are more likely to hire one of the big firms for collections work even if its comparatively small collections. Small claims trials can not make sense but on the other hand taking a lowball offer is worse than making it economical for the client to proceed. Generally that means putting a student or junior on the file or giving him memos and argument instead of actually attending the trial.
  18. They actually differ in some ways, quite often interest rates. RBC had a lower interest rate than Scotiabank as of a few years ago. A bit less interest over quite a few years on a lot of money is a good amount of savings even if in a single month its only a few dollars.
  19. The schools usually guide you in the right direction for loans. The RBC student loan is better than the Soctiabank student loan. Be careful about what the advisor promises with Scotiabank. They went back on a lot of promises.
  20. An index was by far the most useful thing when I did the exams. There is just too much information to memorize and a lot of it is really esoteric stuff that you might deal with in practice once in your career. Quite often you can get an index from classmates rather than starting from scratch.
  21. Generally its bad to burn bridges. But if there's one thing that's not that insulting go for it. Like, "you guys need more support staff" would be something constructive that wouldn't go down badly. Or keep quiet because its good to maintain the relationship.
  22. Don't try to deep six somebody's career. If it's sexy pictures keep them to yourself. If it's something else, also keep it to yourself. Tattling on another lawyer in order to try and get that person fired is never smart. It's a small world and you might hurt your own career more than this person's career if you actively tried to get somebody fired. Wasn't there something like this in the news a few years back? As I recall the firm owner canned the tattler and deleted the photos without looking at them.
  23. Don't go into family thinking that you'll get to go home early. I do family litigation and regularly get home at 11 PM. People who do solicitor work have much more regular schedules and can usually go home at five. Think somebody who does conveyances, contracts and wills for a living. Also definitely pursue a hobby.
  24. Basically at this point you'll do anything as long as you get articles, right? If you're in Ontario do the LPP. If you can't get a job as a called lawyer you can take on some work until you find a job as long as you stick to what you know or files that you can learn on the fly.
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